No, ‘child sex dolls’ won’t keep pedophiles from offending

child sex doll

Japanese porn company, Trottla, is producing lifelike female child sex dolls, claiming that they will “save children from sexual abuse.” The argument behind these dolls is that men will use them instead of raping an actual little girl — that using these pornified dolls* will “satiate” their desires.

If we assume that porn and sex toys prevent men from committing sex crimes, the problem of rape should have been solved ages ago. But that is not the case: today, there is more porn than ever before and it’s far more easily accessible than ever before — yet men continue to sexually abuse women and girls daily, across the globe.

That’s because porn-use doesn’t actually work that way. It hasn’t and won’t succeed in “satiating” men’s desires, effectively preventing them from unleashing these “desires” in (other) violent ways. Medical experts have confirmed this, pointing out that the child sex dolls will have the exact opposite of a satiating effect on pedophiles, and instead will create a “reinforcing effect,” causing men to “act upon [their pedophilic desires] with greater urgency.”

Despite this, recent media coverage of the child sex dolls has fallen in line with a liberal media trend of portraying pedophiles with sympathy and understanding. A recent feature in The Atlantic depicted the pedophile owner of the child sex doll company, Shin Takagi, as a Zen-like philosopher: “Being a pedophile is like living with a mask on,” he opines. (Those poor pedos…) The article seems intent on downplaying child sexual abuse and on promoting pedophilia apologism. The author, Roc Morin, writes: “People like Takagi who struggle with pedophilic impulses but have never acted on them have been the subject of much media attention.”

Are we to believe that the desire to commit a heinous crime against the most vulnerable human population is akin to “struggling” with a condition? Are we to view these men as brave and celebrate their ability not to rape children?

Morin goes on: “With a paucity of reliable scientific data about their circumstances…”

“Their circumstances??” Getting a sexual thrill from violating children is now simply a “circumstance” that arises out of the blue? Right. These men are clearly just victims of happenstance…

“And [with] no known medical or psychiatric cure, many of these individuals rely strictly on self-control to avoid acting on their urges,” Morin writes.

How difficult for them! They want to get off through child abuse and they have to exercise self-control not to do it. Surely society must rush to the aid of these men and offer them some respite from the burden they so nobly bear.

Pedophilia apologism such as this has plugged into the zeitgeist of “born this way” ideology to claim that pedophiles have no control over their “sexual orientation,” because they were simply born wanting to rape children. (It’s convenient how “born this way” is now used in order to prevent people from identifying any harmful mechanisms of social construction and to maintain the status quo…)

Mr. Takagi defends his creation by arguing that he is doing a great service to society by offering men an outlet for their violent sexual desires. He says he often receives letters from buyers, who are respectable men — doctors, celebrities, teachers *shudder* — claiming his product prevented them from committing a crime.

But again, porn doesn’t work that way. When a man degrades and objectifies a woman by using porn, it doesn’t magically lead him to respect or to stop objectifying the “real” women in his life. The idea that the child sex dolls will work to absorb some of society’s pedophilic urges is reminiscent of the flawed argument made in favor of prostitution: that a class of women must exist to absorb the brunt of men’s “sexual needs,” lest men lash out and start uncontrollably raping women everywhere. In reality, the more society validates male sexual entitlement by offering them “outlets” for their so-called “needs,” the stronger their “needs” grow and are normalized. Certainly the existence of prostitution hasn’t made the world a less violent place – the idea that child sex dolls will somehow keep children safe from pedophiles is no less delusional.

The societal problem of pedophilia won’t be alleviated by allowing men to simulate the crimes they wish to commit. We wouldn’t give a would-be murderer a “murder doll” they can practice on, under the guise that this would function as a kind of therapy that will make them less violent. Why are magazines like The Atlantic taking Takagi’s excuses for his sick business seriously instead of expressing concern for the girls who are endangered by it?

It seems to be yet another instance of men’s boners being prioritized over the safety of women and girls, as the media continues to portray porn-use (even child porn-use) as an innocuous — and even beneficial — activity.

*We are not linking to the website that sells these dolls. Google at your own risk — the images of the dolls are quite unsettling, to say the least.

