Date of Award

8-2012

Degree Name

MS in Psychology

Department

Psychology & Child Development

Advisor

J.K. Moreno

Abstract

Over the last fifteen years, the sex doll industry has grown from producing inexpensive novelty items to creating a multimillion-dollar global industry featuring high- quality, realistic love dolls. These dolls are designed and advertised for sexual stimulation, companionship, artistic representations of human fantasy, and other creative pursuits, such as photography. Made of flesh-like silicone, modern sex dolls sell from $3,500-$10,000.

The use of human simulacra for sexual stimulation is an enduring practice. However, the psychological community has said little on the subject. Early sexologists briefly reference Agalmatophilia or Statuphilia, a rare sexual attachment to statues. Today, the sex doll phenomenon appears increasingly prevalent across the globe. Media coverage of this phenomenon has been featured in online magazines, television programs, music, documentaries and major motion pictures. More often than not, sex doll-ownership is portrayed as pathological. Sex doll-owners are members of a marginalized population, and accessing the population is challenging as many members of the community wish to remain anonymous for fear of judgment, persecution, and psychiatric labeling.

The purpose of this study was to increase psychology’s understanding of this interesting and growing population. Specifically, a 45-item online survey addressing demographics was constructed and assessed. Additionally, participants were asked to describe their relationship status, doll-ownership status, and satisfaction with human and sex doll partners, including sexual satisfaction and performance. Quality of life was also assessed via the Satisfaction with Life Scale (SWLS).

Sixty-one participants were recruited from an online doll-owner community forum. It was hypothesized that most doll-owners sampled would be middle-aged, White, single, heterosexual males who are neither significantly better nor worse in terms of psycho-sexual functioning and life satisfaction than the general population. Descriptive data and statistical analysis partially supported the hypotheses. Implications and future direction are discussed, as are methodological considerations.

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