The Psychology of Men Who Own Sex Dolls

In light of the rise of sex dolls, psychologists at Nottingham Trent University in the United Kingdom sought to learn more about the people who use them. “For the first time, we have analyzed the personalities, sexual interests, and risk-related characteristics of sex doll owners,” they write in a new paper published in the Journal of Sex Research. 
Dr. Craig Harper and his colleagues, Dr. Rebecca Livesley and Katie Wanless, recruited 158 male sex doll owners for the study through advertisements posted on well-known online discussion forums for doll owners. They then recruited 135 male control subjects who responded to a survey task on a crowd-sourcing platform that explored psychological predictors of sexuality and sexual behavior. Both groups of subjects then underwent a series of anonymous surveys exploring their sexual fantasies, personality, emotional functioning, relationship style, and sexual aggression.
“Sex doll owners were more likely than non-owners to view women as sexual objects, report more sexual entitlement, and view women as agnostic,” the researchers reported. They also said they had lower sexual self-esteem, although they were no more or less likely to have sexual aggression, fantasize about forced sex, or have emotional and attachment problems.
The findings have political implications, as some have proposed banning lifelike sex dolls, especially those that resemble children because they believe they promote pedophilia and increase sexual offenses.
In contrast, researchers say their results suggest that using sex dolls may reduce the risk of sexual offenses for users. Dolls can serve as a harmless outlet for managing sexual and relationship insecurities.
“Overall, our data suggest that men who own sex dolls are not significantly different from non-owners in many important ways,” the researchers added.
The study’s results must be treated cautiously because they are based on self-reported data. Although the researchers took extraordinary steps to ensure the subjects’ anonymity, they could not guarantee that the issues were honest in their answers to some personal survey questions about a controversial topic.
This first psychological survey of sex doll owners appears to support the idea that doll ownership is a functional response to a history of poor quality or relationship breakdown, which in turn may be attributable to various beliefs about the unsuitability of potential sexual partners, less secure attachment styles, and poorer than average sexual self-esteem,” the researchers concluded.

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