Susan Cox
Susan Cox

Susan Cox is a feminist writer and academic living in the United States. She teaches in Philosophy.

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  • Also, as Gail Dines has researched men who use regular pornography, she found that many men who watch adult porn get bored and will go right for child porn and some of them will offend against children. The effect is called ‘tunnelling’ and it goes to show that ANY sexually violent porn, which is most of it, is detrimental to society as a whole. Here’s Dines discussing her qualitative study on these men: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7A62CdYyNSE

  • “They’re only thinking about themselves, and how to do their thing without going to jail.”

    That is true of all sex liberals. It is what is behind their obsession with consent. They want to avoided getting sued for rape. They also want to blame the targets of their sexual dominance for whatever happens to them. If you choose to dominate and hurt people because you find it sexy, you should take responsibility for the harm you cause. They may have made a bad decision by consenting to the sex act, but requesting such sex acts is also a bad decision, assuming you care about people other than yourself.

  • Meghan Murphy

    Oooh don’t be so sex-negative!

  • Meghan Murphy

    I was under the impression that chemical castration worked on some?

  • Hannah

    Lmao! Love it.

  • Morag999

    “Wouldn’t men feel safer if women had castration dolls on which to vent their frustrations? Let’s see the Atlantic do a puff piece about THAT product.”

    YES!

  • Cassandra

    Stop the patriarchy I wanna get off.

  • Cassandra

    Yup.

  • Tired feminist

    Very good question. Sex dolls are 3D porn.

  • Meghan Murphy

    Yes, I’m aware of that. Nonetheless, I think rapists and child molesters should be castrated.

  • Meghan Murphy

    DECRIMINALIZE EVERYTHING STIGMA FORCES MEN TO RAPE DESTIGMATIZE RAPE PRUUUUDES

  • Sally Hansen

    Wow, thank you so much ^_^ haha you’ve got me blushing.

  • Meghan Murphy

    You’re right. I guess we could just execute them all?

  • Meghan Murphy

    I know, right? This “It’s not worth living if you have to live with repressed desire” that has been embraced by even the left these days is very telling. Western society has placed hedonism above ethics — not all that surprising considering that we value individual ‘freedom’ and ‘choice’ above the collective good/equality. Thanks America!

  • Meghan Murphy

    I too am opposed to the death penalty. I was being a little facetious. And of course I don’t see castration as a real solution to male violence, despite the fact that I like the idea of castrating rapists and pedophiles.

  • radwonka

    “psychological disorder”

    Many adult men are attracted to teenagers and children, not because it is an illness, but because our society (well, mostly men) sexualise children. How many men will say disgusting things like “oh this 13 years old is so hot!”?

    Moreover, I highly doubt that in a society where children are eroticized and pornified, where *progressive* libertarians promote rape trafficking (under the concept “youth sex work”/ask yourself why child trafficking/porn is so banalized, why do pedos always travel around the world to rape poor children? Because they KNOW what they are doing, they are conscious that it is against the law but they dont care. Should we stop our anti pedophilic politics because pedos resist? No, pedos wont decide what is legal and what is not. For obvious reasons.), and say shit like ” 12 years old have sexual agency”, where it is impossible to criticize the context and new libertarians concepts, etc… well, the idea that pedophilia is an illness wont last long. And this isnt new. Ever since the “sexual revolution” there have been many progressives (like Sartres) and movements (like Party for Neighbourly Love, Freedom, and Diversity or the Green Party) who didnt see anything wrong with pedophilia.

    The problem is not the law or anyone against pedos, but pedos themselves. Thinking like anarchists who infantilize criminals, blame the state only (lol) and think that doing nothing, is how justice should be done, is the only thing that wont help. If some pedos were truly against this pedophilic society and disgusted, they would denounce it but they dont, and we all know why.

    • Norbert Thomas

      Yes, it’s a psychological disorder, which isn’t to say it’s not caused or exacerbated by societal ills. Many psychological disorders are. Not all disorders are genetic flaws, they can be triggered by outside causes, like anxiety, depression, PTSD. Religious extremism is a psychological disorder which can affect a previously healthy person, but there are extremists who have reformed and become human rights activists.

