Sex dolls are about more than just sex


#1

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#2

I recall getting surprised/shocked responses from sex-shop workers when I was calling around to find an inflatable sheep for a “bad farmboy” costume – I thought that San Fernando shops would be inured to anything.


#3

As Jimmy Dore said: When a woman has a vibrator and other sex toys - “Good on her.” but when the second they find the guy’s fleshlight the pervert can never work with children again.

@crenquis
that is kind of weird it is not like you were calling for one that was made to appear like a corpse or something.

wouldn’t these realistic sex dolls be the opposite of sexual objectification but object personification?


#4

My thoughts exactly. I honestly don’t see the connection between a person who would fall in love with a sex doll and a person who would want to treat a real woman like an object. A person who can regard a doll as another human being strikes me as the opposite of a person who can regard a human being as not-a-human-being.

I saw that episode of My Strange Addiction with Davecat, and I have to say he came across as an extremely sensitive and empathic person. It is probably the depth of his sensitivity that makes relationships with other people so difficult. Sensitive people experience very deep hurts.

The assessment that a doll will never lie to you or cheat on you is a blunt and matter-of-fact one. Just like the article says, the appeal is that the doll is not human. All humans will lie to you, all humans will cause you pain in one way or another. For “ordinary” people that’s a tolerable fact of life. For some people it is intolerable.


#5

#6

It’s fairly bizarre to read an article comparing male and female use of sex toys that doesn’t mention the word “dildo” once, or affects to a historical survey of sex dolls without mentioning the numerous statues of Priapus (many of which, in their general size, construction and configuration, were almost certainly used as sex toys) that were widespread in Greece and Rome. Without having first-hand experience of the sex doll community, I’d always just assumed that blow-up dolls were bought primarily as gag gifts for bachelor parties, and that the RealDoll community (Davecat et al.) were edge cases, due to the high cost of these dolls.


#7

I think if a connection exists, part of the reason is in the final paragraph:

Owning a sex doll is not a violent act. But as these creations come to look more and more realistic, their lifeless, prone silicone bodies are reminders of unequal gender power dynamics that play out in the real world. And as human women become more empowered, sex dolls offer a way for men to retreat into relationships where they are still in control. A doll is a woman-shaped thing that may bring a man comfort, may inspire devotion in him, and may drive away his loneliness. It will never challenge him, and it will certainly never do anything to make him feel ridiculous.

There seems to be some of this issue in the Thai brides episode of Louis Theroux’s weird weekends - the men feel that British women are not feminine and submissive enough and want a more ‘traditional’ relationship that they imagine someone from Thailand will provide. I’m sure both phenomena have a lot of internal variation, but it’s possible that a significant subset of both groups want a sexually compliant woman without the chance of rejection or ridicule, where the men are in control and can lead the relationship as they wish. It turns out that this is basically a myth with Thai brides, but I don’t think it’s necessarily ridiculous that someone could either look for a real person with less complexity or a doll that they can treat more like a human partner.

Theroux’s conversation with the business owner about his brochure from 5:20 onward is interesting in this regard - Thai women “believe in looking after the man”, “have all the qualities that have been forgotten and lost by the equality-crazed women’s lib western woman”, “fit around [the man’s] business life”, “for the Thai woman, there’s no such thing as, ‘I’ve got a headache’”, “the Thai lady is not so independent, she’s more likely to go with the flow”. The man himself is with a Thai woman who “doesn’t get headaches, even when she’s got a headache”.


#8

When I was in college, my roomates happened to stumble across an inflatable pig in a local shop. I’m surprised they didn’t buy it, but it did become a bit of a running gag for the group.


#9

You’re more likely to find those at novelty shops than proper sex shops.


#10

I think there are two very different phenomena. One is the desire to shield yourself from pain, the other is the desire to control or own other people. It is hard to control or own another person when 1) slavery isn’t actually legally supported; and 2) that other person doesn’t feel like being controlled. So a person who seeks to control others is looking for vulnerable people that they can control and objectify.

A person who is trying to shield themselves from the pain of relationships doesn’t benefit from seeking out vulnerable people since what they are really trying to avoid is the unpredictability of human nature.

There can be some overlap, a person who wants to shield themselves from pain could do so by putting on a controlling affect, but I don’t think they are nearly as connected as this article seems to think they might be.


#11

I’d be inclined to agree, but I’d love to see some actual research on this. I’m curious as to whether this indicates a “flexibility” on the human-object spectrum that can go both ways, or if it simply suggests a person who has a deep and abiding ability to appreciate companionship, in whatever form it comes.


#12

If you’ve never really listened to the lyrics… do.


#13

I think it really could be as simple as sexual objectification being a misused term. used often as a way to demonize male sexuality as aberrant. you can’t have sex with a personality or an idea sexual objectification is a component of intercourse ,arousal etc. The only problem with sexual objectification is if it is Exclusionary. I objectify every shopkeep,barmaid I interact with their functionality thus their transactional use to me is the only thing I care about.


#14

A friend had included one (sheep) in an odd “care package” that she sent to me when I was in grad school…


#15

Ya, realized that later… I don’t think that they were very common at the time (about 17 yrs ago) – I see tons on a quick google search now.


#16

Thanks, Humbabella. I came here to play devil’s advocate and counter-argue that at least these guys want/care-for the whole person, even if only a simulacrum. Continuing: the women, on the other hand, since they do purchase dildos, only care about the penis and don’t care about the rest of the person…

There.


#17

I remember going on a tour in Amsterdam, guided by a former prostitute. She mentioned that the red light district once tried an experimental “blue light” day, where all the women were replaced with handsome male prostitutes offering their services. Excited women gathered around the windows… and not a single purchase was made. I would imagine that part of the reason there’s low demand for male sex dolls is the same as why there’s low demand for male prostitutes: most women have very little trouble finding someone willing to have sex with them for free. In the words of my tour guide, “Why pay for sex when I could go to any bar and pick up one or more guys in minutes- and get free dinner and drinks in the process?” While dildos or vibrators are safer and more convenient than finding a sex partner, perhaps the cost and hassle of a full-blown sex doll puts it in a category more akin to a male prostitute.


#18

Except that’s totally not a real thing.


#19

There’s the cuddling afterwards?


#20

I was thinking about this some more overnight and I realized what is going on here might actually be not so much two different phenomena but actually completely opposite orientations. We know that people have some faculty that recognizes other minds and sympathizes with them (we need it to interact with one another, and we observe it going awry all the time as people anthropomorphize objects). The “normal” function of this faculty is that we recognize other people as people and we don’t confuse other things for people.

People who don’t identify other people as people have a deficit in this faculty, people who are so able to recognize objects as people that they will marry them have an extremely overactive faculty. That’s precisely the opposite.

Almost certainly yes. In fact, I imagine that is precisely what weirds people out about sex dolls (because we all already knew that men like to put their penises into holes).