So, you’re at your best bud’s bachelor party, or maybe a stag & doe for a couple you know well enough to be invited (not to the actual wedding, though!). There are games, there are drinks, and chances are, there’s a blow-up doll lurking around somewhere. Maybe it’s a gag prize for one of those ‘how well do you know the bride and groom?’ type activities, maybe it’s hanging from the ceiling as décor, or maybe it’s being raffled off. Point is, it’s there.
If your gag gift/ceiling décor/raffle prize/possibly-seeing-what-it feels-like-to-have-sex-with-later inflatable doll is of the standard variety, it’s vinyl or PVC, shaped like a woman (sort of) has pointy vinyl breasts, maybe some fake hair, a mouth that looks a little like it’s screaming, and plain holes where vagina and butt would be. While there are definitely more premium blow up models available in the Toys for Men category, that pretty much describes the classic sex doll – and it’s been around much longer than you might think.
The Beginnings of the Sex Doll
What if we told you that sex dolls have existed for at least a few centuries? Well, we’re telling you, because it’s true! Now you know a thing! Maybe an adult product category will pop up at trivia night sometime, who knows.
Speaking of trivia, here’s some: When was the first sex doll created? Answer in the form of a question, please! What is the 18th century? Nope. 17th, according to Anthony Ferguson, author of “The Sex Doll: A History.” Although not inflatable quite yet, there are records of sailors fashioning fabric and bamboo into a female shape before using said shape to relieve sexual tension on long voyages. The French language can make most things sound classy, and these early doll prototypes are no different – they were termed “Dames De Voyage.” Fancy!
As for the inflatable dolls of today and the silicone and TPE ultra realistic sex dolls they’ve inspired, the first of those didn’t pop up until around the end of World War II. There were adult dolls for men in between the 17th century and the 20th, of course (Ferguson goes into many of them in his book), but in the 30’s, mass production of rubber and vinyl plus industrial advancement made moulding dolls with functional – or penetrable, if you prefer – orifices a possibility. Termed ‘fornicatory’ dolls by some (ew), they weren’t of the best quality and probably didn’t last very long – same goes for many of the vinyl inflatable sex dolls of today. For the most part, they’re good for a little fun, and they’re also just plain funny. But we’re not here to talk about blow up dolls.
The Evolution of the Sex Doll
All that background we just covered brings us to the focus of this piece – the next generation of affordable realistic sex dolls. Call it a real doll, a fantasy doll, a sexbot, call it Bianca. Fact is, a new realistic adult doll era is upon us and has been for at least a decade. The ultra realistic sex, love or companion doll has been causing both joy and controversy left and right since the birth of the original RealDoll over a decade ago.
We’re already familiar with realistic adult dolls like these because we met Bianca. Bianca has him in 2018; she is another Ultimate Fantasy Doll from Pipedream to blow us away with her incredible realism. We aren’t the only ones impressed, either. Customers have been quick to snap up an ultra realistic sex doll.
Mia and Bianca are crafted from a combination of TPE (thermoplastic elastomer) and silicone, as are most realistic adult dolls, though some are fully silicone. Regardless of each manufacturer’s specific ratio of silicone to TPE, these materials look and feel an awful lot like real skin. The texture is pliable, softer on top and firmer below – the dolls even warm up when they come into contact with body heat/friction.
Pipedream’s Mia and Bianca, like most adult fantasy dolls, can be moved into just about any position thanks to a flexible core skeletal system. Eyes are incredibly detailed (though a little blank, we admit), and the same level of detail goes into fingers, toes, facial features and genitals. Some other ultra realistic sex doll types, like the RealDoll, can be customized to exact specifications, including body type, facial features, even freckles, and beauty marks. Female dolls are winning the popularity contest so far, but there are male dolls available too, as well as transgender models.
What’s the Problem with Realistic Adult Dolls?
Now, there are, have always been, and will always be people who take issue with the concept of a sex doll that looks like a real person. On the other hand (and there always is another hand), there are also people celebrating the media attention paid to and the increasing availability of affordable realistic sex dolls.
