Edmonton sex doll rental business could help people fulfil sexual needs, experts say

A sex doll rental business has opened in Edmonton, and sex experts say it could provide a positive sexual outlet for some people.

The Doll Next Door is a premium sex doll rental service, according to the company website. People can choose between five dolls, renting them for two hours or a night. The dolls are delivered to client's doors in "discrete containers." The company also rents out virtual reality headsets.

"The Doll Next Door Inc is led by a married couple who aims to deliver a little spunk to the entertainment industry," the website reads. "We believe that social and sexual satisfaction are necessary for human fulfillment, and we are proud to carve new pathways for this need to be met."

The company owner declined an interview because they didn't want their name to be made public.

Sex experts weigh in

Brenda Kerber owns adult toy store The Traveling Tickle Trunk on Whyte Avenue and 99th Street. For the past year, she had been anticipating the sex doll industry to move into Edmonton.

"Anything that allows people to explore their sexuality and express their sexual needs and interests in a way that is safe for their own health and doesn't affect anybody else in a negative way, I think that is a good thing," said Kerber, who has worked in the sexual health and sex toy industry for almost 20 years.

"I think if we're not allowed to explore and express those needs, that can come out in ways that do hurt people."

The Doll Next Door

Her only concern is that sex doll rental companies stick to a strict sterilization policy.

"They're taking them to somebody to use them, then they're taking them back to be reused, which actually is safe as long as you are cleaning them," she said.

The FAQ section of The Doll Next Door website addresses sterilization.

The Doll Next Door

"The safety of our clients is of the utmost importance. All of our dolls are 100 per cent sterilized after every use by professional cleaners using specialized equipment," it states. "Additionally, the use of a barrier device with the dolls is mandatory."

Jason Jones is a registered psychologist and certified sex therapist.

He said he's interested to see how Edmontonians will perceive the business. He sees it having a positive effect for some people, similar to the use of sex toys.

"This might be an appropriate outlet for some of those people who aren't able to have other kinds of sexual outlets, as long as they're doing it safely," Jones said.

Jones hopes to see more research that looks at the long-term effects of sex doll use, as he wonders how they can affect human interactions and relationships.

"Does that mean that people are also going to be just staying in, not trying to meet real people? Is that going to impair their ability to have relationships with real-life humans?" he said. "Or is it really just something that's like a masturbatory device like other products that might be out there?"

Travis.mcewan@cbc.ca@Travismcewancbc