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men and dolls
April 15, 2006 1:36 PM   Subscribe

men who have sex with dolls The women's magazine Marie Claire is just getting the news that some men prefer life-size, wife-size companionship over "women of style and substance." more here ( not safe for work)
posted by halekon (163 comments total)

 
If only they could cook...
posted by null terminated at 1:39 PM on April 15, 2006


Obviously there's no nihon version of Marie-Claire.
posted by bardic at 1:40 PM on April 15, 2006


Can't wait for those sex andoids!
posted by thecollegefear at 1:41 PM on April 15, 2006


According to the article, the men who order these dolls are "mostly single, ranging from twentysomethings to pensioners, and over half work in IT or engineering."

I don't know which of these three traits is least suprising...
posted by banishedimmortal at 1:53 PM on April 15, 2006


maybe it's the dolls that are having sex with the men! dja ever think of that? huh?

didja?
posted by Hat Maui at 2:01 PM on April 15, 2006


"Doll lovers claim their unhealthy pursuit..."

Gotta love that journalistic objectivity.
posted by NortonDC at 2:05 PM on April 15, 2006


This story is not new (and I don't mean the topic). I know I've read it somewhere before, with the same photo even.
posted by ruby.aftermath at 2:05 PM on April 15, 2006


null terminated has it, in a kinda-sorta way.

[From the article] Imagine most people think anyone who loves dolls is a pervert, but I feel normal,' he says. 'And with my silicone girlfriend, I'm part of a couple who are infinitely healthier and happier than most couples.

No, nooo you're not. It's not about the cooking per say, but, Christ, do the people who write articles like this realize what a retarded effort it is (Yes, of course they do, but look!!! I have a byline!!!)

I can jerk myself off better than any woman ever could. Does that mean I'd rather do it by myself?

No.

I'll admit I think there's a weird-ass cultural bias that says it's OK for women to use sex toys, but not so much for men... (Which in the grand scheme of things, is probably karma at work.) But, damn...

(On spellcheck, "kinda-sorta" got morphed into "Minnesota," which cracked me the hell up.)
posted by Cyrano at 2:07 PM on April 15, 2006


Here it is. Salon.

Looks like Marie Clare changed around some paragraphs. Same author, though.
posted by ruby.aftermath at 2:10 PM on April 15, 2006


Even in bare crude sensual terms, the dollfuckers have got it wrong. Beyond the plain old sensory thrill of fucking one of the main turn-ons of sex is the fact that the woman you are with wants to be fucking you. That can't be replicated by a machine or a doll.
posted by jonmc at 2:13 PM on April 15, 2006


It's bad enough that your family finds your stash of Juggs after you die. And with it being worth so much money, they'd have to try to sell it to pay for funeral expenses.
posted by stavrogin at 2:13 PM on April 15, 2006


Oh downward comparison, how you comfort me so.
posted by basicchannel at 2:20 PM on April 15, 2006


Well, I suppose it beats necrophilia.
posted by Decani at 2:24 PM on April 15, 2006


Actually, on reflection, maybe it doesn't. If they haven't been dead long, anyway.
posted by Decani at 2:25 PM on April 15, 2006


The idea that a certain set of people would rather fuck a completely submissive humanform analogue rather than an unpredictably non-submissive person dates back at least to the incubus/succubus fetish. Charles Williams' 1937 novel Descent Into Hell (referenced in the Wikipedia article on succubi) rather quaintly portrays a man who realises he would rather fuck a completely submissive demonic duplicate of his inamorata rather than the "real thing" with all of her difficult, human emotions. I suspect there is a spectrum of linked disorders here, ranging from an attachment to absurdly silicone'd bodies at the mild end, through paraphilias directed at humanform and mechanical analogues, then through mixed and non-humanform analogues such as animals and animal-human hybrids, through into rather abstract object fetishes directed towards things like balloons (NSFW), for example.
posted by meehawl at 2:25 PM on April 15, 2006


I'm sorry. It's Saturday afternoon, you know.
posted by Decani at 2:25 PM on April 15, 2006


ah the spiral away from intimacy continues, fantastic plastic.
posted by beachgrrlmusic at 2:26 PM on April 15, 2006


I can't open the original Salon article, but I call bullshit. None of this seems real. It's not that the contents are particularly shocking; I'm sure there are plenty of men who buy and enjoy these dolls. It's just that all the answers seem scripted to shock domestic housewife sensibilities.

How would they find these people? The retailer would not release their clients' names, obviously. How do you go about finding these guys?

Everything about this article seems too neat. Of course they are lab technicians, engineers, and IT workers -- no one else experiences lonlieness in our world -- and of course they openly discuss their pedophilia, and of course they provide a picture, and of course they actually think of their doll as a lovable companion rather than a sex toy. It panders to the hysteria of Marie-Claire's readership a little too nicely. I say it's phoney.
posted by ori at 2:44 PM on April 15, 2006


I'll admit I think there's a weird-ass cultural bias that says it's OK for women to use sex toys, but not so much for men..

first of all, I think that's changing - it only became 'normal' for women to have sex toys in the last couple decades, and I think already that the fleshlight type deal is less taboo than it used to be. It started with women, though, because the cliche is that women want love >sex while men want sex>love - so sex toys for babes is breaking from stereotypes b/c you aren't romantically invested in a dildo. also, women don't have to come to orgasm to reproduce, so it's often not as simple as it is for men to satisfy sexual desire, and it's a lot easier to climax with a vibrators for a lot of people.

... but, second, a $4000 life-size doll that you consider a partner is more than a toy. It really seems solipsistic. Maybe some percentage of people (of either sex) would prefer to live in an ideal-but-fake scenario (like a virtual world) over a less than ideal but real one, but it's still depressing. The existence of other minds is the only thing that really makes life meaningful.
posted by mdn at 2:46 PM on April 15, 2006


These dolls do have a positive aspect, they demonstrate to women what it is men are looking for, for instance - nsfw!
posted by fire&wings at 2:49 PM on April 15, 2006


I think if I found a real woman who looked like that in my bedroom, I would run like hell.
posted by Astro Zombie at 3:01 PM on April 15, 2006


it only became 'normal' for women to have sex toys in the last couple decades

Really?
posted by meehawl at 3:11 PM on April 15, 2006


Another positive aspect is that you could prop your doll up in the passenger seat and use the HOV lane!
posted by puke & cry at 3:13 PM on April 15, 2006 [1 favorite]


Something tells me you read Needs to be Glassed
posted by jedro at 3:15 PM on April 15, 2006


See also: hysterical paroxysm. You can read through Italian Renaissance texts and find detailed descriptions of which lubes work best with which kind of dildos, and the best ways to manipulate them. It's really quite remarkable how little sex toy technology has changed except for electromechanical automation.
posted by meehawl at 3:15 PM on April 15, 2006


Also: The Technology of Orgasm : "Hysteria," the Vibrator, and Women's Sexual Satisfaction".

Every generation loves to imagine that it has discovered sex, and to imagine that it is kinkier than the last, as if somehow every previous generation were somehow born of virgins and had no porn, deviancy, or sex toys. Whatever.
posted by meehawl at 3:30 PM on April 15, 2006


You'd have to be a single guy to get one of these RealDolls. Where would a married guy hide it? He'd have to rent it a studio apartment somewhere. Either that have your wife asking "Honey, why is there a dead naked asian girl stuffed in the laundry room closet?"
posted by KevinSkomsvold at 3:30 PM on April 15, 2006


These vibrators...
posted by nthdegx at 3:40 PM on April 15, 2006


Oh downward comparison, how you comfort me so.

Dig that line.
posted by Moistener at 3:41 PM on April 15, 2006


see also: excerpts from the Real Doll user manual.
posted by hypocritical ross at 3:45 PM on April 15, 2006


So which fundy state will be first to ban the doll marriage sin?
posted by notreally at 3:57 PM on April 15, 2006


Some of that stuff from the user manual is reeeaally creepy...

For standing poses, we do advise creative uses of the neck hook.

For times when you wish to use your REALdoll in the “face down” positions, it is highly recommended that you remove her face.

*shudder*
posted by marxchivist at 3:59 PM on April 15, 2006


Every generation loves to imagine that it has discovered sex, and to imagine that it is kinkier than the last, as if somehow every previous generation were somehow born of virgins and had no porn, deviancy, or sex toys. Whatever.

a) it is perfectly possible to imagine "the previous generation were somehow born" of women who laid back & thought of england, or were forced to have sex they didn't enjoy. I'm not saying this is true, but in cases of arranged marriage, the woman was often viewed as the product, and could easily end up with a man she was not attracted to, and hence, could easily not enjoy sex. again, since female orgasm is not necessary for reproduction, it is possible for females to reproduce without ever having experienced it. hopefully it's rare, but in a male dominated society, things like social standing and wealth were probably more important concerns for a lot of women than how turned on they were by a suitor, even in those cases where they had free choice.

and b), I think there has been a progression of the comfort / public attitude on sex toys & porn over the second half of this century. Definitely not saying this extends throughout time or is absolute in any way - it is probably cyclical social mores combined with progressive technology & distribution. But the outcome is, sex toys were kinda taboo, the way porn was taboo - I think sex toys for women became more 'normal' as a result of stuff like 'our bodies, our selves' and 'on our backs' and annie sprinkle & all of that - so kinda starting in the 70s but not really getting mainstream until 80s/90s. Porn started getting normalized partly as an offshoot of this and partly due to the internet - and maybe also the gay rights movement. so once it was something embarrassing no one acknowledged, and now it's mostly accepted as normal. and I think the male sex toy thing is developing new boundaries, too.

as you say, every generation has their own mythos about how 'everything changed' when they came to age, but I think the opposite view, that cultures are static and already defined by biology/(or whatever), is equally unfair. The ethos of the time can shift without that implying that No Woman Ever Enjoyed Sex Before We Did.
posted by mdn at 4:01 PM on April 15, 2006


Either that have your wife asking "Honey, why is there a dead naked asian girl stuffed in the laundry room closet?"

