Study: Pros and cons of owning a sex doll

4 min readFeb 28, 2022

The topic of sex doll ownership or sex dolls is becoming an increasingly controversial issue from a social and legal perspective. This study aims to test the credibility of the existing psychological, sexuality and legal literature in relation to its ownership.

Recent findings

There are many opinions within the context of the potential socio-legal position regarding sex doll ownership. However, there has been little empirical analysis of the psychological characteristics or behavioural consequences of realistic doll ownership. Instead, the available arguments represent the philosophical position of scholars for whom there is no objective evidence.

Realistic Sex Doll Ownership

A multi-million dollar global industry supports the sale of realistic human imitations in the form of sex dolls for sexual play. Some models include artificial intelligence and the ability to pretend to communicate with their owners and are known as sex robots.

This has led to an increase in academic, social and legal concerns. The law also addresses dangerous child sex dolls. a 2020 study (Craig A. Harpercor and Rebecca Lievesley) discusses the motivations for owning sex dolls. Its authors raise some interesting questions.

Who are the (potential) owners of sex dolls

At present, these artificial objects appear to have a primarily sexual function, which may limit our understanding of the motivations behind the desire to own them. Around 70% of sex doll owners indicated that sexual gratification was the primary function of their dolls, but others indicated that their dolls were a form of companionship and a substitute for companionship.

Even among those who indicated that the primary purpose of their dolls was sexual, in over 80% of cases, sex doll ownership was accompanied by other functions. The illusion of intimacy forms the basis of their close bond with the robot.

The alleged consequences and implications of sex doll ownership

Researchers in the fields of bioethics, sociology, robotics and legal studies are concerned that sex dolls and robots promote the sexual objectification of women and exacerbate traditional standards of beauty and perceptions of attractiveness.

When it comes to sexual interaction, the impact is a loss of human intimacy and connection. In extreme cases, the possession of sex dolls can contribute to sexual violence and paedophilia against women and children.

The programmable nature of sex robots allows their owners to essentially practice rape. However, the possession of sex dolls has not been shown to lead to sexual assault. This has also led to consideration of whether rape robots constitute a crime.

Investigating the negative effects

It is reasonable to assume that interactions with child sex dolls could increase the likelihood of child sexual abuse by desensitising doll users to the physical, emotional and psychological harm caused by child sexual abuse and normalising the behaviour of the abuser.

At the same time, however, there is no evidence of therapeutic benefit from the use of child sex dolls. This also applies to relationships with females. Therefore, no negative or positive effects of sex dolls have been demonstrated, as it has not been studied.

Positive impact studies

In addition to the potential risks associated with the ownership of sex dolls and robot owners, research has explored the positive effects. Controlled access to dolls in sexual and relationship counselling settings would allow for exploration of the effectiveness of dolls in alleviating sexual dysfunction.

It is controversial that research on child sex dolls in settings could be considered to prevent sexual abuse of individuals who are sexually attracted to children. The availability of young sex dolls has improved on this phenomenon. Also there are now different types of sex dolls, anime sex dolls, Japanese sex dolls, large breasted sex dolls and so on, and their presence is certainly a good thing for those who are single.

Case study evidence of this practice should be evaluated to address controversial and unanswered questions. Sex dolls and robots may have a potential role in reducing feelings of social and emotional isolation and in treating sexual dysfunction in medical and psychotherapeutic settings.

Research findings

The purpose of this study was to map the development of arguments that have emerged in the existing literature regarding the motivations and impact of owning real dolls and sex robots. It then went on to use findings from social, cognitive and evolutionary psychology as well as current theories on the etiology of sexual offending to map the lack of empirical research on the topic.

Current conclusions are based on ideological starting points that are inconsistent with the often cited risks. More empirical research should be conducted by social and legal professionals on this increasingly controversial social issue.




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