Faking It

Matt McMullen used to make Halloween masks. Then, he made mannequins. Now he makes dolls. But for the owners of the 700-plus he has sold, these dolls challenge the very concept of reality.

McMullen’s creation, the Real Doll, emerged in 1997. The doll is a fully functional sex-doll, possessing vaginal, oral and anal entries.

McMullen said he never intended on making a sex-doll, but when people started reacting positively to his fully-poseable mannequin, he couldn’t resist.

“Initially, the idea came to me in 1995 for the poseable mannequin, not a sexual toy,” he said. “Toward 1996, I started getting more and more feedback from people saying that they would be interested in it sexually.”

McMullen has been married for six years, and he and his wife work hand in hand assembling the dolls.

“She’s half the business,” he said.

McMullen said after people began showing interest in his mannequins as sex toys, he and his wife began to develop prototype dolls, and in 1997, they started Abyss Creations, the official carriers of the Real Doll. McMullen said he is a sculptor by trade, and his interest in creating something different and real is how the final product evolved.

“I was a sculptor,” he said. “I was into making something very realistic, and it turned into a sex doll.”

Don’t picture Abyss’ San Diego warehouse as having life-size dolls stacked one on top of the other, because each doll is custom made by hand, he said.

“We don’t carry stock,” he said. “Every doll is a custom-made item, and right now, there is a 16-week wait to get one.”

McMullen said he has been met with little opposition to the dolls, and that instead, when those who initially say they are offended by it view the doll in person, their opinions change.

“Most people, when they actually see the doll and they can see the kind of work that goes into it, are impressed by it,” he said.

McMullen, whose role in developing the dolls typically constitutes adding the finishing touches, said each doll takes approximately 80 hours to complete.

“It’s a skill,” he said. “It takes time to learn because there are a lot of unique steps that need to be taken.”

Because of the nature of the product, McMullen said all sales are final, and they cannot offer any kind of warranty.

And who buys these dolls?

McMullen wouldn’t give out any of his customer’s names, but a USF adjunct professor and sex therapist said there were three types of people who would most likely engage in sexual intercourse with a doll.

Melvin James said those with control issues, poor interpersonal relationship skills and sexual dysfunction would most likely buy the dolls. He also said there is an appeal to the doll because of its novelty.

“People get turned on by different things – shoes, clothing,” James said. “It could just be that they are turned on by the doll.”

He said some people lack confidence in their sexual ability, such as men who are not able to achieve an erection. With a doll, he said, they risk no humiliation.

“Some are afraid of their own sexual reality,” he said.As far as control goes, he said some people could find it satisfying to have total control of the doll sexually. He also said that the fascination with the doll could be the result of a poor history of relationships or possibly a fetish.

“Those who have had poor interpersonal relationships could be afraid of rejection and conflict,” he said. “Or it could just be a fetish – where someone becomes sexually stimulated from a non-living object.”

The Real Doll is sold exclusively online. The female doll, which comes in eight different varieties (Leah, Stacy, Celine, Tami, Nika, Amanda, Stephanie and Mai), costs about $6,000. The newest addition to the line is a male version, which sells for about $7,000.

All the dolls’ bodies are completely customizable, from makeup to breast size, with the idea, McMullen said, that a man can create the perfect woman. Perhaps an anonymous testimonial posted on their Web site, says it best.

“I just got my Real Doll this morning. I think I’m in love!”

  • Contact Ryan Meehan at oracleryan@yahoo.com