Genius.
posted by quin at 4:06 PM on April 15, 2006


I'll admit I think there's a weird-ass cultural bias that says it's OK for women to use sex toys, but not so much for men... (Which in the grand scheme of things, is probably karma at work.) But, damn...

Eh, it's one thing to fuck a little device that's clearly designed to enhance pleasure only, and actually fuck a simulacrum

Even in bare crude sensual terms, the dollfuckers have got it wrong. Beyond the plain old sensory thrill of fucking one of the main turn-ons of sex is the fact that the woman you are with wants to be fucking you. That can't be replicated by a machine or a doll.

No, it's that you believe she wants to fuck you. Strip clubs are exciting because the stripper convinces you she wants you, not that she really does. If you can convince yourself the doll really wants it, then I imagine it would be just as good. (but really sad and pathetic)

Also, vibrators have been electrical for quite some time. In fact, I think the vibrator was the second electrical appliance made after the vacuum cleaner to take advantage of the electrical power grid (which before was all about lighting)
posted by delmoi at 4:13 PM on April 15, 2006


"We expose the disturbing phenomenon of men who reject real women in favour of silicone."

...and how, pray tell, does this not cut both ways?
posted by insomnia_lj at 4:18 PM on April 15, 2006


I hope you guys can tell the difference between a vibrator, and dildo, and a $4,000 female simulacrum designed to mimic an entire human body. Reading the letters from happy customers on the site is revealing... a lot of these men don't seem to have any cognitive dissonance about referring to the dolls as "her" and by the names they have given them.

I just got my Real Doll this morning. I think I'm in love! [...] Leah's face is SO beautiful and her breasts are AMAZING! [...] Leah and I had some wild fun this evening and I've got big plans for her this coming weekend.

Yeah, it squicks me out. But then I'm a female human being of the sentient, non-plastic variety, so, you know, it would.
posted by jokeefe at 4:23 PM on April 15, 2006


I think it's hilarious when my puppy humps his bed until he falls over, but I get a little weirded out when my SO wants to buy the puppy a stuffed animal to hump. Then I find the very idea of the RealDolls creepy and disturbing...
posted by dilettante at 4:41 PM on April 15, 2006


"I hope you guys can tell the difference between a vibrator, and dildo, and a $4,000 female simulacrum designed to mimic an entire human body."

Guess that shows all that women really want us for, right? Why must you objectify us so?! ;-)


(Well, okay, maybe not everything, but close enough...)
posted by insomnia_lj at 4:45 PM on April 15, 2006


While I do love my wife greatly, I can understand the desire not to have to put up with some of the daily shit that women put guys through.

Excuse me now...I have to go rub her feet, cook dinner, vacuum, take out the garbage, call her mother, do the taxes, fetch her something to drink, wash laundry, shut up and listen, mow the grass, and rub her feet again.

;-)
posted by Kickstart70 at 4:46 PM on April 15, 2006


a lot of these men don't seem to have any cognitive dissonance about referring to the dolls as "her"

There was an interesting program on UK TV a while ago, which included a documentary on real doll owners. What surprised me was how creepy some of them were, and how harmless and sentimental others were. Especially a pensioner for whom the doll provided his only sexual release. He'd completely personalised it, named it, took care dressing it up, and eagerly demonstrated for the camera the various trusses and swings he had made to enable its full use. He was certainly nicer than the couple who'd arranged an entire menagerie of dolls around their house, and made money putting them into porno positions, photographing the results, and then flogging them on a website.

Most of the people on the show really just reminded me of slightly sad kids I used to know, who really were too into their toys and used them for displacement. The ones who had too many cindies/barbies/action men/gi joes, and spent more time playing with them than playing with other kids.
posted by meehawl at 4:59 PM on April 15, 2006


'In my imagination, she's 14 and earns pocket money by working in her school library. 'She's very important to me,' he continues. 'I feel affection for her which goes beyond sexual desire.'

I'm glad this man has a doll to fuck. I really don't want him fucking real human beings.

'Who knows where consciousness begins,' Malcolm muses, worringly. 'Think of the Frankenstein monster, made from bits of dead bodies and brought to life by a flash of lightning. Is he dead or alive? A lot of people treat their dogs like children, so why is it mad to imagine a doll has feelings when she looks far more like a real woman than a dog looks like a child?'

Yes, it is mad. You, sir, are insane.

"We expose the disturbing phenomenon of men who reject real women in favour of silicone."

I thought this was going to be an article about "Men Who Lust After Pamela Anderson."
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 5:01 PM on April 15, 2006


I hope you guys can tell the difference between a vibrator, and dildo, and a $4,000 female simulacrum designed to mimic an entire human body.

I think it's largely a matter of degree. Each of the objects themselves in that class are designed to stimulate and simulate certain aspects of sex. Mostly, the difference is between the dildo and the doll is that they simulate different aspects.

"But wait!" you say, "what about the creepy anthropomorphization attributed to guys in the story?" This is the one real way the doll is potentially different. Dolls are, in fact, anthropomorhpic and to some degree therefore encourage anthropomorphization. But this is only half the story. I suspect that most guys who use sex dolls don't really ascribe the human/companionship traits to it that the article suggests -- in fact, I'm with ori in being suspicious about the article on several levels. I can't imagine anyone short of the mentally disturbed doing that (but, on preview, meehawl's explanation makes some sense).

And I can imagine that if anyone anthropomorphized a dildo, it would seriously creep people out. "Ooo, Biggie is such a great companion. He and I had a lot of fun last night, and we've got fabulous plans for the weekend."

Hell, it creeps me out when women refer to their dogs as the man in their life.
posted by namespan at 5:01 PM on April 15, 2006


Why buy the whole doll when you only use the feet?
posted by Frank Grimes at 5:02 PM on April 15, 2006


Reading the letters from happy customers on the site is revealing... a lot of these men don't seem to have any cognitive dissonance about referring to the dolls as "her" and by the names they have given them.

And while I also find this creepy, I don't particulary trust manufacturer testimonials.

"Dear Penthouse,

I never thought a positive experience with a doll would happen to me, but..."
posted by namespan at 5:08 PM on April 15, 2006


namespan, if the guy just wanted a vagina in a can, he could buy that, you know? for waaay less $$. The whole point of these dolls is that they really look like real women. A lot of vibrators or dildos are not even meant to look like penises, and those that do are often funny colors or otherwise 'unrealistic'. But even the most realistic penis toy does not have a face! The 'animae' doll is not realistic, but the rest of the ones on that site really look like women. If it is just about getting off, why have hair to comb, clothes to take off, a choice of eye color, etc? This is about creating a virtual reality, not just masturbation.
posted by mdn at 5:19 PM on April 15, 2006


I just ordered a custom built one from the Cthulhu line, with extra tentacles.
posted by loquacious at 5:20 PM on April 15, 2006


"Dolls" are an exteme phenomena, but it has always been interesting to me that a woman with a dildo is no big deal, but a guy buying a fake vagina is a a low-level pervert. They are basically the same thing.

Now, when you add a BODY to the sex device...well this is strange, because women are (according to the shrinks) more attached to the sex act as an emotional act, while men...well, fuck anything that moves, to depart from shrink lingo.

So why do men buy the fake woman and women buy the fake penis? The theories abound in my mind, but I've never heard them expressed.
posted by kozad at 5:21 PM on April 15, 2006


"We expose the disturbing phenomenon of men who reject real women in favour of silicone. "

Dear Marie Claire readers, you're lonely because all the men have dolls. This is the big expose you've always feared! The problem isn't you, its the men and their perverted ways!

sigh

Seriously, I'd be surprised if any woman would even go out with this guy, assuming this isn't a put on. I don't think anyone goes to Realdoll willingly after a series of wonderful relationships. Probably after many long and seriously pathetic years as a social loser and already living in various fantasy worlds.

Feel free to pile on the lonliest self-delusional nerds on the planet though. They're used to it and I'm sure only reinforces their need for a doll.
posted by skallas at 5:26 PM on April 15, 2006


Yeah, mdn has it.

