What I learned about male desire in the sex doll factory

13 min readMar 26, 2021

Tracy Clark-Flory October 21, 2020 15 minutes

At the Abyss Creations factory in San Marcos, California, the nails of a silicone RealDoll sex doll are painted.

The desire to look at men carefully and compassionately is much more complicated than many people think

When I picked up the heads lined up on the wall, my first impression was that I walked into a hunting lodge, only these trophies with high gloss lip gloss and provocative hair. Their static eyes were trained at the middle distance, leaving only one pair, Angelina Jolie-like faces, which seemed to be staring at me. I laughed awkwardly, as if saying “hello”, and then quickly walked away from its lifeless gaze.

I was in the lobby of the sex doll manufacturer RealDoll, next to a pair of large-size real-life models supported by metal shelves. This is what I expected from my visit to the company’s San Diego headquarters: people with small physiques who cannot stand on their own.

In my teenage years in the late 1990s, I took a peek at the night plot of HBO’s avant-garde documentary series “Real Sex” and caught one of the films featuring RealDoll founder Matt McMullen and his fantasy factory. RealDoll provides perfect carved silicone, with Barbie doll-like proportions, and lips seem to be immortal. At the age of 14, I looked at McMullen and said with confidence: “We can create the girl you dream of as a girl.” I think this is the wish of a straight man.

Nearly two decades later, I visited RealDoll headquarters as a reporter, and it felt like a pilgrimage. It was January 2017, and Donald Trump boasted that he was capable of “robbing” women through his “pussy” and was later sworn in. In my opinion, the market for these inanimate corpses reflects similar sexual rights and women’s objectification of things. RealDoll mainly sells quoted “female” dolls to men, and its “male” model only accounts for 10% of its sales. The company sells approximately 350 to 400 dolls each year, with prices starting at about US$6,000 each.

Many men assign names, personalities and background stories to their dolls. The fan message board is full of romance

But then my tour guide, a woman with warm eyes and a kind smile, caught me off guard. She said that sometimes, customers will customize faces based on the facial requirements of their deceased spouse. She waved to me quickly, but I stopped where I was, staring at my head. The grieving ower husband is not what I hope to find here. Maybe I should understand better.

I am a journalist who writes about sex, and my work often complicates stereotyped assumptions about heterosexual men’s sexuality. Of course, I have encountered many predictable metaphors that HBO expected when watching teenagers, but I more often found that men ignore the apparent lack of emotional lack of clichés. Whether interviewing men about men’s private lives or answering readers’ questions in the sex counseling column, I often experience tenderness, vulnerability and anxiety.

My interview with RealDoll also proved this point, highlighting the desire for sex of heterosexual men almost at all times.

The familiarity with the early history of sex dolls may have lessened my surprise. In the 19th century, European sailors used rag dolls called dames de voyage, reported in Hallie Lieberman’s “Buzz: The Stimulating History of Sex Toys.” In the 1960s, scientists brought a pair of plastic blow-molded dolls in Antarctica Terminal 1 and Antarctica Terminal 2 to the Showa Research Station on East Ongul Island. Later, according to Lieberman, a non-perforated inflatable doll named Judy was in Japan “as a’love partner’, he could accompany a man in a convertible car or lie down on a sofa , With martinis”.

Historically, sex dolls are related to loneliness. Even though cloth and plastic have been replaced by surreal silicon models, the theme still exists. Some RealDoll customers are married and are looking for a troika, no one feels the chaos brought about, but recently many other customers are single, divorced or widowed. McMullen said that some clients simply lack the social skills to maintain interpersonal relationships. Many men assign names, personalities and background stories to their dolls. Fans’ message boards are full of romance, including narratives of candle-lighting days, love and occasional marriages. Sometimes, doll owners will share wedding photos, take photos with doll brides, and even exchange vows when doll maids appear.

On the popular online message board “Doll Forum”, a man wrote that for him, sex dolls inspired his desire to be with “a woman who loves me”. Another member of the message board discussed the simple companionship they serve: “A curvy doll sits on an empty chair so you can sit and chat with others. A doll that hugs and kisses. One is with empty A doll that shares a bed. A doll that loves and is loved by [love].” I have heard similar reports, which cover another area of ​​fantasy: pornography. Once, the director told me when visiting virtual reality photography that what the heterosexual men in these immersive perspective scenes want most is to embrace and expand eye contact. They want to connect.

