Home Clinical Psychology & Psychotherapy Sex Doll Ownership: Controversial, But Not Linked to Increased Sexual Aggression, Study Finds

Sex Doll Ownership: Controversial, But Not Linked to Increased Sexual Aggression, Study Finds

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In recent years, the ownership of sex dolls has sparked heated debates and calls for criminalisation, with many claiming that owning such dolls contributes to negative attitudes towards women and increases sexual offence risk. But a new study reveals that there are no substantial differences in psychological traits between sex doll owners and non-owners, and those doll owners actually score lower in sexual aggression proclivity. The findings were published in the Journal of Sex Research.

The global market for sex dolls is a multi-million dollar industry, with increasingly realistic models made from synthetic materials that mimic human body movements. Despite the controversy surrounding sex doll ownership, there has been no empirical exploration of the psychological characteristics of individuals who own them.

In this study, researchers compared the psychological traits and sexual aggression proclivities of 158 sex doll owners to a group of 135 non-owners. The study aimed to identify psychological factors that may distinguish sex doll owners from non-owners and to test the assumption that sex doll ownership is a risk factor for sexual aggression.

Findings revealed few differences between the two groups. Doll owners were not more prone to sexual aggression proclivity, coercive sex fantasies, or issues with emotion and attachment than non-owners. However, sex doll owners were more likely to see women as sex objects, report greater sexual entitlement, and view women as unknowable. They also had lower levels of borderline personality traits.

The researchers concluded that sex doll ownership may be a functional response to poor quality or broken relationships, possibly due to beliefs about the unknowability of potential sex partners, less secure attachment styles, and lower levels of sexual self-esteem. Despite the comparatively higher levels of offence-supportive cognitions among sex doll owners, there was no evidence of an increased risk of sexual aggression in the sample. This suggests a potential protective quality to doll ownership in relation to sexual aggression.

The study highlights the need for more evidence-based social debates about sex doll use in modern society. By shifting the focus away from blanket criminalisation and stigmatisation, a functional analysis of how, why, and under what conditions dolls are incorporated into healthy sexual expression can be explored, potentially paving the way for better understanding and more informed policy proposals.

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