The History Of Sex Dolls

In this article, we will take a trip back to where sex dolls originally started. While doing the research for this article, I ran into some wild information that made me think about how deeply rooted within us humans is our fundamental need for pleasure.

During this article, you will find out about the history of sex dolls and how modern sex dolls came to be. Stick around until the end because this one will definitely have your mind blown!

What Are Sex Dolls?

A sex doll is essentially a type of sex toy in the size and shape of a sexual partner that is intended to fulfill the role of aid in masturbation.

Modern sex dolls come in all sorts of shapes and sizes and these days we are spoiled to choose everything down to the smallest detail when picking the one and we expect it to be absolutely perfect when it arrives at our door.

Obviously, these days, a ton of responsibility comes with creating a sex doll and manufacturers have to pay attention to everything from the first to the very last step of finishing the product and delivering an awesome service to consumers.

But while you may think of sex dolls as a modern invention for lonely men, these love dolls actually have a long history and traces of origin back to when folks wrote poems about being obsessed with statues.


The History Of Sex Dolls

Surprisingly enough, today’s popular synthetic lovers seem to be a comprehensive throwback to way simpler times. I mean, it had to have started somewhere, right? You bet!

Here’s the complete timeline of how the idea of sex dolls came to be:

8 AD

Dang, that’s a long time ago!

The poet Ovid writes about a sculptor named Pygmalion who carved a woman of exceptional beauty from ivory back in the 8th century, y’all.
Pygmalion called his creation Galatea which meant “white like milk”. Galatea’s creator had always been devoted to his craft, going as far as to vow to never marry because he feared a woman would only distract him from his art.

Well, apparently all those long hours alone in his studio had quite the impact because after finishing Galatea he fell so madly in love with his precious creation, that he became lost in waves of joy and desire each time he looked at her.

Pygmalion loved Galatea so much that he veiled her in the finest clothes, adorned her with jewelry, and weaved flowers into her hair. He also started bathing and feeding her, eventually working up to having sex with his statue because he considered her a perfect woman creation.

The celebration of Aphrodite comes around and Pygmalion prayed with all his heart and soul, begging the goddess to turn his ivory creation into a real woman.

Aphrodite decides she wants to see the statue for herself and when she looks upon Galatea, she’s amazed by her beauty and liveliness. The goddess of love and beauty finds that Galatea reminds her of herself so much so that she decides to grant Pygmalion his wish. Pygmalion is amazed as his figurine comes to life, smiling at him and speaking words of admiration for her creator. Their love blossoms, wedding vows are exchanged and Aphrodite blesses them with happiness and prosperity.

Thus begins a long tradition of men building realistic female substitutes, falling in love with them, and, of course, not holding back when they take them to bed.

11 – 13 Century

In the 11th to 13th Centuries, “Sheela-na-gigs” naked women made of marble, are carved into the side of churches all over Britain, Ireland, and even France and Spain to ward off evil spirits.

Sheela Na Gigs are quasi-erotic stone carvings of a female figure that consist of an old woman squatting and pulling apart her vagina, and a legend at the time said caressing these sexy bits gave you the power to heal others.


15th – 17th Century

Some of the first and actual sex dolls were invented by Dutch sailors who would be isolated at sea during long voyages in the early fifteenth century, or maybe even before that.

These people who were starved of a woman’s touch often used sewn cloth or old clothes to fashion masturbatory dolls that were a direct predecessor to today’s sex dolls.

It’s hard to imagine how these things felt, but it tells a lot about the human’s brilliance and the ability to invent and create something from nothing.

These crafty creations were referred to by the French as dame de voyage or as dama de viaje by the Spanish, which literally translates to “lady of the voyage”.

The Dutch sold some of these “dolls” to the Japanese people during the Rangaku period and the term “Dutch wives” is still sometimes used in Japan to refer to sex dolls.

19th Century

Around two centuries later and after the second Industrial Revolution, many things went on about evolving into more and more comprehensive versions from what people previously knew, and sex dolls were one of the creations that underwent a more complex change.