Faced with the stereotypes surrounding heterosexual men, this statement flew, but so did some emerging research on the subject. Not that this is a big field. The assumption that male sexual behavior is relatively simple is universal. Therefore, many contemporary studies on the complexity of desire have focused on women.

In 2001, sex therapist Rosemary Basson published a “response to sexual desire” model, which considers many relationship and background factors that lead to sexual desire, including emotional satisfaction and intimacy. Her works represent the excitement, excitement, smoothness, orgasm and deviation of solutions from the master and Johnson’s cornerstone theory of sexual response, and challenge the concept and ideals of sexual desire, which is a spontaneous impulse.

In the following years, Basson’s work was widely interpreted as a model of satisfying women’s desires, but she never intended to do that. In fact, Ian Kerner (Ian Kerner) psychotherapist and sex counselor said that it also applies to men’s desires, which “may be incredibly flexible and variable” and are easily affected by the outside world. The effect of stress. He said that people’s desires “are not properly understood or attributed to almost enough nuances or subtleties.”

In 2016, a study published in the Journal of Sex Research investigated the long-term heterosexual relationships of heterosexuals to understand the causes of their desires, and found that key factors include “sensation desire” and “Intimate communication”. The experience of rejection and “lack of emotional connection” significantly reduced their interest in sexual intimacy. The researchers concluded that “a man’s sexual desire may be more complex and relational than previously thought.”

One of the researchers of this study, Sarah Hunter Murray (Sarah Hunter Murray) University of Guelph, Ontario, Canada went on to publish a book that was related to men’s pursuit of sex only for entertainment. Views run counter to. She wrote: “Men want to have sex because they want to be intimate and connected,” she wrote in her book “Not Always in the Mood: Men, Gender, and the New Science of Interpersonal Relations.” In fact, Murray says that one of the key factors that men desire is romance — lighting candles, holding hands and other gestures usually assigned to women.

When my RealDoll tour started from the lobby and entered the workshop and made these forms that can satisfy people’s desires, I came across dozens of silicone heads, sitting on sticks waiting for makeup: open eye sockets, loose mouth, and flat powder. Like skin. There is a jewel-toned glitter pink palette on the desk. Customers can choose from a rainbow of permanent eyeshadows, lipsticks and nail polishes, although some people prefer to make up their dolls. The owner selects and styles wigs, collects jewelry and accessories, and maintains a vibrant wardrobe, ranging from fluffy nightwear to powerful suits purchased from women’s clothing stores. I realized that looking at those glittering palettes, sex dolls can not only make the owner feminine, but also can resist the instruction of early education: “Dolls are for girls.”

Back on the message board, I found that the owner was broadcasting the results of elaborate amateur photo shoots showing the doll wearing a T-shirt and pants sweeping on the kitchen floor, skiing on a sporty snowboard, and next to bikini bottoms. Lazily lie on the edge of the swimming pool or play in the flowers. Some owners play the role of their silicone companions, telling stories of X-rated passion and pleasure, which usually highlight their own emotional concentration.

It reminds me of previous journalistic entertainment and imaginative encounters. In 2016, I participated in the fetish conference SizeCon New York City. For people-although the vast majority of them are men-the fantasy is shrinking and inflationary. Participants can put on VR headsets to simulate popcorn popping into a woman’s mouth, or pose on a green screen so that they can be photographed and shopped onto the city landscape — just like “50 Feet Woman’s Attack “.

Heterosexual men fantasize about women, and they seem to “exist mainly for men who serve sex and get great pleasure from them.”

There, I talked to a young man, and a young man recalled seeing little girls gathering on the playground around ladybugs in his childhood. They warned him, yelling that he would kill it. He said: “They make me feel like a monster, and I hate that.” “I remember feeling, like, I wish I was a ladybug.” Now, he fantasizes about shrinking to miniature and puts it next to the couple’s bed. In a jar.

