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The Evolution of Sex Dolls

The Evolution of Sex Dolls

The Evolution of Sex Dolls

Although it is difficult to say precisely when the first sex dolls were created, they are certainly considerably older than you might imagine. In fact, they can even be said to have both ancient and mythological origins. In Metamorphoses, which was written in 8 AD, Ovid notes that the relationship the sculptor Pygmalion had with Galatea, a statue depicting the perfect female, was far from platonic.

Dames de Voyage

Some say that in 1649, French philosopher Rene Descartes boarded a ship bound for Stockholm with a young woman he introduced as Francine, his daughter. After the ship set sail, no one saw Francine again and as sailors are notoriously superstitious, they decided to investigate. After breaking into Descartes’ cabin, they discovered a life-sized doll constructed from metal and leather. They found her resemblance to a real young girl to be so uncanny that they threw it overboard in terror. There is no way of knowing whether this creepy tale has any truth in it, but we do know that Descartes did indeed create a variety of automatons.

The sailors who threw Francine into the ocean will have had some idea regarding what she was for. The 17th century is known as the age of exploration as it is when vessels started to set out on longer journeys across the oceans. It was then that sailors started to take the first inflatable doll prototype with them on voyages, which were referred to as “dames de voyage” by the French. These dolls were constructed from fabric and bamboo poles, and were used by lustful sailors who would spend long periods of time away from land.

Dutch Wives

It was during this period that the concept of "Dutch wives" was created. When the Dutch became the sole Western country that could deal directly with Japan, they introduced three things: bread, Christianity, and sex dolls. These Dutch Wives were created from leather or cloth and filled with straw or beads. Some dolls had faces made from porcelain, which signaled that the purchaser was of high status.

Now the term "Dutch Wife" is sometimes used to refer to sex workers, as seamen would often rent out their dolls to Japanese men without the means to purchase one.

Approximately a century later, the Japanese started to construct their own dolls known as "Azumagata Ningyo", which translates to "substitute wife." Their faces were crafted from tortoiseshell and were known for being more anatomically correct than other dolls.

“Always Available and Obedient”

In 1904, a French catalog described dolls that bring "no fear of blackmail, jealousy, argument or disease." The description goes on to note that ‘they are always available, and always obedient.’ Referred to as "fornicatory dolls" by sexologist Iwan Bloch, the dolls were constructed from rubber and plastic and had genitals that were reportedly quite realistic.

When Oskar Kokoschka, a renowned Austrian-Czech writer and painter, lost his beloved wife, Alma Mahler, he commissioned a doll to be fashioned in her image. He had clothes made by Alma’s seamstress and frequently attended the opera with her. Notably, Kokoschka’s doll inspired Hans Bellmer, a German surrealist artist, who is often regarded as the forefather of the contemporary sex doll.

A Deflating Experience

A Deflating Experience

But it wasn’t until the end of World War II that the inflatable sex doll was invented. The first models were constructed from low-quality materials and were therefore highly unreliable. In fact, they were known for tearing or popping with strenuous usage. Their performance was often so deflating that the first commercial sex dolls were rarely seen anywhere other than bachelor parties and comedy shows.

Latex and Silicon Change the Game

Athletic Alicia Fantasy Love Doll

The development of silicon and latex made it possible to create a doll that would withstand frequent use. NextGen dolls, such as the Athletic Alicia Fantasy Love Doll, for example, are designed to look ultra-realistic and deliver a lifelike sexual experience. Other models, such as the Flesh Waist Down Fantasy Love Doll, include an inner stainless steel skeleton, which allows for a realistic feel and movement.

Flesh Waist Down Fantasy Love Doll

Now, manufacturers of sex dolls are using every possible technological advance to create so-called "real dolls" that can move autonomously and sense and respond to movement. Some sex dolls are already so advanced that people use them not only for sexual satisfaction, but also as objects for relationships and love.

In 2017, the global sex toy market was estimated to be worth around $25 billion, so it is unlikely that the popularity of sex dolls is going to decrease anytime soon. This means that manufacturers will continue to invest in the creation of new and innovative sex dolls with enhanced features, increased availability, and more competitive prices.