How ‘love dolls’ are made: A surreal look at the $12k sex toys with customized genitalia, interchangeable faces and shockingly life-like features
WARNING: GRAPHIC IMAGES
*Photographer Robert Benson captured the surreal world at Abyss Creations outside San Diego, California
*Company creates sex dolls, with standard models priced at $6,500 and customized versions costing $12,000
*While dolls were created in Japan since the 1980s, founder Matthew McMullen revolutionized the industry
*Dolls are made from life-like silicon, with a flexible skeleton so customers can bend the doll however they like
*McMullen is now pushing the envelope again by developing dolls with artificial intelligence to simulate love
Nine employees in southern California spend their days painstakingly sculpting faces, pouring silicone into molds and customizing fake nipples to create high-end sex dolls.
Each ‘RealDoll’ is created with a flexible skeleton and requires about 80 hours of work from start to finish – although more specific requests, ranging from multiple heads to elf ears, take up additional time and handiwork.
Photographer Robert Benson captured the surreal world at Abyss Creations outside San Diego, where faceless bodies hang from the ceiling and shelves are neatly lined with dildos.
But Benson likened it to any other workplace, saying: ‘Everyone was super passionate about what they’re doing, and they take the work seriously. I guess the fascination wears off after a week and it becomes like any other job.’
Artist Matthew McMullen, who founded the company Abyss Creations, claims it was all a happy accident.
McMullen, who once worked for a Halloween mask manufacturer, was sculpting a female figure for a personal art project in 1994, when it ‘kind of took on a life of its own,’ he told Vanity Fair in 2015.
He came up with the idea to create a realistic mannequin, and the project soon morphed into the first posable silicone sex doll due to ‘the public’s demand,’ he said.
While sex dolls had been produced in Japan since the 1980s, they were made from plastic.
McMullen’s RealDoll, on the other hand, was created with a high-grade silicone, which retains heat and allows for a ‘more realistic feel and greater elasticity’, according to the company’s website.
The flexible skeleton also means clients can bend the doll however they like, and interchangeable faces, along with a high level of personalization, enhance the doll’s life-like features.
Standard dolls, which come with the choice of 18 female body types, or two male figures, start at $6,500 while more specific creations start at an eye-watering $12,000.
Each doll is anatomically correct, and genitalia, like everything else, can be custom made to a client’s preferred specifications.
The figures are even fitted with a hinged jaw, with ‘soft, stretchy lips, ultra soft tongue, soft silicone teeth.’
Radio personality Howard Stern once gave the RealDoll a rave review, saying: ‘I swear to God! This RealDoll feels better than a real woman!’ He added: ‘Best sex I ever had!’
Nearly two decades later, McMullen is pushing the envelope yet again, outfitting the dolls with artificial intelligence so they can respond to people and simulate emotional intimacy.
‘We are designing the AI to be fun and engaging, more than focusing on whether it can fool you into thinking it’s a person,’ he said on a Reddit, adding that it was their goal to simulate feelings of love.