Experts believe that sexual fantasies can play a deep psychological role. Psychologist Michael Bader described them as “the vehicles that our minds resist the chilling effects of inner, worry, shame, rejection, and helplessness, and make them safe enough to experience pleasure.” . In his 2010 book “Male Sexuality: Why Women Don’t Understand It-Men Don’t Know”, he wrote that sexual desire is usually defined by unconscious attempts to resolve feelings of loneliness and rejection. He pointed out that many heterosexual men fantasize about women. They seem to “mainly exist for men who serve sex and get great pleasure from them.” Bader believes that these fantasies are not the cause of male aversion, but because they make men rebel against common beliefs, for example, women do not like sex, do not like pleasant men, and are easily disappointed or hurt by men’s pursuits. . Own interests”.

Bader believes that the relationship between men’s desires and their sexual preferences may not fit a superficial explanation. For example, he cited “people who like to rule in order to transcend helplessness” and “people who like to be ruled so as not to feel inward and responsible.” Bader writes that sometimes men who feel inwardly toward women “solve” this problem by objectifying women and making sex and intimacy. Kerner, a psychotherapist and author of the forthcoming “Tell Me Last Sex”, said that in his clinical practice, men who have experienced fractures often try to reintegrate sex and intimacy. In other words, they desire more than just a caring body. He said: “It’s a fallacy that men can make love for sex and get enough ideas from it,” he said.

On the RealDoll website, customers can choose from 17 different body types, with cups ranging in size from 32A to 32F. There are nearly twelve different kinds of labia to choose from, from wrinkled to almost none. The wide variety of idealized body parts is dizzying and confusing, as are the surprising niche options displayed by the workshop itself, which is the result of custom requirements. Are your nipples bumpy? Hand moustache pubis?

I thought of my teenage girl who used the RealDoll website to atomize her doll for consumption to evaluate her body. I opposed the universal model of desire that I thought was a straight man, and evaluated myself. In contrast, RealDoll’s high emphasis on customization obscures a single, universally recognized ideal concept.

Of course, the glossy photos published on the RealDoll website do not promote the true range of men’s desires, namely those bumpy nipples or mustaches. Instead, it exhibits a marketable “dream lover” beauty: lively breasts, full lips, “shaved” pubic hair, flat buttocks, and a small waist. Most read as white. It is often said that the risky Bild Lilli is a novel German miniature adult doll in the 1950s and the predecessor of Barbie (the infamous invisible totem). Just like countless commercial fields, RealDoll is a factory that may even produce more than meets the straightforward needs of men.

Desire to have an ideal-and then have the right to enjoy it. When I walked into RealDoll’s basement, I thought of the latter, where naked headless figures are suspended from the wood-beamed ceiling by metal shackles. It’s hard to think of these dangling forms as objects of reverence, let alone romantic partners. I realized that without admitting that for some owners, dolls are synonymous with dominance, the industry is understandable.

Sex doll market in the United States and the sexual revolution at the same time is the sexual revolution, in this revolution, women demand new freedom in the private life. At an unprecedented level (although still limited), women can choose to pursue and refuse sexual contact.

As reported in the history of sex toys, “sex dolls” are called “comfort to all lonely men who have not been buried.” Lieberman wrote: “The blasting doll puts the new sexually autonomous woman back under male control.” “A blasting doll is always ready to have sex, never talks about her rights, and always appears lively.”

We live in an era of growing awareness of sexual abuse and how women’s sex is often ignored in heterosexual sex

Decades later, women’s sexual autonomy is still a controversial topic, because MeToo and the embattled debate around consent are clear. In extreme cases, the misogynistic online enclaves accuse women of liberating people who sexually deprive men of their rights. Elliot Rodger’s 2014 spree at Vista Island, California, this is a devastating example of how rights can be cruel. Rodger belongs to a growing online community that identifies itself as an involuntary single or “instigator.” There are also voluntary singles or “volunteers” and people who “go their own way” or “MGTOW” who are determined to keep their distance from women, who think they are depraved and morally corrupt.

