Sex dolls used to be inflatable and made of vinyl or latex and had only a passing resemblance to reality. Most of the more sophisticated dolls we see now are created by artist Matt McMullen, who about a decade ago was experimenting with materials for
sculpture. He started working on a lifelike silicone female mannequin and documented the progress on his website He then became inundated with requests if they could be used as sex dolls.
The demand was so strong that he decided to make the dolls anatomically correct and the extremely life-like RealDoll.com was born . Over the years, the company has perfected the dolls to make them look even more realistic; they are custom-produced
with a variety of wigs, skin and eye colour, genitalia type and size, and other body proportions. A basic doll retails for $6000 upwards.
The movie Lars and The Real Girl features a RealDoll, with an extensive scene showing the RealDoll.com website. However, Lars didn't order the doll to use as a sex toy. He acts as if she is human, by giving her a name, Bianca, and pretending she
is his girlfriend. He introduces her to his family and the people in his small community. Lars is very concerned to keep the relationship between him and Bianca pure, and she sleeps next door with his brother and sister-in-law. The story may sound a bit
silly but it's an endearing movie and has a lovely ending.
Apparently RealDolls are quite popular in Australia. Dr Cathleen Maslen from the University of Western Australia has studied the RealDoll subculture and believes that despite the sexual marketing, not all the men who order them perceive their dolls as
sexual objects. Some men view them as an alternative to having a relationship and take pleasure in buying them clothes and dressing them up. McMullen believes that for men without a choice, or with social interaction problems, having a doll as a
companion or for physical needs is better than having no one.
In Japan, a high-tech industry is constantly looking at ways to make dolls look more real. The dolls have realistic-to-touch skin and authentic-looking eyes, and some have moveable joints. They are sold under the name of Dutch Wives, a reference to
hand-sewn leather masturbation puppets made by the 17th -century Dutch sailors who were trading with the Japanese.