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Who Is the Sex Doll Revolution Really Hurting?

Being a sex worker in the Czech Republic was hard enough. Then the silicone dolls with VR hookups started coming for their jobs.

The streets of Prague have a gentleness to them. The main roads are lined with greyed cobblestone, and cars bump over tramway tracks next to candy-colored neo-classical shop buildings. Somewhere in the center of the city, tucked quietly underneath Gothic church arches and balcony flowers, is Naughty Harbor, a brick-and-mortar sex paradise that will reveal its address to you only after you book your session with one — or more — of their sex dolls. It’s like Narnia, except for sex. 

The man behind the magic is 27-year-old Patrik Duda, a businessman fascinated by robotics who has a deep belief in the power of his dolls. You can get a taste of what they’re like on Naughty Harbor’s homepage, where you’ll meet Rebecca, whose bio promises that she will be faithful with her “inexhaustible sexual energy.” Her lips are parted, her wavy red hair is tousled just the right amount, her tits out are out and her fingers are placed daintily over her silicone vagina. 

“They are all looking for partners and hope to fulfill his secret dreams and desires,” the website listing purrs. “They love sex and are not ashamed of anything. Tender lovemaking, deep throat or passionate anal sex is an unforgettable experience with silicone and TPE Sex Dolls.”

There are currently “hundreds” of silicone dolls available for purchase on the Naughty Harbor website and four available in the brick-and-mortar Naughty Harbor location: Rebecca, Yasmine and Luccy. There’s a male doll, too. His name is Nick. He’s gay and his penis comes in two sizes — six inches and ten. 

Each doll possesses a slightly individualized backstory and photo gallery. When I first scrolled through the website, I clicked on Yasmine, because her big breasts are pretty admirable and I imagined they’d hurt her back a lot if she was a real person. Her biography describes her as “chubby” and a lover of deep throat and anal sex. “Oooh, I’ll want you to do this to my ass so often,” her biography promises.

When I think of sex dolls, I typically imagine stringy, waxy hair, hard plastic and dead, always-open eyes. But scrolling through Yasmine’s gallery, that doesn’t seem to be the case. Her breasts flop against a couch — pressing into each other — her eyes are sultry and she even makes the classic human mistake of wearing a bodysuit that’s too small and gives her a camel toe. She can’t be real, but she doesn’t look entirely fake, either. 

Duda writes over email that he really wanted a brothel full of sex robots, but that the technology isn’t there yet. For now, then, he pairs his dolls with virtual reality porn, hoping it’ll give them life. You can get a glimpse of what that looks like in one of Naughty Harbor’s promotional videos, where a blurry man approaches Rebecca, reaching for a Naughty Harbor-branded VR headset before taking off his jacket and touching her. The porn he’s watching is pixelated (the 3D model in it is more of an anime character than a human) but paired with the realistic-feeling Rebecca, it seems to do the trick — he’s immersed. 

In Duda’s wildest dreams, Naughty Harbor would signal the beginning of some sort of technological sexual revolution. But not everyone shares his beliefs. Some people actually find his dolls to be threats, not only to their livelihoods, but to the reputation of Eastern European women as a whole. 

In an email exchange that was translated to English, Czech porn star Barbara Bieber tells me she thinks Duda’s sex dolls are “definitely competition.” She laments the physical difficulty of filming human VR porn, and worries this might create a new market for the dolls to dig their perfect little fingers into. “[VR porn] is more demanding for girls,” she says. “All the attention is on them.” 

Serina Gomez, another Czech porn star, also mentions the difficulties of filming VR porn in her translated interview. “What’s weird about VR porn is that you only see the girl, her whole body and face,” she says. “A boy can only see part of his body and the environment. There’s a man wearing a camera, and the girl has to look only at one point [on the camera]. It can be difficult to maintain that eye contact.” 

