International Masturbation Day: Everything You Need To Know About The Use Of Sex Toys In India

Sex Toys laws

Sex toys play an essential role in sexual health. Whether in a relationship or single, they have consistently claimed a permanent spot in the sexual wellness journey of many. These essential tools of masturbation should exist in harmony with your crystals, manifestation candles and other knick-knacks of your wellness vanity. They are practically harmless (once you figure out the setting on it!), increase your chances of having an orgasm and are durable enough to be considered a wise long-term investment. Yet, sex toys largely remain highly regulated, tabooed, and open up users to societal shame and unfair judgment.

I really should check my privilege while championing the acceptance of sex toys. Many who do not have access to privacy will have friends and family members call objection to them. The lack of education about their use makes them somebody’s ‘dirty little secret’. And making your partner or family privy to that secret becomes a difficult task because they are often used tools of comedic relief in mainstream Indian films (we’re looking at you Queen and Lust Stories). They are rarely depicted in a genuine light. With no advertising and conversation allowed in mainstream spaces, they remain in incognito tabs and wishlists and buyers are too apprehensive about hitting checkout. Consumers and brands who openly talk about sex toys remain outliers in society. And while there are many starting to have open conversations about them, there are still a few facts that one needs to get straight about using sex toys. 

Sex Toys – Who Are They For?

“Our consumer is predominantly between 18 and 35, but we also see a lot of demand with the above-40 demographic. We have a pretty good split between men and women. This goes into receiving specific demands from the LGBTQ community,” reveals Anushka Gupta, Co-founder of MyMuse. The versatile and inclusive nature of the sex toys market makes it one without a specific target market. They aren’t catered to particular gender identity, sexuality, relationship status, or even your residential address. Recent trends have shown that while there is a really high demand from metro cities, tier two and tier three cities are also catching up. Easy access to sex toys over the internet and the rise in trustworthy brands have also contributed to the growing popularity of sex toys in the country.

Vaginas And The Taboo Around Sex Toys

If people with penises needed sex toys as much as people with vaginas do, sex toys would’ve become tax-free by now! The popularity of sex toys was driven and brought to the mainstream by consumers with a vagina. And that, dear reader, is what makes society uncomfortable! Female pleasure and masturbation are still treated as an inconsequential phenomenon; a myth almost. But with improved access to information and the feminist movement embracing sexual fulfilment, we’re able to talk about it today. So… you’re welcome!

Sex Toys And Discreet Packaging

If you’ve ever wondered why the packaging of your brand new vibrator is more secure than even a credit card, it is for a reason. In India, most sexually active individuals live in joint households, making veiled packaging essential. Younger consumers living with parents and households with limited privacy will also require that added service. The discreet nature of sex toys goes into their design as well. Unless you are a fan of super-realistic dildos, with veins and all ( we aren’t kidding but that’s for another discussion), chances are you can store an innocent-looking lipstick vibrator at home without stressing over your mom questioning its purpose. “The need for discretion in India is critical. It’s not (much) about having to hide them or be ashamed that you’re using sexual wellness products. It’s simply a function of circumstance,” agrees Anushka.

Sex Toys And Regulations Around Them

Sex Toys design

Selling and owning a sex toy comes with its own fine print. For sellers, the regulation states that they don’t have an obscene or overly-explicit approach to the design, make and use of the products. “We like to believe that we are not a sex toy brand, but we are an intimate, wellness and personal care brand. Our products are about self-care, feeling good and doing and trying different things to enhance your wellness,” reveals Anushka. There is no exclusive law in the Indian judiciary system that explicitly speaks of sex toys. Still, the clause of obscenity can be invoked to make their regulations stricter.

As for a consumer of sex toys, your research and discretion around their use are essential. “Customers do not need to worry about purchasing from trusted Indian brands that have done their due diligence. So if you’re buying or owning a sex toy and using it in the privacy of your home, you’re absolutely okay,” confessed Anushka.

The Biggest Consumers Of Sex Toys

Married couples remain among the biggest consumers of sex toys, whether for mutual/individual masturbation or to spice up their sex lives. A record number of sexless marriages live worldwide, with large Asian counties like Japan and India. “We see a lot of married couples who are really eager and curious to explore and spice up their relationship. They find sex toys as a fun and easy way to do that. Even for women in heterosexual relationships, being able to explore pleasure on their own and with their partner enhances the sex life together,” says Anushka.

In conclusion, if you’ve ever been curious about sex toys or wish to expand your collection, do your research and make a purchase from a genuine source. Multiple homegrown brands are coming up with an extensive collection of products while hoping to start a conversation around them. But this time, not as a joke or a gimmick, but with the aim to enhance consumers’ sexual wellness journey in a wholesome way.

- Director at ELLE

Director at ELLE

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