Does Congress care more about dolls than real children?

Never before has the United States Congress specifically banned a sex toy. But for the first time, the CREEPER Act (reintroduced for 2021) will do exactly that. Because the law is said to be targeted at sex dolls “with features that resemble those of a minor,” it swept through the House of Representatives in 2019 on a voice vote, from members disgusted at those who would import such dolls for their own use. But there are two reasons for caution before allowing our government to ban such sex toys.

First and most important, this bill could inadvertently harm children. In debate on the original bill, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte claimed “Science has shown that dolls normalize pedophilia behavior rather than discourage pedophiles from acting our on their urges or aggression.” But Dr Craig Harper, an Advisor to the Prostasia Foundation, has described this as speculation, saying that it is “unsupported by any psychological research evidence.”

Dr Harper is just one of a growing number of scientists who believe more research is needed into whether such dolls could actually act as a harmless outlet for those who have a sexual interest in minors, which could steer them away from committing child sexual abuse (CSA). Prostasia Foundation was recently formed to promote an evidence-based approach to CSA prevention, and funding this sort of impartial, academic research is part of the Foundation’s mission.

But a secondary reason to be cautious about the CREEPER Act, even apart from the possible positive effect sex dolls may have in reducing CSA, is the risk that by allowing Congress to tell people how they are allowed to masturbate in private, this will open the door to the regulation of other private and consensual sexual behaviors. In Australia, the official censor has banned adult movies that feature adult women with small breasts. Will small-breasted sex dolls be counted as having features that “resemble those of a minor” under CREEPER?

Consider also that there are adults who engage in a type of consensual sex play called ageplay in which one party (or both) role plays as a minor. For most ageplayers, this kind of sex game does not correspond with any actual sexual interest in children — yet how can we criminalize the use of a sex doll in the role of a child, without opening the door to criminalizing the use of a consenting adult human being in exactly the same role?

The last time that such issues were considered was in the case of Reliable Consultants, Inc. v. Earle, [PDF] in which the U.S. Federal Circuit court for the 5th circuit struck down a Texas law that banned sex toys; a law that the government had sought to justify on the ground that the ban was for the protection of minors. The court gave short shrift to this argument, saying, “the State’s generalized concern for children does not justify such a heavy-handed restriction on the exercise of a constitutionally protected individual right.”

The court concluded by referring to Lawrence and Garner v. Texas, the U.S. Supreme Court decision that struck down bans on consensual gay sex:

The case is not about public sex. It is not about controlling commerce in sex. It is about controlling what people do in the privacy of their own homes because the State is morally opposed to a certain type of consensual private intimate conduct. This is an insufficient justification for the statute after Lawrence…Whatever one might think or believe about the use of these devices, government interference with their personal and private use violates the Constitution.

If this was the only reason to oppose the CREEPER Act, we should oppose it. But given the fact that leading scientists sincerely believe that the availability of sex dolls or robots may also prevent some real children from coming to harm, it would be even more morally abhorrent for us to pass a law banning such devices until more evidence of their possible therapeutic effects becomes known. Read more in our letter to the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Does fantasy cause or prevent offending? Planning phase

Never before has the United States Congress specifically banned a sex toy. But for the first time, the CREEPER Act (reintroduced for 2021) will do exactly that. Because the law is said to be targeted at sex dolls “with features that resemble those of a minor,” it swept through the House of Representatives in 2019 on a voice vote, from …

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  1. I agree that it would be a bad idea to ban such things. There actually have been studies that looked at crime rates around the world, going back decades across, and found that when pornography is most restricted sexual assault rates are highest. This suggests that the availability of an outlet would absolutely reduce harm to children.

    On the topic of resembling children what always bothered me about such things is the fact that some children resemble adults and some adults resemble children. In general though, when a doll is short with small breasts it will be assumed to be a child even when adults match the description. Is it illegal for someone to find a petite adult woman attractive? What if the doll is short, but with big breasts? Or tall with small breasts? You can ID a person, but it seems really subjective to call a doll a child.

    Now let’s give a hypothetical : Let’s say a man ordered a doll resembling his late wife. People do buy dolls to deal with loneliness, after all. What if she was short with small breasts? He wouldn’t be allowed to have sex with a doll that resembled his own wife whom he could legally have sex with. The doll would be a child, even if it looked exactly like a photo of his adult wife. It would mean that sex with a real petite woman would be legal while sex with a doll that looks just like her would be illegal.

