Here is a sample of what married spouses do today and why I think they do it:
Prostitution - unhappy marriages; boredom or sexual addiction.
Polygamy - using women as objects; hoping somebody will want you.
Polyandry - reverse of polygamy created due to shortages of men - rare.
Homosexual abuse of boys - dominance in violent cultures; see U.S. Soldiers Told to Ignore Sexual Abuse of Boys by Afghan Allies.
Serial monogamy - popular today
Polyamory (open relationships) - divide up the closeness as you divide up the sex
Toys - either to enhance pleasure or to cover fear of intimacy
Social Withdrawal - Giving up on intimacy and going solo.
Social withdrawal would seem to be the market segment that sex dolls fall into. But, that is not always the case. There are some couples who engage in a variation of a threesome, one of whom is inanimate. But, unless there is evidence to the contrary, the sex doll seems to be a replacement for having to deal with the complexities and frustrations of interacting with another person.
Sex sells and billions of dollars are spent annually using it to sell pretty much everything. Ironically, I don't remember seeing baby supplies marketed this way. Something to think about.
Billions are also spent on pharmaceuticals to help with the fight against mental health issues like depression and anxiety. Conditions such as these contribute to the very serious problem of social isolation which increases the severity of depression and affects rates of suicide. How much is being spent to counteract it? I don't know. But, not enough to make a dent in the issue.
One of the factors that has makes it more difficult to treat the isolation individual is that society is no longer formed of close bonded communities. Interestingly, the decline in religious affiliation parallels the breakdown of the social network. For an interesting analysis of this trend in todays political context, see Rabbi Sacks' article entitled, "We need morality to beat this hurricane of anger." Whatever causes you want to ascribe these social trends to, the net effect is that there are a lot of lonely people who may prefer "interacting" with some thing else as opposed to no one else.
Another factor is the replacement of morality with an emphasis instead on the seeking of pleasure for its own sake. One ice-cream cone is fine, too many may result in gluttony and health issues. When these same attitudes are applied to sex, families break down, society loses its way and people need to seek stranger outlets to provide the same high.
So, if I were to tell you that it is easy to purchase simulated body parts, just parts, from Amazon, you may or not be surprised. I don't want to include such words in my post, but one of the items includes the "f" word in its title. This isn't some creepy web site, this is Amazon. It gets worse. You can buy sex dolls of young girls! Recommended age for purchase is 18 - 60. Be prepared to shell out several thousand dollars. Are they marketing to the pedophile community?
Well according to an article in the Mirror, "Lifelike child sex dolls created to 'stop paedophiles committing crimes' ", that's exactly the market. I don't know if these items will impede or promote pedophilia, but does Amazon take up space on its websites with unpopular items? There must be a market. Unfortunately, according to Statisticbrain.com there are 747,408 convicted sex offenders in the U.S. alone.
Positive uses for these dolls? Chinese migrant workers in England will pay up to $2,500 US for sex dolls so that they don't cheat on their wives. Then there is the story of the Chinese firm that gave its single male employees a sex doll in lieu of a monetary bonus. That this is socially acceptable is quite the statement. There may be another "positive" market for sex dolls. Unfortunately, many married couples are unhappy and perhaps a spouse would rather a partner use a doll than bother them.
Oh, by the way, these dolls are often designed to be anything but realistic in terms of their proportions. Yet, no doubt their feel and look will become more realistic as time goes on. Why deal with stretch marks, pimples, rashes, unwanted hair, wrinkles and sagging breasts? And, what will happen to the online market of beautiful foreign women looking to meet Mr. Right?
There is another trend coming that will have an even stronger negative impact on our ability to form normal relationships. It's what happens when sex doll meets artificial intelligence.
Why even try to negotiate and be a giver when intelligent dolls will be programmed to always be willing and able. I can see the ad already, "comes with the personality of your choice." This is not good. Will we lose our ability to relate to other real humans? What kind of expectations will the next generation have of beauty and personality? Will we lose our soul when techies figure out how to program a "soul" into our replacements? I am not gifted to make predictions, but it seems clear to me that the further we get away from having to deal with other people's annoyances, the more isolated and sad we will become as a society. And without strong bonding, how will we face the challenges that require our combined efforts?
In the quest for what is possible, morality has become a dirty word. It's too associated with religion. Ethics has come along to replace it because it is less demanding. They tie to the social norms of the moment and can be changed whenever desired. Meanwhile, a commitment to ethics allows us to feel good about ourselves without the having to seriously deal with any opposition to what we want. Who wants to hear the word "'no"?
What we really need in the world is for people to respect each other and to stand for something positive. Relationships will be always be a struggle. God so designed them for our growth. But, like a proper diet, a healthy relationship allows you to properly grow and develop. So, what can you and you spouse negotiate today? What do you think of these trends? Is there anything you can do to positively affect other people in their path to maturity?