A few weeks ago, I came across a web article about Japanese infatuation with pillows, used as needed as comfort object, anti-loneliness remedy and sexual partner.
The use of pillow as a soft tool for self-pleasure is not a novelty or an Oriental invention, and I’m aware (let’s say from experience) that the cushions in girls’ bedrooms aren’t just for supporting the sleeping beauties’ head in bed.
Raise of hands for the young girl who never buried her face in the pillow to collect the tears in the middle of a teenage crisis, or stuck a cushion between the legs, carried by a wave of pleasure, abandoning herself to an intimate moment of body exploration.
 BIG MOUTH (2017), Season 1, Episode 2 ‘Everybody Bleeds’.
I was a little less prepared for the possible alternative uses of the pillow from the boys. I think I’ve always assumed that a skilled hand and the image of a naked Junoesque body were enough for the penis owners (mea culpa for such superficiality).
Until I’ve been delighted by the gif of a penis rhythmically thrusting between the couch cushions (doesn’t it hurt?!). After some researching and questioning, now I know that a pillow can be rubbed, rolled, folded, pressed against the mattress to make a soft and warm penis case, etcetera.
But as much as people play with creativity in the west, a pillow will never be more than an occasional lover for ephemeral adventures. Nothing to do with the passionate and deep relationship the inhabitants of the Land of the Rising Sun establish with their stuffed partners.
Many Japanese share part of their lives with the dakimakura, (from daki, to embrace or cling, and makura, pillow) a type of large life-size pillows. In the past, they were shaped like animals and used by youth as comfort objects; today they fill the rooms of the Otaku, people obsessed with anime and manga, usually described as social hermits living in an alternative reality made of video games, computers and comics.
During the 90s the production of pillow covers featuring printed images of female anime characters became popular: the big-eyed girls are depicted lifting their skirts and tugging their panties down, inviting the owners to a mischievous hug. Japanese men date their pillows, someone marries them or just uses them as sexual partners.
 Korean Lee Jin-gyu marries him dakimakura (the news)
Nothing new to the west: James Franco was already common-law married to Kimiko, a brunette printed on his dakimakura pillowcase. Not in reality but in a season of 30 Rock series, where he guest stars as himself, a fetish James Franco looking for a ‘cover girlfriend’ to dispel the rumours of his alleged love for a pillow. The fake relationship doesn’t last long but the happy ending is served and finally comes the threesome: FMP (Female-Male-Pillow).
 30 ROCK (2006-13), Season 4, Episode 9 ‘Klaus and Greta‘.
In 2015, after too many nights spent wishing his pillow could talk, researcher Koichi Uchimura decided to bring to life the dream girl printed on his dakimakura cover by developing Itaspo, a system of tactile sensors to strategically place between the breasts and on the pelvis. That’s how Rina Makuraba was born: the first talking dakimakura responding to its owner’s caresses by picking a sentence from 500 preloaded speech patterns played by a female voice. Rina is an attractive blondie but she’s not an easy girl and you have to win her love by proving to be a careful and respectful partner. If you abuse her friendliness and get too rough or grabby or you keep your hand on the inner thigh for too long, she’ll get angry until she’ll stop talking altogether.
If the video convinced you: here’s the link to purchase it 🙂
Rina may be the dream pillow for romantic Japanese, but Kuu-Pillow (or Air Dakimakura) is the perfect partner for all those who want to go straight to fourth base without wasting time on talk. It’s an inflatable pillow with a hole sized to fit a fleshlight type sex toy and a second compartment where to place a two-litre bottle filled with water just to make sure your vinyl lover doesn’t wave in the middle of the party but stays pegged to the love den.
Kuu Pillow, the first inflatable dakimakura: official website.
Persevering in my research, I found out Japanese are highly competent when it comes to pillows with an orifice. Besides the dakimakura, there’s an awkwardly wide offer of erotic flesh-coloured pillows shaped to mimic female’s body curves with rudimentary forms, all furnished with an opening where to put an artificial vagina.
The most minimalist version of the pillow is a simple rectangle with a hole on the underside. (Unit cushion)
Other pillows are basic replicas of the ‘useful’ body parts: the hip/tush lower body, (Lower body dutch cushion) or the full torso from hip to breast (Shinsei Venus Body).
The most demanding lovers can build a stuffed doll (Yuka) by assembling body parts.
