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A brief history of sex dolls

Let’s face it, when most people hear the word “sex doll” their mind jumps to those early 1970s inflatable blow-up dolls, you know the ones. The ones that are reminiscent of a frozen Munch-like Scream of perpetual terror somehow having been crossed with a rubber chicken.


Sex Doll Scream


Thankfully, the times have moved on. Today we have modern methods of fabrication using TPE and silicone, with poseable skeletons and fully customizable dolls which create amazing ultra life-like look and feel. Nowadays, you’re much more likely to hear someone exclaim “Woah! I thought that was a real person!” The choice today is phenomenal, and our manufacturers just keep raising the bar.


So when was the first sex doll?

In ancient Greece, historical documents tell of several instances where men fell in love with sculptures (not sex dolls, but we'll get to that...) Praxiteles was the first to sculpt a full-size nude statue, his most famous statue was Aphrodite of Cnidus.

It was said that a young man was so taken aback with it, that he ejaculated on the leg and stained it! Perhaps this wasn't particularly shocking within a culture which gave us the myth of Pygmalion: the sculptor who made a statue so beautiful he fell in love with it...

In the 3rd century AD, Athenaeus wrote that a man from Selymbria was so in love with a statue of Aphrodite that he locked himself inside her temple just to get some alone time.  He had a little trouble with the stone though, finding it a bit cold and inelastic – imagine what he’d think with the dolls we can get these days!

At the end of the dark ages and into the age of the long seafaring voyages of the 1500s, sailors who were craving the companionship of women would fashion dolls made from cloth and leather. The French called these ‘dames de voyage’, the English called them ‘dutch wives’ after the dutch sailors who would use them. These were probably amongst the first dolls ever designed for sex, and the term ‘dutch wives’ is still used in Japan to this day, due to the Dutch sailors who traded their dolls with the Japanese in the 18th century.

Not long after this, E. T. A. Hoffman penned his work “The Sandman” about a boy who gives up on love with a woman and falls in love with an automaton.  After seeing this work performed, artist Hans Bellmer became so inspired he began creating erotic dolls with moveable ball joints in the 1930s


Hans Bellmer Doll
Hans Bellmer doll, source:

It wasn’t until the early 1900s when dolls began to be mass manufactured. Around 1904 they started appearing in French catalogues, where newly discovered plastics were used with rubber to create a more life-like doll. These may have been the first to feature life-like genitalia and even included a tube through which oil could lubricate the vagina.

Famously in 1918, the artist Oskar Kokoschka split with the love of his life Alma Mahler. Deciding he did not want to go through with love again, he commissioned what would be the first custom doll for companionship, and even had his wife’s old seamstress make clothes for her. He made many paintings and drawings of the doll before finally destroying it in the hopes of forgetting Alma.


Alma Doll by Oskar Kokoschka

Oskar Kokoschka's Alma Doll, source:


Despite the popularity of inflatable vinyl, latex and silicone sex dolls in America in the 60s and 70s, it wasn’t until 1987 before they were allowed to be imported and sold in the United Kingdom. And just in time too, as 5 years later high-end silicone sex dolls hit the mass market. Since then major improvements in material and manufacture have taken place to give us today’s market of TPE and platinum silicone dolls.

The Future of Sex Dolls

As we can see, dolls for love and companionship have been with us for pretty much all of recorded history! It is our belief that they are on the cusp of mainstream acceptance. With the rise of robotics and automation, things are only improving and becoming more and more popular by the day... 

Louie (from Silicone Lovers) recently stated in an interview with The Daily Star: “I really think AI and robotics are going to be huge for the sex doll industry, this is really where the market is heading. From what I’ve seen, there’s some mind-blowing stuff in the pipeline and I can’t wait to share it with our customers!”


March 16, 2020