A little more hair on his chest, please

THE FIFTH COLUMN

The sex doll, in its historical form, is an awkward blow-up thing barely resembling a human woman (I haven’t seen a male one). Moreover, it’s a thing that looks constantly surprised — its O of a mouth eternally open. Having any kind of sex with such a doll is surely rather like having sex with a lilo.

Human ingenuity being what it is, though, progress is being made towards an ever-more-realistic sex doll. Now one can get an animatronic sex creature that, apart from that awkward jerky movement, actually looks human when glanced at from a distance. The female dolls all seem to be young (say 20, if they were human), with large breasts (one claims a FF cup) and the same face — porn starlet with a touch of anime.

As the market expands, and more people buy sex dolls, the call for male dolls has grown. Or at least so one manufacturer claims, saying that “demand” led to their development of a guy sex doll. The demand obviously comes from rich countries, because the prices are in the range of $14 000 to … well, way more than that, if you want a customisable doll.

Silicon Wives, which used to make only gal dolls, now offer guy dolls with “a variety of different male looks, from pretty boy to rugged bad boy to clean-cut take-home-to-mom type”.

None of the four dolls shown on their site fit these descriptions except “pretty boy”. They all seem rather too boyish, even girlish. Rugged I can’t see. Maybe it’s still being developed. More than a certain amount of body hair must be hard to attach. It must drive the price up, too.


The guy dolls at Silicon Wives are “made of lifelike thermoplastic elastomer material and metal skeletons with strong, flexible joints”. As for customisations, “you can choose eye colour, hair colour, and feet type”.

Feet type? Aside from sizes, how many types of feet are there?

According to one of the directors of Sinthetics, an interestingly named American company, “People love dolls that they can design themselves, so they want to pick all the things. The boy-next-door face wins quite often. Light chest hair is pretty common. Most often with the males they get quite a big bush, which is interesting — more pubic hair on the male dolls seems to be a big thing at the moment.”

Sinthetics’ male doll, Gabriel, at least has some facial hair to speak of, though it seems the rest of him is as smooth as a baby’s bottom. (He’s made of silicone, by the way, not the elastomer, whatever that is, of Silicon Wives’ doll.) Gabriel was test-driven, so to speak, by sex columnist Karley Sciortino. In a documentary for Vice magazine, she concludes, while breathing heavily: “It feels … absolutely indistinguishable from a real person, except that I’m completely in control.”

So that what it’s about? Control?

Oh, and Gabriel has a detachable eight-inch penis. (A Japanese company offers 11 inches.) It is, say the makers, quite safe to put in the dishwasher. Safe for the penis, that is. One cannot speak of the dishwasher’s reaction.

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Author Shaun de Waal
Shaun De Waal

Shaun de Waal has worked at the Mail & Guardian since 1989. He was literary editor from 1991 to 2006 and chief film critic for 15 years. He is now editor-at-large. Recent publications include Exposure: Queer Fiction, 25 Years of the Mail & Guardian and Not the Movie of the Week.

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