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back to ba(sex): fake orgasms, fake products

Image: Tom Morris

Image: Tom Morris

You might be able to pick a fake orgasm, but can you tell the difference between fake adult products and the real deal? What’s that? You can’t determine the authenticity of either? Oh dear! In this instalment of Back to Ba(sex), we take a look at the importance of purchasing genuine adult products and how this will spare your genitals – or someone else’s.

With the advent of the World Wide Web, the adult toy and entertainment industries have boomed as the taboo of venturing into your local sex shop has been negated. No dark sunglasses, trench coat and fedora for you! You can order a vibrator straight to your door; watch a movie without leaving home… you can do basically whatever with a few well-worded Google searches and a credit card.

But of course every Georgia O’Keeffe-style rose has its thorn somewhere, but perhaps not framed on canvas for you to see. Let’s take two of the previous examples. The online world is posing a number of hazards in the purchase of sex toys and use of pornography. This is because if you’re not handling the product in person (hopefully without your aforementioned disguise because sex positivity rocks), it can be difficult to ascertain whether the product you want to use is bootlegged.

While you, dear Lipster, might be inclined to indulge in sexy fare from ethical indie and proud feminist sources, not everyone opts into adult films where such beliefs behind the scenes are an added turn-on. The mainstream adult film industry has a number of woes beyond sexist storylines, perpetuating ideas of rough sex as the norm and ongoing health issues for workers. Piracy is not just rampant in the sale of Hollywood blockbusters, but porn as well (and we’re not talking roleplay here).

In studios where actors are paid just once for filming and do not receive royalties, the severity of the problem has mobilised activism from those involved. The problem is getting so bad that stars have taken to social media in recent months with the hashtag #PayForYourPorn to get consumers to think about the source of their titillation.

The campaign urges you to pay for a subscription and targets tube and torrent sites, such as Redtube and Pornhub, which allow free streaming of adult content from various actors’ webpages. Complimentary to this, there are bodies such as Porn Guardian and Take DownPiracy that offer to help producers find and report copied contentas well as disseminate information on the issue. Regardless of what you believe about the porn industry, people opting in deserve pay for their labour.

You might not have a sense of collectivism and concern for porn stars’ paycheques, so let’s frame another issue more individualistically. That’s right: let’s think about your genitals. Upmarket sex toys are being copied at lesser quality and sold for a lesser price on Amazon and eBay. Sounds great, right? Wrong. These are not a similar design manufactured by an alternative brand for the sake of competition, but toys sold under the name of well-known luxury items.

In addition to copying someone’s creativity, there’s a plague of health problems associated with cheap counterfeit sex toys. Fakes are typically manufactured in countries like China, which have different safety standards for materials used. Many of these sex toys contain chemicals that have been deemed hazardous for humans in the West. Do you want such nasties in and around your naughty bits? It also means electrical or mechanical components may be faulty, which can lead to electric shock, or bits breaking, again, in and around your parts.

Of course, no toymaker is immune from crafting the occasional faulty product, or their goods suffering wear and tear from lots of love. But at least with the luxury brands, you can track them down. A friend of mine had a luxury sex toy break while it was up their anus, meaning it couldn’t be retrieved without assistance. They wrote a letter to the company who in turn sent them an array of toys, condoms and other fun stuff for safe sexy times. You’re not going to get that from an Amazon or eBay seller, are you?

Everyone wants value for money, or better yet, to get something for free in our capitalist society. But if you can’t imagine it, someone’s got to make it. That someone deserves to be paid.

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