For Duda’s dolls, however, the VR process is much easier. They lay there while their digital counterparts do all the work looking meaningfully with their 3D model eyes as their clients have their dicks “pampered” by an automatized masturbator. They don’t get tired, eye contact isn’t a problem and you don’t have to pay them. Most importantly, unlike real sex workers and their allies, they never complain. As a glib sex doll owner points out on Reddit’s 13,000-user subreddit r/sexdolls, it’s a “blessing” that the dolls never say what’s on their mind. “I like to have pretend convos in my head sometimes,” he says, referring to his mum, plastic companion. “So, she’s a really fun character to have, haha.”

In many ways, though, that’s exactly the type of facile sex worker that Czech porn has been trying to create. “After the end of communism, the Czech Republic became the go-to place for pornography production because it was cheap [to make], and we had very liberal laws,” explains Michaela Lebedíková, a sociology Masters student studying porn at Masaryk University. “We don’t have bans on production of certain genres other than the usual things, like child pornography or sex with animals.” As a result, the country has become a global porn heavyweight, specializing in a homegrown genre called rychlý prachy, or “fast money.” 

Searching Google for “rychlý prachy,” it appears that it mainly consists of “regular” women (and sometimes gay men) having sex with foreigners for quick cash. In “Public Agent Stunning MILF with Hot Body Fucked by Big Cock FULL VIDEO,” the Czech porn actress Subil Arch is approached on a quaint residential street by an Italian stranger. “So you said that you are a teacher, right?” he asks her. “As a teacher, more or less, how much money do you get?” 

She sighs, and admits that teachers don’t make that much money. He offers her an increasing amount of money, and she hesitates before finally giving in at around $250 U.S. dollars. “I can show you my… butt, if you want,” she says, resigned and smiling slightly. Of course, he keeps pressuring her and offering more money until she takes her pants and top off before sucking his (admittedly, massive) dick and eventually fucking him. We never see the Italian man’s face — it’s blurred — but we see a lot of Arch. “I liked it,” she says at the end. “I never fucked an Italian guy.”

Lebedíková wonders if videos like this contribute to the concept of the “easily availableEastern European woman. “What people forget is that these women aren’t just ‘ordinary’ women you meet on the street,” she says. “They don’t really receive the money — it’s scripted, and these women are performers or sex workers. It certainly creates a fantasy of availability. The fact that it takes place in public space — and that it looks so realistic — makes it seem as if a guy with a camera really could just approach a random woman on the street and have sex with her for money just adds to the stereotype.”

Of course, not everyone involved in Czech porn is worried about that narrative. Vera Jarw, a young, blonde Czech cam girl who stars in a number of rychlý prachy videos, expressed her appreciation for the loyalty of the Czech Republic to porn in our conversation over Twitter DM. “I don’t think this is a competitor to ordinary porn,” she said. “It only complements and develops the sex industry.” 

As for Duda’s sex dolls, Brian Ragnastone, another Czech porn performer, says that they’re “simply speaking, made by men” (in reference to their appearance), and that not as many people would find that as appealing as watching real human beings having sex. 

Duda obviously begs to differ. So far, there haven’t been that many orders for his dolls, but he says there are “certainly people who prefer [sex dolls to human porn] and there are many of them.” Scrolling r/sexdolls (whose group photo is of Naughty Harbor’s Yasmine), he seems more right than not — you can find men giving their sex dolls piercings, lying in bed with them and using 50 grams of lube in a few days just to fuck them. They cuddle with them, dress them in color-coordinated outfits whose “vibe” match the seasons and even watch movies with them, too. 

To date, no sex worker that I’m aware of has lost their job to a sex doll, but looking over the posts and selfies satisfied users post of their silicone “girlfriends,” it’s easy to see how their proliferation could pose a threat. After all, dolls will always be able to fully embody a person’s fantasy, and they exist apart from reality in a way that humans cannot. Or practically speaking: They’ll happily lie in bed all day, lips perfectly parted, waiting for you in silence except for the occasional uncomplicated utterance: “Big boobs are my trademark. What’s yours?”

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