Living in a town like Isla Vista, which is full of beautiful, highly social people, it’s hard to imagine that there are some individuals who don’t have the ability – or even, at times, the desire – to interact with others. Loners, social outcasts, the insecure; dorks or geeks we call them, and go on with our own daily lives and evening sex lives.

A couple of years ago, visiting a friend of my then-boyfriend, I was more or less introduced to the concept of inanimate-object eroticism. This friend’s bedroom was filled with dozens of stuffed animals, most of them “Meeko” from Disney’s “Pocahontas.”

Being much more innocent then than I am now, I just assumed he was an ultra-obsessed fan of the movie. I was later to realize that he didn’t just love his stuffed animals … he loved his stuffed animals.

Anyone who has walked into a sex shop or adult “bookstore” is more or less familiar with the array of sex toys that these places offer. From dildos to rubber vaginas, inflatable women to inflatable sheep, sex with the synthetic is offered as an alternative or a supplement to “normal” sexual activity. Some people have just taken this beyond the rubber-and-plastic market.

For some people who get off on these types of toys, like the guy with all the Meekos, the sex isn’t always a replacement for the action they couldn’t have. A lot of times, it’s actually a preferred substitute.

One company has taken the concept of the Inflate-a-Date a step further and capitalized on it. Calling their product “RealDoll,” they offer a fairly mainstream range of female body types and head types that can be mixed and matched to create the ultimate inanimate partner. Completely formed in silicone.

Located on the web (the only place you can order one of these dolls) at, the company allows for a custom-design of each doll, from the body type to the color of the eyes, hair and even skin. Each doll is guaranteed to have a realistic feel, inside and out, and is realistically detailed down to the very shape and form of the toes.

Testimonies from satisfied customers on the site repeatedly claim that the RealDoll was “the best sex” they’d ever had, “perfect,” “better than expected.”

A lot of these same people, if asked, would probably say that among the best features of RealDoll is the fact that she doesn’t come with all the problems of a real relationship. This is one of the prime attractions for the people with their stuffed animals. These partners don’t nag, don’t whine and don’t demand. For the person who’s already had problems with normal, everyday interaction, this might be a dream come true.

Which is probably why quite a few people are more than willing to pay the $5,749 (at least), plus shipping, for the doll. She – or he, for there is a male RealDoll with working penis – is the ideal mate, made to the buyer’s specifications, completely ready to love and enjoy.

The makers of RealDoll don’t say how large their customer base is, or how many dolls they have sold. But the fact that the company has been able to stay in business at least since 1997, when Howard Stern featured them on his radio program, work with new designs and even offer a set of sample models based on the “most popular picks” hints at a growing demand for this type of product. A growing demand for sex without the hassles of human interaction.

And who wants to risk dealing with humans? They whine, they complain, they cause wars. They can hurt you in ways that a doll never could.

But they can also react. And they can love. Sometimes the most wonderful things come at the greatest risk.

Daily Nexus opinion editor and sex columnist Sarah Kent likes her teddy bears, but doesn’t love her teddy bears. Send her your sex questions, comments and ideas to <>.