    Then there’s the commercial value of dolls that resemble children outside of sex. It’s becoming quite normal to use sex dolls as clothing models in online stores since it can be hard to tell them apart from a real person. If we ban dolls of children we essentially will require such merchants to hire children models to wear clothes, which depending on the clothing items being displayed could be a larger problem than just using a doll.

    Still others might purchase sex dolls for other non sexual reasons, such as a therapeutic surrogate for a lost child.

    There are other harms to consider. An individual may be physically unable to handle the dead weight of a larger sex due to a disability. They also need to be cared for and stored properly which is much more difficult with dolls that are larger or with larger breasts. Making small dolls illegal would effectively prevent such individuals from using any doll.

    In Australia women are required to get breast augmentation if they want to participate in pornography. That would seem to more clearly objectify women since a government is actually telling them that there is something wrong with their natural bodies. If we followed that path we’d be harming women in the same way.

  2. So just because females are bored and no body wants them, meaning they are trying to come after sex dolls because sex dolls had many purposes other than just sex. But like the person that commented above me, a sex doll a normal one is about 90 to 110 pounds, I don’t care how big you think you are you will pull your back, the person might not be able to left that heavy doll. remember a 90 to 110 pound human can help you left them up its not dead weight, but this doll will be dead weight. lets say somebody in a wheel chair wants a doll, it’ll be safer for him to get a 30 to 60 pound doll then a 90 to 110 pound doll. the one I got is 86 pounds its 5’6 medium boobs and bubble butt, but that effects the weight there no way i would want a doll with big boobs, it’ll make the weight of the doll go up like 15 to 20 pounds meaning the thighs will be bigger and the butt will be bigger meaning the price of the doll will be more, instead of paying 1500 ill have to pay 1700. that’s the other thing to realize as will the cost of the doll smaller the doll to a pocket massager for men it’ll cost less. So if you guys do band sex dolls, lets band the massagers for ladies that is less then 8″ and 2 inches thick. that means no more pocket rockets, clit stimulators, finger wraps or any other massager because we can say the same thing about those items. SO what you should do is make sure the doll looks older, and the dolls that you are talking about is on Ali express and the other one that are knockoffs. you buy from there you might as well throw your money away anyways. and say if you band the small boobs perky boobs, and small frame, that means all your doing to banding Asians and other that resembles that, and midgets from being models for the dolls. so that can be seen as a hate crime.

  3. Jilted: I’m mad about this creeper bill in the worse way. I do understand, the expulsion of dolls that look like children from being purchased or possessed but the law is vague and can leads to prejudice. Example my wife stands 153cm she is an A cup I was looking purchase a doll that was 136cm A cup which had a lager version 155cm A cup but in Florida that’s considered a child if the boobs are not gigantic. I don’t live in Florida however this may be the way the country is going. I myself stand 164 cm. At this rate I may have to divorce my wife

  4. Small doll owner here, and I fear that my state may try to make my girls illegal, and they are not even used for sex. My partner and I are unable to have children of our own and can’t afford to adopt. Thank you Prostasia for standing up against this injustice. I know it feels like an uphill battle, since destroying personal freedoms is what government does best.

  5. I support doll use, but with the caveat that it isn’t for everyone. Some people have the mental acuity to handle such a thing as a personal experiential growth and deterant device, but sadly others in the past decade have proven to be highly influenced to a degree that is alarmingly dangerous. Example: look at the massive droves of people following insane conspiracy theories such as QAnon, etc. People like this are why i believe the dolls should require oversight, but I for one don’t even trust the mental healthcare involved for MAPs, so I’m torn.

    However, either way, this, like many things, isnt a simple yes or no. Mental health is a person to person case application. If dolls are marketed as a self prescribed therapy tool, then the persons having them should at least be vetted to have the mental acuity and toolset to safely handle the ‘trauma’ of acting out the exploration of impulses with such a doll. I have never really been traumatized, except by ‘normal society’, but obviously there is a greater majority of people who are prone to adverse trauma correlations and having sexual relations with a doll that resembles a child is admittedly terrifying in some regards.

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