Body Pillows

Seeing a recent episode of How I Met Your Mother got me thinking: since when did body pillows (or dakimakura as some of you like to call them) become weird?

In the episode, Lily’s husband, Marshall, leaves for a few weeks to take care of his mother after his father passed away. In Marshall’s absence, Lily decides to throw some of Marshall’s clothes on a body pillow to hug while she sleeps, but then things get weird and she starts treating it like a person. Later in the episode when Marshall’s mother is asked how she’s holding up, she replies, “It gets a little lonely. My friends suggested a body pillow, but *laughs* I’m not a lunatic.”

To me, body pillows are just as essential as a head pillow and a blanket for a good night’s sleep. I know a lot of people don’t use them, but my parents came from a place where body pillows are found in just about every bed so I’ve had them for as long as I can remember. They help keep you warm and comfortable, and they give you a sense of security, like a security blanket in pillow form. Apparently, body pillows also help with back problems, so if any of you have that, you should look into getting one.

So where did the idea that body pillows are for “lunatics” come from? Well, as far as I know, it’s because of things like this:

Yes, that last one is a bit of a shocker, but I think you see my point.

Somewhere down the line, someone turned a relatively boring object into a human substitute (in more ways than one). One of the things I’ve noticed is that the body pillows used for this purpose are flat one two sides and extremely long. They’re nothing like the body pillows I’m familiar with, which are cylindrical and not that much bigger than a regular pillow. My guess is that they aren’t cylindrical so the characters don’t look stretched, and they’re much longer to be able to fit a 1:1 scale print of a person.

I’ve also noticed that most of the body pillow covers designed to be a human substitute are not of partially nude celebrities or models, but of anime characters. What’s more, even non-anime fans are becoming aware of anime-themed body pillow covers because of shows like 30 Rock:

Now when I say I watch anime and I have a body pillow, I’m sure some people are going to assume the wrong thing.

So what do you guys think? Are body pillows just as normal as a head pillow and blanket, or are they for “lunatics” as Marshall’s mother put it?

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  1. Well I wouldn’t say it was for lunatics… exactly. Perhaps if you took the pillow outside and stuff like that one guy did with his Nia pillow… well…

    And while I don’t find them essential, I don’t think they’re entirely bad. I still would be, admittedly, a bit ashamed of owning one even though one of maiwaifu would be hugged dearly. But perhaps I don’t see what the big deal is because I would have no ero intentions with mine. If I had one, it would be simply to hug when I go to bed. Which I guess sounds a little sad when I put it that way…

  2. @Fang-tan:
    I remember seeing those pics with the Nia pillow… I definitely would never do that. I don’t think hugging a body pillow is any different than hugging a teddy bear, so it doesn’t sound that bad.

    @lvlln:
    Well, you must really want an anime girl cover if you do get one because those things cost $100+ from what I’ve seen.

  3. I own dakimakura, and I don’t really care if people think it’s weird. They’re comfortable, very comfortable, as a pillow for not only your head but your back, and they’re huggable. Sure I could have gotten a plain old normal one, perhaps it’s strange to have them with anime girls on them, clothed or half naked, or worse. But then, I didn’t buy one to be accepted for it, I bought one to be adventurous. At first I thought it would only hang on the wall for decoration, but I got curious and put a pillow (made it rather than bought it) and you know.. they’re awesome! xD

  4. I like these things, mainly the illustrations on them, but somehow I also think that its a bit strange to put a huge pillow with an half naked anime character into your bed ;D Well, It depends on the personality of a person, but I would feel embarrased about the looks and questions from other people if they would see a sexy hug pillow in my bed.
    Well there also was a modest pillow case I really wanted to own, but after seeing the price I decided to pass, even though I still would like to get it ;)
    Fabienne recently posted..Asuka Apron Version by Wave

  5. I come from an Asian family (not Japanese, though); so body pillows to us usually mean those rounded, long pillows; not what most people think of when they hear the word “dakimakura”. The only reason I now about those anime-type body pillows is, well, through anime.

    I don’t really care what people do to their pillows, nor do I think we should judge a person so easily just because they own one. Just because you own an anime pin-up body pillow, it doesn’t necessarily mean you use it for “that”. The pictures that get printed for these don’t really help matters (as they’re mostly “sexy” poses), but some people honestly just want it as sort of novelty/display item.

