Change is underway: the sex toy industry is finally setting quality and safety standards


I want you to imagine your favorite sex toy in your mind – come on, I know you have one – in all its soft silicone glory. It can be a anal plug, vibrator, dildo, all that is meant for sexual stimulation really. Understood? Good. Now try to think of all the horrible things that could happen to you if your little crown jewel does not meet international safety standards. PVC toys with added toxic chemicals can cause itching, burning, rashes, and tissue damage. Porous sex toys provide a comfortable home for bacteria to grow. I’ll spare you the gory details of the risks of cheap sex toys that require batteries.

Now that you have a clear idea of ​​what I’m talking about, here’s the big reveal: All of these terrible possibilities that you probably never thought about before today are actually quite likely to happen. Why? Because, unlike other industries, including food, medicine and transportation, sex toy makers may have used a labeling loophole to classify their products as “new”. This, until now, exempted them from testing and safety protocols. all the others must comply.

In short, when it came to buying sex toys, the onus of determining whether companies were honest about toxic materials, harmful design flaws, and deceptive packaging was on the consumer alone. And while not all sex toys pose a medical threat, the problem was that consumers had no way of knowing which ones were unsafe. “When you buy a chair, you can assume that the commission has rigorously tested its usefulness, which means you probably won’t fall down as soon as you sit down on it. But when you buy a vibrating dildo, you can only hope that it will fuck you the way you want ”, like Reverse puts it superbly.

Some products, especially those with rechargeable batteries, have to meet safety regulations, but this is the first time that an official standard has been set and focuses on topics such as materials and design. The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) – an independent nongovernmental group that sets safety standards for many industries – has just introduced quality standards for sex toys. This means that from now on, any object intended to penetrate in or around your genitals will have to meet certain requirements to obtain ISO certification.

ISO 3533: Sex toys – Design and safety requirements for products in direct contact with the genitals, anus or both “which are” intended for sexual stimulation or to enhance sexual pleasure “, the standard reads. However, it excludes lubricants, oils, gels, sprays and foods.

According to VICE, the push for a sex toy standard started with Doctor Martin Dahlberg, a Swedish surgeon at Stockholm South General Hospital in 2018. After realizing that he “was spending more and more time getting stuff out of people’s assholes,” Dahlberg said a study where he found that in about 40 percent of the cases that patients came to the hospital with something stuck up there, it was a sex toy. He then began to draft a proposal with a team, to eventually send to ISO.

While this new standard for design and safety requirements for sex toys is voluntary and therefore not required of manufacturers to sell their products, it is a first step in establishing of standards within the industry as a guide for consumers to follow and make the right choices.

Some of the requirements to meet this standard include:

Make sure that plugs, beads, and things that go up the asshole cannot get stuck up there, or could be picked up by a healthcare professional if needed.
Things like chastity cages can be removed with pliers or other common household tools in an emergency – no power tools required.
Toys with heating elements should never exceed 118 degrees Fahrenheit (the temperature that would cause a first degree burn).
Anything that goes through or is in holes or genitals should be “smooth and free of burrs and sharp edges.”

Market analysts have valued the sex toy industry at nearly $ 34 billion in 2020, with a growth jump spurred by COVID-19 lockdowns – some believe it will reach over $ 36.1 billion by 2027. Despite this, individuals, as well as companies in the sex toy industry, have found it difficult to be taken seriously. Having ISO standards could finally give legitimacy to the massive industry.

Change is underway: the sex toy industry is finally setting quality and safety standards


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