Sex toy

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Collection of sex toys
Vending machine selling a range of sex toys

A sex toy is an object or device that is primarily used to facilitate human sexual pleasure, such as a dildo or vibrator. Many popular sex toys are designed to resemble human genitals and may be vibrating or non-vibrating. The term can also include BDSM apparatus and sex furniture such as slings, however it is not applied to items such as birth control, pornography, or condoms. Alternative expressions include adult toy and marital aid, although "marital aid" has a broader sense and is applied to drugs and herbs marketed to supposedly enhance or prolong sex. Sex toys are most commonly sold at a sex shop.

Types of sex toys[edit]

Vibrators[edit]

Vibrators are vibrating devices intended to stimulate the body. Vibrators come in a range of shapes and sizes, for internal or external use. Some vibrators intended for internal use are phallic in shape. Small vibrators may have a stretchy loop attachment for use as a finger toy or cock ring.

Penile toys[edit]

A penis sleeve

Glass sex toys[edit]

Glass Dildo

Glass sex toys are commonly made from clear medical grade borosilicate glass ("hard glass"). This particular type of safety toughened glass is non-toxic and will withstand extreme temperatures, as well as physical shock without compromising its structural integrity.

The choice of this high-grade material provides safety in use and the option to heat or chill the toys. Borosilicate glass is also non-porous and can be sterilized to help prevent infection with reuse. The highest quality glass toys can even be put in the dishwasher making them easier to keep clean. As well as their practical qualities, a main selling point of glass sex toys is their visual appeal.

Some glass sex toys vibrate. There are two main ways this can be achieved:

1. The toy may have a hole into which a small bullet vibrator can be inserted. 2. The core of the glass design can be modified to form a standard vibrator.

Option 2 usually has a plastic cap covering the battery compartment, which will also house any control buttons or switches.

Nipple toys[edit]

Anal beads in practice

Anal toys[edit]

Two butt plugs

Butt plugs should not be shared with other people, due to the risk of blood-borne diseases, including HIV that can arise from the transfer of body fluids from one person to another. They should be used only for anal play and not inserted into any other orifice, to avoid the transfer of harmful bacteria to other parts of the body. These bacteria may persist through cleaning.

General penetrative toys[edit]

A type of Ben Wa balls

Erotic furniture[edit]

Erotic furniture is furniture specially shaped for comfort, penetration levels, and stimulation.

Improvised sex toys[edit]

A significant interest has grown up in improvised sex toys and object penetration. Items used include fruit, vegetables, bottles, vases, and baseball bats. Also women may use vibrating household items such as a cell phone to stimulate their clitoris.

Some men masturbate using the suction of a household vacuum cleaner. This is a dangerous practice that has led to a variety of severe injuries.[6]

Erotic electrostimulation[edit]

Another form of sex toy for both men and women are those for erotic electrostimulation.

Flesh-like materials used in sex toys[edit]

Health and safety concerns[edit]

Danish retailers report that they often lack information about the composition of sex toys that they sell.[7] A recent (2006) study conducted by the Greenpeace Netherlands office found high level of phthalates in seven out of eight plastic sex toys tested.[8]

Studies on rodents have revealed that when exposed to very large doses, phthalates can cause damage to the liver, lungs, kidneys, testes and can cause hormonal disruption. The latest research indicates that exposure to these substances can upset the body's ability to regulate hormone production, damage reproduction, and can cause liver and kidney defects. They can also possibly cause cancer.[9]

Sex toys are currently classified as novelties, despite their sexual nature. This is because sex toy manufacturers find the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) to have extensive testing and financial requirements for sex toys to be classified as medical devices. Therefore, sex toy manufacturers more often choose the less complex production by labelling them a novelty. Due to the novelty classification, sex toys are permitted[citation needed] to contain known toxins in them such as phthalates (some of which have been banned in children's toys by the CPSC) and in some cases lead paint.

In 2000, the development toward safe and nontoxic sex toys in the United States began with sexual health pioneers such as Lisa S. Lawless, Ph.D.[citation needed] who founded one of the first retail sex toy stores (Holistic Wisdom) to carry only nontoxic sex toys.} Her articles, radio and magazine interviews have been a major influence in the public eye,[citation needed] allowing consumers to become more aware of health concerns regarding sex toy safety. Lawless also began a movement toward safer sex toys through the National Association for the Advancement of Science & Art in Sexuality (NAASAS). This trade organization works with professionals in the field of sexuality and the adult industry to self regulate the safety of sex toys.

