It’s been a few years since the concept of a “sex doll ally” has become more mainstream. I remember the first time I heard about it, I was both intrigued and mortified. The idea of a human-like partner who could provide emotional intimacy, companionship and sexual satisfaction all wrapped up in a silicone shell seemed too good to be true. But, I’ve come to see the value that these dolls can provide in a broader context.

To start, sex dolls are allies in the world of body acceptance. With the Barbie-like ideals of beauty being constantly thrust on us, these dolls offer a reminder that beauty doesn’t have a one-size-fits-all formula. From the ornate facial features to the full-bodied frame, these figures are a reminder that everyone has worth and sex dolls beauty despite our differences.

I was also impressed by the way these dolls mitigate some of the risks associated with physical intimacy. The doll’s synthetic body parts protect its owner from the transmission of STIs, making it an ideal partner for those who are immunosuppressed or wish to explore their sexuality without worry.

But, for me, the mitigating factor that truly cements these dolls as allies is their willingness to never say no. In an age where we are constantly surrounded by advertisements glamorizing sex, there is no margin for refusal. With these dolls, everyone is guaranteed satisfaction.

The dolls also provide an ideal platform for self exploration. In my own experience, I’ve found that when I’m with a sex doll, I’m more open to exploring different types of positions and fantasies. Plus, they don’t break down the way that a real-life partner might, making it easier to explore without fear.

And, for those of us who feel shy or uncomfortable expressing our needs, these dolls provide an excellent context in which to experiment. They are patient listener (as patient as one can be) and highly accommodating. All you have to do is ask, and you are sure to get a favorable response.

Finally, I’ve found that sex dolls provide a safe, nonjudgmental alternative for those of us who don’t fit into the traditional model of a sexual relationship. Whether you are single, polyamorous, or otherwise, these dolls provide a way for those who find traditional relationships daunting to explore sexuality and intimacy without the pressures of having to conform to societal norms.

Despite some of the reservations I first had towards sex dolls, I feel as though these figures are truly beneficial allies. Not only are they capable of bringing pleasure and companionship to those without access to it, they also provide a platform for self exploration and empathy. In this way, sex dolls can help to bridge the gap between the physical, emotional, and imaginative aspects of intimacy.

Now that I’ve delved deeper into the topic of sex doll allies, I also want to explore the challenges that come along with integrating them into our lives. As I mentioned, there are quite a few perks that come along with owning one— but what about the potential pitfalls?

For instance, can owning a sex doll desensitize us from real-life interaction? If we become too comfortable relying on the doll for emotional or sexual fulfillment, will we be able to transition to genuine intimacy? And, finally, do sex dolls conflate real human interactions with artificial ones, or replace the need for it entirely?

These are a few of the questions I’m currently trying to tackle, and it’s raising my awareness of all the technological advances that are disrupting the way we think about relationships. With these sex figurines becoming more common, it’s likely that we’ll soon be seeing more questions, debates, and ethical considerations about how to properly use them responsibly.

It’s clear that these dolls bring immense value to our world of intimacy, but it would be careless to think about them in a silo. Instead, we must think long and hard about the implications of our actions, and take the time to recognize the positive impact that these figures can provide.

Maybe then, sex dolls can serve as useful allies on this journey of self-discovery and emotional growth. After all, shouldn’t we all be striving to be the best version of ourselves?