By Ng Jun Sen
The New Paper
Thursday, March 26, 2015
Men who turn to life-size silicone dolls for companionship suffer from a mental condition known as agalmatophilia, said two experts.
People with this condition are sexually attracted to human-shaped objects, such as mannequins or statues.
It is similar to how some people get sexual gratification from women's undergarments, said psychiatrist Dr Adrian Wang.
"If a person can achieve arousal only exclusively through dolls, then it is agalmatophilia, which is considered a psychiatric condition," he said.
"But I must say that I have never seen a case like that. Most of my patients with abnormal sexual attractions involve underwear and panties."
Dr Wang's comments were in response to The New Paper on Sunday's article on March 22 about how these anatomically correct silicone dolls were one man's solution to finding love.
The single, middle-aged Singaporean, who holds a senior management position in a company and wanted to be known only as Terry, said he has developed feelings for his "girlfriend".
Because he was not popular with women, Terry bought her for $6,500 from Toy Orgasmic, the only Singaporean reseller to import and distribute these adult dolls here.
He told TNP: "It's definitely possible to fall in love and marry a doll. I have a spiritual connection with her.
"A doll won't cheat or betray you. You can be the true you in front of her and she will accept you for who you are."
Dr Wang, who runs a private practice, said agalmatophilia can have negative effects on people surrounding them, affecting relationships with friends or family.
He said: "They should seek treatment if others, such as their family or spouses, are affected.
"But if it's for their own personal use and behind closed doors, then it is okay."
But treatment can be limited, as there are few effective options available to wean a person off their attachment to adult silicone dolls.
Said Dr Wang: "I've seen patients with other forms of paraphilia (abnormal sexual behaviour) once or twice a year, and it is difficult to treat."
There are also no diagnosed cases of agalmatophilia in Singapore, as it is rare to see a patient admit that it is a problem, he added.
No official statistics of Singaporeans with agalmatophilia are available, but Mr Jay Ng, founder of Toy Orgasmic, said he has around 20 customers so far.
"Several of my clients see themselves as being in a relationship with their dolls," said Mr Ng, who started importing them last October.
"They are fiercely private people and don't want others to know about them."
Mr Ng, who delivers the dolls himself to ensure privacy, also knows of a couple of cases where his customers have families with children.
Said Mr Daniel Koh, a psychologist at Insights Mind Centre: "Intimate gratification (from such dolls) can arise from loneliness or a lack of confidence in an ability to find a partner."
But it could also come from people who prefer "a sense of physical and emotional control" over their partners.
"People who engage in such behaviour tend to like intimacy, sexual arousal or companionship without other emotions involved... They tend to dislike having to think about their partner's needs and wants."
He believes that such artificial form of companionship might not be a bad thing if used as a form of psychiatric treatment, but added that this was only an educated guess.
"There's just not enough research or evidence so far to determine if dolls (can be used as a treatment tool), since it is such uncommon behaviour," he said.
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