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Are Sex Dolls Legal?

last updated 26 September 2019

Sex dolls per se are legal in the UK, most of Europe, the US, Canada, Australia etc. However, there are a couple of legal issues around the topic of sex dolls. The first, and most notable, being centred on the perceived “age” of the doll and whether small ones can be deemed representative of children. The second revolving around the renting out of Sex Dolls or, as the media, has labelled it sex doll brothels.

Doll Age: The Current Legal Position

United Kingdom (UK): The legislation that currently deals with this is the Customs Consolidation Act 1876 and the specific offence revolves importation, rather than ownership. Although its scope can and does cover child sex dolls it was unlikely that its authors had such items in mind and so there is a lack of specific detail regarding this subject. Guidance was released in October 2015 to help with its interpretation with relation to child sex dolls and further guidance was released in March 2019. With specific legislation being expected in the near future.

Sex Dolls Border Force

The first bit of guidance in October 2015 talked about the importation of such a doll and stated it was on offence under the Customs Consolidation Act 1876 and also discussed the matter of publishing pictures of such dolls.

The March 2019 guidance went into further detail on these matters, most notably stating that any doll that has any child like features may be considered and obscene article under the act. This would, for example, cover a tall doll with a child like face or a small doll with adult proportions. This guidance also went on to suggest that shipping such a doll around the UK would be an offence contrary to section 85(3)(b) Postal Services Act 2000. This is a newly proposed offence in relation to child Sex Dolls and demonstrates a further and welcome tightening of the laws and movement around such dolls.

It does not currently appear to be illegal to own such a doll but this would be the final part of the puzzle and most likely be something the authorities were working hard on either establishing an existing offence, or creating a new one.

Prior to the March 2019 guidance, the unofficial position, confirmed by the authorities, was that to be legal a doll must be 140cm or over. Below this it may be deemed to represent a child. It is illegal to have sex with a child (or person who is under the age of 16) and illegal to publish photographs of anyone under the age of 18 in an intimate or sexual way. These laws can be considered applicable to dolls representative of those ages. However with the release of the new guidance we think that even 140cm and up may not by itself be a safe bet.

Europe: the UK is leading the way on this topic so again no firm legislation or guidance is yet in place in the European countries. However demand for small dolls is definitely at an all time low so the unofficial actions are definitely having their effect. It is likely that European countries will follow up with legislation once the UK releases theirs.

Update 29 September: Norwegian Courts have ruled that the importation of a 100cm doll is an offence under section 311 of the criminal code, which bans importation of depictions which sexualise children.

The USA: For a long time the USA seemed to show little concern over child Sex Dolls. However, a recent spate of arrests and prosecutions has shown that the tide is changing on this and recently a Florida bill passed making it a first-degree misdemeanor in the state to possess, give away, advertise, sell or display the dolls, which would be punishable by up to one year in jail and a $1000.00 fine. A second offense would be classed as a third-degree felony punishable by up to five years in prison. Though America being a number of states with different laws, it’s unlikely this will be a uniform position in all states and the main retailers in the US are still selling child like sex dolls. Note that the US House did pass a similar law about a year ago, which became known as the Creeper Act but this was stalled in the Senate.

Australia: The Ozzies seem to be a bit more strict on this and are following closely behind the UK on this.

Doll Age: The Legal Position Of The Future

As discussed previously, the UK authorities are looking to release more specific legislation that will give clearer guidance and deal with the issue of child sex dolls. It is not known, at this time, when that will be released. As well as dealing with importation, it is likely that it will also handle the issue of ownership. It is likely that the rest of the world will follow the example of the UK at varying speeds.

Doll Age: The Argument For And Against

Many people including some major charities have argued that child sex dolls may be beneficial to people with paedophilic tendencies. Especially if they were to be used in a controlled environment with psychiatric help.

However, this will most certainly be rejected by the UK authorities as they believe it is more likely a gateway product and could desensitise the matter in the users mind. This stance was also agreed upon by Democratic state Sen. Lauren Book who was responsible for introducing the legislation to Florida and she said “Just as viewing child pornography lowers the inhibitions of child predators, so do these childlike sex dolls that have no place in the state of Florida.”

Other people have argued that the lower weight of a smaller doll makes them easier to move around and the smaller size makes them easier to conceal. Again this argument is unlikely to be accepted as torso dolls are available (without legs and/or arms) which solve both of these problems and foam dolls (very light) are available which solve the first problem.

Note that some Chinese websites, pretending to be UK companies, are advising that small sex dolls are legal. Customs are actively seizing these and prosecuting the UK individual and there are no penalties for the Chinese supplier.

Sex Doll Brothels

sex doll brothels

With the cost of high end Sex Dolls being, sometimes, in the thousands of pounds or dollars, many entrepreneurial people have offered a rental service in once capacity or another. There have been many, widely publicised cases of this around the world and each countries response has been different. Some countries have allowed it, whilst others have fought vehemently against it.

In the UK, Lovedoll UK were labelled as the first UK sex doll brothel when they launched a try before you buy service. This, however, was quickly shut down by the local authority, as it was deemed to be a sex establishment that required a license from the council. As a license was not expected to be granted, an application was not made and this side of the business went no further. A couple of other small players tried a similar thing and were met by similar hostility from their local authorities. The police, it seems, would not have a problem with such an activity as no laws are being broken.

>>> Sex Dolls: Everything You Need To Know

In Europe there is a mixed position but on the whole it seems that a properly run establishment is acceptable, although some public opposition is still apparent. Spain for example seems to be a particularly open environment for this.

In the US, there have been similar cases to the UK and opposition from local council seems to be just as fierce.

In Russia, it seems that this is also acceptable.

2 thoughts on “Are Sex Dolls Legal?

  1. This has made me wonder if I am making the right decision I am disabled and lonely so weight would be a factor and also expense at the moment. As with a lot of disabled people the governments PIP means we are having to fight through the appeal courts for our disability.

    1. if you’re getting a doll from a reputable vendor then you don’t need to worry about the legality. If there’s something else concerning you, let me know

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