Legal issues[edit]

United States[edit]

Sex toys and lubricants have become increasingly available in major commercial outlets in the United States. On-shelf displays tend to be more discreet than the offerings on web sites. These items tend to be displayed in the "sexual health" sections of stores.[10]

Until recently, many Southern and some Great Plains states banned the sale of sex toys completely, either directly or through laws regulating "obscene devices."[11] In 1999, William H. Pryor, Jr., an assistant attorney general in Alabama commenting on a case involving sex toys and discussing to what end the devices are used, was quoted as saying there is no "fundamental right for a person to buy a device to produce orgasm". A federal appeals court upheld Alabama's law prohibiting the sale of sex toys on Valentine's Day, 2007.[12]

In February 2008, a federal appeals court overturned a Texas statute banning the sales of sex toys, deeming such a statute as violating the Constitution's 14th Amendment on the right to privacy.[13] The appeals court cited Lawrence v. Texas, where the U.S. Supreme Court in 2003 struck down bans on consensual sex between gay couples, as unconstitutionally aiming at "enforcing a public moral code by restricting private intimate conduct." Similar statutes have been struck down in Kansas and Colorado.

Dr. Marty Klein, author of America's War on Sex and an advocate for the moral value of sex toys, has written of sex toy bans that this "extraordinary erosion of personal liberty, coupled with the massive disrespect of and fear of sexuality is no joke" and that the "Supreme Court [of the United States] has declared our orgasms a battlefield, and sex toys another casualty."[14]

India[edit]

Sex toys are illegal in India[15] Selling sex toys is a punishable offense under section 292 of Indian penal code, with up to two years in prison.[16]

South Africa[edit]

Section 18A of the Sexual Offences Act, 1957, inserted by the Immorality Amendment Act, 1969, prohibited the manufacture or sale of any item "intended to be used to perform an unnatural sexual act". The term "unnatural sexual act" referred to any sex other than vaginal heterosexual sex, and this prohibition was ostensibly aimed at preventing the use of dildos by lesbians.[17] No longer enforced, the section was repealed by the Criminal Law (Sexual Offences and Related Matters) Amendment Act, 2007.

Industry[edit]

Globally, the sex toy industry is valued at USD 15 billion, with a growth rate of 30%.[18] A total of 70% of sex toys are manufactured in China.[18] Sex toys are sold in various types of local and online sex shops.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Sex and The City Episode Guide". HBO.com. Retrieved 2007-07-15. 
  2. ^ Browne, Ray Broadus (1982). Objects of special devotion: fetishism in popular culture, p. 49 Popular Press, ISBN 978-0-87972-191-6
  3. ^ Barrett, Grant (2006). The official dictionary of unofficial English: a crunk omnibus for thrillionaires and bampots for the Ecozoic Age. McGraw-Hill Professional, ISBN 978-0-07-145804-7
  4. ^ McInnes, Gavin (2003). Vice Guide to Sex and Drugs and Rock and Roll (Sept.), p. 190
  5. ^ Leung, Isaac (2009). "The Cultural Production of Sex Machines and the Contemporary Technosexual Practices". In Grenzfurthner, J. et al., eds. Do androids sleep with electric sheep? Critical perspectives on sexuality and pornography in science and social fiction. RE/SEARCH, ISBN 978-1-889307-23-7
  6. ^ Benson Jr, RC (January 1985). "Vacuum cleaner injury to penis: a common urologic problem?". Urology 25 (1): 41–44. PMID 3966281. 
  7. ^ "Survey and health assessment of chemicals substances in sex toys". Danish government staff report. Retrieved 2008-05-18. 
  8. ^ Bad vibrations? We expose an EU sex scandal Posted by bex (8 September 2006)Greenpeace UK
  9. ^ How safe is your sex? toxic phthalates in your sex toy
  10. ^ Red-Light Specials Newsweek February 13, 2008
  11. ^ "Lingere Store Accused of Violating State Obscenity Laws". KBCD.com. Retrieved 2007-09-28. 
  12. ^ Rawls, Phillip. Court leaves Ala. sex toy ban intact, USA Today, Oct 1, 2007
  13. ^ "Appeals court overturns Texas ban on sex toys". msnbc.msn.com. Retrieved 2008-02-14. 
  14. ^ Holthouse, David. Alabama vs. Dildos Attorney General Troy King stands hard against stimulators, Dame Magazine
  15. ^ Singh, Jyotsna (20 June 2007). India rattled by vibrating condom. BBC News
  16. ^ Staff report (February 2, 2011). Sex toys recovered from shop in Rajkot. Times of India
  17. ^ Botha, Kevan; Cameron, Edwin (1997). "South Africa". In West, Donald J.; Green, Richard. Sociolegal Control of Homosexuality: A Multi-Nation Comparison. New York: Plenum Press. pp. 22–23. ISBN 0-306-45532-3. 
  18. ^ a b Sethi, Atul (2008-11-26). "Palika a haven for adult toys". Times of India (Times Group). Retrieved 2008-10-06. 

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]