It is done! July 2, 2022 Newsletter

The time has come: our constitutional complaints were submitted on time to the Federal Constitutional Court (Bundesverfassungsgericht, BVerfG) in Karlsruhe, Germany!

Why are we using the plural – complaints? When you go to court, you need to use your full legal name to fight for your rights. For many of those affected by the ban, this is an insurmountable hurdle. The fear of negative social consequences is simply too big. Nevertheless, we have found two complainants that are willing to overcome those hurdles. And now we have been able to launch two constitutional complaints that are closely related, from the point of view of each complainant, respectively. On the one hand, that will show the court that this violation of fundamental rights affects a large number of people, and it also provides for a more solid procedure in front of the court. We want to thank the complainants for their personal engagement making these constitutional complaints possible.

To finance professional legal support, we had to rely on donations. We were able to raise an amount in the low tens of thousands, mainly from a single person who chose to remain anonymous. But money alone is not enough, you have to be able to spend it, which in the end is only possible by giving up some anonymity. In this case, too, we were helped by another person who enabled us to actually transfer the money.

There have been many other efforts necessary that were important in working on the constitutional complaints, such as contacting civil rights organizations and individuals engaging in human rights causes. Also, monitoring related publications in the media, the search for competent legal representation, researching scientific studies including consultation with the researchers themselves, contacting anti-discrimination bodies, and much more. There has been a tremendous amount of work behind the scenes, to which many have contributed, and we would like to thank them all.

Looking back, we had imagined many of those things to be easier.

As it seems, no one is allowed or willing to stand up for the interests and human rights of pedophiles and hebephiles in Germany. Even German human rights organizations are afraid of the label “Friends of Pedophiles”. Hardly any civil rights organization even bothered responding to us at all. Officially, no one wanted to help us, although it was possible to raise awareness of the problem. Eventually, one organization allowed one of its staff members on a private basis to give us tips on how to proceed in a web conference. Another has helped to get the issue of the “doll ban” into the Fundamental Rights Report 2022, a joint “alternative constitutional protection report” by ten civil and human rights organizations.

Almost more difficult and at times downright grueling was the search for a lawyer. We would have never imagined how difficult it would be to find the necessary professional legal support. With great persistence we had to knock on many doors. We thought it important not to make any compromises in the legal qualifications we were looking for. We are very happy with the solution we found in the end. We could not have wished for better legal support.

Even though we believe to have gathered excellent arguments to give us a good chance for success, in the end this does not mean that we can expect the constitutional complaints to be successful. Many complainants before us thought so and have been bitterly disappointed. Out of respect for the principle of the separation of powers, the Constitutional Court typically allows for a lot of leeway for the legislature and only intervenes if absolutely necessary.

Chances for success in front of the Constitutional Court are generally small. The court can refuse to accept a constitutional complaint without providing a reason. There had been 5,352 petitions to the court last year, 95% of those were constitutional complaints. Only 67 of these were successful. This means that the success rate was only 1.29%, which is the second lowest rate after 0.97% in 1997. (Source: LTO of February 23, 2022).

We will know in a few months if our constitutional complaints are “settled” by non-acceptance, in which case we can decide whether to appeal to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR). However, if the complaints are accepted for decision, the process can be expected to take several years. For those affected by the new law, this will be an unbearably long time. Even in a best-case scenario, they will suffer under this brutal and unjust legislation for years to come.

Even though, and no matter how these cases end:

We have sent a signal! A signal for all those who think they can trample human rights as long as those are the human rights of pedophiles and hebephiles. We provide resistance and fight back! At the same time this is also a signal to all pedophiles and hebephiles: as difficult as it may seem, we can stand together and defend ourselves. Together we can do it! We are not completely alone. You have to go look for them and be persistent, but they are out there: other people who are aware of the incredible stigma around pedophilia itself and even contact tp pedophiles, and yet are willing to stand up for what they know is as a just cause.

Every beginning is difficult. But as Hermann Hesse writes in his poem “Stages”: “In all beginnings dwells a magic force, For guarding us and helping us to live.”

We have worked diligently for over a year to get to this point. Work full of ups and down, highs and lows. We have overcome a big stage. We are ready for more.

We are also very concerned about the development in Austria. Some groups there are actively working on adopting the “child sex doll ban” from Germany. We will support anyone who on going up against the threat of this ban. You don't have to start from scratch. Contact us at We will stand by your side!

Beyond this we want to encourage everyone: it is difficult, but not impossible to do something, to fight back, to make your voices heard. Help each other, have hope and persevere, even if there are failures and disappointments along the way. From our own experience we can tell you: if you walk this path, you will one day look back and be proud.

The doll ban

On July 1st 2021, a new law came into effect which, among other things, makes the previously legal possession and sale of childlike sex dolls a punishable offense. According to the law, a childlike sex doll is a "physical replica of a child or a part of a child's body which, by its nature, is intended for the performance of sexual acts". The penalties are up to three years imprisonment for acquisition and possession, and up to five years for trading (§ 184l StGB).

Yet, this ban is constitutionally on extremely shaky ground. The motivation for the ban is an instinctive disgust and revulsion that many people feel on the subject. However, a constitutional state must protect concrete legal interests and not react with harsh criminal penalties on the basis of individual feelings of disgust. In addition to that, while the hypothesis that using childlike sex dolls lowers the inhibitions for real child sexual abuse is often cited as a reason for a ban, this is not supported by any scientific evidence.