Tangentially, is it just me, or has there been a noticeable increase lately in the general level of sexist har-har around here? You know, stuff like "While I do love my wife greatly, I can understand the desire not to have to put up with some of the daily shit that women put guys through," which I guess that I'm supposed to be a good sport towards, and not get all bitchy and "hysterical" about?
posted by jokeefe at 5:28 PM on April 15, 2006


it has always been interesting to me that a woman with a dildo is no big deal, but a guy buying a fake vagina is a a low-level pervert.

First time I've heard this...
posted by jokeefe at 5:32 PM on April 15, 2006


The way Malcolm speaks of Rebecca leaves you wondering whether, at best, he is a fantasist or, at worst, psychotic with paedophile tendencies.

Sure, maybe he is a paedo, but yeah, that's definitely taking the worst interpretation. Most people have fantasies of acts that are deemed innapropriate, immoral, and illegal. Most men fantasize about rape and minors. Hell, even women fantasize of being raped or controlled. That doesn't mean everyone who fantasizes about these things has any real "tendencies" toward them worth mentioning. Yes, having a doll to assist in these fantasies takes it way further, but that doesn't mean the guy is really a pedophile. The dolls are definitely creepy, and the guy featured is as well, but most of the people who own these things probably aren't quite so weird. This article is far too alarmist.

THE PSYCHOLOGIST'S VIEW
'The behaviour of these men is very unhealthy,' says clinical psychologist Ron Bracey. 'They are motivated by the desire to avoid rejection. They also share a need for control, which is demonstrated by the pleasure they take in designing their ideal woman, then making all the moves and decisions in their “partner's” life. This control fixation is usually a reaction to a bad experience, where sex has been a source of humiliation. These dolls allow their owners to indulge in fantasies which would be criminal acts in the real world, such as under-age sex. The doll could either be an outlet for this desire or, worringly, make the man more likely to act it out in real life.'


I wonder if he's met any of the actual owners of the dolls.

So why do men buy the fake woman and women buy the fake penis? The theories abound in my mind, but I've never heard them expressed.
posted by kozad at 5:21 PM PST on April 15

Most men don't buy the fake women. As for those that do, they're probably just looking for a masturbation aid that lives up to their fantasies. It is something that does things that perhaps no real woman will ever do for you (or rather doesn't do things that perhaps every real woman will). It completely submits to you. Likewise, a vibrator does something no real man ever will do. It freakin vibrates! Now dildos are a slightly different story, I guess. But they still are fantasy aids that can do things no real man ever will.
posted by gauchodaspampas at 5:34 PM on April 15, 2006


which I guess that I'm supposed to be a good sport towards, and not get all bitchy and "hysterical" about?

Pretty much. I doubt that will stop you though.
posted by puke & cry at 5:35 PM on April 15, 2006 [1 favorite]


I suspect many of these men bought their dolly-birds simply to access HOV lanes, and only then decided to, uh, play house....
posted by rob511 at 5:36 PM on April 15, 2006


Tangentially, is it just me, or has there been a noticeable increase lately in the general level of sexist har-har around here? You know, stuff like "While I do love my wife greatly, I can understand the desire not to have to put up with some of the daily shit that women put guys through," which I guess that I'm supposed to be a good sport towards, and not get all bitchy and "hysterical" about?
posted by jokeefe at 8:28 PM EST on April 15 [!]

I think it has always been there, jokeefe. Many of my favorite women members quit after tiring of the "boy zone" factor.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 5:43 PM on April 15, 2006


jokeefe: is it just me, or has there been a noticeable increase lately in the general level of sexist har-har around here?

I count ONE smart-ass 'foot rubbing' comment in this entire thread, which is a product of a seriously trolling article. Or is this how you say, "OH NOES PEOPLES DISAGREE WITH ME?!?!" Welcome to metafilter, its not for everyone.
posted by skallas at 5:49 PM on April 15, 2006


Tangentially, is it just me, or has there been a noticeable increase lately in the general level of sexist har-har around here?

Can't say I've noticed an increase. It seems to be about as godawful as usual. Here and in the rest of the world, sadly.
posted by Decani at 5:52 PM on April 15, 2006


'In my imagination, she's 14 and earns pocket money by working in her school library.

OMFG

'Sidore gives me so much. I love her for what she is – my anchor, support, lover and confidante.'

OMFG

'Think of the Frankenstein monster, made from bits of dead bodies and brought to life by a flash of lightning. Is he dead or alive? A lot of people treat their dogs like children, so why is it mad to imagine a doll has feelings when she looks far more like a real woman than a dog looks like a child?

OMFG


PS. I saw a tv program about sex doll BROTHELS in japan.
Run that through your reality filter
posted by tranceformer at 5:53 PM on April 15, 2006


jokeefe, Secret Life of Gravy...while I don't doubt what you say, there is PLENTY of acceptable abuse of men in 'entertainment' that we don't get bitchy or hysterical about and can laugh at. Look at just about every commercial featuring a male-female couple, or every time a guy gets kicked in the nuts, or any number of other examples.

And guys laugh at them too. Maybe once in a long while some guy will be exposed to a little too much of them and get slightly peeved to a level not even approaching complaining to the channel. We don't, however, get too upset because we know it's a joke and we're well used to it by now.

So if you think saying "some of the daily shit that women put guys through" is a horribly sexist statement with all sorts of underlying anti-woman conspiracy and "old buys club"/"boys zone", then you really need to step away from your comfort zone and experience a little open-mindedness. This is ridiculous.

And now I go (for real) to continue to cook my lovely wife a special dinner...happy in the knowledge that I'm both able to make a joke and take one in return.
posted by Kickstart70 at 5:55 PM on April 15, 2006


it has always been interesting to me that a woman with a dildo is no big deal, but a guy buying a fake vagina is a a low-level pervert.

I think its probably because when it comes to sex women have traditionally been all about quality while men are all about quantity. Therefore it makes sense that a successful woman might buy a vibrator to enhance her sex life if she can't find a suitable man or if the one she has is subpar but a man is seen as strange for "not even trying" to find a real woman to satisfy him sexually.

I tried to type that as objectively as possible. It's a summary of an interesting conversation I had while standing in a sex shop in SF not too long ago!!
posted by fshgrl at 5:59 PM on April 15, 2006


I saw a tv program about sex doll BROTHELS in japan.

Labour costs are unusually high in Japan.
posted by meehawl at 6:03 PM on April 15, 2006



Feel free to pile on the lonliest self-delusional nerds on the planet though. They're used to it and I'm sure only reinforces their need for a doll.
posted by skallas at 5:26 PM PST on April 15 [!]

Something reinfoced in the article itself:

'I've never had any success with relationships, and it's badly affected my quality of life,'

Not referring to the main character of the article but one of the other owners. This seems like a healthy way to address constant relationship problems and abject unending lonliness.

(disclosure: first comment posted, but reader for 5 years now)
posted by kigpig at 6:16 PM on April 15, 2006


is it just me, or has there been a noticeable increase lately in the general level of sexist har-har around here?

yes, especially ever since all those jews signed up.
posted by ori at 6:17 PM on April 15, 2006


Sometimes jonmc nails it. this is one of those time.
posted by Tommy Gnosis at 6:27 PM on April 15, 2006


So if you think saying "some of the daily shit that women put guys through" is a horribly sexist statement with all sorts of underlying anti-woman conspiracy and "old buys club"/"boys zone", then you really need to step away from your comfort zone and experience a little open-mindedness. This is ridiculous.

I was more musing out loud about what has seems, to me, to be a noticeably greater amount of remarks on Mefi that edge into that territory, in threads like the one about the male gaze, or the "hormone rock" thread. Maybe it's just my perception. Maybe it's not. Maybe it was always this way, and I'm just paying more attention. But I do seem to be seeing more hostility and mockery around gender stuff, lately. And I never said that there was an underlying "anti-women conspiracy and old boys club/boys zone" thing happening: you've provided those words in your response. Me, I'm just wondering about my sense of there being some kind of tipping on the site towards not only the acceptability of such remarks and attitudes, but pile-ons as well... your remark in particular isn't the issue, for me, it's pretty innocuous, actually. Maybe it was just the last, faint, line in the sand that made me think that things around here had changed. It's the level of mockery, perhaps, or the risible "theories" of male and female behaviour. Whatever. I’ve been here for going on five years, so I’ve seen a lot of this come and go…. Maybe this is just another turn of the tide.
posted by jokeefe at 6:48 PM on April 15, 2006


"And I can imagine that if anyone anthropomorphized a dildo, it would seriously creep people out."

I've heard of women who name their sex toys before. That said, I don't hear about their plans for the weekend. I think they'd feel kind of silly about that.
posted by insomnia_lj at 6:55 PM on April 15, 2006


meehawl made this thread worthwhile. I had no idea about female hysteria. Or the hysterical paroxysm.

The more I learn about how women were treated throughout history (I almost spelled that 'hystery', the hysteria's getting to me) the more I'm completely floored by how horribly they were treated. On the other hand, at least they got some pelvic massages out of it...
posted by blacklite at 6:55 PM on April 15, 2006


jokeefe, i don't care how long you've been here -- if you want to wax nostalgic about the good ole' days, or remark on general trends in mefi commentary, take it to MeTa.

