Southfield propositioned with sex doll brothel

Gregg Krupa
The Detroit News
Sex doll brothels, and industry segment with a name that leaves little to the imagination, are reportedly thriving in Europe and Asia.

Southfield — They had not heard much about sex doll brothels around the Southfield municipal offices until last year.

Now, it seems like they are all the talk.

“And you could help us out here,” Mayor Kenson Siver told a reporter. “Because we are being mobbed with calls.”

Someone stopped by the planning office last year, saying he wanted to test the interest of the city in having a couple of sex doll brothels around town, Siver said.

The person got more than a little discouragement.

Planning officials immediately notified the powers that be, and the municipal response has been consecutive 180-day moratoriums in June and December against any such thing.

Neither the guy who made the inquiries or anyone else has been back to follow up, Siver said.

Sex doll brothels, an industry segment with a name that leaves little to the imagination, are reportedly thriving in Europe and Asia. There is one in Toronto, and the owner says business is great.

Rolling Stone magazine identified it in December as a potential trend for 2019, along with marijuana chefs.

The owner of the Toronto business told The Detroit News on Thursday he has no idea who broached the topic with Southfield officials. 

The man, who would not say his full name but identified himself as the owner of KinkySdollS, the company that purportedly made the inquiry, said he did not authorize it and that maybe somebody else is using the company's name without permission. 

While the company is making money in Toronto, the owner said, and is seeking to open sex doll brothels in Houston, Las Vegas, Miami and New York, it has never considered Southfield.

Siver says while he had to research sex doll brothels to figure out what was going on, it is routine for people to stop by City Hall to make all kinds of inquiries about development.

“People come in all the time to the planning department, and they make inquiries,” Siver said. “Someone made an inquiry about would Southfield be receptive to this.

“So, the city planner came to council and said, ‘I’ve had this inquiry.’ And, we all said, ‘Oh, no! No, no. We don’t want this.’

“The council did a moratorium. The planner recommended it. 

"And that is a message to the person inquiring.”

Moratoriums are effective but cannot be permanent. The second moratorium extends into June, while the city determines if it needs specific language in its code to bar such businesses.

“No one has ever come back,” said Siver, adding he hopes they never do while emphasizing, repeatedly, no such business will be established in Southfield.

“I have had many calls and emails from residents. And I am telling them all the same thing: It’s not going to happen here.”

In Toronto, people pay $120 for an hour and $80 for a half an hour with a doll of their choosing.

Some sex therapists say the activity can be healthy.

"I know about it because, as a sex therapist, at a conference last year, we had one of these companies that make the dolls there," said Joe Kort, a certified sex therapist at the Center for Relationship and Sexual Health in Royal Oak.

“From a sexual health position, this offers people an opportunity to engage in fantasies, to engage in sexual play and not on a live person,” Kort said. “It's an opportunity to experiment with yourself, sexually, and how you want to be with another person.

"People forget that some people are on the spectrum, they have Asperger's, they have autism, they are unable to be with live people.

“So, this is an opportunity for some people to have access to something they normally would not have access to."

But, like many things in life, the mannequins can be used in unhealthy ways, too.

"Unhealthy problems can occur when people are using the doll in ways to avoid intimacy," Kort said.