Inflatable darling

Pub date August 12, 2009

Dear Andrea:

We were watching Mythbusters and they were using inflatable dolls instead of crash test dummies. That didn’t work very well, but it did make me wonder, does anyone ever use those for actual sex?


Blow Me Down

Dear Blow:

Who knows? Any attempt to answer this scientifically would be hampered by the inevitable sample problem: would even the most dedicated enthusiast actually admit to putting the thing to its supposed intended use? If they told you, wouldn’t they have to kill you?

If I had to guess, I’d say yes. Men have been known to stick it into condoms full of warm oatmeal, into watermelons, and allegedly into a piece of liver intended for the family dinner. How could at least some tiny fraction of male mankind not be expected to stick it into what passes for a genital orifice in a vinyl novelty device? Of course some do. But mostly not, I’d assume, and mostly not often, or even twice.

Once upon a time I had a boyfriend who lived in a foul two-bedroom with a roommate of disreputable habits (it was Roommate who was principally responsible for the apartment’s foulness, or so I chose to believe at the time). Before Roommate’s birthday one year, Boyfriend and another equally disreputable friend went off to a Tenderloin sex shop and bought a … fuckhead. That’s what we called it, and that’s what it was, a softish mannequin head, like a Barbie’s Hair Salon head but horribly porny, with a round, gaping maw and frizzly blond curls that shed distressingly when you attempted to grasp the thing like a, well, a head. It was ghastly and we could not imagine anybody ever using such a creation for its intended purpose — nobody even wanted to touch the thing — so they put it in the oven, which was never used for its intended purpose, and left it there to gaze blankly, gape-mouthed, through the glass-paneled door.

No, that story did not have a point. I just wanted to tell it.

Of course, decades after the invention of the rarely-fucked Inflatable Love Doll (and by the way, they make sheep, too, but I can’t remember now if it’s actually sold as a "Love Ewe" or if my friends and I made that up), the Real Doll debuted to enormous media hullabaloo and respectable sales. Fairly or not, and nicely or not, I ascribed those respectable sales to the concurrent dot-com bubble and the sudden wealth it showered upon a lot of guys with good coding skills and not so much experience talking to girls. The Real Doll, in case you were sleeping, is a fairly realistic (only slightly less realistic than Jenna Jamison, for instance), life-sized, customizable silicone sex partner. According to their site, you can buy some models on super-special this month for less than $6,000: "order a female flat-back torso, get the head kit free." In fact, the company is, as they say, "going out for business":

In These Difficult Economic Times, Abyss Creations Is Doing Our Part To Help.


And for the month of July there is a $500 Discount Off all new Doll orders.

We also want you to know that all of our products are made in the U.S.A. As well as all materials and parts. We are doing our part to keep our country working.

They are doing their part. Are you doing yours?

The Real Doll appears to have had its moment in the sun (a good idea, actually, since silicone warms to body temperature very readily). If The New York Times, of all things, is to be believed, the coming thing in fake sex partners is not a semirealistic girl-shaped thing, or the expected, immanent online, plug-in cybermate. It’s a … pillow.

The Times article [] is about Japanese "2-D lovers," a subset of obsessive anime fandom who carry on what at least feels to them like real relationships with representations of anime characters, often, ickily, prepubescent girls. The article never says what, exactly, people like the profiled "Nisan" ("big brother") do with a stuffed pillowcase printed with the image of a 10-year-old in a bikini, besides carrying it around and ordering it a bowl of soup and calling it their girlfriend.

Japan is, of course, kind of a special case. According to the Times article, "more than a quarter of men and women between the ages of 30 and 34 are virgins; 50 percent of men and women in Japan do not have friends of the opposite sex." I’m hanging onto the hope that the fact that the same cannot be said of North Americans will provide us at least partial immunity to the spread of a similar craze here. But I think we can trust a certain subset of geek-hipsters to at least claim to have adopted it.



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