...

anyhow, regarding this thread: there's no question for me that male sexuality become somewhat of a bogeyman among north american affluent twenty to thirtysomethings. i have to agree that the popular perception is that straight man with sex toys = pervert, whereas straight woman with sex toys = hip, empowered liberation.
posted by ori at 7:16 PM on April 15, 2006


jokeefe, your sweeping statement is probably best kept to yourself or else substantiated with links and posted to metatalk.

this "my perception is..." crap does little but fuel skirmishes such as the one developing in this thread. this is a big site talking about a big world, and you're taking a few statements that you happened to read in threads that you happened to visit and extrapolating that out into some kind of evidence of a change in the sitewide zeitgeist.

and so now, predictably, other members are reacting with annoyance to your overgeneralization, and inevitably, this will somehow be proof to you that you are right.

but unless you can make a more compelling case for your assertion that there's been some increase in sexist behavior, you are merely inflaming the very situation you decry.
posted by Hat Maui at 7:16 PM on April 15, 2006


I just ordered a custom built one from the Cthulhu line, with extra tentacles.

Ia! Ia!
posted by homunculus at 7:19 PM on April 15, 2006


Tangentially, is it just me, or has there been a noticeable increase lately in the general level of sexist har-har around here?

Nah, it's not just you. Things have gotten a bit worse since sometime around the arrival of the 20k crew, which is about the same time a lot of the long term female members gave up on this place. And the best of the remaining old school mefi girls like you, mjj, dejah, dabitch, slog, etc who still post do it so infrequently that there's not much to balance the boyzone mentality with. Not that this thread has been any sort of example though.
posted by zarah at 7:24 PM on April 15, 2006 [1 favorite]


Metafilter: a perfect storm of bitter assholes

from zarah's userpage, right under her "list o' assholes."

nice.
posted by Hat Maui at 7:28 PM on April 15, 2006


is it just me, or has there been a noticeable increase lately in the general level of sexist har-har around here?

It comes and goes, in my opinion. There used to be a really grand amount of BOYZONE BOYZONE namecalling and I think that went away and I do think the place has gotten a bit more balanced, either that or or almost all the women left. Folks can take it to MeTa if it's really important, it's been a while since there has been a big boyzone blowout there. HatMaui, jokeefe asking if the place seems more sexist is not the same as making it more sexist.

There is one guy that I saw on that realdoll page and while he does look pretty well-equipped I just can't in a million years see myself with a plastic guy. Dildo/vibrator? Sure, but a whole plastic guy that would need care and maintenance and cleaning and who knows what else these things need? What I like are the simulacrums that are designed to be weird and cartoonish because it seems to be saying "This is different from a real woman, this is for something different" On the other hand, I don't know if it's such a great idea for guys who want to fuck twleve year olds to get a twelve year old looking doll to fuck. On the other other hand, maybe this is just the right answer.
posted by jessamyn at 7:31 PM on April 15, 2006


From the Virgina Wolf thread appearing after this one, the final message appears to be "Older men who have sex with dolls..."

I wonder if this is propitious?
posted by Chasuk at 7:34 PM on April 15, 2006


People having sex with dolls is not disturbing to me but the guys that behave as though the dolls are also people (rather than simply an object to use while fantasizing about the girl in accounting or whatever) is pretty disturbing. Spending thousands on a sex toy is kinda disturbing too.
posted by weretable and the undead chairs at 7:37 PM on April 15, 2006


Metafilter: a perfect storm of bitter assholes

I wish I could take credit for that mefi tagline, it's my fave & the most accurate of them all!
posted by zarah at 7:41 PM on April 15, 2006


Thanks, jessamyn.

jokeefe, i don't care how long you've been here -- if you want to wax nostalgic about the good ole' days, or remark on general trends in mefi commentary, take it to MeTa.

ori, seeing as you somewhat inexplicably called me an anti-semite just for bothering to raise the question in this thread in the first place, I can imagine just how well such a MeTa call out would proceed.
posted by jokeefe at 7:47 PM on April 15, 2006


seeing as you somewhat inexplicably called me an anti-semite

That's not how I read it.
posted by Kwantsar at 7:54 PM on April 15, 2006


To steal a bon mot from The Dude, I'd rather people treat objects like women instead of the other way around, man.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 7:57 PM on April 15, 2006


It's worth saying that Marie Claire, in line with much of British print journalism is not the most objective of sources. It really is just another glossy lifestyle mag for bored housewives, which picks up the usual mix of makeup, celebrity stories and sex sensationalism to sell copy.

Personally, I don't see much wrong with having a real doll. It looks like they fulfill much the same purpose as a prostitute, from a sexual perspective; gratification without any of the real-world issues or hard work of maintaining a real relationship. I also imagine it's a different sexual sensation than just say, beating off, you have the fantasy of being with a lover, as well as the whole body sensation - something to hang onto, as it were.

Is a real relationship deeper and more satisfying? Definitely. Does everyone have the willingness or ability to find someone and make it work? No. I bet most of these guys (those that treat the doll as more than a sex-aid anyway) have never had an even-handed loving relationship in their entire adult lives, and wouldn't know where to start even if they still wanted one after a lifetime of rejection.

Feel free to pile on the loneliest self-delusional nerds on the planet though. They're used to it and I'm sure only reinforces their need for a doll.

I'm with skallas on this one. If a real doll gets these men through the day, and satisfies a psychological and physical need they can't get any other way, then I'm not going to criticize them.

I did find the psychologist amusing though. Next month's article, ' Men that watch pornography - more likely to be rapists?'
posted by ArkhanJG at 8:04 PM on April 15, 2006


Tangentially, is it just me, or has there been a noticeable increase lately in the general level of sexist har-har around here?

No, it's not just you. I find the knee-jerk responses you've gotten here (including one or two from folks who should know better) fairly confirmatory of this notion. Methinks the gentlemen doth protest too much.

Most men fantasize about rape and minors.

That's just about the most disturbing act of projection I've seen this week. Care to cite some figures?
posted by adamgreenfield at 8:08 PM on April 15, 2006


Tangentially, is it just me, or has there been a noticeable increase lately in the general level of sexist har-har around here?

No, it isn't. Basically what adam said. I was also a bit surprised by how defensive/hostile some of the comments responding to that question were.

Anyway, thanks for the links meehawl. It's always interesting to read about how women were treated by the mental health field in history. I'm in the middle of a project about that, and some of the material I've read so far has been pretty fascinating.
posted by kosher_jenny at 8:23 PM on April 15, 2006


adamgreenfield: was curious myself. Linky

"About 85% of men and 70% of women fantasize when they masturbate... People who fantasize more have more sex and more fun doing it. Professionals often consider having no fantasies as an unhealthy sign."

"Masters, Johnson & Kolodny (1985, p.344) say having kinky sexual fantasies does not necessarily mean you want to actually engage in the same sexual acts"

"It comes as a surprise to some people that rape fantasies occur to about 24% of men and 36% of women (Knox, 1984, p. 283). Over 10% of women report that being forced to have sex is their favorite sexual fantasy (Doskoch, 1995). Remember, fantasies are not wishes"
posted by ArkhanJG at 8:31 PM on April 15, 2006


rob511: I suspect many of these men bought their dolly-birds simply to access HOV lanes

That's exactly what I told my wife when she asked about the dead asian in the closet.
posted by whir at 8:48 PM on April 15, 2006


Women use vibrators, men use dolls. The only difference is these dolls cost more and feel prob feel better whacking off.
posted by IronWolve at 9:13 PM on April 15, 2006


Mdn: "in cases of arranged marriage, the woman was often viewed as the product..."

Hard to tell what places and eras you are referring to here, but through most of western history women have held the right to choose their husbands, even where they had no other rights. That is why so much women's literature (think Jane Austen) is about choosing a husband--it was the one choice women got to make.
posted by LarryC at 9:42 PM on April 15, 2006


I don't find anything at all strange about a man wanting to use a life-size doll as a masturbatory aid. Not really my thing, as it looks like too much trouble, but hey, whatever floats their boat.

But dressing them up, giving them names, and forming emotional attachments to them I do find highly disturbing. Whether they penetrate the dolls or not at that point is mostly irrelevant.
posted by Ynoxas at 10:10 PM on April 15, 2006


I'm not sure if mefi has become more boyzone-y and would consider that highly possible (it does seem like some of the best and historically best commentors are female, but we do not hear from them nearly enough) but I do think the foot-rubbing comment was entirely benign, and is actually a way of expressing love for real, demanding, authentic women as opposed to these dolls and the inauthentic passive-female fake archetype that the fantasy is all about.
posted by cell divide at 10:10 PM on April 15, 2006


LarryC: choose from among the suitors, right? that's a second level choice, like your parents offering you, apple or orange? it's not the same as going out in the world and truly seeking out a perfect match. Like I said, since they couldn't support themselves, it was often practical matters that were of central concern, and waiting until the hottest guy came around wasn't an option - men could marry late (and be a 'bachelor' for a while if no one appealing came along) but women had to explicitly turn down (not just 'not ask') men they weren't into, and were expected to be hitched by a certain age. There were also social pressures (who your mom thinks would make a 'good husband' etc) which I think often outweighed interests like 'will he really get me off?'
And arranged marriages are a whole 'nother story...

the point stands, in any case, that sex was not the central focus for most women, and that a sex-positive culture for women is fairly new. the links meehawl gave even support this.
posted by mdn at 10:20 PM on April 15, 2006


gauchodaspampas: "Most men fantasize about rape and minors. Hell, even women fantasize of being raped or controlled.

