Breaking the stigma of sex dolls

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While the topic of sex and masturbation has come a long way in the last decade or so, especially since Sex and The City, it’s still an awkward topic for a larger percentage of men and other penis-equipped individuals. Specifically, when it comes to discussing it amongst themselves. Male masturbation has always been treated like a dirty secret, and it’s very mentioning to another male has often been met with a shushing motion followed by “what you do behind closed doors…”. While this approach is intended as respectful, it also labels masturbation, and associated details, as something shameful, dirty, and especially private. If we want to break from this stigma we’ve created, it’s time to stop being afraid to talk about it.

Sexual awakening and exploration is a fantastic thing. It can help you learn a lot about yourself, your likes, your dislikes, what fantasies you enjoy, and what it is you want. And it’s not as though we aren’t all well-aware that we’re masturbating behind closed doors, or that we’re buying sex toys to do it. But a stigma exists because everything from friends, relatives, and even media, all tell us what should be considered correct or incorrect. Take “American Pie” for example, each time the lead, played by Jason Biggs, attempts to explore his sexuality, he’s more often punished for it by way of extremely awkward and embarrassing results.

Sex toys aren’t something we need to be ashamed of, nor should we be shaming the people who use them. This is proven further by sex toy companies who report selling more than 800 products per month, and a 25% increase of sales over five years. And while vibrators and other tools of female pleasure have made tremendous strides towards more potent orgasms, toys for the penis-equipped have had a lot of catching up to do. Up to this point, there has been a lot of amazing progress, and the industry continues to work ever upwards. But as progress moves forward, there’s a constant question we keep asking ourselves: “What can we do to make these toys better?”

Twenty years ago, the answer was easy: more enjoyment, better orgasms. Nowadays, we’re looking at more specific traits, such as shape, material, color, textures, and whether or not they can stimulate us in very specific ways. But for male sex toys, a good sleeve isn’t enough for some. Many have begun requesting something shaped like a person, that looks and feels like a person, and even speaks and responds as a person would. What many want now is something as life-like as what a sex doll is now.

While sex and orgasms are fantastic, there’s an emotional aspect that many have started to crave as well. A sex doll does this by giving someone a physical body, complete with attributes, personality, flaws and a feeling of familiarity to those who are missing this from their lives. While a stigma exists that only lonely losers and pervs purchase sex dolls, the reality is that this is far from accurate. Sex dolls are popular with many who share an appreciation for the human body and may have trouble interacting with real people due to anxiety or confidence issues.

Empathy plays a large role when it comes to sex dolls. Shame and anger towards things that exist outside of the ‘traditional’ ideals keep us at a very narrow path in our personality. But empathy leads us towards understanding the other, rather than reject it. So where one person might buy a sex doll simply for the purpose of having sex with it, they may, in time, begin to admire the doll as well. Even care for it, brush her hair, dress her up and sit with her. Many photographers have even taken up purchasing sex dolls as new subjects and models for their portfolios. With more and more innovations, sex dolls are closer than ever to resembling real people.

These dolls aren’t mass-produced, either. It’s easy to imagine a warehouse full of dolls, all with the same butts and the same boobs and 18-year-old faces, being purchased and shipped out to people all over the world, but this is as far from the truth as you can get. Each customized sex doll is lovingly handcrafted and is as unique as the people who buy them. I read one example about an older man in his 60s who requested a doll that didn’t look like she was in her early 20s. So the manufacturer made one with laugh lines, crow’s feet, and other small details that gave her age. He was happy to receive a doll that looked like someone he felt more comfortable connecting with.

Knowing what you like, what you want in another person, what will make you happy, taking the time to understand. It creates a path toward personal growth. Manufacturers have remarked that their customers are actually some of the more sane people they have met in this industry. We’ve entered a time when people are valuing their own sexual liberty, awareness, and satisfaction despite the stigma. Let’s stop being afraid of what others might think if we invest in our happiness and empathy, and while we’re at it, let’s stop stigmatizing those who do, and acknowledge that everyone has unique and deeply personal reasons for their needs. We only need to ask, and start a conversation about it.

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