Factory workers learned how to work with rubber and plastics and they started incorporating their newly found methods and innovations in technological progress.

However, the production was restrained by quantity, and only targeted a small demographic which was a group of elite customers.

Needless to say, these dolls looked a little more appealing than the previous cloth and leather creations used by sailors, but manufacturers struggled to create them to look more realistic.

Iwan Bloch’s 1908 Sexual Life of Our Time makes the earliest record of commercially manufactured sex dolls, “There exist [clever mechanics] in this province of pornographic technology, who from rubber and other materials, prepare entire male or female bodies, which subserve fornicatory purposes. More especially are the genital organs represented in a manner true to nature.”

The dolls that Bloch is talking about had a function that secreted oil by means of pneumatic tubes, to simulate a real vaginas self-lubrication.

These dolls were apparently available for purchase in Paris and took 3 months to build. They were sold in the Rue Chaptal for about 3,000 francs.

Sex dolls once got entangled with the surrealists, too.

In many ways, Hans Bellmer, the German Surrealist, stands behind the modern sex doll. In the 1930s Bellmer created uncanny erotic models of the female form, lacking only a functional orifice for bedding.

Sounds legit, right? Except for the part where he revealed that the motivation for his lusty creations was a deep desire for his 15-year-old cousin Ursula. Freaky, say I.


In 1933 with the help of a contemporary doll maker and funding from his mother (yeah, this family is definitely crazy), Hans created a model of his female form.

It had a hollow torso and in place of a womb he created what he described as a “panorama of images of bad taste representing the thoughts and dreams of a young girl.”

Taking things to the next level, Hans disassembled the doll and proceeded to pose her in provocative and obscene positions that represented his fantasies. He also took plenty of photographs to document this.

While working on the next model, Hans upgraded to a wooden art mannequin with movable joints.

The second doll, featured a reversible hips/torso, a hairless vagina, buttocks, large breasts, and was finished with little white socks, girly shoes, and a bow on top of her head. Y’all…

The Nazi Sex Doll Legend

A persistent urban legend holds that Adolf Hitler charged one of his SS commanders to design sex dolls for German soldiers during World War II.

These dollies were apparently intended to prevent soldiers from getting their romp on with non-Aryan women as well as minimize the risk of STD spreading.


Whether or not this is true, the commercial sex doll does find its origins in Germany.

The Bild Lilli doll—invented in the 1950s and modeled on a sexy, outspoken comic-strip character called Lilli—was an 11.5-inch plastic model, not a penetrable sex doll.

In his book The Sex Doll: A History, Anthony Ferguson calls the Bild Lilli “a pornographic caricature.” Although it was marketed to adult men, the doll is widely cited as the inspiration for Barbie. I don’t know what to make out of this.

The Late 70s – Early 80s

The first approximation to a sex robot is invented by the now-extinct British company Sex Objects Ltd. and they called her the 36C.


Due to most robots having a female appearance, the term “gynoid” was coined (that means, anthropomorphic robots with female features) against the term “android” that is strictly limited to humanoids with a masculine appearance (although is often used interchangeably).



In 1996, nearly 15 years after the 36C invention, LA-based artist Matt McMullen became the world’s modern Pygmalion and created the first realistic Sex Doll, thus founding Real Dolls, one of the leading sex doll manufacturers in the world today.

Matt’s dolls would evolve model by model to be the sex doll at the center of Lars and The Real Girl in 2007. A story about a man (Ryan Gosling) in a relationship with a sex doll, nominated for an Oscar for its screenplay written by Nancy Oliver.


Final Thoughts

Seems like we’ve been through a long way to get where we are today. Which makes you appreciate how easy life is these days and how easy it is to just go online and buy yourself a pleasure doll.

Granted, today’s sex dolls are a pricey pleasure, but compared to the “ladies of the voyage” which were made out of cloth, you have to appreciate how good silicone and TPE feels.

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