Source?
posted by spazzm at 10:23 PM on April 15, 2006


Beyond the plain old sensory thrill of fucking one of the main turn-ons of sex is the fact that the woman you are with wants to be fucking you. That can't be replicated by a machine or a doll.
posted by jonmc at 2:13 PM PST on April 15 [!]


It's your imagination in both instances.
posted by semmi at 10:34 PM on April 15, 2006


No, it isn't. Basically what adam said. I was also a bit surprised by how defensive/hostile some of the comments responding to that question were.

People are defensive because jokeefe decided that there was no problem using Kickstart70 as her stalking horse for declaiming on the Evils of the Patriarchy™, despite Kickstart70 having done nothing wrong, unless you consider a statement that people have to put up with shit from their significant others to be wrong, which is just fucking absurd. Do you people really think that relationships are free of putting-up-with-shit, here in the real world? Come on. You want to talk about objectifying people, how about we start with taking someone's innocent remark out of context and painting him as a misogynist solely in order to give yourself an opening to beat your favorite dead horse a little more?

Also, I can't believe anyone thinks that this article has more the most tenuous basis in reality.
posted by IshmaelGraves at 10:58 PM on April 15, 2006


For the skeptics, here's the homepage of the perv in the Marie Claire and here's his (shudder) girlfriend's flickr page. That boy ain't right.

I suspect this post was via cruel.com, btw.
posted by jewzilla at 11:33 PM on April 15, 2006


HatMaui, jokeefe asking if the place seems more sexist is not the same as making it more sexist.

huh? i didn't say she was making it more sexist at all. i was saying that if she's going to assert something like that in a speculative fashion, the reactions will undoubtedly be defensive.

if she could back it up, that's a different story.

how's her assertion any different than me (or another poster) saying "is it just me, or are the conservatives on mefi even more bloodthirsty than usual?"

a negative reaction to such an assertion is a foregone conclusion. prefacing something like that with "is it just me?" is transparently disingenuous. jokeefe is stating that she thinks that mefi has gotten more sexist, but she's given herself an out that can't be refuted.

so it's akin to trolling, i think. again, some substantiation of such a claim would obviate my objection.

i'm not trying to be a jerk, here. i just think that sweeping overgeneralizations are usually inaccurate and usually unfair.
posted by Hat Maui at 11:58 PM on April 15, 2006


jokeefe and zarah, driving men to sex dolls since around the arrival of the 20k crew.

Can I get on your list of assholes now, z?
posted by Joeforking at 12:11 AM on April 16, 2006


Thanks ArkhanJG, that's the sort of thing I was getting at.
posted by gauchodaspampas at 12:43 AM on April 16, 2006


"I just can't in a million years see myself with a plastic guy. Dildo/vibrator? Sure, but a whole plastic guy that would need care and maintenance and cleaning and who knows what else...?"

...and that would differ from a relationship with many living, breathing men how?! (Besides the obvious living and breathing part, that is.)

At least he'd leave the lid down. ;-)

"Women use vibrators, men use dolls."

Not true. Although there is a stigma against men buying sex toys for themselves, most use things other than dolls.

I've traditionally been with women who are very sex positive and who have several sex toys. Both my wife and my other female partner has sex toys, and both use them when it's more convenient, or simply what they want to do. Occasionally, when we're up in S.F., they'll want to drop by Good Vibrations, whcih is a woman-run, clean, almost wholesome sex store. Demos of all the toys are open and on display for you to test (with your fingers).

I was always a bit timid about buying anything for myself, but one of my partners insisted, and offered to pay for it. I got this, which was highly rated... and you know, it felt really good while it lasted, which was about two years until the soft inner ridges started to break off / fray. (Yes, even when you have two partners, there are times when it's nice just to take care of yourself. I haven't replaced it yet, but I'm definitely tempted to.)

"People having sex with dolls is not disturbing to me..."

If these dolls were, say, $50 rather than $1000+, then I think a lot of people would get over their hangups about them. I'd suspect the same if it were a doll for women, too, that had a built in Sybian. A highly satisfying experience for very little money would outweigh the potential squick factor for many.

Sure, sex dolls are odd, but it beats yiffing with a stuffed animal's strategically placed hole. The squickiest thing in the world? A black light party at a furry convention.
posted by insomnia_lj at 1:38 AM on April 16, 2006


It should be pointed out that most people who masturbate with foriegn objects, both women and men, use objects that are commonly around them.

Do you know where your toothbrush has been lately?
posted by insomnia_lj at 1:45 AM on April 16, 2006


But dressing them up, giving them names, and forming emotional attachments to them I do find highly disturbing.

You just described what little girls do with their dolls.

Here's what I think women find most disturbing about these dolls: they eliminate any need for them. That's right, women are no longer in the mating equation! That's gotta produce a sinking feeling. Har. I don't know why, but I feel a surge of triumph considering this. Think of all the plusses. No: aging, shopping, "cramps", in-laws, hours in the bathroom, rings, weddings, divorce, anger about another doll, the list goes on. Time to look over the catalog.
posted by telstar at 1:52 AM on April 16, 2006


telstar: yeah, that's actually one of the positive things about realistic-ish sex dolls like these, I think - that people for whom the opportunity to have sex with a tight hole and a made-up face are literally the only reasons to be in a relationship can get both whenever they want them from something like this, and avoid both having to pretend they're interested in companionship and romance, and stringing along someone who really is after those things in a shallow, hurtful and inevitably doomed pseudo-relationship. Whether you'd consider a person for whom an inert latex doll can provide everything they consider good about a real partner's company shallow or damaged is your own decision to make, of course, but it's nice that people like that don't have to involve someone else just to get the things they're looking for.
posted by terpsichoria at 2:21 AM on April 16, 2006


insomnia_lj, why'd you have to go there? I had an acquaintance who swore she used cucumbers as dildos, and then served them up to guests in salads. No, I haven't eaten anything at her house.
posted by BrotherCaine at 2:32 AM on April 16, 2006


Here's an interesting interview from 1999 with the creator of RealDolls, Matt McMullen.

I saw a TV program some time ago with a segment about these dolls. There was one couple that ordered one, and they pretty much used it as a sex toy without personifying it (too much), but some of the guys, as I recall, were a wee bit too much into seeing it as a person which was spooky. A sex toy is a sex toy, and if they get off on it OK, but giving it a name and history, setting it at a romantic dinner table, and treating it as though it's something other than a sex toy is, I think, a little weird. Like the creator of these things says in the interview I linked:

MONK: Is there a spirit in the doll?

MCMULLEN: No. It's just a doll.

posted by Orb at 2:35 AM on April 16, 2006


This article made the cruel.com site of the day.
posted by BrotherCaine at 2:35 AM on April 16, 2006


Any women in this thread want to date the guys with the dolls?

Anyone?

Anyone at all?

No? Okay, then: who cares? I place Realdoll owners right by hentai fans and furries on the creepy-weirdo scale but I don't have actual, you know, vitriol for them. Better he fucks a doll than approach you at the bar, right?
posted by Optimus Chyme at 3:22 AM on April 16, 2006


Yeah, I laughed out loud at that Jews line.
posted by ludwig_van at 3:44 AM on April 16, 2006


And I'm not just the president, I'm also a client.
posted by ludwig_van at 3:45 AM on April 16, 2006


Nice one OC. :) I'm sure they'll start adding robotics soon enough, likely increasing the userbase.

But I don't see any "spiral away from intimacy". People who want intimacy learn how to find/create it. People who don't care just don't learn. Only sad part is all the people who take so long to figure it out.
posted by jeffburdges at 5:31 AM on April 16, 2006


I don't get the moral outrage over this one.

Sure, the guy who wants to pretend his doll is a 14 year old girl, *that* is fucked up.

But a guy who just wants to get a doll and hump it? What's so horrible about that? Look, these dolls are not for normal people. They're for guys who most likely have had such horrible experiences with women that they have just given up. The doll provides them with the closest thing they'll probably ever have to sex. And you know what? I say let them have their dolls.
posted by Afroblanco at 6:15 AM on April 16, 2006


I don't get the moral outrage over this one.

I don't see any moral outrage. People are either more or less squicked out by them, which seems sort of normal when talking about other people's sex lives, and then I think the discussion is "Realdoll, $4000 fake vagina, or $4000 replacement girlfriend?"

a whole plastic guy that would need care and maintenance and cleaning and who knows what else...?"

...and that would differ from a relationship with many living, breathing men how?!


