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