The Best Sex Dolls: A Buyer’s Guide

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If you are thinking of buying a sex doll then don’t hit the checkout until you’ve read this guide.

When most people think of a sex doll, they think of a cheap inflatable toy with a comically wide open mouth and bright pink skin. The sex doll has been a staple of adult toy stores for decades and is as much a right of passage for teenage boys as it is for bachelorette parties. Technology has advanced and sex dolls are getting more and more realistic with the latest generation even offering artificial intelligence.

In this feature, we take a look at the history of the sex doll, the current choices on the market as well as cover the various options you have when selecting one.

What is a Sex Doll?

Known by many other names including blowup-doll, male masturbation mannequin, Dutch Wives, dame de voyage, fornicatory doll or love doll, the term ‘sex doll’ covers any type of sex toy that is formed in an approximation of the human body (usually) for sexual stimulation. Both male and female sex dolls are available, as are transgender models.

Male sex dolls can have a phallus whilst female sex dolls may have several orifices through which penetrative sex can be achieved.

They can be full sized or constitute a component part of the human body such as the ass, vagina, mouth and penis.

It is estimated that only 10% of the sex doll market is for male love dolls and the majority of these are sold to gay men. Women are a minority group for the sale of sex dolls.

Sex dolls have become incredibly sophisticated over the years, to the point where the top end models are no longer known as sex dolls – but rather…. sex robots.

History of Sex Dolls

The first documented evidence of a ‘sex doll’ can be found in Ancient Greek literature from the poetry of Ovid’s Metamorphoses. In the text, Ovid retells a popular story of Pygmalion of Cyprus. The artist, Pygmalion, was known for sculpting and, in particular, his rendition of a woman made from ivory whom he called Galatea.

Pygmalion became obsessed with his artwork and even used her form to take his sexual pleasure with. Legend has it that Aphrodite (the Greek goddess of love) took pity on him and eventually turned Galatea into a real woman.

history of sex dolls
Louis Dorigny’s ‘Galatea’ demonstrates why Pygmalion was obsessed with his creation. Image via Wikimedia.

Using an approximation of the female form for sexual stimulation is common across many cultures throughout history with some being well documented, including a gardener in 1877 who was found attempting to have sex with a statue of the Venus de Milo.

Sailors during the 15th century were also known to use sex dolls as a means to make their extended sea voyages less ‘dry’. Crude dolls were fashioned from canvas and sailcloth and reportedly passed around the crew to enjoy as they saw fit. No doubt  these objects were incredibly unhygienic and probably stiff from overuse but were very popular with European seamen including the Dutch. It is the latter from which the Japanese term for cheap sex dolls (Dutch Wives) was derived. These simple dolls were also known as dame de voyage, dame de vinje’ or ‘Seemannsbraut’.

The most recent incarnation of the sex doll was invented in the 1940s and is rumoured to have been started by the Nazis. Intent of finding a way to deter their troops from having sex whilst invading Europe, the inflatable sex doll was apparently developed under a project named ‘Borghild Field-Hygiene’. The story goes that all men were issued with one such sex doll in an effort to prevent STDs among the troops. Though many people debunk the myth due to lack of evidence, the fact that all subsequent sex dolls retain the Aryan ideal female does perpetuate its inclusion in the history of the sex doll.

It wasn’t until the mid-twentieth century that mas production of sex dolls began to hit sex shops with blow-up dolls becoming a principle product of many stores. Technological development continued throughout the 1980s and 1990s to replace PVC with silicone and rubber for more realistic textures.

By 1996, the American company, Real Dolls, had introduced a solid latex sex doll that offered greater posing options as well as a more durable end-product.

real doll sex dolls
Hand-crafted love dolls makes Real Dolls one of the premium suppliers. Image via RealDolls.

In the late 1990s, Howard Stern virtually had sex on air with one of these doll swhich he had ordered in order to review. Sales for the model were boosted by the performance and some people credit Stern with kick starting the industry.

The Asian market came into its own in the early noughties and had found a niche for itself , producing advanced dolls of a high-quality but at lower prices than the US and Europe. They are now the world’s leading producer of silicone and TPE sex dolls.

Current Market: Types of Sex Doll

Thankfully, in today’s market, you don’t have to resort to cloth dolls or even settle for cheaply made inflatables. Developments in technology now mean that sex dolls come in a range of variations from solid silicone dolls to ultra-realistic models that feature artificial intelligence. Of course, you can still opt for a disposable blow-up doll if you prefer…

Choosing a Sex Doll

The principle governing factor of buying a sex doll is invariably one of budget. It goes without saying that you get what you pay for in terms of quality and spending anything less than $100 is only going to buy you an inferior product with a limited life.

There are some options available for those who have a limited amount of money to spend and you could consider a butt/vagina or simple torso product. A cheaper alternative, these standalone male masturbators are reasonable quality silicone body components.

sex doll vagina
You can buy components of a sex doll more cheaply than forking out for a fullsize model. Image via Wikimedia.