Well, my boyfriend feeds and cleans himself, most of the time. I think the MeFi crowd is pretty sex-toy friendly, it's just that this article is already slanted towards the squick factor angle on these doll-lovers saying

"She's 'perfect' and agrees to whatever her man desires. The only thing is, she's plastic. We expose the disturbing phenomenon of men who reject real women in favour of silicone."

As with any other fetish or sexual proclivity, I'm just happy these guys found what makes them happy, Marie Claire eye-rolling nonwithstanding.
posted by jessamyn at 7:16 AM on April 16, 2006


About 85% of men and 70% of women fantasize when they masturbate...

How does one masturbate without fantasizing? What are the people who aren't fantasizing doing when they masturbate? Reciting poetry? Balancing their checkbooks? Computing prime numbers? I'm mystified.
posted by TimeFactor at 7:28 AM on April 16, 2006


hey i saw a (french) movie about this! [eng. tran]

How does one masturbate without fantasizing?

something about tantric injaculation :P
posted by kliuless at 7:50 AM on April 16, 2006


I didn't want to have to do this, but I stumbled (honestly!) on this the other day and was kind of freaked.

VERY NSFW!

They even have attachments for your handy power saw.
posted by CunningLinguist at 7:53 AM on April 16, 2006


How does one masturbate without fantasizing?

By replaying memories. Not at all the same thing.
posted by adamgreenfield at 7:54 AM on April 16, 2006


OK, good explanation. My fantasy is to have sexual memories worth replaying. In their absence I just make stuff up.
posted by TimeFactor at 8:12 AM on April 16, 2006


I'm confused. I though it was the "real women" that had the silicone.
posted by Goofyy at 8:51 AM on April 16, 2006


Parallel to the question of boyzone huh-huh-huh, too, I've got to raise the "dead asian" thing here.

I mean, you realize that those of you tossing this little gem back and forth are talking about a sixth of the planet's population, right?

That you've managed to reduce all of these women in all the variegation of their lives to "fucktoy" in the space of a few sentences is little short of amazing. (That you're also talking about my wife is something I'm trying to put aside for the moment.)

See, this is whiteskin privilege, the stuff of a boyzone. It's that you naturally assume, when you make clever posts like these, that everyone reading it is going to be just like you. Did it never occur to you that some of the people reading this would actually be Asian women?
posted by adamgreenfield at 8:57 AM on April 16, 2006 [1 favorite]


never had an even-handed loving relationship in their entire adult lives

Oh, I am sure that hey have had an even handed loving relationship...
posted by theorique at 9:21 AM on April 16, 2006


Right, adamgreenfield, that's why it was defended as totally normal and acceptable to have the occasional dead Asian in the closet.

Will it sooth your sensibilities to realize that in this thread only you have explicitly equated "Asian" with "Asian women"? Gee, why have you automatically attached femininity with "Asian"? Please refrain from discounting the masculinity of Asian men in the future; it's highly derogatory.
posted by NortonDC at 9:48 AM on April 16, 2006


that's some great satire, swift adamgreenfield. kudos.
posted by Hat Maui at 9:50 AM on April 16, 2006


I suspect that the reason why a "dead Asian woman" in the closet is silly in this context is because the target market for these dolls is Whitey Whiteboy in Middleamericaville, USA, who is likely to be (a) sexually repressed (b) an Asian fetishist through watching a lot of anime, and (c) a serial killer who is likely to have bodies in the closet. That was my take on things, anyway.
posted by theorique at 9:59 AM on April 16, 2006


I'm still confused, won't someone please hope me? Now you have Adam married to a plastic doll? And QUEERS still can't marry? WTF?
posted by Goofyy at 10:01 AM on April 16, 2006


Even in bare crude sensual terms, the dollfuckers have got it wrong. Beyond the plain old sensory thrill of fucking one of the main turn-ons of sex is the fact that the woman you are with wants to be fucking you. That can't be replicated by a machine or a doll.
posted by jonmc


Or a prostitute?
posted by leftcoastbob at 10:24 AM on April 16, 2006


Another positive aspect is that you could prop your doll up in the passenger seat and use the HOV lane!

Wasn't there a great K-Chronicles comic strip about the use of caucasian blow-up dolls to avoid getting pulled over for "driving while black?" With the punchline that walking around with three male dolls hooked together will get you mistaken for Hootie and the Blowfish.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 10:48 AM on April 16, 2006


a lot of these men don't seem to have any cognitive dissonance about referring to the dolls as "her" and by the names they have given them.

Have you ever eavesdropped on any adult female doll collectors, jokeefe? Because you'll hear much the same sort of thing. Granted, the women don't confuse their dolls with sex partners, but they do sometimes appear to confuse them with real children.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 10:50 AM on April 16, 2006


I just want to throw a vote behind what cell divide said. I don't see that Kickstart70 should be tarred with the debate about any boyzone / misogynistic / sexist stuff that goes on here. His comment was mild. Perhaps mildly juvenile or "boyzone" but the sort of thing many would say (men or women) in real world casual conversation (e.g. parties, dinners, bars,...) I see worse than that of course but I hope it's not statements like Kickstart's that make mefi unpleasant for women. For what it's worth I think that the criticism of mild stuff like that creates a backlash because it comes across not just as anti-sexist but as holier-than-thou and as policing the level and style of conversation here. As in: we're on a panel not having a beer, and furthermore "I just don't think that's funny!"

The dead asian comments are an entirely different kettle of tea. Even when having a beer amongst friends some people go too far, I grimace & others will fairly make harsher judgements and look for other crowds or friends.
posted by Wood at 10:53 AM on April 16, 2006


kozad writes "So why do men buy the fake woman and women buy the fake penis? The theories abound in my mind, but I've never heard them expressed."

Perhaps... with the cultural stigma of women = love>sex, and the logical (within that context and those assumptions) conclusion that women wanting sex without love==sluts (and are treated accordingly), then a woman who just wants to get off is better off getting just a dildo because it's better to be horny and masturbating and not be called a slut, or feel like one. Following on from that, perhaps men are buying the dolls because deep down inside, they'd feel guilty about treating a woman as only a sex object, as well as this way they get sort of the idea of sleeping with a woman, without any of the baggage. Like eating non-fat low-calorie soy 'ice cream'; gets the general sensation across, but misses out on all the improtant bits.

It's interesting to note, of course, the difference between attitudes towards straight men with sex toys, and gay men with sex toys. I'd hazard a guess, based only on my own experience, that probably 90% of gay men have some sort of sex toy, whether something for direct stimulation (dildo, vibrator, buttplug, Fleshlight), or other apparatus (nipple clamps, handcuffs, etc). The really interesting thing, to my mind, is that most gay men seem to view sex toys as not just for masturbation; they're simply sex toys, for use with and without a partner or partners. One sidenote would be the occasional fetishization of sex toys, but that's neither here nor there. What I find even more interesting is that I don't know of any gay men who purchase what I guess I'll call physical replacement toys--the male equivalent of the realdolls, or
more disassociated body parts (like just buying a vibrating vulva +tops of thighs, or breasts, or whatever). I have to wonder whether that is due to the ready access to sex within the gay community. Anyone can get laid. Whether it means whoring yourself out on gay.com [NSFW], visiting a bathhouse, or actually paying for sex, it's easy. I could, for example, be getting laid in under an hour without ever leaving my computer, no problem. Except that my boyfriend would kill me.

Point being, gay men can find, relatively guilt-free, the kind of temporary intimacy that comes closer as a substitute than a hunk of silicone. I have to wonder... if the straight world had such readily-accessible (and, for the most part, stigma-free) sex, would there be as much--if any--market for these dolls?

Don't get me wrong; I think that the gay community has gone too far into the extreme of sex addiction and permissiveness. Sex, for many, is no different than ordering in a pizza. I have issues with that, but I vastly prefer them having the freedom to do so--it's not my place to say they can't.


jeffburdges writes "But I don't see any 'spiral away from intimacy'. People who want intimacy learn how to find/create it. People who don't care just don't learn. Only sad part is all the people who take so long to figure it out"

And what about the people who want intimacy, but for whatever reason are unable to find it? Reasons such as handicap, physical deformity, unattractive appearance, poor social skills? Especially with the latter. Someone with poor social skills is probably unlikely to recognize the problem is within themselves; it's all those bitches out there who are fucked up. So he becomes more isolated, thus driving away more potential partners--a vicious cycle.

adamgreenfield writes "That you've managed to reduce all of these women in all the variegation of their lives to 'fucktoy' in the space of a few sentences is little short of amazing. (That you're also talking about my wife is something I'm trying to put aside for the moment.)"

I read the original comment as mockery of exactly what you're railing against: the fetishization of Asian women. The subsequent comments were just riffing on the theme.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 10:55 AM on April 16, 2006


Many of my favorite women members quit after tiring of the "boy zone" factor.

They've all gone over here instead.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 11:04 AM on April 16, 2006


How does one masturbate without fantasizing?

By replaying memories. Not at all the same thing.


I don't know man, I'd still say that falls under the broad category of "fantasizing."

And come on man, everyone has to die sometime, even Asians.
posted by ludwig_van at 11:08 AM on April 16, 2006


Fry: "So what if I love a robot? It's not hurting anybody."
Hermes: "My god! He never took middle school high hygiene. He never saw the propaganda film."
Professor: "It's just lucky I keep a copy in the VCR at all times."

