Love dolls are created from 100% silicone and feel just like the real thing, if you have R80 000 to blow away.Pictures: Pixabay

The blow-up doll has finally entered the 21st century; but the question is whether they’re about to make women sexually redundant. Marchelle Abrahams reports

She looks like you – heck she could look like Angelina Jolie if you wanted – worse she feels just like you after a silky smooth shave. Oh, and she can bend over like a pretzel.

Women everywhere are in trouble.

The blow-up doll of angsty teen movies has evolved. Bridget as she is called, is a love doll made from 100% silicone.

All we can say is thank goodness she’s not cheap.

Costing a cool R80 000, Bridget is made to order. You can have her made into a replica of your favourite movie star, ex-girlfriend, or any other creepy image you come up with.

She weighs 100kg and did we mention she can be bent to any position possible. The future of sex dolls, indeed of sex and society, is about to turn a corner.

The evolution of sex dolls and the effects it could have on relationships was a topic up for discussion in last week’s episode of Carte Blanche. Presenter Bongani Bingwa took viewers into a world where sex meets technology.

The bottom line is that advancements in adult entertainment mean big bucks.

The adult entertainment industry is worth about $23 billion (R295b) internationally and technological advancements are set to bolster those figures.

Adult World owner Arthur Calamaras knows this and is tapping into the market already.

Just recently Abyss Creations, the US company behind the world famous RealDoll, released Harmony AI, an app with a “brain” to help your silicone RealDoll cater to your every whim.

Created by the company’s subsidiary called Realbotix, the AI app is the precursor to Abyss’s future female sexbots (also known as gynoids).

Abyss CEO Matt McMullen told publication Future Of Sex during an interview that the app’s foundation is genderless – once “the male version of the app is complete, subscribers will be able to easily choose different genders when creating their AIs,” he said.

Technically, this could make men redundant as well, but if there’s a gender which would blow R80000 on a doll, our money’s on the guys.

But what effect will this have on inter-personal relationships?

Relationship expert Kas Naidoo thinks the development of personal sex robots can only spell disaster.

“We live in a world where human connection has been replaced by apps and social media. We already have fewer conversations where we can actually see the expression on a loved one’s face or hear the emotion in their voice,” she says.

However, she says there is no replacement for the human touch.

“A doll is certainly not going to love you back; it’s not going to appreciate you or acknowledge you in the way we all crave.”

Maybe as a society we’re hooked on instant gratification, and a doll fills this desire?

Naidoo tends to disagree: “We all deserve love and happiness and while a doll may give you short-term ecstasy, it cannot give you the deep, loving, intimate relationship you truly desire.”

In the movie her, a lonely writer develops an unlikely relationship with an operating system designed to meet his every need.

Trottla, a company that produces anatomically correct imitations of girls as young as 5, caused controversy when owner Shin Takagi said they would start manufacturing sex dolls for paedophiles to control their urges.

There was an obvious public outcry, but Takagi said they are a tool for those who, like him, struggle with an ongoing sexual attraction towards children.

He told the UK’s Mirror: “We should accept that there is no way to change someone’s fetishes. I am helping people express their desires, legally and ethically. It’s not worth living if you have to live with repressed desire.”

One could also argue that the creation of these life-like dolls may lead to a decrease in human trafficking or even rape cases.

But one UK prison inmate has gone even further. Jack Swarez, serving 17 years in jail, started a campaign calling for all prisoners to be issued sex dolls because UK prisons don’t allow conjugal visits.

The implications of perpetuating the objectification of women in these instances are scary.

On a lighter note, sex dolls may come to the rescue of lonely hearts or couples in long-distance relationships.

For example new advancements in technology are aimed at allowing couples who live on opposite ends of the world to have intercourse or be intimate in virtual reality.

Avatars are now part of virtual reality.

The Kissenger allows users to transmit realistic kissing sensations to a partner in real time; while immersive sensual suits are fitted with haptic feedback to enhance a feeling of presence.

More alternatives and less reason to compromise could make us more complacent in our relationships.

In fact they might negate them altogether.

Naidoo says we’re going at it all wrong.

“We need to create more opportunities to socialise and meet new people if we are lonely instead of creating one more way to survive alone.

“As human beings become commodities and space and flesh lose values, there are those of us who will surely make the relationships we have more meaningful and sadly, those who may never get the chance.”