A limitless variety of accessories allows you to customize your human surrogate choosing from big or giant breasts, several facial expressions, wigs, legs and different vagina shapes.
DIY enthusiasts and those who don’t trust the first curvy pillow they meet can buy a pink apron with laces, padded boobs and entry point, to put on their everyday pillow and turn it into a sexual partner with a few simple moves.
If you inexplicably end up with a pillow with a hole in it and you don’t know what to do, here are some helpful explicit illustrations:
At this point in the research, I stopped digging, thinking I’ve had enough of images of padded inert body parts that don’t seem to have anything sexually arousing to show from this side of the screen (and the world).
Although I had no idea of such quantities and varieties of pillows dedicated to masturbation, I was conscious of the fact that Japan was a particularly prolific market of male sex toys, populated by human substitutes.
I was ready to throw the whole pillow thing behind me when I started watching Big Mouth, the new animated series about puberty’s turmoil airing on Netflix. 5 adolescents face physical changes, sexual urges, first experiences and awkward parent-child sex talks between jokes, vulgarity and sheer nonsense. In the first episode, one of them, Jay, invites his friends for a testosterone-fueled sleepover and once they get to his room, he introduces them his ‘special pillow’ launching into an accurate description of his ritual preparation to make it his sexual partner: first, he makes a slit, ‘not too long, careful as to not rip the edges‘, which is what he calls ‘the husband stitch‘; then he takes two food storage bags and fills them with organic lentil soup which he microwaves ‘to exactly 98.6 degrees… not enough to burn you, but just enough to feel warm and inviting‘, and he places them in the pillow. There’s another slit in the back, but that’s only for his birthday.
 BIG MOUTH (2017), Season 1, Episode 4 ‘Sleepover: A Harrowing Ordeal of Emotional Brutality’.
Lentil soup aside, the question I’m losing sleep over is: so, is cutting a masturbation hole in the pillow a common practice among penis owners?
Just when I was hoping to put everything in the ‘series’ incomprehensible scenes’ file, Urban Dictionary (basically my friendly adviser since I moved to Uk) has proved once again to be enlightening and far too exhaustive.
This is its definition of ‘pillow humping’:
The act of having consensual sex with a pillow (well, a pillow never says no nor complains a headache, and it actually does not mind being used as a sex object) a.k.a. pillow masturbation or pillow fucking. Pillows are equally suitable for boys and girls, and making love to a soft pillow can be very pleasurable.
If you are a guy, you can thrust between two pillows, the mattress and a pillow, you can fold the pillow and thrust into the groove or wrap the pillow around your penis to make a tube. You can also make a small hole in the casing and thrust into the stuffing inside – this method probably works best with a solid wadding or a foam pillow. If you are a girl, you can ride a pillow and grind your clit and labia against it. You can fold the pillow around a book or make a knot on the corner to make it harder.
Climaxing by pillow humping may take longer than by a conventional hand job, but the orgasm may be much stronger and last longer. That is particularly true if you happen to have a pillow fetish and you find pillows not only comfortable but also sexy. In masturbation, ejaculation into thin air may be disappointing, but cumming against your favourite pillow may be very satisfying.
Pillow humping is also very safe sex, because you cannot catch a STD from your pillow unless you share it with somebody, and you do not need to wear a condom because you cannot get your pillow pregnant.
It must be because I like to dye sex in pink colour and bask in my romantic vision of pleasure, but I’ll keep thinking that the hole in the pillowcase is an uncommon practice performed by a few and shared by many for the sole purpose of drawing attention. Heartened that my husband hadn’t the clue of what it was (and he has a penis).
So I’ll keep the question open, and if someone wanted to answer this for me: email me, but please go easy on it. Even on the pillow.
 Screenshot from a scene of Big Mouth, Netflix, 2017. Season 1, Episode 2 ‘Everybody Bleeds‘.
 Images source: http://www.dannychoo.com/en/post/1646/Dakimakura.html
 Images source: http://hitek.fr/bonasavoir/lee-jin-gyu-epouse-oreiller-dakimakura_339
 Screenshot from a scene of 30 ROCK, NBC, 2006-13, Season 4, Episode 9 ‘Klaus and Greta‘.
  Images source: http://www.dekunoboo.com/
 Screenshot from a scene of Big Mouth, Netflix, 2017. Season 1, Episode 2 ‘Sleepover: A Harrowing Ordeal of Emotional Brutality‘.