      And yes it can become normalised to an extent that any man can find sexual pleasure in children, not just men predisposed to it, just look at ISIS who are taking women and children as sex slaves, or child marriages in Pakistan and Afghanistan, or sexual abuse in the Catholic Church.

      I think it might even be normalised by the (still popular) idea that physical punishment like spanking is an acceptable tool for adults to use against children. It sets up a physical dominance of an adult over a child which might translate to a sexual dominance in some men’s minds.

      But I would say any paedophile who seeks treatment has denounced the illness. And apparently they do: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/in-germany-they-treat-paedophiles-as-victims-not-offenders-10387468.html

  • Melissa Cutler

    Well, continue to be amazed because I, too, hate pedophiles. Zero compassion, zero tolerance. 100% hate.
    You’re just another defender of the fragile male psyche by prioritizing abuser rights over the safety of women and children.

    • Norbert Thomas

      I did not defend abusers. I defended people with a psychological disorder, who should be encouraged to seek treatment before they become abusers. Read my actual words.

      To simplify:
      More understanding = fewer victims.
      More hate = more victims.

      What’s more important, making yourself feel better by spewing outrage and hate, or actually trying to prevent child abuse and rape?

      • Tired feminist

        I’ll answer with some other questions.

        Why are you SO distressed by the idea that feminists don’t have the slightest “sympathy”, “understanding” or “compassion” for pedophiles, nor have we any interest in developing any of these?

        Why does it bother you so much? To the point that you need to come repeatedly to a feminist space to insist that you’re nooooot defending pedophiles, by no means, you’re reeeeeeally just a nice guy full of comprehension for these poor tormented pedophilic souls? Why?

        Where does all this empathy for pedophiles come from?

      • Melissa Cutler

        Kinda thinking I need a canned reply for all the men who come on this website policing our tone and trying so fervently to convince us that we’re “doing activism wrong”. They expend so much time and energy mansplaining all the flaws in our activism that they make it abundantly clear [to everyone but themselves] how little they actually care about changing the world for the better or their own activism. They just want to criticize ours.

        Norbert, you should go check out the comments section of the Feminist Current post “Men Don’t Kill Women Out of Love” because you sound just like the murder apologists. Or maybe go check out the comments on “It’s Time to Consider a Curfew For Men” or the one on PornHub’s new clothing line. You all sound the same, and you all have the same tone policing, male violence apologist argument. It would be boring if it weren’t so dangerous.

        • Norbert Thomas

          There are different opinions being voiced in this forum. I’m in complete agreement with some of them, and disagreement with others. I also disagree with parts of the article. I’ve stated my arguments and I’m happy to debate them. I’ve already learned some new things from people here who are smarter and more knowledgeable than me, and I’ve adjusted my views accordingly. That is what intelligent conversation is supposed to accomplish.

          I will say it again. I am not defending child abusers. Nothing I have ever said has defended child abusers. And as Nina has pointed out, only 35% of child molesters are actually paedophiles. Most child molesters care more about the feeling of power than actual sexual attraction to children (which has started to help me make sense of why it is so prevalent in patriarchal structures like the Catholic church, and why heterosexual men often molest boys).

          The only group that I’ve encouraged understanding for is those people (mostly men) who can be clinically diagnosed as paedophiles but who have never acted on their urges — and another thing I’ve learned in this conversation is that this group is far outnumbers the ones who have acted. Which suggests most men with paedophilic urges do not want to act on them. So perhaps they are not the monsters we like to think they are.

  • DeColonise

    Yep, that’s a common response. Personally I think its long over due to start saying that “no, everything is not ok or harmless just because you call it art or culture”.

