The Sex Doll Apartment That Courted Controversy

Despite often being described as sex dolls, it is not entirely an accurate descriptor, as many realistic dolls provide more to the people who buy them than sex.

They can offer companionship, comfort and safety for people who need those aspects of an intimate relationship in their life, and a Parisian entrepreneur looking to bring this to people who could not afford the initial price walked into a storm of controversy.

Whilst not the first private doll apartment in existence, with one in Japan and three others in Europe, Xdolls ended up inadvertently raising questions about the service they provided people and whether it fell foul of French law.

Specifically, Xdolls was a business registered as a “gaming centre” that took the form of a private apartment where people could pay to spend time with a realistic silicone doll.

However, members of the French Communist Party who were on the Council of Paris objected to the business, claiming that the business operated as a brothel, which would by extension mean that the dolls were prostitutes under this definition.

Operating a brothel has been illegal in France since 1946, and prostitution has been illegal since 2016, although debates continue about whether this should be the case and whether the law has been effective or not.

This, alongside complaints from the anti-prostitution group Movement du Nid, led to a police investigation into Xdolls and whether it violated any laws as a business.

Ultimately, after their visit, the police found that the company had not broken any laws, and specifically had not broken the law surrounding running an illegal brothel, noting that since they are not real women, they cannot be prostitutes.


Sex dolls are not illegal to own nor to sell in France, falling under the category of other sex toys, so it is difficult to see how it could possibly have been considered to be illegal, and had it been banned there would have been significant implications. 

August 30, 2023


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