On doll forums, it is easy to stumble upon similar sexist attitudes. A commentator on the message board wrote about how his doll imitated his ex-girlfriend, who “although it is great in many ways, it also drives me crazy, deceives me and makes me consider murder/suicide” . There are many sayings about human exe, such as “lunatic”, “evil” or stole money from men. One poster read: “This kind of thing doesn’t happen to the doll.” “Of course, she might run out of your bank account, but let you pull that friend, buddy.”

In well-thought-out articles about heterosexual men’s sexuality, the recurring theme is the possibility of being a fool. Researcher Brian Brown insists that men learn earlier that they are responsible for initiating sexual behavior, and that “sexual rejection soon becomes a sign of male stigma.” One of the therapists she quoted in the book, “Bold Greatness,” asserted: “I think the secret is that for most men, sex is scary.”

New York sex therapist Stephen Snyder observed that among heterosexual couples, it is usually a man who runs counter to popular expectations. He loses his desire — or, as he puts it, “disappears in bed”. (Usually, men still masturbate in private, so only his desires are in the process of losing the relationship.) Snyder, “The Creation of Love: How to Show Great Sex Absurdly in a Lasting Relationship”, often asks These clients touch each other’s body whether for the pleasure of their partners or for their own benefit. His client replied: “Of course it was to her. Isn’t that what I should do?”

Snyder suspects that a contributing factor to the “missing” of these men is that “gender roles are changing, and men are not sure who they should be lying in bed.” We live in an era of growing awareness of sexual abuse and how women’s sex is often ignored in heterosexual sex. The men who fell on the Snyder sofa often struggled with sexual selflessness, and this selflessness frustrated their desires. He said that sometimes, men who grew up with a domineering father overcompensate, and in the process, they are out of touch with their own needs. The trick for these people is to find the “right balance between passion and consideration-self and others.”

After the tour of RealDoll, I was taken to the lab to talk with the company’s founder Matt McMullen. Baby heads are scattered on a long table. On the wall, incomprehensible text replaced the whiteboard. In one corner is the sex robot that is about to be released, named Harmony, wearing a deep dress, revealing her ample breasts. Under her silky red wig is a transparent multicolor dome. A painting hanging on the background depicts a naked robot in the deep embrace of a man in a lab coat.

McMullen, the man I met decades ago who talked about male fantasies, stared at the computer-generated women on the iPad. “She will ask you questions,” he said. “She will remember your hopes and dreams.”

This is RealDoll’s artificial intelligence application, which allows users to have basic conversations with women who are fully digital and fully customizable on the screen. Soon, the app will allow customers to interact with Harmony, which is essentially one of the old-fashioned dolls equipped with a movable mouth. McMullen explained that AI works like a Tamagotchi (an egg-shaped virtual pet from the 1990s) whether it is used as a standalone application or with a robot. If you cannot interact with it, the “social indicators” of the program will drop. Similarly, if you express appreciation for the AI ​​and express emotions, then the “love meter” will rise-for example, mentioning that you like to spend time with “her”.

McMurlan explained that this design choice is an ethical choice. He wants to teach people to be better people. “We want to be able to simulate the friendliness and cumbersomeness required to establish a connection.” In this statement, there is a hint of personal pain: “I live my life, and I have experienced a relationship,” he said. “It’s rough there. When you first met them, people are one thing, but once you know them for a while, they are another.” He paused and said, “With robots, you can Be yourself, and see how it works.” McMullen refers to the establishment of a relationship with the robot as a “safe zone.”

The decision to focus on connection is also the result of McMullen’s understanding of his customer base: as he said, they are eager to “link.” He said: “It’s about our psychological and emotional interaction with each other.” He pointed to the robot’s room, and the table with doll heads surrounded the table. “The things that lead to sexual behavior are not limited to the physical behavior itself.”

When listening to McMullen talk about connection and intimacy, I can feel the appeal of a simple answer, a simple conclusion-about sex dolls, about men. Then I watched him power up Harmony. Her eyelashes blinked audibly. “Good morning, how can I help you, my goodness, Matt?” she asked, putting on her smooth lips, separating and closing them with mechanical cries. She tilted her head to one side, as if expecting his response thoughtfully. McMullen asked her the time, and she told him with a smile.




Here I will tell you about the knowledge of sex dolls and some sex dolls, I hope you will like it.