Making silicone soulmates
Published: 11 Jan 2013 06:36 GMT+01:00
Leeloo is a brunette. Her eyes might be a little on the blank side, and she will set you back between €5,500 and €6,000, but she's quiet and offers "almost total freedom of movement." She's also one of dozens of lovingly-sculpted silicone ladies that occupy a 250-square-metre warehouse in Sierksdorf, on Germany's Baltic coast.
It's a steep price, but as the Dollpark website says, Leeloo "puts almost no boundaries on your fantasies."
Leeloo's creator and Dollpark owner is 44-year-old Michael Wendt, one of Germany's leading online purveyors of rubber and silicone dolls. Having bought the internet domain www.gummipuppen.de in 1998 for a piffling 380 German marks, he started out selling sex toys, before expanding into dolls.
The lucrative firm now offers up to 500 different products, selling hundreds of dolls over his virtual counter every year. "Anyone interested in silicone dolls knows Dollpark," said Wendt proudly.
But what kind of people want a life-size fake woman as a companion? According to Wendt, it's not just men with niche fetishes. His theory is that his customers are looking to buy intimacy and companionship as well as sex. Some people, he points out, sit their plastic lady at the dining table when they have breakfast.
Wendt's conclusion is shared by Hamburg sex therapist Stephan Moschner, though he thinks there is more to it. He believes the men are also motivated by curiosity and the urge to try something new.
As well as this, men are drawn by the way they can live out their sexual fantasies even if they don't have a real partner. "In this way, they can circumvent real intimacy and so avoid conflict with their partner when it comes to their sexual desires," said Moschner.
Wendt and his employees have also been making their own dolls since 2002, complete with perfectly formed eyebrows and lashes. To this end, the firm continually advertises for models, so that they can make their dolls as life-like as possible.
Wendt is so confident that he can create "Perfection in Silicone" - as the legend above the entrance to Dollpark warehouse puts it - he intends to expand his business into the medical education industry, and market silicone models for students - purely for the purposes of medical research, of course.