An artificial vagina is a device designed to imitate the female sex organ. To achieve this, it will generally be made of a soft material, lubricated, and sometimes heated. An artificial vagina for the purposes of sexual stimulation is essentially an aid to human masturbation; and is also known as masturbation aid, masturbator, or pocket pussy. It is designed to simulate the sensation of sexual intercourse on the erect penis and to induce orgasm and ejaculation.
The most expensive sex dolls (approximately $1,200 and up) are usually made from silicone (usually above $3,000 at 2016 prices) or thermoplastic elastomer known as TPE (below $3,000). Dolls made of either material can be very lifelike, with faces and bodies modeled on real people in some instances, with realistic skin material (similar to that used for movie special effects), and with realistic (or even real) hair. These dolls usually have an articulated PVC or metal skeleton with flexible joints that allows them to be positioned in a variety of positions for display and for sexual acts. Silicone or TPE dolls are much heavier than vinyl or latex inflatable ones (which consist mostly of air), but are roughly half the weight of a real human being of comparable size.
Cheaper sex dolls are inflatable, using air. These dolls, representing the lowest price-range (less than US $75), are usually made of welded vinyl and bear only a passing resemblance to actual people. They have an artificial and typically crudely designed vagina or penis, but due to their affordability many users are willing to overlook their shortcomings. They often burst at the seams after a few uses, although they are commonly given as gag gifts and therefore many may not be used at all. In Russia for some years the Bubble Baba Challenge humorously featured participants river rafting on blowup dolls as a matter of entertainment but in 2013 the race was cancelled on "health and safety" grounds.