I was young, horny and bored. I hadn't had sex for three or so years; I'd just come back from university and I had nothing else to do. I wasn't writing ILB yet; I was masturbating furiously with my right hand to things that I knew I liked, but I wasn't doing much else. Crucially, I was unaware of the whole sex-positive community, really - I didn't read many sex blogs and I didn't really know what sex toys were. I mean, I knew they existed, but I didn't really know what they were for, as such...
With a mixture of anxiety and excitement, I got to browsing sextoys.co.uk and, skipping on the standard options for boys, decided upon a sex doll. Again, I had no real idea - I knew this was a sex toy in the shape of a pretend person; I also knew it was inflatable, but I had very little concept of the fact that it was plastic, like a rubber ring - I hadn't even thought about it, assuming instead that sex dolls were made out of some sort of soft, foam-like substance.
When it arrived, I'd barely even gotten it out of the box when I decided that I had made a mistake - the doll was very plastic, looked nothing like the girl on the packaging, and had a massive open mouth below garishly painted eyes. It looked like I'd bought a dead fish.
"No," I told myself. "No, no, no." By midday, I'd sent it back. I have since never bought another sex toy. But then, I probably wouldn't tend to use them anyway.
Do you think there's a prejudice against sex doll users? Is there a shameful element to it? And why not other sex toys, if so?
— Cara Sutra (@TheCaraSutra) August 21, 2014
And then today Cara Sutra came up with this idea. It's true that I've never really thought about it much - I don't own a sex doll (three minutes doesn't count) and, as far as I'm aware (although with friends like the young raver you never know) I don't know anyone who does. But there are obviously people who do. They are sold and they are bought. So why are they different, exactly?
For a start, I'm not talking about RealDolls, although they are in vogue and now have a UK-based distributor. I was contacted a while ago by the company keen to get me talking about RealDolls; it's not really my sort of thing to promote products, but I am aware of the idea - a silicone-based skin, adjustable skeleton and customisable features - not to mention a massive price tag: it's a doll for the wealthy and those who want a companion. Seaside Slut's recent post had some excellent examples of the kind of thought that goes into their construction.
But what about the blow-up kind? The kind that you inflate and get on top of, the kind that I bought and couldn't use? Is there a stigma? And, if so, why?
From my perspective, eight years after I almost used one myself, I'd still feel a little awkward about doing so. Although a sex doll is, effectively, a pretend person, they certainly don't look realistic enough to actually hold the suspension of disbelief long enough to fool yourself you're actually having sex with someone. I certainly wouldn't be able to. And, from what I hear, the feeling is entirely different from anything you'd experience in another type of toy, your hand, or a vagina. Aesthetically, I don't even think they're particularly pleasing... unless you're a fan of the grotesque... and, in some cases, they could even be considered "wrong" on another level.
Pipedream's "Extreme Dollz" are disproportionate enough (and described as worse!) to be something approaching offensive, in my opinion!
So why would you use one? I don't know, but I'm assuming for the same reason one may use any sex toy - they're designed for sexual gratification. Unlike most toys, they are in the shape of a person, so if that's what you actually want, I don't see why not. But then again, I said no, so why? Is there, as Cara suggests, a stigma? I've seen sex dolls used as a form of ridicule in Fawlty Towers among other things, often characterised as something for sad, lonely individuals in social isolation. Where this idea has come from, I'm not sure - one could use any sex toy as a basis for the same assumption, and this generally doesn't happen - so I'm assuming it has to be the human shape.
I can't, for one second, imagine that anyone at all can believe they are actually having sex with someone while using a Fleshlight or a REV 1000 or a PULSE. To be fair, I'd struggle with a sex doll, too - but evidently it works for some people, if only because there's a face and a vagina where there's meant to be one (or a penis, if it's a male sex doll). But, if there is a stigma, then it's got to be that.
This just puzzles me. While I appreciate that YKINMK, I have noticed something like a blind spot where dolls are concerned. I've never seen one reviewed on a sex blog and no sex toy manufacturer documentary I've ever seen mentions them either. It's almost like dolls are a forgotten sex toy, a relic of a bygone age or something you only have if you are single and absolutely desperate.
But everyone has something that works for them. I don't understand, but then, it's not my place to judge!