It is worth saving for the best sex doll you can afford to minimise wasting your money on buying several substandard toys.

A mid-range sex doll can be purchased for between $500 and $1000 with more sophisticated dolls being priced between $2000 to $4000. You can also buy high-quality custom-made dolls from $3500. The top limit for sex dolls is between $6000 and $10000 for those with some semblance of artificial intelligence.

Those on a budget – and willing to wait a while for shipping – may wish to look at buying ‘direct’ through platforms like AliExpress. There are some serious savings to be had.


The budget end of the sex doll market are the inflatable models which are generally made of PVC. The build quality varies but this material is not very durable for a product which takes a bit of pounding and are notoriously prone to punctures, rips and tears. A synthetic material that bears no resemblance to real skin, PVC is cold and stiff. Inflatable dolls also have a great deal of unnatural ‘give’ and these products do not possess an internal frame (or skeleton).

sex doll history
Blow up dolls are cheap and easy to buy but are notorious for punctures. Image via Flickr.

Mid-range dolls can be built using metal skeletons (usually something tough like titanium) over which a silicone skin is layered or can be made of solid rubber and/or silicone. The inner structure makes the dolls more rigid and they can often be posed to suit the user. Silicone has a much more lifelike texture whilst being hygienic.

Some manufacturers also use foam based dolls which are lighter than other models and can weigh as little as 20 lbs.

High-end dolls are more commonly made using an articulated skeleton covered by TPE and/or silicone.

When it comes to the business end of your doll, you will want a cavity that is soft and welcoming. PVC is notoriously scratchy at the seams whilst thermoplastic elastomers (TPE) vaginas are silky and in texture.

TPE is more natural but less durable than silicone offering a realistic ‘jiggle’ when it comes to breasts and ass. It is also cheaper than silicone but requires more care when it comes to hygiene, storage and use.

One consideration when it comes to materials is the weight of your sex doll. Solid dolls can be pretty heavy and weigh as much as 150 lbs. If you have mobility issues or cannot lift such weights then you might want to re-think the materials or size.


Most sex dolls feature at least two orifices and come with an open vagina and mouth. Some also feature an anal cavity. When choosing a doll, you will need to decide on whether you want a built-in cavity or one which can be removed for easier cleaning. Some manufacturers also offer options when it comes to the size of the cavity including depth and girth.

Some manufacturers offer a wide range of choices when it comes to the vaginal inserts so you can select a more visually pleasing model. If you select a product with a removable vagina then you could select interchangeable types to vary your experience a little.

Some orifices feature vibration devices for added stimulation.

Custom Features

Some companies have a selection of pre-designed models in which you cannot vary the body type, hair, eye or skin colour. There is a good variety of sex dolls to choose from but if you have something very specific in mind then you can always opt for a custom-build model.

Though more expensive, a custom designed sex doll will allow you to choose how the end-product will look. Common features which can be tailored to suit a customers requirements include:

  • Height
  • Breast size
  • Eye colour
  • Hair colour
  • Skin colour
  • Lip colour
  • Fingernail/toenail colour
  • Tattoos
  • Piercings
  • Freckles
  • Head shape
  • Hairstyle
  • Pubic hair style and colour
  • Hand punched eyebrows
  • Eyeline style and colour
  • Elf ears
  • Nipple size and colour

It is not uncommon for people to design a sex doll based on a partner or individual though many manufacturers will not perform this kind of ‘cloning’ service.

Additional Features

Some dolls are supplied with heating rods which can be inserted into the vaginal or anal cavity to make the internal temperature more realistic and comfortable. This feature is also built-in to some models.

The incorporation of artificial intelligence is still developing and there are varying levels of interaction that you can expect from a luxury, high-end sex doll. Some have internal heating, self lubrication and touch sensors whilst others simply have voice recognition software. The most advanced systems use technology which deliver very realistic results.

Some suppliers offer dolls which are licensed by porn stars that have been created in their image. Others can offer transgender converters to adapt your sex dolls gender.

Most of the high-end manufacturers provide suitable storage containers for your sex doll but you can also purchase stands for your doll allowing them to be stored and posed in an upright position.

Best Sex Doll Suppliers

Silicone Wives

Founded in 2015, Silicone Wives is a supplier of luxury love dolls based in the USA. They manufacture their product in China and supply products within 2-3 weeks from placement of order.

They supply a range of sex dolls from simple torsos and lifelike silicone ass and vaginas to lifelike, fullsize dolls.

Prices vary but you can find an option from as little as $250 up to $3k.

OV Dolls

OV Dolls is a Japanese company selling a range of love dolls through an online shop across Europe, Asia and the USA. They manufacture their products in China and offer a custom-build or off the shelf service. Their range of dolls starts at $680 and goes up to around $2,000.

Real Doll

An American company and one of the original developers of the modern love doll, Real Doll’s current range was first introduced in 1996 and partly owes its success to the high profile antics of Howard Stern.