[video starts playing in the middle]

Speaker: "Did you notice what went wrong in that scene? Ordinarily Billy would work hard to make money from his paper route then he'd use the money to buy dinner for Mavis, thus earning the slim chance of performing the reproductive act. But in a world where teens can date robots why should he bother? Why should anyone bother? Let's take a look at Billy's planet a year later. Where are all the football stars? And where are the biochemists? They are trapped - trapped in a soft, vice-like grip of robot lips. All civilisation was just an effort to impress the opposite sex. And sometimes the same sex. Now, let's skip forward 80 years into the future. Where is Billy?

[The scene changes to a post-apocalyptic world. Billy is an aged man but he is still with his Monroebot and still making out with her.]

Billy: "Farewell!"

[He dies.]

Speaker: "The next day Billy's planet was destroyed by aliens. Have you guessed the name of Billy's planet? It was Earth. Don't Date Robots!"
posted by concreteforest at 11:09 AM on April 16, 2006


I guess the ultimate question is whether this provides an outlet for people who would otherwise have nothing, or whether it encourages certain tendencies to become habituated. Could people who ended up buying these dolls have learned how to relate to real human beings otherwise? is there a continuum of people or is there just an absolute line, and no one who would buy a doll could have become a deeper person /etc... Sure, on an individual level it's easy to say 'better the doll than some poor woman who thinks she's loved'... but maybe if he'd met the woman he would have developed actual intimacy instead of closing the circle and living in an isolated loop of projected fantasy.

of course, I think what honestly depresses me most is the suspicion that a lot of people in real live couples are just two people in proximity who are both doing that, less concerned with really trying to understand and learn from their SO as with assuming & projecting what they want their SO to be thinking/feeling. And I think we do this with insignificant others, too. basically, this seems to be an amplified version of a phenomenon that is really extant in the world already, and I think more & more encouraged in that most people are a) less forced to interact/work with other people in the modern world, and b) more able & encouraged to live a life of leisure, consumption, and simple pleasure rather than addressing the meaning of life, true interchange, blah blah blah.

so, it's not so much that this is radically new as that technology is allowing people to nurture that solipsistic part of themselves... I hope it is just some random portion of losers who then don't reproduce, leaving the rest of us to live on in real harmony, but in truth i think the tendency toward narcissism is a common trait, and that people can learn to understand others and relate and find real meaning, through actual interaction and shared experience - or they can strengthen the part of themselves that is happy to just stay self-involved. Any two year old is solipsistic; it takes experience and development to become a real human being... basically, the same way we used to have to exercise just to eat and now we have to make a choice to exercise, it seems like we used to have to regularly interact with real people just to get by, but now it's optional...
posted by mdn at 11:35 AM on April 16, 2006


concreteforest: bwa ha ha.

Yeah, I shouldn't have chosen Kickstart's (relatively benign) comment to use as a a jumping off point for my question about sexism on Mefi; my bad. I'm sure I could have found a far better one if I'd just waited for a bit. Nevermind. Question still stands, though.
posted by jokeefe at 11:38 AM on April 16, 2006


but maybe if he'd met the woman he would have developed actual intimacy instead of closing the circle and living in an isolated loop of projected fantasy.


My theory is that these are men who have, for whatever reason, just given up. The kind of guy who would buy one of these dolls, could you see any woman wanting to sleep with him?

My point exactly.

I would say that these men are experiencing an advanced form of learned helplessness, which has had the inevitable effect of making them a little bit cuckoo.
posted by Afroblanco at 11:51 AM on April 16, 2006


Perhaps my discomfort with these dolls has to do with the idea that this, metaphorically, is how women have been treated, in large part, for most of recorded history: the silent filler of various needs, be they sexual or otherwise. I know there are exceptions, to do with money and class, but in large part this is all its grotesquerie (NSFW) is a literal, physical representation of one ideal of the "perfect" woman. Being female myself, it disturbs me.
posted by jokeefe at 12:01 PM on April 16, 2006


Here's what I think women find most disturbing about these dolls: they eliminate any need for them. That's right, women are no longer in the mating equation! That's gotta produce a sinking feeling. Har. I don't know why, but I feel a surge of triumph considering this. Think of all the plusses. No: aging, shopping, "cramps", in-laws, hours in the bathroom, rings, weddings, divorce, anger about another doll, the list goes on. Time to look over the catalog.
posted by telstar at 1:52 AM PST on April 16 [!]


Jokeefe, you were saying......?
(unless I somehow missed the sarcasm symbol)
posted by annieb at 12:06 PM on April 16, 2006


I think the sarcasm tipoff was "That's right, women are no longer in the mating equation!"
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 12:09 PM on April 16, 2006


How does one masturbate without fantasizing?

Very, very easily. For some people, it's not always about other people. It's about sensation. You don't need a fantasy for that.
posted by Hildegarde at 12:15 PM on April 16, 2006


They're for guys who most likely have had such horrible experiences with women that they have just given up.

I'm getting this general sense of pity for these guys and I don't understand it. It says right in the article that these guys are controlling, uncompromising etc. and that's why they haven't had successful relationships with women. It's not because some cruel woman decided to break their little spirits for fun.

jokeefe- I object to your characterisation of women as victims throughout history. A lot of history sucked for everyone by modern standards and the day to day living conditions and legal rights of women varied pretty broadly by culture.
posted by fshgrl at 12:25 PM on April 16, 2006


Hildegarde, but isn't something going through your head? You say it's about sensation, but while sensing what are you thinking? Surely your mind can't be occupied continuously with "that feels good". It's difficult for me to imagine not imagining. And I ask without any snark intended; I'd like to understand.
posted by TimeFactor at 1:03 PM on April 16, 2006


in large part this is all its grotesquerie (NSFW) is a literal, physical representation of one ideal of the "perfect" woman. Being female myself, it disturbs me.

OK, that last link did weird me out. No way would I want one of those. I can also see where you're coming from, that the objectification of women into just a vagina and breasts is disturbing. Coming recently from a re-evaluation of how easily a woman can become a baby incubator on legs (i.e. the El Salvador story), you've given me a new perspective on these dolls, and the men that see them as better than real women because they don't answer back or have their own wants and needs.

The thing is, does this really mean that is how these men view women? As sex objects? Or is it rather that they can't find a real woman to love, so something plastic is the next best thing? I don't know any more.

What does this mean in comparison? I don't think women get as attached to their toys as men, but I'm sure there are some out there that prefer their vibrator to an inadequate lover. Human sexuality is such an odd complicated thing, I don't think I'll ever get a mental handle on all the things that people do for pleasure. I just have to leave them be in their own little world, and hope for the same in return.
posted by ArkhanJG at 1:34 PM on April 16, 2006


I think the point of that link was to show how the torso is constructed, separate from the legs--you can see that they sliced the legs off. It appears to me as though they cast the entire body as one piece for structural integrity. That's only a guess, though.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 1:43 PM on April 16, 2006


dirtynumbangelboy: no, the torso is for sale just as shown (choose your own head), more or less. I guess you can buy your own skin and DIY some arms and legs though.
posted by jessamyn at 1:56 PM on April 16, 2006


I object to your characterisation of women as victims throughout history. A lot of history sucked for everyone by modern standards and the day to day living conditions and legal rights of women varied pretty broadly by culture.

I would never assert anything so unsophisticated about something as complex as cultural history... I added some modifiers in there ("in large part", for one) in order to sidestep exactly this response, but nevermind. I never said that women were victims. On the contrary, on an individual level women have always worked within various types of cultural constraints, both codified by law or otherwise, to improve their lives and the lives of their children. Acknowledging that such constraints and limits have existed in virtually any human society is not the same as characterizing women as helpless victims, just as talking about misogyny doesn't make the assumption that women are powerless against it. But in terms of legal status and rights, from the Code of Hammurabi on, women have struggled with unequal status in terms of ownership of property, laws regarding marriage, laws regarding female behaviour, as well as social custom which reinforced all this. I mean, we can agree that if your gender is not allowed to vote, then that makes you a member of an oppressed class, rather than a "victim", right? But you still have to agree that if you are not allowed to vote, then you are, in that society, legally unequal?
posted by jokeefe at 1:58 PM on April 16, 2006


You say it's about sensation, but while sensing what are you thinking? Surely your mind can't be occupied continuously with "that feels good".

I don't know what else to tell you. You can't imagine it, I'm sorry to hear that, there's nothing I can do to prove it to you. I suppose you've been using fantasy as part of your experience for so long that it's now required, but it's simply not always the case. Sexuality isn't only expressed in relation to other people.
posted by Hildegarde at 2:13 PM on April 16, 2006


On second thought: can you enjoy an incredibly good meal without imagining a hot woman feeding it to you?
posted by Hildegarde at 2:16 PM on April 16, 2006


From the article:

Sidore, one of hundreds of dolls that are painstakingly handmade by McMullen, has all the attributes of a real woman, including a vagina.

