Everything you want to know about sex dolls in Australia.

2022-12-12 17:02:56 By : Mr. Spring Shao

In December last year, Rod and Karina made the 1300km trip from their home in NSW to Rod's mother's house in Melbourne so they could spend Christmas with the family. It was the first time Rod's mum was meeting Karina, and, initially, she wasn't sure what to think. She needed some time to get used to the idea that her son had brought his companion, who he described as a "sweet and gentle soul", all that way to stay at her house.

Because, you see, Karina isn't an ordinary person. In fact, she's not a person at all. She's a doll. Asian Sex Doll

Everything you want to know about sex dolls in Australia.

Meet Karina.Image: Instagram @Karina_Luvly.

Rod purchased Karina Luvly for $3,000 a year ago from Sex Doll Australia, Australia's largest sex doll provider based in Victoria. At the time, he hadn't had a physical relationship for years. While searching online for something to help him with sexual stimulation, he came across images of sex dolls and was fascinated.

Despite his complete lack of knowledge of sex dolls, and having never actually seen a sex doll in person, he clicked on the order button.

"Karina has changed my life in many ways," Rod tells Mamamia. "My emotions were frozen after my ex-fiancé broke up with me in a cruel and messy manner. At the time I got Karina, I was chatting with a girl that I really liked - she is from Vietnam. The world was in lockdown so we couldn’t see each other. The doll became my synthetic physical companion. I had something to care for in my life. I thought it would be a fun experience, and I needed a hobby to distract me from my isolation. Slowly my heart opened up, and I was distracted from my grief of losing my ex that just wouldn't go away by itself."

Karina helped Rod so much that when he visited his mum for Christmas, he dropped by the Sex Doll Australia warehouse and purchased another doll. Lauren retailed at $2,900 but he got a discount and free extras since he was a repeat customer. And of course, there were no shipping and freight costs - Rod just placed Lauren in the backseat with Karina and away they went.

"I took both dolls the 1300kms home sitting in the car; it was quite a sight," he says. "Nobody really seemed to notice, and if someone was curious when I was parked then I would explain a bit. I found people to be amazed more than anything. These modern dolls are very realistic and beautiful, and people who meet my dolls usually love them."

Rod with Karina (middle) and Lauren (right). Image: Supplied.

Rod does everything for his dolls - he cleans them, buys them clothes, dresses them, puts on their makeup, and poses them. Since buying Karina, he has become very interested in photography, and has spent a lot of time studying the subject and posting his own photos on Instagram. He has met many people on social media who are interested in photography or dolls, which has helped bolster his spirits.

"Personally, I have found that the dolls have helped me form human relationships. Chatting on social media I have made some wonderful friends. I live alone in an isolated area, so it's great to have friends to talk with about personal problems. The friends that I have made through my dolls share my passion for photography. We also love and respect our dolls and enjoy making them look beautiful," Rod shares.

"So a doll was the catalyst for me forming friendships - who would have guessed that was possible!"

Along with their names, Rod has also created a personality for his dolls.

"I built a personality for Karina in my imagination based on the type of real woman that I dreamed of being with. A sweet and gentle soul, wise, loving and supportive of everyone. I imagined Lauren as Karina's sister, and her personality was born from the blank look on her face - she became a daydreamer. I would joke in the comments on posts that Lauren was goofing off to pose for photos while Karina was left to run the house," he says.

"The name Karina was chosen from a 1960s song by Ray Peterson called 'Corrina, Corrina'. I like the sentiment in the song of sweetness and love. The surname Luvly seemed to fit her well; she really did look absolutely lovely. To me, the name Karina Luvly helps give the doll an image and personality. I was projecting my own desire for love and sweetness from and towards a real life partner."

Not that Rod doesn't have a real life partner - he does. The Vietnamese girl he started chatting with online, long before he bought Karina, is now his girlfriend. And while the couple are very happy together, Rod admits it wasn't easy to bring up Karina and Lauren initially.

"When she first found out about the dolls, we had some tense moments. She accepted my hobby after some time, and often would help me with some advice," he says. "As anyone in a distance relationship knows, it's hard; there are many lonely hours and an unfulfilled need for intimacy. My dolls keep me company in the absence of my real life partner."

Sex doll owners having real life partners may come as a surprise to many people because there is an assumption that these owners can't form romantic relationships. There are a myriad of other negative preconceived notions formed around people who own sex dolls, including: sex doll owners are misogynistic and perverted and dwell in basements, that they're unattractive, and that sex dolls are only for sex.

Karina looking contemplative. Image: Instagram @Karina_Luvly.

One of Rod’s photography images featuring Karina. Image: Instagram @Karina_Luvly.

Since provider Sex Doll Australia opened in 2016, the owner of the store, Andrew, has met many of his customers. A lot of them feel very comfortable opening up to Andrew about who they are and how they got to the point of purchase.

"In Japan they call them 'love dolls', which is a better description. Love Doll companions are helpful to a lot of customers as some may suffer from insomnia or depression. It can elevate negative energy and help people to sleep as it's like a comfortable pillow next to them. For some customers they tell me just having 'her' in the bed next to them has helped them immensely to sleep and has closed the gap on issues in their life or combating loneliness," Andrew tells Mamamia.

