The Evolution of Sex Dolls and Their Robotic Future

We are living during an incredible time of progress for artificial lovers.

Sex dolls have long fascinated humans.

In fact, the fantasy of creating the ideal partner goes as far back as ancient history with the Greek myth Pygmalion. In this classic tale, the sculptor carves his concept of the perfect woman out ivory and then brings her to life.

While today fully functional sex robots that could be mistaken as human don’t yet exist, looking at the evolution of sex dolls shows this is more than just a pipe dream. Our historical dedication to building synthetic lovers suggests we’re headed for a future with incredibly lifelike sex dolls and robots

Dutch wives

We can thank Dutch sailors from the 17th century for inventing the first sex dolls. Often lonely and deprived of physical affection while on long voyages, the men would bring them along to satisfy their sexual needs.

Fashioned out of cloth and old clothes, these predecessors to modern sex dolls were called “Dutch wives” by the Japanese.

Commercial dolls

Jump ahead to the 20th century, and we’ll find some of the first recorded accounts of sex dolls manufactured for public sale.

In the book The Sexual Life of Our Time in its Relations to Modern Civilization by Iwan Bloch, he writes about artificial lovers constructed in 1908 with “pornographic technology.” Made to resemble both men and women, they came equipped with pneumatic tubes and rubber and plastic genitals. Their body parts not only imitated the human form, but also simulated some sexual acts and functions

The popular children’s doll Barbie also claims a special role in the evolution of sex dolls.

Released in the 1950s in Germany, the small 11.5-inch Bild Lilli doll was designed to resemble a well-known and sexy comic-strip character. While it was not possible to penetrate the doll, it was designed for adult men in particular and also served as inspiration for Barbie.

Silicone vs. TPE

Although sex dolls continued to be advertised throughout the 20th century, with inflatable sex dolls also gaining in popularity, it wasn’t until the end of this period that new technologies and manufacturers helped take lifelike sex dolls to a whole new level of realism and quality.

It was then that hyper-realistic and custom-made sex dolls made from silicone surged in popularity. This material feels very similar to human skin and added to the consumer’s sensory experience, both in terms of the body generally and the genitals of the sex dolls in particular.

But while silicone has improved the quality of some sex dolls, it also comes with a steep price tag costing as much as $10,000 or more.

The use of thermoplastic elastomers has made sex dolls considerably more affordable while still maintaining the feel of realistic skin.


In the last few years, companies around the globe have begun incorporating robotics and artificial intelligence into their sex dolls. Not only can their appearances be customized to your liking, but they can also speak, learn your name, and make small movements.

They can’t yet move in all the ways that humans can, but their unbelievable features and realism will make you do a double take

This recent boom in development has resulted in much more sophisticated sex dolls, which have grabbed significant media attention.

As a result, not only does this forecast a future filled with highly lifelike synthetic companions. Their growing popularity and advances in their technology suggest sex dolls are headed into the mainstream and that it is becoming more acceptable to own one.

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