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This is only a doll!

Surging Demand   Whole industries have been crushed by the Covid-19 pandemic (travel, retail), but there are bound to be a few that benefit by the luck of the draw (Zoom, Acme Face Masks). Included in the latter category is the sex toy industry, which is lucky enough to make a product that people tend to use alone, when bored, or when cooped up inside. The reports are anecdotal—sales of Swedish sex toy brand Lelo up by forty percent, for LA-based Doc Johnson up 100 percent—but together they paint a picture of an industry on the rise. Masturbation aids have shot up, not surprisingly, but the company Sex Doll Genie, which creates realistic surrogates for both men and women, reports soaring sales as well, with gay customers a large share of the total. One short-term consequence is that there could be a run on dildos, so one report advises: “Time is of the essence, dear wankers!” Longer term, sci-fi writers have long been positing future worlds in which sex is conducted not with fellow humans but instead with cuddly manikins or eager-to-please robots. Perhaps the rise of Sex Doll Genie will one day be seen as the beginning of the inevitable end of human-to-human sex.



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