Next-gen sex dolls with personalities are on their way - but what does it mean for our sex lives?

Next gen sex dolls could revolutionise the sex toy industry [Photo: Instagram/Abyssrealdoll]
Next gen sex dolls could revolutionise the sex toy industry [Photo: Instagram/Abyssrealdoll]

A sex doll manufacturer has created a robot that allows users to pick their chosen personality to make their sex doll more like a real woman. But at almost £12K, she doesn’t come cheap.

Meet Harmony. She knows everything about her partner, favourite films, foods and fantasies. For many, Harmony would be the dream girlfriend, but she isn’t a real person – simply a robot designed to take sex dolls to the next, more futuristic, level.

Sold with a personality app that allows the user to shape her personality and behaviour, sex toy company RealDoll has designed the life-like doll so that she can also communicate and answer basic questions.

Part of a new robotics revolution that is seeing artificial intelligence incorporated into an extremely human-like body, according to her makers Harmony 2.0 is the natural next step for sex dolls, being more of a companion than just a pleasure source.

“Many people who may buy a RealDoll because it is sexually capable come to realise it is much more than a sex toy,” Matt McMullen, the chief executive of Abyss Creations, which makes RealDoll told BBC. “It has a presence in their house and they imagine a personality for her. AI gives people the tools to create that personality.”

Caught Harmony beta testing herself today! #realbotix #realdoll #harmonybot #madeinusa #sexrobot

A post shared by RealDoll (@abyssrealdoll) on Apr 5, 2017 at 8:23pm PDT

While many might describe the idea of having sex with a doll somewhat creepy, McMullen described his clients as “completely normal”, but admits that some may choose sex dolls because they find it difficult to form relationships with women.

“Many people are isolated and alone but they were probably that way already,” he explains. “For people who are lonely and find it hard to form a relationship, this is another option. But I’ve never looked at the dolls or the robot as a replacement.”

By the end of the year, clones of Harmony will be available to buy across the globe for the rather fancy price tag of £11,700.

And experts believe it could mark the beginning of a sex doll revolution. Neal Slateford, co-owner of Lovehoney, told Yahoo Style UK that sex dolls were becoming a big trend in the pleasure product industry.

“I have just come back from a trade show in Shanghai and it is what everyone was talking about,” he said.

And it’s not just the fact that the dolls look so life-like that is attracting customers.

“The really exciting development is the fact that they are made from dual density silicone which really does feel like a real human,” he continues. “You press down on it and it is initially soft like real skin but then press further and it is harder – as if you are hitting the bone in a human. It is incredibly life-like.”

Slateford believes the fact that the dolls feel so nice to touch, is the key to their popularity, but he also believes customers could look to buying the dolls to add a new dimension to their sex lives.

“I think the dolls will appeal to couples who are interested in having a threesome but don’t want the emotional difficulties which come from introducing another person into their relationship. A sex doll is the safest way of having a threesome without going to the divorce courts!” he explains.

And like the Harmony dolls’ makers, Slaterford believes companionship could be another big reason people might purchase the high-tech dolls.

“Some people will buy the dolls for companionship more than to have sex with,” he says.

The world's first robot sex doll.

A post shared by RealDoll (@abyssrealdoll) on Feb 2, 2017 at 10:05am PST

But some experts are warning that those relying on robots for intimate relationships could risk struggling to reconnect with real people.

“Sex with a robot is just a fake imitation. And it can lead to psychopathic disorders and isolation,” Sexologist Lev Shcheglov told Sputnik.

“Sex with robots won’t bring into a person’s life the emotion effect that gives us a true communion. You can eat pseudo-food to still hunger. But over time it will still end badly.”

Prof Kathleen Richardson, a robot ethicist at De Montfort University, Leicester, agrees that the rise of sex doll robots could have a negative impact on society.

“There are seven billion people on our planet and we are having a crisis in people forming relationships. And companies are coming along and profiting from this by saying objects can take the place of a human being,” she told BBC.

“We live in a world that objectivises sex through prostitution. Humans are used like tools, and sex dolls are an extension of this.”

But others believe that the realistic dolls are a welcome development to the sex toy industry.

“If people want to live out their sex fantasies in this way, then why not?” asks Neil Slateford.

Who would you choose?

A post shared by RealDoll (@abyssrealdoll) on Mar 21, 2017 at 1:19pm PDT

According to Slateford, online sex retailer Lovehoney has been selling increasingly sophisticated versions of the 1970s-style blow-up dolls for years. Its most expensive line is Deluxe Teddy Babe Sex Doll .which sells for £749.99.

“What makes the new sex dolls unique is they are much more lifelike, they can move and new apps are being developed so that they can have different personalities,” he explains.

“The new designs are massive stop forward. It really does feel like being with someone real and their hands and other parts of their body can be moved by the customers to suit their needs. They have what is known as moulded movement.”

Though Slateford believes that sex dolls will remain a ‘niche’ product for the next few years, he expects that to change over time as prices reduce and dolls like Harmony become increasingly sophisticated.

“They will never be a substitute for real sex but they can offer people a new way of enjoying sex toys and achieving sexual happiness,” he adds.

“And that has to be a good thing.”

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