What's Current: Sex doll industry booming in China

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“If a married man refuses to see prostitutes and uses a doll instead, isn’t it admirable?” In China, the life-like sex doll industry is booming.

Susan Cox is a feminist writer and erstwhile academic in Philosophy. Follow her @Blasfemmey. Got tips? Email us.

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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  • Cepheid

    I was going to post something about how maybe the sex dolls aren’t so bad because they’re just a very fancy sex toy, but then I got to this line:

    “”The only way a doll is better than a woman is that it won’t resist, so people can do whatever they want with it,” he added.”

    Excuse me for a moment, I think I need to throw up.

    • catperson

      That, and the ‘convenience’ of the child-size dolls, were the most nauseating parts of a generally nauseating article.

      But of course we can’t question that a man has these NEEDS that apparently aren’t satisfied even for a few days by just masturbating.

      • Lee

        The picture of the man walking through the sex toy market with little girl in tow, scoping out the window (of course), alongside the many pictures of the dolls with faces that look quite a bit like little girls with grownup makeup on, was what got my stomach to turning.

  • Male

    I see no reason why men shouldn’t have sex dolls. It’s perfectly ok.

    • marv

      Huh? Unmistakably it’s the same as or worse than whacking off to porn. These dolls are a sexual depersonalization of women. Men who use them do not see women as their equals.

      Male self-serving rationalization strikes again. Your title becomes you.

    • Lee

      Why not just have sex with a foam foot ball, instead, though? Or masturbate? Or maybe rub up against the sofa? Why the ‘need’ to put the plastic thing in drag?

      • jimmy

        As weird as I think sex dolls are they aren’t to far off from what many women use-dildos.

        • purple sage

          You think that a replica of an entire human being is the same as a small piece of silicone? The equivalent of a dildo would be something more like a fleshlight.

        • Lee

          If women start accessorizing their dildos with wigs and beards, flannel shirts, work boots, creepy, dead-eyed, child-like plastic faces, and ‘backstories’, we can start talking about a serious comparison and whether or not dildos are a symbol of the objectification of men.

          Why don’t men just put on some makeup and women’s perfume before masturbating? Because that would be weird? Yet, the thinking behind having a life-size doll to take the place of a human and have sex with it is not? Because it’s almost the same, anyway? Because women are objects, just a series of sexualized body parts?

          I don’t know why I’m bothering.

        • Laur

          Actually, I think more women use vibrators–which often do not resemble the penis at all–than dildos. It’s men who assume ALL women use dildos and can only get pleasure from a penetrative act. Not surprisingly, it’s men who watch porn that think this.

          In any case, you aren’t very self-reflective if you seriously think a life-sized sex doll, which men often name and spend thousands of dollars on, is the same as a dildo, which may not even resemble the male penis. It certainly is not used by women as an alternative to a partner who will resist, as mentioned in the article.

  • Men only want sex dolls because they think that’s what the perfect woman is. Andrea Dworkin talked about how in patriarchy the good woman is the dead woman, or as close to being dead as possible. He cares about his own pleasure during sex and she is not a sexual being and she must not see sex as her domain. She must only be the receptacle for all his aggression and he us supposed to get pleasure out of using her in such a way

  • Probertson

    Case 1: It looks like a person. So it is objectification.
    Case 2: It is a person’s body part. So it is not objectification.

    Personally, I think the latter is the best example of reducing someone to their sex organs. But please do explain why using a plastic replica of a person is objectification but using a replica of a person’s body part is not objectification.

    “If women start accessorizing their dildos with wigs and beards, flannel shirts, work boots, creepy, dead-eyed, child-like plastic faces, and ‘backstories…”

    Male sex dolls for women exist.

    “Because it’s almost the same, anyway? Because women are objects, just a series of sexualized body parts?”

    Because they want to have sex with women and can’t. If this question is intended as an objection it also applies to people who use dildos and other sex toys.

    • Lee

      “Case 1: It looks like a person. So it is objectification.
      Case 2: It is a person’s body part. So it is not objectification.”

      False dichotomy. No one said this. Feminists have been yammering about why Case 2 is objectification for literally hundreds of years. There are whole sites dedicated to documenting and criticizing the numerous breast-as-coffee-cup type of products out there.

