New sex doll to keep the party going

A new breed of artificial human sex companion has been unveiled that promises to take the air out of old-fashioned inflatable dolls.

My Party Doll, a southern California-based manufacturer, displayed two prototypes of their $5 000 love buddies at the 10th annual Erotica-LA Convention, which ended on Sunday.

The show drew thousands to its celebration of all things carnal in a city known as the capital of the United States sex industry.

The three-day event featured more than 300 exhibitors unveiling the latest in sex toys, paraphernalia and publications, as well as sex seminars and a chance to audition for pornographic films.

US pornographic film revenues now equal mainstream Hollywood’s total box-office figures. More than 200 pornographic films are produced every week in the US, mostly in Los Angeles. About 12 000 people in California live off the pornographic film industry.

Adding to the notion that sex sells, in 1997, roughly 33 000 pornographic websites existed. Today the number has mushroomed to 500 000 and growing daily.

Americans alone spend more than $10-billion annually on the sex industry, up from an estimated $10-million a year in the 1970s.

Merchandisers like My Party Doll are hoping to cash in on the profitable sex-accessories industry. One online purveyor, Good Vibrations, recently reported $10-million in annual sales in a market that is estimated at $1,5-billion.

Though the sale of sex toys is banned in the southern US states of Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi and Texas, business is booming in most of the country. My Party Doll believes its new dolls are going to be a new success.

“I’ve personally tested every doll on the market,” professional sex-doll consultant Alex Goldman said. “These girls are a world of difference. She’s the bounciest doll I’ve ever been with.”

The dolls are named “Leeloo” for Milla Jovovich’s character in the film The Fifth Element. The prototypes are hand-sculpted from medical-grade silicone, the same material used in breast implants, and built on top of a metal skeleton.

“Leeloo isn’t like those old blow-up dolls; she’s so durable you can jack up your car with her,” said Goldman.

Leeloo’s designer, Yves Becker, spent two years sculpting a companion of which he could be proud. “The feet were really difficult,” Becker said. “But I spent most of the time on the breasts because it’s so difficult to calculate gravity.”

Visitors to the display were pleased with Becker’s accomplishment. “Wow, I wish I had one of these 25 years ago,” said Jim Arthur, a sex-toy merchandiser. “I would have just kept her in the spare bedroom.”

The designers are banking on their product’s durability to nudge it past competitors. “Leeloo could last 30 years,” said Goldman. “But of course it depends how carried away you get with her.”

Becker cautioned that Leeloo is designed with the same flexibility limitations as a human.

The marketing demographic for Leeloo will be broad, according to Becker and Goldman. Artificial sex companions, they believe, appeal to a wide swathe of consumers.

“It’s not just that lonely guy that can’t get a pretty girl,” said Goldman. “We’ve had requests from professionals, blue-collar workers, married couples looking for more excitement in their bedroom, even female clients who want to have Leeloo as a sort of super Barbie.”

Though Becker, a French citizen, expects most of his trade to be within the US, he sees growth potential in Japan and Australia, but not in Europe.

“You see, in Europe, sex is just easier, and taxes, well, they’re more difficult,” said Becker.

For now, there are only two Leeloos, but Becker will soon begin designing a voluptuous and a petite model to add variety.—Sapa-AFP

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