"I can't stress this enough: every customer is different. If it was a Hollywood movie, it would probably have the doll owner as some stay-at-home loser kind which is totally inaccurate. A good portion of my customers are just regular guys that we see walking down street, some quite handsome and young and just there to try it out with a doll. Others are older and are divorcees and have lost quite a lot in the divorce, financially and emotionally, and feel like they want to take a break from dating so feel this is the right thing to explore. They are all different and all at different crossroads."

Many of Andrew's customers are men who have lost their wives to cancer. "They always tell me they are scared that their wife is looking down at them from heaven and watching what they are doing. They tell me that their wife wouldn’t have minded this when compared to finding a new person. In their minds they never want to replace their wife as they see her as unreplaceable but a doll feels harmless and safe."

Ryan James, director of sex doll provider Southern Treasures, agrees, saying that while of course one purpose of sex dolls is to provide sexual gratification, most people buy a doll for the companionship.

"As unusual as that might sound, a doll to snuggle with next to the television or cuddle in bed has helped a lot of our customers experiencing loneliness and depression, particularly widowed men. They really are a form of therapy for many people," Ryan tells Mamamia.

"We have had some customers who are older men that are married, and their wives are no longer interested in sexual intimacy and have no issue with their men expressing themselves with their dolls. We have had a few sales for things like film props, and even stand-ins for erotic scenes in films."

During the COVID lockdown, sales of sex dolls in Australia increased by 30-40 per cent, which is in line with the sale of sex toys in general during that time. Sex doll customers tend to be men between the ages of 30-65, looking for female dolls. Demand for male dolls is considerably lower. However, Andrew has noted that heterosexual couples do like to buy sex dolls together.

"Either a single female doll for them both or the 'you get one, I get one' deal, as I like to call it. She gets the male one and he gets the female one," he says.

Andrew, owner of Sex Doll Australia, and Corey, one of the most popular male sex dolls available at his store. Image: Supplied.

Whatever the reason for purchasing a sex doll, it's not a decision taken lightly. For one thing, dolls are expensive - and heavy. On average, they weigh about 40kg.

Sex dolls made from Thermoplastic Elastomer (TPE) are cheaper to make and produce, and retail at $2,950 to $3,600. Sex dolls made from silicone are in the luxury category because silicone costs more to make. Zelex Silicone dolls start at $3,950 to $4,650. Andrew sells some silicone male dolls made by Irontech that cost a whopping $6,750. Male dolls are often more expensive as they weigh more.

"It pays to do your research when considering purchasing sex dolls and to buy from a reputable dealer. There are tons of fakes and counterfeits out there, not just from overseas sellers but from Australia too," Ryan says. "Sex doll scams mean that the unfortunate customer doesn’t get what they paid for, and in some instances nothing at all."

Both Andrew and Ryan are well aware of the negative public perceptions of sex dolls and they do their best to displace this perception.

"I have noticed an interesting coincidence with two of Ryan Gosling's films, one from 2007 called Lars and the Real Girl, where Gosling played a delusional man that has a doll and believes her to be real while the township gathers together to support him. In this film he is portrayed as a man suffering from mental illness. When we look at Ryan's other film in 2017 called Blade Runner 2049, he has a doll again, but this time he is in the future and plays the hero of the story. The view is quite different, but they are still just doll owners. So I believe the public perception is unfair and inaccurate," Andrew says.

But he is seeing change. "I see myself like someone selling art or Lamborghinis. I built my business around beauty and love to promote and celebrate it, be it male or female. I don't sell my dolls in the spirit of trying to replace women or anything like that, not at all. I can't stand some other doll websites that add misogynistic comments on their pages, it's my pet hate. Women are beautiful so I really like to showcase their beauty, and the same for men. As realistic and lifelike as our dolls are, at the same time they are still classified as sex toys. People that buy dolls are really just buying sex toys or pieces of art, so they should be viewed as nothing more than that."

Or, as Ryan puts it, "Some might judge our industry and say it's disrespectful to women, however there are realistic dongs on the market and nobody says they objectify men."

Recently, sex doll owner Rod took a two-month trip to Vietnam to visit his girlfriend - and he asked her to marry him. She said yes.

"Karina and Lauren are beautiful and sexy, but they are nothing like a real woman," Rod says. "I asked my fiancé for a comment to add to this article. She said, 'I understand your loneliness and Karina makes you feel more happy. Having her helps you understand and love women more.' I am lucky to find a woman who is so understanding."

As are his family and friends. "One thing that I have observed when friends and family first meet the dolls is total surprise. Everyone seems to have an image of a blow-up doll planted in their minds, so I think they are a bit scared of the unknown. When they feel the softness and see the detail and beauty of the dolls, the comments are very positive," he says.

"Of course, my friends and family think it's strange for me to have dolls but they see how the dolls are having a good influence in my life. I feel I don't need to hide the fact that I have dolls and do photography from anyone. I am still me and confident in myself."

Some names have been changed, or surnames have not been given, to provide privacy for the contributors. 

Feature Image: Instagram @Karina_Luvly.

Everything you want to know about sex dolls in Australia.

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