The Reality Of Real Sex Dolls

When Ryan Gosling romanced Bianca, the “half-Danish, half-Brazilian” adult sex doll in Lars and the Real Girl, it shocked not only his on-screen family but also audiences around the world; it seemed weird and outlandish, even for a movie. But in the past 5-years IRL, sex dolls have become more and more commonplace – especially with the rise of artificial intelligence. 

So, let’s take a look at real hard look at real sex dolls, the new trend in sex technology. 

RELATED: Putting the ‘Oh’ Back into Orgasm Everything You Need To Know About Sex Dolls: Real Sex Dolls FAQ 

What is a sex doll? 

A sex doll is a masturbatory aid that resembles a human being. While many sex dolls are to scale, there are also dolls that are smaller or are just the crucial body parts (boobs, butt, vagina, etc.). Sex dolls have a long history that dates back to ancient times and includes a ridiculous urban legend that the Nazis allegedly designed dolls to keep their soldiers satisfied during the war. More recently, these “intimate partners” have shown up (often as the butt of the joke) in movies like Old School or the aforementioned festival circuit hit Lars and the Real Girl. 

Some are simple and straightforward dolls, some are inflatable, while others are outfitted with AI technology to make them more responsive and lifelike. Adult dolls can range from everywhere from creepy and unnerving, to sexy and realistic. Do people really use them?

 While it’s hard to find studies or research that explicitly confirm this, the short answer is: yes! Sex dolls are quite popular across the world, from Japan to the USA. A documentary about the use of sex dolls revealed that, in 2017, the Japanese company Dutch Wives sold around 2,000 dolls. Just last year, a sex doll “brothel” opened up in Toronto, promising its patrons quality time with one of their dolls for as low as $CAD 80 ($AUD 86.53).

 But after some backlash and zoning problems, the brothel was shut down a week before it opened. The brothel already had 200 reservations by the time it closed – with almost a third being from couples or solo women. A similar effort was attempted in Houston later that year, but the local city blocked the business. Still, this speaks more to a stigma about using sex dolls rather than their popularity. From a market size of $425 million in 2014, the American sex doll industry is expected to balloon to $690 million by 2023. And doll brothels are experiencing success in other countries like South Korea, Spain, and Japan. 

A collection of sex dollars on a rug Getty This is because sex dolls address a very common problem: not being able to meet or have sex with real people in real life. These dolls fulfill a fantasy and allow their “partners” to explore their sexuality without judgment or fear. How lifelike are sex dolls? You might be wondering if “real life” dolls can really substitute for the real thing, or if they’re just a pale imitation. Of course, sex with a human male or female is very different from sex with a doll or robot. But the gap is quickly closing. There are dolls on the market today that are so lifelike, they practically resemble real human beings. And some of these dolls are being equipped with artificial intelligence – including one sex robot that actually responds to romance. Are there male and female sex dolls? 

Female sex dolls are, by far, significantly more common than male sex dolls. However, this doesn’t mean that women aren’t interested in sex toys. In fact, a study done by Adam and Eve found that 44% of women aged 18 to 60 have used a sex toy at least once, with vibrators being the #1 purchase. Male sex dolls are nowhere near close to hitting the top 3, but major US-based sex doll manufacturer RealDoll is trying to diversify its offerings with male options. 

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