Sex Doll Rental: What Is Cost of Sex Doll Brothels? - Rolling Stone
Home Culture Culture Features

Are Sex-Doll Brothels the Wave of the Future?

Sex dolls can cost thousands of dollars, but an hour with one is surprisingly affordable

Naomi'Lumidolls' sex doll brothel to open third venue, Turin, Italy - 30 Aug 2018Lumi Dolls will be inaugurated on 3 SeptemberNaomi'Lumidolls' sex doll brothel to open third venue, Turin, Italy - 30 Aug 2018Lumi Dolls will be inaugurated on 3 September

Giulio Lapone/IPA/REX Shutterstock

In a nondescript bedroom in an undisclosed industrial neighborhood of Toronto, Canada, Erika is being prepped to meet her first john. Before her appointment, an attendant will wash and sterilize her. Then they’ll dress her in the white tank and black thong underwear fitting for a French-Canadian girl-next door. Finally, the attendants will help Erika into position on her back, one leg bent, with her eyes trained intriguingly towards the door. On their way out, one last touch: a quick spray of Erika’s signature perfume. Every time he smells it, he’ll think of her.

At Aura Dolls sex doll brothel, and in similar brothels cropping up from Russia to Canada (and likely, soon, the U.S.) the so-called “world’s oldest profession” is being reborn. Erika isn’t a human, of course, she’s a silicone-skinned doll. While the idea is strange to most, this new iteration of sex work is allowing both brothel owners and their clients to get around a few of prostitution’s most vexing dilemmas.

“I think the main thing is that our customers won’t have to feel shy or ashamed of trying out their sexual fantasies,” says Aura Dolls Marketing Director Claire Lee. On the day she spoke with Rolling Stone, the brothel was preparing to open. If the customers who go there are anything like those who began to frequent a newly opened doll brothel in Turin, Italy, then some customers are likely to be men who are especially shy and have a hard time meeting, and having sex with, human women.

Aura Dolls took shyness into consideration with the layout of the brothel: Patrons will pay $120 for an hour, then walk down a one-way hallway to the room where the doll waits for them (the exit, also one-way, is aimed at preventing clients from running into one another). During their session, they can take a shower, watch porn and do whatever they want with the doll, as long as they don’t damage it or “make any extra holes” outside of the mouth, vagina and anus that the doll comes equipped with, Lee says. Water-based lubricant is provided, as are condoms, which are encouraged as a safety precaution. Ten minutes before the session is done, an intercom gives a warning that it’s time to finish up. If a john goes overtime, he’ll have to pay another $90 to book the doll for the next half hour.

Then comes the cleanup. On a busy day, employees at Aura Dolls may have only one frenzied hour to clean and prep the doll for her next session.

“It’s kind of like a race,” Lee says, and the employees have been practicing. First, the doll is placed underneath a shower and washed with soap and warm water. Then, its orifices are blasted with a pressure cleaner filled with special disinfectant and penetrated with a UVC, germ-killing lamp that’s “shaped like a dildo,” according to Lee. Then, the doll is rushed back into the room to be dressed, have her hair done, and get any makeup touch-ups that might be needed before the next customer shows up.

As Aura Dolls prepared to open, it already had 200 reservations on the books, Lee said. The majority were from men, but about 30 percent were from couples or women alone, Lee says.

Sex doll brothels have the advantage of being legal in many countries where human prostitution is not. They would also be legal in the U.S., if vulnerable to some nuisance law penalties and restrictions, according to H. Louis Sirkin, an attorney who recently argued a case for the legalization of prostitution in California.

“I’m sure somebody will come along and try to do it here,” Sirkin says. “The closest thing I can compare them to are the old peep show arcades … The argument for them was that what people do there is done privately and not exposed to the public … The argument against them was that people went there to masturbate, so some argued it was lewd and lascivious conduct and called it a public nuisance and shut some of those places down.”

But according to an expert at the Kinsey Institute, one of the leading institutions for sex research, sex-doll brothels have another advantage: to open up potential sexual opportunities for those who might be too repressed, law-abiding or timid to seek out other sexual experiences.

“We’ve known for a long time that people who have a social skills deficits are disproportionately drawn to unusual forms of sexual expression,” says Justin Lehmiller, a PhD research fellow at theKinsey Institute and author of the book Tell Me What You Want. “And it seems to be the case that when people have difficulty establishing the types of sexual relationships that they want with other people, many of them seek out alternative forms of sexual fulfillment that don’t necessarily involve other people.”

The dolls could also provide an alternative for people who have unsatisfying monogamous relationships. “Maybe it’s a sexless marriage and they’re seeking sexual fulfillment, but they don’t want to violate the vow that they made to their partner,” Lehmiller says. Also, some people may just be attracted by the lure of a completely new experience. “We know that human beings are titillated by novelty and we’re always seeking out new and exciting ways of fulfilling our sexual desire,” he says. While researching his book, Lehmiller interviewed more than 4,000 people and found that about 15 percent of them had fantasized about sex with a robot — something not all that different from sex with a realistic doll, some of which are also robots.

Of course, while some people are turned on by dolls, there’s a perhaps larger population that is uncomfortable with sex doll brothels. Aura Dolls had its initial property lease cancelled when nearby residents protested its opening and the city denied its permit based on zoning regulations, and were forced to push back their opening date. In October, a proposed sex-doll brothel in Houston was blocked when the city counsel amended an ordinance to say that citizens could not “engage in sexual activities with any inanimate objects at [a] business.”

But Aura Dolls is part of a larger trend — and it’s one that will continue to grow, says Sergi Prieto, CEO and co-founder of LumiDolls, the Barcelona-based sex doll brothel that seems to have started the trend. The outfit has now spawned franchises in Moscow and Turin, some with techie augmentations like virtual reality headsets. And, Prieto says, there will be at least two more LumiDolls locations opening up this year, although he wouldn’t say where the upcoming locations will be located.

But Lehmiller said that although the brothels might flourish, he doubts they’ll replace regular brothels.

“Most men and women fantasize about having some emotional needs met through sexual activity — feeling desired or validated or competent or loved,” Lehmiller says. “So when you’re talking about sex with dolls or robots I think it’s going to be a relatively small number who seek it out because it just can’t fulfill their needs.”

In This Article: Sexuality


Powered by
Arrow Created with Sketch. Calendar Created with Sketch. Path Created with Sketch. Shape Created with Sketch. Plus Created with Sketch. minus Created with Sketch.