Except, you know, feelings, intelligence, complexity, cognition, sentience, faults, opinions, dreams, hopes, fears, goals, morals, desires, neurosis, talents, experience...

But hey, it has a vagina.
posted by jennyb at 2:46 PM on April 16, 2006 [2 favorites]


On second thought: can you enjoy an incredibly good meal without imagining a hot woman feeding it to you?

Never.
posted by ludwig_van at 3:01 PM on April 16, 2006


...can you enjoy an incredibly good meal without imagining a hot woman feeding it to you?

I can and that does help illustrate your point. Thanks. But I think it also illustrates a fundamental difference between us because I can only enjoy sex, unlike food, with another person involved in some way, either in the flesh or in my mind.
posted by TimeFactor at 3:11 PM on April 16, 2006


Here's what I think women find most disturbing about these dolls: they eliminate any need for them. That's right, women are no longer in the mating equation! That's gotta produce a sinking feeling. Har. I don't know why, but I feel a surge of triumph considering this. Think of all the plusses. No: aging, shopping, "cramps", in-laws, hours in the bathroom, rings, weddings, divorce, anger about another doll, the list goes on. Time to look over the catalog.
posted by telstar at 4:52 AM EST on April 16

No legs that wrap themselves around you. No hands that caress your ass or stroke your belly. No pelvis that thrusts against your thrusts. No warm, wet mouth returning your kisses. No throaty moans. No playful nips on your earlobes. No tightening of the vaginal walls to grasp your cock firmer. No whimpering of your name. No grasping your butt to pull you in deeper. No sudden moves as she changes position so you can take her from behind. No intoxicating aroma of warm wet flesh. No eyes staring back at you as you come.

But hey, if all you want is a hole to masturbate into, have at it.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 4:37 PM on April 16, 2006


unless I somehow missed the sarcasm symbol

Yes, because the main thing holding back the language of Shakespeare and Shelley and Brontë(s) and Milton and Woolf and Joyce and Wilde and Austen from being properly expressive is an appalling lack of well-placed emoticons.
posted by meehawl at 4:56 PM on April 16, 2006


"The kind of guy who would buy one of these dolls, could you see any woman wanting to sleep with him?"

Again, though, what if the doll cost only five bucks? Lots of guys would consider it. It's not the desire for immediate gratification that's ooky, it's the obsessive willingness to spend that much money and go to such lengths that makes it a stigma.

"No throaty moans. No playful nips on your earlobes. No tightening of the vaginal walls to grasp your cock firmer...."

Since when does "real sex" have to be the best sex? There are plenty of women who achieve better orgasms -- or who can only achieve orgasm -- by themselves as opposed to with a man. Do they really need your cock to have a good sex life? Do you really need their vagina?

It strikes me that your description of "legs that wrap themselves around you", "throaty moans", and "whimpering of your name" is fairly idealized when you consider that most sex acts only last an average of only 7.9 minutes. That means, for every person who has sex for sixteen minutes, another person only has it for four.

If there's such a thing as hot sex and bad sex, why not assume that there's also hot masturbation and bad masturbation? Either way, if you don't enjoy it, it's entirely likely that you are doing it wrong.
posted by insomnia_lj at 8:03 PM on April 16, 2006


It's not the desire for immediate gratification that's ooky, it's the obsessive willingness to spend that much money and go to such lengths that makes it a stigma.

Disagreed. To me, the ooky part is that they give their dolls names, refer to their dolls as "she," and attribute personality traits to them.

Having an imaginary friend in your mid-20s is wierd. Having a sexual relationship with that imaginary friend is a sign of (at least mild) derangement.
posted by Afroblanco at 8:34 PM on April 16, 2006


jokeefe, just for the record, I agree with you. I haven't left the site, but I barely comment any more. It's not worth it to comment on sexist statements, I've found. Which is sad.
posted by agregoli at 7:40 AM on April 17, 2006 [1 favorite]


insomnia_lj: ...idealized when you consider that most sex acts only last an average of only 7.9 minutes. That means, for every person who has sex for sixteen minutes, another person only has it for four.

(Pet peeve.) The mean does not tell you anything about the shape of the distribution around the mean.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 8:46 AM on April 17, 2006


many here are acting like a sex doll is a shocking new development. I guess these folks haven't visited a porn shop in the last 30yrs. Or perhaps it's objectionable that some people actually want a high tech version? The tsk tsk'ing here strikes me as nothing but the usual USian puritanism.
posted by telstar at 8:51 AM on April 17, 2006


Both my wife and my other female partner has sex toys

Show off.
posted by craniac at 9:45 AM on April 17, 2006


Having a life-like sex-doll is OK as long as you don't chop her up in the tub and then eat her.
and then blog about it.
because that would be gross.
posted by BillBishop at 10:30 AM on April 17, 2006


It makes them happy.
It doesn't hurt anyone.
What's the problem?

A lot of people do things that other people find creepy.
posted by obol at 12:44 PM on April 17, 2006


Since when does "real sex" have to be the best sex? There are plenty of women who achieve better orgasms -- or who can only achieve orgasm -- by themselves as opposed to with a man. Do they really need your cock to have a good sex life? Do you really need their vagina?

It strikes me that your description...is fairly idealized when you consider that most sex acts only last an average of only 7.9 minutes. That means, for every person who has sex for sixteen minutes, another person only has it for four.

If there's such a thing as hot sex and bad sex, why not assume that there's also hot masturbation and bad masturbation? Either way, if you don't enjoy it, it's entirely likely that you are doing it wrong.

posted by insomnia_lj at 11:03 PM EST on April 16 [!]

I'm not sure what you are babbling on about insomnia, but I do know that sex with my husband is a completely different experience than masturbating by myself. It is not just that I need his cock, I also need his arms, hands, eyes, smile, voice, smell, etc. etc.

I was comparing having sex with a doll (masturbation essentially) to having sex with a woman. Granted women may cause aggrevation in your life that a doll might not cause, but a doll certainly cannot provide you with the same sexual experience-- even if the sexual act only lasts for 7.9 minutes.

Which leads me to add that the sexual act with a doll must be shorter than with a woman. No need to spend 10 to 20 minutes of foreplay to warm her up and no need to bask in the glow of mutual orgasm.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 4:21 PM on April 17, 2006


(Pet peeve.) The mean does not tell you anything about the shape of the distribution around the mean.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 10:46 AM CST on April 17 [!]


Unless you assume a fairly normal distribution, of which time of sexual intercourse would most likely represent. I figure it would be very normal local to the mean. Most people would probably clump around the 5-10 minute mark, with some slender tails to accommodate Sting and one of my friends who is quite open about his 30 second performances.

My standard line is that if I concentrate, I can go an hour, and if I really, really concentrate I can go 2 minutes. /smirk

So you are right that it doesn't necessarily tell you about the distribution, but for many things you can make a fairly accurate inference.
posted by Ynoxas at 8:38 PM on April 17, 2006


banishedimmortal writes "According to the article, the men who order these dolls are 'mostly single, ranging from twentysomethings to pensioners, and over half work in IT or engineering.'"

IE: guys with lots of disposible income. If we could get five bucks worth of nanites to assembly one of these things from a bag of poatoes and a glass of milk they'd be everywhere.

notreally writes "So which fundy state will be first to ban the doll marriage sin?"

Dolls like this run afoul of many of the historical sodomy laws. Heck isn't is Texas where you'd only be allowed six?

jokeefe writes "I hope you guys can tell the difference between a vibrator, and dildo, and a $4,000 female simulacrum designed to mimic an entire human body. Reading the letters from happy customers on the site is revealing... a lot of these men don't seem to have any cognitive dissonance about referring to the dolls as 'her' and by the names they have given them. "

The doll is a fantasy enabler not much different than porn.

jokeefe writes "Tangentially, is it just me, or has there been a noticeable increase lately in the general level of sexist har-har around here?"

It's you, though it seems we might be on the upswing for "boy-zone" call outs.

weretable and the undead chairs writes "Spending thousands on a sex toy is kinda disturbing too"

Not nearly as much to me as $80K on a pickup.
posted by Mitheral at 11:31 AM on April 18, 2006


Apparently davecat read this thread.
posted by BrotherCaine at 5:12 PM on April 19, 2006


Yeesh, I forgot all about this thread. But I think my initial point still stands. I don't really care too much about what grown people do in private, but I still think the dollfuckers are weird. First of all, simulating a vagina dosen't require all this equipment, just a fist and some hand lotion, if that's what you want.

And as many women have said there's more to a beautiful woman: like intelligence, humor, decency, fecthing cold beers and sandwiches, etc.

But, back to my original point: wisecracks about imagination aside, I tell you this, to any sane straight man, one of the primare charges of a consensual sexual encounter is the idea that the girl wants to be doing this with you, and the more the indicates that the better it is. The combination of ego-boost and sexual desire makes a pretty potent endorphin martini.

(and adamgreenfield, good to see ya, man).
posted by jonmc at 6:26 AM on April 20, 2006


namespan, if the guy just wanted a vagina in a can,

also, I can see a whole new generation of crank calls emerging from this...
posted by jonmc at 6:42 AM on April 20, 2006


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