There is no safe investment. To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything and your heart will certainly be wrung and possibly be broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact, you must give your heart to no one, not even to an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements; lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket - safe, dark, motionless, airless - it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. The alternative to tragedy, or at least the risk of tragedy, is damnation. The only place outside Heaven where you can be perfectly safe from all the dangers and perturbations of love is Hell. ~C. S. Lewis
I don't often quote Lewis, but that, right there, pretty much nails what's so off-putting about those 'extreme outliers' who don't merely use RealDolls as playthings, but overinvest in them as an alternative to relationships with people--or who earnestly or angrily explain that they don't need a relationship, they have a vibrator/sleeve/really great porn.
(Though I confess I still believe Data, were he real and exactly as written, would have a soul. And so would Night.)
Animal Characters and a Sale! - A lot of my favorite romance authors include animals in their romances. In Regencies, we often have horses, but other animals, usually pets, can add fun to...