According to this week’s presses, a 28 year-old U.S. Army officer named Justin Dale broke into a Virginia sex store and was caught screwing in the closet. Was it partnered sex? Kind of. See, the woman in question was a blow-up doll.

Now don’t get me wrong. Everyone deserves a damn good toy. But no matter how fiery your lust, I’m guessing it’s worth getting away with the loot before taking your pleasure. In fact, according to the store’s owner, the doll in question was so reasonably priced she was already a steal.

Irony aside, inflatable dolls have often been the subject of mockery. Perhaps this is to do with the erroneous belief that sex only counts when you’re with another human. That said, the vibrator is in danger of becoming quite normal – most sex-positive women seem to own one, not to mention some porn and a bottle of lube. But if you own a blow-up doll, I’m guessing you keep her/him well-hidden. Society hasn’t yet learned to accept that a fake partner is ay-okay.

Evidence for this attitude isn’t hard to find. An article in The Smoking Gun has garnered all manner of witty quips, which is hardly surprising – let’s face it, I gave my own snort-laugh when my friend first showed me the piece. But I do think the story would have a different tone if the thief in question was caught jerking off to porn, and it would have seemed more flattering were he found with a real lover. Yes, it’s the sex doll that makes the story so bizarre. Not to mention the fact that our thief couldn’t wait, even though the object of his attentions was a mere inflatable.

However, those who’ve seen the movie Lars and the Real Girl will know sex dolls can prove poignant. In the flick, the main character, Lars, has a fear of intimacy, but works out his problems through a female inflatable whom he truly believes is his real, serious girlfriend. I won’t give any spoilers, but let’s just say that Lars’s psychological journey proves both problematic and healing. What we project onto our sexual objects, dolls included, can make them powerful indeed – so much so, they can help to change our lives. And yet with their reputation as being a substitute for “real” partners, coming out of the closet about a passion for such dolls can’t exactly be easy.

In fact, perhaps there’s something truly human about lusting after a fake lover. I suppose what we might truly desire isn’t necessarily a doll, but rather a breaking of the rules, or a flesh-and-blood partner, or a defiling of what is fake, or a longing to make something real. With a vibrant sexual imagination that doll may have become very alive for Dale. Maybe his act gave the finger to society’s fakeness, or proved he was “man enough” to both trespass and fuck. Or perhaps it was simply an urge to release or connect. We may never know, but I’m sure the reality carried some sort of meaning. Fantasy isn’t necessarily logical. That’s what makes it fantasy. What seems stupid to one can feel enticing to another and it would be a sorry world if this wasn’t so.

For my part, once I’d laughed at the story, I began to realize how sad it was.  All that crime for so small a pay-off.  To quote The Smoking Gun, Dale “was charged with burglary, grand larceny, and destruction of property.” If he hadn’t taken time to screw the doll, would he have got away clean?

What a gamble to risk so much freedom, all for a moment of lust.

LANA FOX became a sex writer when she realized she couldn't shut up about the subject. Her erotic stories appear in collections by Harlequin, Cleis Press and Xcite, including Best Women's Erotica 2011. A graduate in Psychology, English and Education, she is a regular featured blogger at the Good Vibrations magazine. Lana is also at work on a novel. Find her online at: www.lanafox.com.

12 responses to “The Hot Topic, vol. 9: The Sex Store, the Break-In & the Blow-Up Doll”

  1. Don Mitchell says:

    And . . . why gamble your health?

    This study won a 1996 Ig Nobel Prize (for Public Health)

    From Genitourinary Medicine 1993, August; 69(4): 322

    Transmission of gonorrhoea through an inflatable doll

    Nonsexual transmission of gonorrhoea seems to be extremely rare. Only one case of nonsexual transmission of genital Neisseria gonorrhoeae is documented in adults1, involving two patients in a military hospital who shared a urinal. N gonorrhoeae has been shown to survive in infected secretions on towels and handkerchiefs for 20 and 24 hours, respectively.2 Cultures from toilet scats in public restrooms and venereal disease clinics have failed to yield N gonorrhoeae.34

    The skipper from a trawler, who had been 3 months at sea, sought advice for urethral discharge. His symptoms had lasted for two weeks. A urethral smear showed typical intracellular gram-negative diplococci, and a culture was positive for N gonorrhoeae. There had been no woman onboard the trawler; he denied homosexual contacts; and there was no doubt that the onset of the symptoms was more than two months after leaving the port.

