Sex toy industry adopts voluntary safety standards

The multibillion-dollar sex toy industry has passed its first global safety standards amid a sales boom, but sex experts warn the voluntary program is not enough to protect consumers.

Australian retailers such as Wild Secrets and Adulttoymegastore have reported booming sales of sex toys such as vibrators throughout the pandemic, especially during shutdowns. Globally, the industry was worth $ 33.64 billion ($ 44.86 billion) in sales in 2020, according to Grand View Research, but there were no safety standards so far.

Sales of sex toys have exploded during the pandemic.Credit:iStock

In September, the International Organization for Standardization released its first design and safety requirements for sex toys after a two-year project.

The ISO project was started by Swedish surgeon Martin Dahlberg who realized he was performing more and more operations to remove sex toys lodged in the rectum.

“In our hospital, around 40% of cases of foreign object retention are due to sex toys,” Dr. Dahlberg said in a statement. “I contacted the [Swedish] the consumer protection agency in early 2018 to find out if there was regulation in the sex toy market, but there were none. Yet, several possible injuries can result from improper use of sex toys.

NSW Health does not have injury figures by cause and there has been no increase in the type of injuries that could be associated with sex toys.

To comply with new ISO standards, sex toy manufacturers must use “body-safe” materials when in contact with genital and anal areas, use a design to minimize the risk of injury with reasonable use and predictable, and provide sufficient information.

Vanessa Millie Rose, an Australian clinical sexuality coach certified by the American College of Sexologists International who has worked at large adult retailers in the past, said ISO standards were ‘better than nothing’ – but being voluntary, they aren’t. have done little to protect consumers in general.

“There are large sex toy retailers in Australia who knowingly sell products that are dangerous, either because of their design or materials, and these are some of their best sellers,” Ms. Rose said.

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