      I am aware that male sex dolls exist. The comment I replied to, using the reply button (which is customary when replying to comments on the internet), specifically said that men using sex dolls was no different than women using dildos. I assume the commenter used the example of dildos because it is popularly believed that most or all women have a dildo or vibrator. Another commenter brought up the Fleshlight as a more apt appliance to compare to a dildo. You can follow the conversation and context if you just scroll up a bit.

      It is my understanding that women don’t buy many sex dolls (I hear they’re pretty heavy… almost like a dead body… maybe that doesn’t sound very ‘fun’ to most women). I think more women would buy them though, if they were marketed differently. For example, they could advertise more to the abused women market, a ‘toy’ for those who want to enact revenge on a violent husband or something. You’d be cool with that, right? “Hey ladies! He doesn’t resist! He can’t hit you back!” Maybe one of the accessories sold could be a cigar cutter. I mean, women have needs, right? Some want to beat the shit out of a man, but can’t.

      (This is where you reply with something about how comparing innocent sexual needs to physical aggression is totally out of line, blah blah blah, and I am supposed to have the patience to attempt to explain how pornification and objectification of women contributes to and causes rape, murder, and misery, yadda yadda; and we end up back at the stalemate because you actually have no interest in what objectification means for real people and you just want your porny dead bodies without anyone thinking critically about it… How about I save us both the trouble and just say, “Your dolly is neat! Everyone thinks so! Men neeeeeeeeeeed access to young nubile flesh at all times and there’s no reason anyone should go getting all thinky about that!” and we won’t have to go through the hassle of pretending?)

      • Anonomega

        I personally am sketchy about using these dolls…wouldnt like my home to have a touch of Uncanny Valley (but with some technological advances, who knows?)…but I got no problem with men who use them.

        But you people….my god….

        NOBODY IS BEING VIOLATED. These arent the “trafficked women” these arent the poor desperate coerced and-when-that-doesnt-work-“internalised-misogyny” women. Men are just enjoying a simulation of a womans body. And say what you will about the creepiness, they can serve as a surragate for human sexual contact they need, without having to violate any real women. Win-win right?

        But no, men should not even have this. The “unworthy” men still have to be completely denied even this outlet for their very real powerful sex drive,…even though this time around no ones being victimised…and why?

        “pornification and objectification of women contributes to and causes rape, murder, and misery”

        “interest in what objectification means for real people”

        Again…this “objectification” nonsense. This paranoid hysteria that wont (but should) die. I’m sure theres this concrete evidence that rape murder and misery are inextricably linked to men orgasming to images and its not just based on your feels…but you just dont have the patience, sure.

        And the fact that these men are giving dolls names and backstories show that they are less treating women like objects then they TREATING OBJECTS LIKE PEOPLE. Get a clue.

        • marv

          “my god”

          You mean your sex god.

          Come on! These guys would fuck a woman’s corpse if they could have impunity. You’re promoting fantasies of necrophilia. Men fucking themselves is a real solution to their hysterical sexual drama.

        • Laur

          “These arent the “trafficked women” these arent the poor desperate coerced and-when-that-doesnt-work-“internalised-misogyny” women”

          Has anyone said men’s fucking dolls is the same as men fucking prostituted women? I have seen no one make such a comparison. If you really think women have said this, you’re not reading women’s words with much attention at all.

          What I have seen here is some mixed views on sex dolls. Male sexuality needed be terrorism for women, but in reality, this is what it has become.

          I’m confused to why you are even posting on a feminist site when you mockingly refer to “objectification” as if it is non-existent. Do you even believe man have power, including sexual power, over women?

    • Laur

      Clearly, you aren’t bothering to read what I and others have been saying here. Or else you’re not bothering to take it in.

      Believing that most women masturbate with dildos or even in a penetrative way is all wrong. That’s the way most often shown in porn, and it makes sense to men, since it imitates intercourse. But many women don’t even have orgasms during intercourse.

      Fingers, a pillow, vibrator, all work much better than something used to penetrate.

      That said, women also don’t reduce men to body parts in the real world by raping,sexually harassing, prostituting, sexually murdering, and making pornography of men in anywhere close to the numbers men do this to women. Context matters, as always.

  • marv

    By proclaiming that dildos and vibrators are equally objectifying to men as sex dolls are to women in the face of systemic male dominance, is a further act of violence against women.