    With some hesitation, he told the story, A few days before onset of his symptoms, he had roused the engineer in his cabin during the night because of engine trouble. After the engineer had left his cabin, the skipper found an inflatable doll with artificial vagina in his bed, and he was tempted to have “intercourse” with the doll. His complaints started a few days after this episode.

    The engineer was examined, and was found to have gonorrhoea. He had observed a mild urethra] discharge since they left port, but he had not been treated with antibiotics. He admitted to having ejaculated into the “vagina” of the doll just before the skipper called him, without washing the doll afterwards. He also admitted intercourse with a girl in another town some days before going to sea. This girl was traced, but the result of her examination is not known. To the best of our knowledge, no case of gonococcal transmission through an inflatable doll has been reported before.

    Nanortolik Hospital NanonaUk, Greenland

    H. MOI
    Peat Box 1001,
    1900 \’uuk, Greenland

    1 Nednstein LS, Goldenring J, Carpenter S. Nonsexual
    transmission of sexually transmitted diseases: an infrequent occurrence- PkWki 1984;74:67-76.
    2 Snvastava AC. Survival of gonococci in urethral secretions
    with reference to the nonsexual transmission of |jono-coccal infection, 3 Mtd Mkrobol 1980; t$: 593-6.
    3 GLlbaugh Jll, r-uchs PC, The gonococcus and the toilet
    ML JV Engl J Med 1979;301:91-3.
    4 Rein MF. Nonsexual acquisition of gonococcal infection
    (letter). N Engl J Med 1979301:1347.

  2. What enormous lust Dale must have had for that doll. To break in and then start having sex with her IMMEDIATELY–it’s cinematic lust, epic lust, Grand Mal lust.

    • Lana Fox says:

      Don, urgh! Thanks for posting. I will definitely remember that story next time I come across an inflatable doll. 😉

      Jessica, brilliant! Cinematic, epic, Grand Mal lust! Thinking about it, that doll must have been one heck of a seductress…

  3. dwoz says:

    I think you fail to fully elaborate on all the myriad logistics that are at play with a sex doll. I mean, think of it: At least TWO things have to be fully inflated at the same time for things to work. Thus if you find yourself at that bi-inflated state, what else can you do but take advantage? I mean you can’t just assume that both she AND you will be inflated at the same time, any time.

    • Lana Fox says:

      Ahhhhh, yes, now you put it like *that* I see exactly what you mean. I had failed to consider how rarely the “bi-inflated state” is achieved. Not taking immediate advantage would be a bit of a…er…blow?


  4. dwoz says:

    Also, why does this story have such a pronounced bias?

    Isn’t it even REMOTELY possible that the doll was the instigator? Maybe she DEMANDED that he drop everything including his drawers and do her on the spot.

    I mean, keeping them inflated is the easy part. Keeping them HAPPY is quite a bit more difficult.

  5. Lana Fox says:

    Ha. Are we blowing this up out of all proportion? (Ouch, I just made myself squirm). Considering that hefty list of charges, she could do with a laugh. Sadly, our puns may not deliver on that score…

  6. dwoz says:

    Instead of a laugh, will irony do? As in, though her experience will always be better in reality than fantasy, the experience for him will always be better in fantasy than reality?

    Latex lady, lay, lay across my big brass bed
    Latex, lady, lay, lay across my big brass bed
    Whatever colors you have in your mind
    He’ll inflate you and you’ll see them shine

    Latex, lady, lay, lay across my big brass bed
    latex, lady, stay, stay with your man awhile
    Until the break of psi, let me see you make him smile
    His clothes are dirty but his hands are clean
    And you’re the best thing that he’s ever seen

    (…abject apologies to bob…)

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