    So no, I don’t think that owning a body pillow automatically makes you a lunatic. It’s only when you start doing things like getting married to it or taking it out in public that it’s a little… eh. Though if you are a guy, I’m pretty sure you’d get way more weird looks saying you own a body pillow than if you were a girl (because of double standards).

  6. Well, I bought a Daki just about half a year ago and I don’t do stuff with it ;)

    I got my hands on a rather non-adult cover of Kousaka Kirino bc I like the character and she serves for display cases – she lies on my couch or bed when I’m on my computer etc. and she’s just another kind of poster xD

    At night obviously I use it to sleep on my right side, because I always was lying on the side and then heard about these huggingpillows. Don’t want to miss it now, even if it would be without a nice cover. But with a nice cover it has double the purpose, so what? :D I don’T care if someone hates me, but then again I got a vitrine with tons of Nendoroid near my bed, so they wouldn’t hate me bc of the pillow but rather bc of my whole room xD

  7. @Persocom:
    They certainly are comfortable, but sometimes the bad connotations associated with them really annoy me.

    @Fabienne:
    I find it a bit strange too, but I’m in no place to judge considering I have anime posters plastered all over my room. The prices really do seem outrageous considering it’s just a piece of cloth.

    @Ari:
    I’ve always known them as the rounded type too, until just a few years ago because of anime. You make a good point about the double standards, it seems far more acceptable for a girl to say she has a body pillow than a guy.

    @Summey:
    I certainly hope you don’t do stuff with it ;)
    It seems like a lot of people do buy them for display purposes, so maybe others are just too quick to judge.

  8. I’m going to try to make this comment make sense with a headache.

    Nothing wrong with them. Pillows in my minds are the best thing ever and make sleeping much more comfortable. But I also like art, and it makes bedtime much better to see an atheistically pleasing image before I sleep. Some of those pillows are so well done, they’re gorgeous!

    I recently bought a Kobato pillow–not a body pillow, but an anime pillow–from Jlist, and it rests right beside my bed. :)

    Sure some people take it too far, but that happens with everything.
    Janette recently posted..An Obsessive Compulsive Nuzlocke Run

  9. I remember have one dakimakura cover from an eroge magazine never used lol.
    maybe need buy one to replace normal Bolster, they looks more comfortable even without “human” printed on it.

  10. Mmh I don’t think it’s that weird, I guess it depends of where you draw the excess line in “treating an object like a human”

    See, I happen to give name to objects I use daily, because I find it fun, I suppose, I don’t particulary talk to them, just random swearing when I can’t find what I need or when they don’t work as they’re supposed to.
    Even talking to objects could be somewhat acceptable, as long as the person still keep in mind it’s an object, asking a dakimakura if she/he wants some tea would freak me out.
    The fact there’s anime character on a dakimakura, as sexy as she/he may be doesn’t shock me either, I mean it’s just a cover, it’s pretty, prettier than flowers.

    So yeah, all of that to say it all depends on where you draw the line between creepy and a bit unusual.
    Kuuki recently posted..A bit of music

  11. I like them, there are a few I wouldn’t mind owning. But I REALLY REALLY don’t think they’re worth $100+ for the case plus whatever it costs for the pillow. I’d rather hang a poster of that character and buy a plain body pillow at some store.
    lovelyduckie recently posted..Recent Hauls

  12. I saw that How I Met Your Mother commercial on TV and lol’d!

    I wish I had a dakimakura They look fun to snuggle with. A lot of times at night I toss between lying on my back and side. I think a dakimakura would serve as good support.

    I don’t think there is anything wrong with them, they are just like any other personal pillow, but cuter I guess. It’s nice to see that they are gaining more recognition.
    MkMiku recently posted..Does Art Style Matter

  13. Don’t forget the new add on’s to dakimakura like breasts and a vagina. That’s when it got really weird ^^;;.

    The only dakimakura I have is the one’s that came with Dengeki G’s Festival so I get not only the dakimakura but more for a cheap price lol.

  14. @Janette:
    I’ve never thought of using them to divide the bed, I always sleep alone.

    @AstroNerdBoy:
    I sleep on my side too, and body pillows really help with the comfort level.

    @Aya:
    I’ve gotten a cover from a magazine too. I can’t bring myself to sleep with a half-naked anime girl and I don’t have a pillow big enough so it sits in the box it came in, on my bookshelf.

    @Kuuki:
    I agree with you on it being prettier than flowers, but I know some people will find it weird even if the person that owns it doesn’t think of the pillow as a person.

