The Surge in Sex Doll Sales During Quarantine, Is it Because of Loneliness?

Ever since the quarantine and lockdown implementations began, the sales of sex dolls drastically increased. In fact, one manufacturer is even looking to hire new staff just to meet the consumers’ demands. 

Sex Doll Genie, a sex doll company said that they received hundreds of more inquiries than the usual number that they receive during the last eight weeks. These inquiries come from both couples and single people. The company also reported a 51.6 percent of the increase in orders that come from single men during the months of February and March. In April, on the other hand, it reported a 33.2 percent year on year growth in orders done by couples. 

The Surge in Sex Doll Sales During Quarantine, Is it Because of Loneliness?

According to Janet Stevenson, the co-founder of Sex Doll Genie, they still have a lot of products in stock. However, they cannot work fast enough to keep up with the consumers’ demand. For this reason, the company is hiring as quickly as possible. They have also created a number of new roles in customer support, as well as in fulfillment management in Europe and the US.

Sex Dolls Could Provide People With Intimate Company

According to Dr. Kate Devlin in her book Turned On: Science, Sex, and Robots, sex dolls are most of the time associated with single men. But in reality, couples, disabled people, and parents whose adult children are often socially excluded, frequently purchase dolls, as well. Now that there is an ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, many people are in quarantine alone or without their intimate partners. And the idea that a sex doll could provide people company while their partners are not with them is not at all outlandish.

Moreover, history proves that people are pretty quick in anthropomorphizing technology. One example of the earliest artificial intelligence was ELIZA, a language processor created by Joseph Weizenbaum in 1966. 

By today’s standard of technology, ELIZA is a rudimentary conversation simulator that is only capable of short dialogue. Despite this fact, people back then were very drawn by it regardless of the fact that it was a mere computer program. Its users were respectful and many of them even said that they preferred interacting with ELIZA rather than with other people. 

Human Beings Form Strong Attachments to Technology

David Levy, a British AI expert observed that humans develop strong attachments to technology even without artificial intelligence. In his book Love and Sex with Robots, Levy cited a study done by owners of the AIBO robotic dog’s early versions. A significant number of these robotic dog owners attributed real feelings, as well as intentional behaviors, to their robotic pets. 

According to Levy, people robotic dog owners wanted to perceive their AIBOs are their real pets. Therefore, they attributed doglike emotions to their AIBO.

The Surge in Sex Doll Sales During Quarantine, Is it Because of Loneliness?

Indeed, people can find comfort in a robotic dog, or even a seal-like Poro, the therapeutic robot. For this reason, it is no surprise if individuals can find comfort and company in a sex doll.

As of today, the stigma that revolves around sex tech products remain much higher than any other kinds of tech products. However, if people will reframe sex dolls as just another type of sex toy, they might be able to start looking at the sales surge quite differently. 

Similar to Sex Doll Genie, CMG Leisure, another sex toy manufacturer found itself short-staffed due to the dramatic surge in orders during the COVID-19 pandemic. The company’s wand vibrator, which costs $112 also hiked up in orders. Therefore, the surge can be attributed to individuals who are treating themselves with premium products now that the other sources of pleasure are limited.

Moreover, the price for a life-sized, full-body sex doll is at around $800. High-end ones, on the other hand, can reach up to $8,000. A lot of people may have thought of buying one for themselves now. However, they struggle to justify its cost.

It is also possible that during the pandemic-brought lockdown, more people are more willing to splash out their money, either as a pick-me-up or at a time when they know that they will be able to use it more.

On the other hand, the reason for the surge in the demand for sex dolls can also be brought by curiosity. A number of adult retailers who reported that they faced an increase in demand and sales back in March thought that the surge was due to the attitude of people where they want to find something new. According to Stevenson, the customers who buy from Sex Doll Genie are not limited to single men and women. In fact, there are also couples who buy sex dolls because they are open to experimenting with a new thing while in quarantine. 

Stevenson added that what is interesting about this spike in the demand for sex dolls is that there is also a change in the demographic. This change is a positive thing for the sex doll industry as it speaks about the changing attitudes at home. 

The Surge in Sex Doll Sales During Quarantine, Is it Because of Loneliness?

There is a traditional stereotype that loners are choosing sex dolls as their last resort for the company and sexual gratification. According to Stevenson, this stereotype is totally inaccurate. On the contrary,, what the world is seeing now is the fact that sex dolls are going mainstream. In addition, men and women both show enthusiasm about having a sex doll in their room.zxcv

Whether this surge is going to give a boom for the sex doll industry is still not clear.  According to a survey done by the dating site Adult FriendFinder, 12 percent of their respondents were more likely to consider purchasing a sex doll now that there is a pandemic. However, only five percent of these respondents said that they would surely buy one. Furthermore, the remaining 62 percent all agreed that self-isolation reminds them that there is nothing that could equate to the touch of another person. This is the reason why they will never purchase a sex doll during the pandemic.

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