Interesting piece by Meghan Leslocky in yesterday's Salon about the fascinating sexual subculture of men and their love dolls.
Love dolls have come a long way since the days of Dennis Hopper's "Feck" character in The River's Edge. For just $6,500, you can buy a made-to-order Real Doll (NSFW) that'll satisfy your basest carnal whims without forcing you to engage in the emotional rollycoaster of a genuine genital warts-n-all relationship with another human being.
There have always been fetish-based subcultures, but the advent of the Internet has transformed them into genuine constituencies. Love dolls and the men who love them are no different. There's a lot to learn for the uninitiated. For example, did you know you can rig an aquarium heater and a dimmer switch to heat your doll's entryways if you don't have time to warm her up with an electric blanket? I'm sorry, but now you do!
I think the vast majority of us ultimately want to find someone else to build a life with. I can be pretty curmudgeonly and walled off at times, but even I prefer trying and failing to walking out on love altogether.
That said, is it really all that perverted for someone to choose to stay home with a love doll if he's (it's almost always men) truly unwilling or unable to go there? Perhaps it signifies emotional under-development, but I don't see it as unequivocally "perverted" in the dangerous sense of the word.
And no, I don't own a love doll. I lease mine!