The legislator states that the ban on childlike sex dolls is intended to "send a signal to society that children - even if they are only physically imitated - must not be made the object of sexual behavior". However, this also criminalizes behavior and acts in which no real children are involved, and therefore it is no longer about the protection of children, but about prosecuting thoughts and fantasies.

Last, but not least, it is not at all clear what the law bans exactly. There are no legal definitions of what the "physical replica of a child" is; nor is it clear when a doll is "intended for the performance of sexual acts". The ban thus introduces enormous legal uncertainty that could potentially affect hundreds of thousands of people in Germany.

Our intention: overturn the ban!

The ban criminalises actions that harm no one. Using childlike sex dolls is one of the very few ways for people with pedophilia to safely and ethically satisfy their sexual needs. Prohibiting this with the threat of punishment is therefore a very strong intervention. The result is that people are criminalised and threatened with imprisonment who would never harm a child and actively seek for ways not to harm children. It is extremely important that there are alternatives for these people, allowing them to live offense-free lives.

We have therefore set up a work group to challenge the ban with a constitutional complaint. The only goal of the work group is to overturn the new ban, which we believe is ill-conceived and harmful.

Why the ban is wrong

Lack of evidence

The reason for the ban was that childlike sex dolls supposedly lower inhibitions towards real world abuse. However, there is not a single piece of scientific evidence supporting this notion, and everything we know thus far points into the opposite direction. To this day, the federal government shows no interest in researching this topic.

Humane sexuality

Laws on child protection also have to take the lifes of paedophile men and women into account who seek to deal with their sexuality without harming others. The doll ban outlaws one of the few remaining sexual substitutes for them without providing any kind of compensation.

Emotions instead of facts

Many have supported the ban because they find the idea of childlike sex dolls repulsive. However, restrictions of civil liberties and individual privacy have to be well-founded. The personal disgust of some people must not be a sufficient reason to interfere with the liberties of others.

Violation of privacy

The law represents a massive intrusion into the privacy of many people. What someone does in the privacy of their own home must be protected from state intervention as long as others are not harmed. And in the case of childlike sex dolls, no real person is harmed by their usage.

Thought crime

The ban of dolls makes paedophilic thoughts and fantasies acted out on inanimate objects a punishable offence. Punishable offenses are no determined by longer real damage, but the presumed thoughts of a person. This is a dangerous step in the direction of thought crimes and thus in its core unworthy of a democracy.

Principle of certainty

The German constitution requires that laws have to be clearly formulated: What is punishable and what is exempt from punishment must be clearly and unambiguously determined. However, the wording of the doll ban leaves several questions unanswered: at what point is a sex doll the replica of a child? Does it also include areas such as reborn dolls or medical training dolls, which can theoretically also be used for sexual purposes?

Opinions against the ban

A ban must be justified, and this requires taking note of the realities of life of paedophiles or hebephiles who live in accordance with the law and strive to come to terms with their sexual inclination without abusing children. [...] It is appalling and inappropriate for a constitutional legal system that criminal punishment should be introduced on the basis of a few sentences with unresearched statements about human behaviour.

The explanatory memorandum to the law does not provide any evidence for this assertion. [...] Per se, such practices do not affect any protected legal position. Ultimately, only immoral behaviour is to be penalised here: Paedophilia is immoral, consequently the acting out of autoerotic paedophilic fantasies must be punished even if it harms no one. Notwithstanding this thin basis of legitimacy, the norm encounters considerable concerns with regard to Article 103 (2) of the Basic Law. For it is unclear how, in case of doubt, one should be able to recognise the childlike appearance of a doll or body part. In view of the variety of different sex toys, one can already be curious to see how the courts will determine their exact statutory size.

It is a misconception to believe that whoever has such a doll becomes a paedophile or commits child abuse. The question of whether someone becomes a perpetrator is decided by their personality, not their sexual preference or their chosen form of stimulation.

The merciless and at the same time unrealistic perspective is reflected for example in the new § 184l StGB. It makes it a punishable offence to distribute and possess sex dolls with a childlike appearance. The argument here is that perpetrators could practise abuse and that the inhibitions for real assaults will be lowered. From my experience as a specialist lawyer for criminal law in sexual offences, this paragraph seems absurd and completely exaggerated to me. It is just as conceivable that a sex doll could be an outlet and help to avoid assaults.

The possession of childlike sex dolls is criminalised without any apparent or imminent danger to children. In practice, it will become clear [...] which problems will certainly not be solved: Namely, the prevention of criminal offences and the better protection of children.

Even the mere possession of such a doll is to be punished with a prison sentence of up to three years. This is indeed a "signal". Namely for a certain loss of control among those responsible as far as the proportionality of threats of punishment is concerned.

Men who are attracted to children have no healthy outlet for their sex drives, and it will be that way for their entire lives. For someone who did not ask to be pedophilic and who cannot have romantic and sexual relationships like the rest of us, the only outlet they have is masturbation. For society to hamper even that, to me, is cruel when it is in the absence of a demonstrated societal benefit.