Let’s start with someone close to home. Sunny Rogers, Sexual Health & Wellness Educator and Brand Manager for Pipedream Products gave us a nice positive take on the doll issue. When we asked her what type of person or people might be interested in owning a sex doll, she told us that some may be looking for a sexual companion after the loss of a spouse. Others may want to try something sexually adventurous without the possibility of judgment. Couples might be looking for a safe way to try a threesome without the possibility of sexually transmitted diseases and emotional attachments. In all of these cases, dolls offer a perfect solution.
Sex is a basic and natural human need. We know this very well. We’re in the business of fulfilling sexual desire through adult sex toys and tools, after all. Is there a difference between a doll and a realistic stroker, masturbation sleeve or lifelike vibrating dildo? Price, obviously, but if someone wants to pay upwards of $4000 for what could be defined as a very expensive masturbator, kudos! Otherwise, there’s plenty of cheap sex toy options that deliver high quality pleasure at an affordable price.
As for loneliness, it’s rampant in today’s society, that’s just an unfortunate fact. Blame social media, blame our reliance on words flashed across a screen instead of actual face-to-face conversation, blame it on our busy lives. The point is, loneliness sucks! A realistic adult doll could be a coping tool. It could temporarily comfort a bereaved spouse. Coming home to an empty house would be a little easier if something was waiting for you, no? Out of the sexual context of course, that’s why we have pets!
The safety issue is easy to understand. STI’s are a worry for many of us sexually active folks, and even with all precautions taken, it’s hard to feel 100% secure. With a doll, there’s no chance she’ll unintentionally pass something to you, or you to her – provided you don’t share her, of course. Take Sunny’s threesome example. A committed couple might want to explore sex with another person, but the potential for STI’s, unintended pregnancy or emotional attachment could stop them. Dolls, again, are a solution.
Sunny’s perspective about sexual adventurousness, while absolutely valid, brings us to one of the points that people on the not-so-supportive side of the sex doll issue have raised. Sunny says; “…customers wish to try something sexually adventurous and (a) sex doll offer(s) the perfect situation.” No one likes to be judged for their quirks and kinks, and we’ve all got ‘em. Let’s pretend, for example, that you really like to lick your partner’s ear during sex. Maybe you haven’t been able to fulfill that fantasy with a real-life playmate. Bianca won’t judge and Bianca won’t tell anyone. Bianca also won’t tell you that she doesn’t like having her ear licked, or ask you to please not lick her ear. The problem, for some doll naysayers, lies there. Licking ears (and any other act) is something that needs to be consented to. We agree 100%. The concern is that potential ear lickers will get used to being able to lick ears willy-nilly, and won’t bother asking a real partner if they’re okay with it. The idea of consent is very much in the spotlight these days, and it absolutely should be. In the end though, we’re going to have to trust that most doll romancers will be aware that Bianca is a doll and that a real partner is not a doll. Real partners have feelings; likes, dislikes, and opinions. An ultra realistic sex doll does not, and neither does a masturbator sleeve, or your hand for that matter!
Another argument against sex dolls (as with any sexual topic, there are many, so this will be the last) is the potential for dehumanization of sex and intimacy. We’re going to go ahead and hypothesize that nothing will ever take the place of sex between two humans who care about each other, or even two humans engaging in respectful casual sex. We’ll refer back to those 17th century “Dames de Voyage.” We’ve been trying to recreate sex with a partner for literally centuries and here we are, still human sexing away!
A Look Into the Future of Affordable Realistic Sex Dolls
When it comes right down to it, you can agree or disagree with the concept of the real sex doll, and you can agree or disagree that dolls could be a valid means of pleasure, comfort, and satisfaction to some people. Bottom line: the affordable realistic sex doll industry is booming as we speak (read, whatever!). Artificial intelligence and robotics are even being added to the hyper-realistic mix. After all, if demand didn’t exist, neither would the product, and that piece of wisdom holds true for anything. Speaking of wisdom, we’ll send you off with another quote from Pipedream’s Sunny:
“Sex dolls are becoming more affordable, such as the case with Ultimate Fantasy Dolls, which has made owning a sex doll a reality for many consumers. This affordability is fueling the trend of consumers owning personal sex dolls…and I don’t foresee this trend slowing!”