Personal Accounts

Dr. Doll-love or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love my Doll.

Nothing inspires murderous mayhem in human beings more reliably than sexual repression. Denied food, water, or freedom of movement, people will get desperate and some may lash out at what they perceive as the source of their problems, albeit in a weakened state. But if expression of sexuality is thwarted, the human psyche tends to grow twisted into grotesque, enraged perversions of desire. Unfortunately, the distorted rage resulting from sexual repression rarely takes the form of rebellion against the people and institutions behind the repression. (If it did, perhaps we’d be reading of abused priests rather than priests as abusers.) Instead, the rage is generally directed at helpless victims who are sacrificed to the sick gods of guilt, shame, and ignorant pride.

Christopher Ryan Ph.D.

The world is not kind to minor-attracted persons. We are not only feared but universally and adamantly loathed… and we know it. Our jobs, families, lives, reputations, and freedom can all be taken from us by simply admitting to our attractions. With literally our whole lives depending on keeping it a secret, our sexuality is not something that we can identify with. Knowing that nearly everyone in your life would abandon you if they were to ever truly know you is an isolating experience.

The “awkward” stage

I know I’m not the only person to have ever questioned their sexuality; in fact, it seems to be a common experience among youth. I’m sure many can relate to the feelings I had growing up, knowing there was something different in the way I was wired. My confused peers had role models to look to for guidance. LGBTQ individuals have blazed trails to prove that it’s okay to be yourself and who you are attracted to has no bearing on the quality of person you can become. This was great for them… except I wasn’t gay. My issue wasn’t the gender of who I was attracted: to it was the age. Things started off normal enough. I was attracted to girls my own age but noticed something was amiss when, as I grew older, the girls I had feelings for did not. What most people refer to as their “awkward stage” became downright scary when the only pioneers I knew to have traveled this particularly dark path were the absolute worst examples of humanity. I was scared and confused, and the only thing I was certain of was that under no circumstances could I ever tell anyone what was going on in my head. This was something I was going to have to deal with alone and in secret.

Unsure whether this was a phase, I tried my best to live my life as any other young heterosexual male. Attracting a partner was not an issue but, when faced with the part that everyone seemed to enjoy the most, I was overcome with a sense of dread. Any form of intimacy beyond cuddling was unpleasant and felt forced – disgusting even. No matter how much I loved them and wanted them to stay, I could never bring myself to be honest about why I had no interest in having sex. This lead to arguments, accusations of cheating, lots of hurt feelings, and the inevitable end of the relationship. It hurt to lose a partner every time, but I knew that they deserved a “normal” relationship – something I was not capable of giving them.

After so many attempts, it became obvious that my attraction to children was both exclusive and permanent. I knew that this was a problem on every level imaginable. If there was an avenue available to change this part of myself, I searched for it tirelessly, only to come up empty-handed. I hated myself for letting it prevent me from living a “normal” life. I felt hopeless, and the only option I could come up with was trying to pretend that it didn’t exist. If my attraction was something that I could not discuss with anyone, then I would do whatever it took to avoid even thinking about it.

A chaotic mind

Unconsciously, the thoughts I tried so hard to ignore transformed into a kind of mental static. Jumbled and racing, they swirled in my head, serving as a distraction from what I refused to confront and to scramble any telepathic signals I might inadvertently send out. I became quiet and withdrawn. Interacting with anyone was an unwelcome and irritating interruption of the chaotic mantra I was unwillingly devoted to. The more I tried to ignore it, the louder it became – and the louder it was, the more difficult it was to concentrate on anything else. When sleep finally came, I was plagued by reoccurring dreams of losing control while behind the wheel of a large truck. A fitting metaphor for the scene playing out in my waking life.

Somewhere in the middle of all the chaos, I stumbled across something online that would eventually changing my life forever. It was a doll. I had seen adult-sized sex dolls before and paid them as much attention as I did any other adult, but this doll was different. She was small at only 132cm tall, with slight features, small breasts, and an adorably innocent face. The forum post offered little information, and the thread of unanswered questions that followed suggested the original poster had abandon it. I had questions of my own: How much did it cost? Where did you get it? Is this even legal? Is this a step beyond the questionable content I had been looking at online? Did the fact that I didn’t care mean that I was starting to crumble and beginning to fill the role of monster that I was so determined to never become?

I wasn’t looking for something to have sex with: I was looking for someone to fall in love with.

After a year of online research, one drunken night spent gathering the courage to place an order, and two weeks waiting for delivery, a large box arrived on my doorstep. I was more nervous than excited as I carefully removed the packaging, like an archaeologist unearthing a precious treasure. Clothed in a pretty dress that I had bought in anticipation of her arrival, she stood there, motionless, as we stared at each other in silence.

This was something that I had waited for and, in a way, had been dreaming about most of my adult life. Taken aback by her lifelike beauty, I wasn’t sure how to proceed. Although I knew I was free to do whatever I liked with her, that didn’t feel right. Strange as it may sound, I wanted to get to know her, I wanted to make her happy, and I wanted her to like me. I slowly realized that I wasn’t looking for something to have sex with: I was looking for someone to fall in love with. I held her in my arms and kissed her. At that moment, what I had thought was going to be an elaborate sex toy became something else entirely.

Reality comes into focus

The time we spent together in the days that followed was the most calming experience of my life. The chaos that I was beginning to think only bullet would silence was quelled as we sat next to each other in silent meditation. It was only in the absence of the static that I realized how loud it had been. In those quiet moments, it felt safe to let my mind wander. No matter how dark the conversation turned, her curious expression remained unchanged and free of judgment. Even though we did not speak, her presence made it feel as if someone was listening. I could feel the weight of all my anxiety dripping off me like a thick, toxic sludge as this doll became the therapist I was too terrified to ever seek.