  • Nina Simone de Beauvoir

    I agree with the main argument in this article, namely that selling child-sex dolls to pedophiles will only increase the likelihood of them abusing an actual child. However, it is important to understand the difference between pedophiles and child sexual abusers. Just as rape is more often perpetrated by someone you know, children are most often sexually abused by a family member. In fact, only 35% of child molesters are pedophiles (http://psycnet.apa.org/?&fa=main.doiLanding&doi=10.1037/0021-843X.115.3.610). We tend to put much more focus on this type of abuse, rather than addressing the far greater threat and actuality of abusers living in the same home as the child and going unnoticed. The true symptom of patriarchy is not that pedophiles exist, but that more women and children are victims of incest, molestation, rape and abuse much closer to home. It is easy to not talk about these underlying causes of child sexual abuse, because they are harder to combat. Yet I believe, that as feminists, we need to be able to condemn a culture that attempts to coddle pedophiles by currying to their disorders, as opposed to advocating more involved therapy, and condemn the culture that treats women and children as tools for sexual release for any man who “needs” it. The fact is that most child abusers may not even be attracted to children, they may prefer the power they feel while abusing them. It is due to this inundation of power that men are so often abusive, violent and fear-mongering. As women, we all have to work together to end this ongoing cycle.

    • Norbert Thomas

      Very well said. Thank you. I was failing to make the distinction between paedophiles with a psychological disorder, and child abusers who like the feeling of power, which, as you say, is a symptom of patriarchy.

  • Sally Hansen

    They are definitely complicit.

  • marv

    Would you enter a black persons’ domain and pontificate about their intolerance to white people and about how antiracist you are? I hope your answer is no, otherwise you are practicing racism. How can you be so presumptuous to trespass on a feminist site to give them instructions and name yourself a feminist. It’s completely sexist to do these things. Shame . Drop a donation as a step towards an apology.

    http://www.feministcurrent.com/about/donate/

  • Norbert Thomas

    I think I get what you are saying. If it is legitimised as a sexual disorder it makes it easier for men to excuse molesting children. I think that’s a valid point. It’s like the drunk who learns that alcholism is considered a disease, so he stops taking responsibilty for his drinking because he thinks if it’s a disease it’s not his fault, he’s the victim.

    I’m also wary of the victim mentality.

    I think, as with most things, a balance has to be found, in this case between getting help to those who seek it without opening the way for others to excuse their crimes by saying it’s beyond their control.

  • Tired feminist

    HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA nope dude, you’re not a feminist. Stop embarrassing yourself.

    No one is “making personal attacks” against anyone. Even if we wanted, the article isn’t about any specific pedophile (except maybe Mr. Tagaki himself). If you equal refusal of compassion to a “personal attack”, then it’s your “logic and reason” that is shit. (And if YOU felt attacked by our lack of compassion for pedophiles, then well… we’re free to draw whichever conclusions we want.)

    No one is “just getting angry” either. The point of the article is to clarify the link between porn/pedophile culture (here exemplified by the dolls) and the normalization of pedophilia (which leads to an increase in actual pedophilic behaviour, if you’re so eager to draw this imaginary line between the goodie and the baddie pedophiles). AND we’re also getting angry, because we have every fucking reason to be. Particularly if in every single article about pedophile culture there’s at least one of you guys to cry “not all pedos”.

  • Meghan Murphy

    Do you really believe that the main aim of feminism is allowing you to talk?

  • susan cox

    great comment!

  • ptittle

    Good point. Like ‘rape culture’. There was always something about that phrase that seemed wrong to me. Now I know what it is. Thanks.

    • Nancy Lee Segal

      You’re welcome
      It is always tantamount to question verbiage When the language we are limited to has more hidden agendas than all the sands on all the beaches

      Perhaps a better way to put it is the way it is practiced /its evil intention.

      The Rape Cult
      The Pedophile Cult

  • ptittle

    I keep coming back to something someone said in a comment to an earlier post about male violence, something like ‘If dogs did this …’ Similarly here: If a dog did to a girl what these men are doing, the dog would be shot on sight, no questions asked.

  • Nancy Lee Segal

    Like a placebo for the real drug– yes.
    Just give the meth cocaine addict a pretty powder that looks smells and taste like the real thing that’ll cure them right

    Domination addiction has no cure

  • Polly MacDavid

    Sadism isn’t always a part of it. Sometimes the pedophile is very sweet & nice to their victims. Sometimes the molestation doesn’t feel like rape at all. Which fucks you up way more than if it was rape. Believe me.

    • Virginia Howard

      And I do believe you.