Sasha: No time for a relationship? Try a love doll

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Dear Sasha,

I was wondering if you have any information on sex dolls. I am a person with no time at all for a serious relationship. I want to know about the sensation. I mean, how different could it be? We're talking like, a $200 doll. I need to know if it's a good buy.

Mr. Need To Know

I'm going to suggest you visit, which offers intriguing tips on a variety of masturbation techniques and has message boards where you can ask others about their experiences with sex dolls and/or genital stimulators/simulators.

Given your financial limitations, an item called "Fleshlight" or a cobbled-together household object might offer a more pleasing sensation than a vinyl lady friend in the $200 range.

But if you prefer an actual doll to a disembodied organ, you could fork over $6,300 plus $900 shipping for a Realdoll ( -- and yes, ladies and homos, they now make male models, too).

I spent a chunk of Sunday surfing Realdoll and sex doll fan sites in general and found an incredible subculture of aficionados, some very charming. At, one enthusiast includes quotes by everyone from Dorothy Parker to Walt Whitman to Camille Paglia under pictures of his beloved Realdoll Roxanne. There's even an adorable snapshot of them on their way to a fancy dress party. And, look, there's Roxanne sitting at the breakfast nook with Savage Beauty, the Edna St. Vincent Millay biography, and trying her hand at a few lines of verse, too! Beautiful, bright and she doesn't talk back or hog the bathroom.

But let's assume a Realdoll is out of the question for you. Not to worry. Well maybe. At, you can get free instructions on how to make your own quality sex doll for $240. The testimonial page is suspiciously free of happy endorsements, but within 10 minutes of emailing Scott, who runs the site, I was sent detailed yet folksy directions that included photos, gratis, as advertised.

Although I found them as confounding as any assembly manual, Scott's handy, casual tips on how to make the doll's articulated arms and legs from a "seasonal Walmart" lounge chair are a nice "fuck you" to the hyper-censorious empire.

Scott also suggests buying the Virtual Girl pussy insert for the doll, a product he sells on his site so he may generously offer the doll instructions free.

On the topic, I encourage people to see A Perfect Fake, Marc de Guerre's 2005 film about Japanese love dolls, which can be rented at Queen Video. Japan has a long history with love dolls and is the first country to provide upscale ones in brothels.

The anus is on you

Dear Sasha,

About six weeks ago I experienced my first gay sexual encounter. It was with a well-endowed man I met in an online chat room. We ended up engaging in protected oral and anal sex, with me as the receptive partner. The anal sex was quite hardcore and fast-paced, with my asshole hurting during the sex and for about a week after.

I understand that engaging in gay anal sex is fairly risky in terms of contracting STIs, especially HIV. And with my asshole hurting, I assume damage was done to the linings of my anal membrane, an opportune place for infection to enter.

At week two, I developed a sore throat, the worst I've ever had. It's come and gone during the past four weeks, and my neck feels stiff and sore as well. I'm a bit concerned and bummed. I keep thinking I've been infected with HIV, the first time I've ever had sex.

First Timer

Do you get your hair cut online? No. Do you take a shower online? Likely not. Then how in the blazes do you expect me to tell you if you have HIV via an online inquiry? You are asking me to diagnose symptoms that you yourself likely found online (talk to any clinician and they'll tell you Cyberchondria continues to run rampant) and I'm not even a doctor.

I spoke to Hassle Free Clinic's Craig Stephen, who says he hasn't come across any cases of infection where a condom was used properly, which appears to be your case. Still, it's important to begin integrating sexual health workers into your life to help you get a grip. Call Hassle Free right now (66 Gerrard East, 416-922-0566), make an appointment for blood work and talk to a counsellor about safer sex. Oh, and a good book to have on hand if you're taking it in the ass is Jack Morin's Anal Pleasure & Health: A Guide For Men And Women.

Stephen and many clinic workers see patients obsessing over non-specific symptoms in relation to HIV all the time. "The first thing I ask is if they've been googling," says Stephen. "But a lot of time the issue also has to do with not being comfortable with casual sex. Like, ‘What if I caught something because it was a casual encounter?' The patient focuses on the casual aspect."

HIV is the pinnacle of all your fears. Life is stressful as it is, often what with all the other stresses, it becomes a lightning rod. STIs are not seen as health issues as much as ethical issues."

In my experience, this is simply the way many of us go about our health after we do something we perceive as questionable. We feel we deserve the worst and need to be punished, and that's a doozy of a state to be in. All of the sudden our neck has never been stiffer, our throat never more sore, our tongue never pastier. And wouldn't you know, these are symptoms of many ailments, yet in our minds, they just have to mean HIV.

Ask Sasha: [email protected]

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