All of their products are crafted in the USA.

The current range includes a range of dolls based on porn stars from the Wicked Studios as well as classic designs and custom build services. They are a high-end supplier with prices starting at around $3000. They ship internationally and are taking advance orders for their AI range of sex dolls which feature ‘realbotix’, an artificial intelligence application.

Read our full RealDoll review.

Silicone Sex World

Shipped from the UK, products from Silicone Sex World are manufactured in China. The company has a good reputation for customer services and are the UK’s top supplier of silicone and TPE love dolls.

They offer a custom build service as well as ‘off-the-shelf’ models which start from £900 ($1260) and go up to £1810 ($2500).

sex doll best buys
Realistic dolls like Haley can be yours in just 3 weeks. Image via Silicone Sex World.

Synthea Amatus

Made famous for being the first company to develop a sex doll with AI, Synthea Amatus is a Spanish Company. Hitting the headlines in 2017 with the Samantha Sex Robot, Synthea Amatus stocks some high-level sex dolls for around $2,900 or an AI model from $7,500.

Other Suppliers

You can find quality dolls from other international sites, including:

Sex Doll Facts

According to a 2009 survey, sex dolls are most popular in the Philippines followed by Australia and the USA. The most dolls in Australia are sold in Sydney and Melbourne with Los Angeles and Chicago topping out the American sales.

One married couple in the UK own over 240 sex dolls but claim never to have sex with any of them. Instead, the couple have them sit at the dinner table with them or simply watch TV together.

In Australia, inflatable sex dolls must have a warning printed on them that they are ‘not flotation devices. The authorities insisted on this after a couple escaped a flood using some dolls to escape drowning. They clearly thought that the high-profile media coverage that followed this would invoke copy-cats into using blow up dolls as swimming aids.

blow up doll buyers guide
Blow up dolls: not to be used as swimming aids…according to the Aussies. Image via Flickr.

The rise in recent sales of cheap sex dolls in some cities has been linked to car-pool lanes with drivers opting for the company of a sex-doll rather than a colleague to escape paying excess charges.

In some US states, it is illegal to fondle a sex doll in public.

According to some sources, Barbie is based on a German love doll called Bild Lilli.

The Future of Sex Dolls

The sex doll is becoming a more sophisticated accessory for the bedroom and the incorporation of artificial intelligence, better-quality materials and virtual reality is becoming more commonplace. The latest generations of dolls are incredibly lifelike in their designs and mass-production techniques are making them more affordable. It is envisaged that the price of a reasonably high-quality cyber-sex doll could fall below $500 within the next few years making them accessible to more people.

future of sex dolls
Artificial Intelligence is shaping the development of the next generation of sex dolls. Image via RealBotix.

The potential uses for such complex technology are boundless and include the pairing of teledildonics to allow remote interaction with a partner online. The possibility of a ‘guilt-free’ threesome is also an idea that is generating interest. Certainly there is some evidence to suggest that female partners would be far more amenable to the idea of their other half using a sex doll rather than cheating.

They are fast becoming so popular that you can find brothels in Paris that stock a range of cyber sex dolls that are in such high demand you need to book them in advance.

There are even cases of customers falling ‘in-love’ with their toys and even, in the case of one American man ‘marrying’ them. This niche fetishism has sparked a lot of interest in American media recently with the group being known as ‘iDollators’. Many state that they have found a life-partner in their purchases and treat them to romantic days out, expensive clothes and are even championing legal rights for their cyber partners.

Some commentators predict that it is an inevitability that advanced sex dolls will eventually replace prostitutes. Industry experts will be nervously waiting the next developments of the sex dolls particularly as common concerns are addressed such as:

  • Including heaters to mimic natural body temperature.
  • Sensors to allow the doll to respond to touch.
  • More realistic skin and hair.
  • Greater range of vocal responses.

Still a long way off is the dream for some men of owning a cyber-woman who not only has sex but can also offer some companionship as well as provide domestic services. Though this may be a long way off, the ultimate goal is to produce an artificially intelligent and dynamically responsible pseudo-woman. Of course, the million-dollar question of effectively creating a sex-slave is one of ethics and this dilemma is one which is sparking international debate.

future of sex dolls buyers guide
Current technology means sex dolls are incredibly realistic looking but the future could see advancements in responses that mean these artificial women supplant prostitutes. Image via PxHere.

There are also concerns that as the level of interaction is improved that more men will opt for a sex doll rather than pursue traditional relationships.

Until technology advances, the current market of sex dolls are just sophisticated versions of toys that have existed for centuries. The only difference is, they look and feel a lot better and pose no morality issues.

Featured image via Flickr.


Mike Morris

Mike is a senior contributor to the Red Light Network and is tasked with reviewing the latest adult products, services and trends. He previously worked in production for a famous adult game and is very familiar with the growing space of X-rated titles. Mike has contributed to several other adult blogs, including Euro Sex Scene and Fetish Engine.
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