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North America’s first known sex doll brothel opening in Toronto

Toronto Star logo Toronto Star 2018-08-28 Jenna Moon - Staff Reporter,Claire Floody and
a blurry image of a woman: Anna is advertised on the Aura Dolls website as "busty, romantic and spontaneous." © Provided by Toronto Star Newspapers Limited Anna is advertised on the Aura Dolls website as "busty, romantic and spontaneous."

Toronto will soon be home to North America’s first known sex doll brothel, offering sexual services with six silicone-made dolls.

According to the website for Aura Dolls, the company behind the brothel, the vision is to bring a new way to achieve sexual needs “without the many restrictions and limitations that a real partner may come with.”

The brothel is expected to open in a shopping plaza on Yonge St., south of Sheppard Ave., on Sept. 8. The company doesn’t give the exact location on its website, stating it’s announced upon booking.

There are six different female sex dolls advertised. “Exotic girls to cater to everyone’s choice of beauty,” the website reads.

“We tried really hard to try to cater to every single standard of beauty, we have different ethnicity, different eye colours, different hair colour,” said Claire Lee, a representative for Aura Dolls. The company said they plan on expanding their collection “in the near future,” and will add male dolls.

The dolls are made of silicone, which is designed to give them a realistic look and feel, she said. In order to sanitize the dolls, Lee said a three-step routine is used after each booking.

However, staff still “highly recommend” the use of condoms, according to the website.

Spending half an hour with one doll costs $80, with two dolls running $160. For an hour, the cost is $120 with one doll. The maximum listed time is four hours for $480 per doll.

Doors at the new brothel for separate entry and exit will be used to ensure “maximum privacy for customers.” While the business does plan on having staff on-site, they “should not have any interaction,” Lee said.

“The reason why we do that is to make sure that everyone feels comfortable coming in and exiting,” she said, noting that people may feel shy or awkward about visiting the site.

A spokesperson for the city confirmed to the Star Monday evening that they have “no record of a municipal business licence” for the establishment.

However, Lee said that the business is operating within the law. “The only law stating with anything to do with the dolls is that it has to meet a height requirement. It can’t resemble a child,” she said. “We made sure that all their dolls fit the criteria and don’t resemble children.”

Councillor John Filion, Ward 23 Willowdale, said his staff will be “throwing the book at (Aura Dolls) for everything they can.”

“I’ve still got people studying to see what’s legal and what isn’t,” Filion said. He noted that a bylaw introduced in North York in the ’90s prevents retail sex shops operating outside of industrial areas. Filion said his office is still confirming that the bylaw is active following harmonization, which condensed the six boroughs’ bylaws after amalgamation in 1998.

“If the bylaw that I brought in 20 years ago still exists, it would prohibit this,” Filion said.

“There’s legal issues,” he said, suggesting that people interested in using the sex dolls might consider doing so at home, rather than at a brothel.

The councillor said he’s received complaints from constituents about the business. “The phone’s ringing off the hook today,” Filion said.

Speaking to the Star Monday evening, Lee said that Aura Dolls hasn’t directly received any pushback.

“When we first started we really thought we would, but were surprised to see that the community is very open about it. They’re really happy. They seemed very curious and excited about it,” she said.

Speaking to the Star in April about sex robots in general, intimacy coach and sex educator Kim Switnicki said integrating sex robots into the bedroom can be valuable to society, especially for those who need more education or have trouble maintaining “in-real-life” relationships.

These are called “mediated relationships,” which Switnicki said is a relatively new field of research.

“Virtually all couples have mismatched sex drives, so it seems an obvious solution, but it does depend on how the partner chooses to use or interact or view the robot,” she said. “It really depends on how you value sex in the marriage context.”

In the same article, author Neil McArthur raised the question of the dolls’ appearance. “Will they be pornified fembots?” he said. “These exaggerated female creatures with huge breasts that look like this teenage male fantasy of what a woman should look like.”

He said researchers are looking at how to address gender issues that may arise from the appearance of sex robots.

With files from Alexandra Jones and Melanie Green, StarMetro Vancouver

Claire Floody is a breaking news reporter, working out of the Star’s radio room in Toronto. Follow her on Twitter: @claire_floody

Jenna Moon is a breaking news reporter, working out of the Star's radio room in Toronto. Follow her on Twitter: @_jennamoon

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