    @lovelyduckie:
    The price tags on those covers are just ridiculous, sometimes I wonder how people can justify buying a few dozen of them.

    @MkMiku:
    If you toss around a lot, maybe you should get one of those u-shaped ones. You hug one side of the u, and the other side acts as support to keep your back from turning over.

    @AS:
    I’ve heard of the breasts add-on, I don’t think I’ve heard of the vagina one, and I don’t think I want to know.

  15. LOL. There actually is stuff like that? Seriously, there ARE borders which should not be crossed :D
    My Daki is to me much too precious to be… well… dirtied like that^^

    Oh and don’t get me wrong Nopy. I choose my cover to be not ecchi at all (Not even pantsu^^), so there seems to be no problem.

    And besides I got my cover on ebay. I buy my DVDs (well mostly as box-sets for the price), I buy my music, I only got non-fake figurines. But 100$ for a pillow-case is WAY off the scala, so I went with a chinese shop… ;-)

  16. I’m really not aware of body pillows OTHER than the anime ones I’ve seen. I don’t know what they’re actually used for. I mean, I sleep with a pillow next to me so I can roll over and have that there, so if it’s anything like that..well. I dunno.

    I guess people just do associate body pillows with those weird people who decide their body pillow is indeed like their significant other.
    Arianna Sterling recently posted..Anime Review- Shinryaku! Ika Musume

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  18. @Summey:
    I was shocked when I found out about those special body pillows too, there’s no denying what someone would do with that.

    @Arianna Sterling:
    There are some really awkward non-anime body pillows that you don’t want to know about.

    @Miette-chan:
    The cover makers are really making a killing off of these.

  19. The whole concept of having a “body pillow” over here isn’t very common – even if it is just a giant plain pillow. So, yeah, once you put an anime girl on it you’ve become a weirdo to any visitors.

    I’ve got 2 Angel Beats covers that I don’t display, and one from They are my Nobel Masters last DVD which I currently have displayed. To me it’s just a pillow that sits on top of my covers (means I don’t have to re-tuck that side in again, yay for laziness) and looks good; it’s not like I’m flaunting it out in public. So what anyone else thinks, who cares :lol:, although I do appreciate it is an unusual sight.

  20. @BioToxic:
    A lot of people use them for decoration, but like you said, once a visitor sees them, they automatically think “weirdo”. I actually have all of my pillows underneath my covers when I make my bed, so an anime body pillow cover wouldn’t make much of a display.

  21. i went GDI BARNEY, WHY?! in the “lying a lie” episode.

    I think its because pillows provide this sense of comfort and security especially when you hug them =D

  22. @Yi:
    It makes me wonder when the current pillow type started becoming popular, the round ones used to be the only type in the past.

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  24. I suppose I’m a bit late to the post here, but I feel like putting in my two cents anyways. =P

    I don’t really understand what people find to be so weird with anime pillow covers, personally. I have a few from G’s fest, and I have a couple of the regular priced ones that I got as gifts. I use them, and switch them out to wash them here and there. I don’t see what’s so different between having ero figures or posters from… say, out of the Megami magazines or what-have-you opposed to the body pillow covers. It’s not like they have holes in them anyways, and I doubt many collectors or fans would have the guts to destroy it in the name of… whatever nasty acts they have in their minds.

    I suppose it doesn’t strike me as being weird either, because my friends and even some of my co-workers that have come over haven’t taken a second glance even when they’re accidentally out in the open on top of my covers or something. I have yet to have a bad comment on any of them, even from my parents. But I don’t know, maybe it’s because I have a fiance and they don’t think about it because I’m a girl anyways. The world may never know.

    All I know is that they’re silky and soft and perfect for cuddling up against at night while my fiance is away training for the military. =3
    IshokuOsero recently posted..Alter’s 1-8 Fauna

  25. @IshokuOsero:
    I think people associate the ulterior motives with a body pillow more with men than women, but it also depends on the local culture. I live in a conservative area, and while I’m in a city, it’s literally surrounded by farms and ranches for hundreds of kilometers. Anything out of what would be considered normal here is looked down upon.

  26. To answer your question, body pillows are completely normal. In fact doctors recommend the using a body pillow while sleeping because they support your sleep position, improve spinal alignment, enhance muscular relaxation, promote healthier circulation and reduce head, neck and back pain. Now what is lunatic about that.