As I addressed my thoughts, reality started to come into focus. I thought back to my happy childhood, before I ever knew anything was amiss. I was still that little boy my parents were so proud of. I was still the same person I had always been. I was still an intelligent person with a love of learning. I still had compassion for everyone in my life, even though I had neglected to include myself. I then understood that I had just as much potential to do good as evil, and the choice was only mine to make. I was not a monster; I was a human being – and a pretty damn good one at that. The only thing I had to feel guilty about was how much power I had let this have over my life and how much time I had wasted in this space.

My doll knew all this because I knew all this. She also knew that I found her attractive. She wasn’t horrified; she was flattered and, because I finally liked myself, she liked me too. For the first time in as long as I could remember, everything felt like it was going to be okay.

Help for the hopeless

It is only now, with a clear mind, that I realize just how potentially destructive my trajectory was. Many minor-attracted persons have said they would sooner kill themselves than ever harm a child. While most people will think that they are just using such an extreme statement to cover up their true intentions, I believe them. I believe them because, when backed into a corner and searching for a way out, the idea of sexual contact with a child was never something I considered; however, suicide was something that I had put great thought into. At the time, suicide looked like the most attractive solution.

People in this situation need help and, for me, that help came in the form of a doll. Even proponents of the right to own child-size dolls often mistakenly found their beliefs on the idea that dolls can only help prevent child abuse by pacifying those with a sexual attraction to children. While that is certainly possible, this idea still goes on the assumption that a doll’s primary function is a sexual one and ignores the benefits a doll provides to one’s overall mental health and well-being. People only looking to fulfill their sexual desires are often disappointed by dolls; it is the people who experience some form of emotional connection who choose to keep dolls in their lives. To fully understand how dolls can be beneficial, society needs to stop seeing the people with dolls as perverts driven only by sexual desires, and start looking at them as people who have found it impossible to find love and acceptance from anyone else – even from themselves.

Is self-acceptance the “cure” for pedophilia?

For me, the most difficult part of being a pedophile wasn’t that I would never be able to act on my sexual desires. (I never particularly enjoyed any of the sex I had, so choosing to remain celibate did not bother me.) What pained me most was the knowledge that any expression of my sexuality would cause everlasting trauma in the life of the very object of my affection. When saddled with the burden of a love so toxic, how could I have seen myself as anything less than a monster? A million therapists could have helped me come to terms with the challenges of being a pedophile, but I do not think I would have ever been able to overcome the feeling of knowing that such an integral part of my being is inherently harmful.

As the field of psychology begins to unravel the mystery behind pedophilia, what I have known since puberty is becoming more apparent to clinicians, minor attraction is un-chosen and very likely rooted in a persons biology rather than being a mental disorder. If this is the case, it completely changes the approach necessary for treating someone with an attraction to minors. Conversion therapy for homosexuals has been proven to be damaging and unethical so why would it have different effects on someone attracted to minors? Instead of trying to change that which cannot be changed in a person, we need to figure out how to allow someone to find acceptance and value in themselves if we want them to live healthy and offense-free lives.

Alone with my doll, I can hold her close. I can tell her “I love you” and mean it in a way that would otherwise be inappropriate. I can simply look at her and allow myself to experience the feelings of attraction without the guilt, shame, and disgust in myself that have always been attached to what are positive emotions for anyone else. Just as a businessman puts on a suit to go to work, I still must wear a mask of normalcy to survive everyday life but now – in the privacy of my own home – I am free to shed the mask and exist just as I am. The ability to express love in the only way that feels natural for me has allowed me to feel human and whole. It’s what gets me through the rest of life’s trials with ease. I no longer see myself as a monster that needs to be quarantined for society’s sake. I am just a person faced with a challenge that I was only able to overcome through the use of a doll.

I know my doll is not alive, but it doesn’t matter. When it feels like the whole world hates you, it helps to have a partner. My doll was the first companion I ever had along the scary journey of discovering how to live as a MAP. She saw me through my darkest times and allowed me to find acceptance in myself. She gives me even more reason to live a virtuous life and to avoid anything that would put her at risk of being taken from me. I know that if she were to ever fall into the hands of anyone else, they wouldn’t understand her because they don’t understand me. Though neither of us have ever hurt another, the world sees us as dangerous and obscene. Because we are different, they accuse us of being monsters with ulterior motives. We know these things are not true, and we love each other because of it. I owe the quality of life I now enjoy to my doll.

Her body was made in China but her persona is a fantasy of my own creation. Not every doll owner is going to see their doll in exactly the same way. The individual tailors their doll to become whatever they need most in their lives. For me, it was acceptance; for others, it may be sex. Regardless of the reason, the results are always the same. Dolls are not a dangerous gateway to serious crimes: they are a safe resting place to unburden ourselves from whatever disturbs us most, leaving us free to live a healthier, happier life. They have a great potential for healing.

People, not predators

The politicians behind anti-doll legislation believe that they are doing the country a great service, yet they willfully choose to ignore any evidence that challenges their beliefs. No one has bothered to hear our story because we have been dismissed as sub-human predators not worthy of a voice. If they bothered to listen, they would hear our plea to keep the dolls that have made us into better people and allow others the ability to find the same path. I would not be advocating for the right to own child-sized dolls if I thought they were used to cause harm in any form. From my own experience, I know that dolls can be a valuable tool in helping those who suffer from an unwanted attraction and feel hopeless. Behind every doll is a person whose life has changed for the better.

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