I’m in Love With a Sex Doll

Nov 13, 2014 at 7:30 AM ET

In the ’90s, the sculptor Matt McMullen designed a mannequin to give clothing stores something more flexible and attractive than your typical, standard model. Soon after, he got a strange, little request: Make your mannequins anatomically correct.

Today Matt’s company, Abyss Creation, sells around 400 dolls a year, each of them taking about 80 hours to produce. Clients can customize features, including the body, face, eyes and hair. Prices range from $6,500 to over $51,000—and, yes, each is realistic in every possible way.

Worldwide the “real doll” community is growing fast. At, aspiring and active owners can share their experiences with the 41,000 users who love these artificial ladies. There, they can speak freely and share pictures of their dolls without being judged. There are also a virtual marketplaces where dolls old and new are bought and sold, as well as offline meetings where owners can show off their dolls.

Despite interest in their anatomical correctness, doll owners don’t leave their plastic partners naked all the time. There are, of course, clothes, accessories and makeup to be bought—just as there are for real women.

Most doll owners use them as sex toys to satisfy their erotic fantasies, but some also use their latex companions as art and photographic objects. A select 10 percent see their dolls as actual spouses, moving them around the house as the day goes by.

These are the men featured here—men who care about their dolls and treat them with respect like beloved material possessions, dear friends or even partners. Many of them harbor deep concerns about how society would perceive them if their love were to go public. They fear that their relationship with fake women might destroy their chances of meeting real ones.

All the owners I met for this photo-essay were very picky about their dolls, making sure their hair and clothes were perfect before I started shooting. They all have different stories and reasons for being part of the doll community. Some are married and have kids. Others are divorced. One left his wife shortly before they were supposed to tie the knot.

For these men, the dolls provide comfort. After all, they’re someone who will always be there to come home to, someone who will remain by their side forever.