Outrageous! Tennessee ignores experts with proposed sex doll ban

Update April 22: the Bill has passed both the House and Senate and is due to be signed by the governor. Prostasia Foundation commits to fighting this unconstitutional law by helping any defendant charged under it to defend themselves.

Dr James Cantor, former editor of the journal Sexual Abuse and an expert on paraphilias, says that there is no evidence that sex dolls are harmful​, and that they may be helpful in providing a victimless outlet for those with abnormal sexual interests. Dr Craig Harper, editor of Open Psychological Science, says that harms attributed to sex dolls are unsupported by any research evidence​, and Dr Richard Siegel, Director of Modern Sex Therapy Institutes agrees, calling the idea absurd​. Dr Michael Seto concurs​, saying that for some pedophiles, sex dolls may reduce their likelihood of offending​ against real children.

But none of this matters to Tennessee legislators, who are set to pass a law, SB 659 – HB 1168 that would make it a felony to possess a sex doll that the government considers has “features that resemble those of a minor”—whatever that might mean (legal experts have criticized this test as being far too vague).

This proposal is both abhorrent and immoral. Why are we giving dolls the same rights as real children? Under no circumstances should the abuse of a real child be treated as equivalent to the possession of a lifeless sex doll. To assert otherwise is to diminish the rights of real children and to trivialize their abuse.

Although aimed at protecting children, the bill could do the opposite, by criminalizing what experts believe could be a possible harmless outlet for those with sexual interests in children. It would also open the door to state legislatures stepping in to regulate other private, consensual sexual acts between adults.

If you are from Tennessee, write to your representatives today to stop this ill-informed and harmful bill.