Canadian Minister Calls for Regulation of Adult Sex Toys

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Canadian Minister Calls for Regulation of Adult Sex Toys

Postby AskTheCouch » Sat Dec 19, 2009 11:10 pm

Canadian Minister Calls for Regulation of Adult Sex Toys
By Cory Silverberg, About.com Guide to Sexuality
Friday December 18, 2009


Yesterday Dr. Carolyn Bennett a Liberal Minister of Parliament in the Canadian government sent a letter to the Federal Minister of Health, Leona Aglukkaq, asking the health minister to look into developing regulations for the adult toy industry in Canada.

Bennett, who has a long history of advocating for women's health issues and generally talking about public health issues most politicians wouldn't touch with a ten foot pole, was inspired to write the letter after visiting Red Tent Sisters, a sex shop in her riding.

The letter (which you can download here) calls out phthalates and BPA in particular, pointing to what little research has been done on sex toys, and suggesting that there is an "urgent need for responsible regulation in the adult toy industry." The minister wants products to be safety tested before they can be sold, and the chemical composition of all sex toys to be made publicly available.

I think it's great that these entrepreneurs sought out a politician willing to speak out on a subject that intersects sexual health and pleasure and that she followed through in this public way. Most good sex shops already offer a wide range of products that are phthalate and BPA-free. But better quality sex toys are always a good thing.

At the same time, as someone who cares about the sexual rights, health, and freedom of all people, and not just middle-class women, I have to admit to having an uneasy feeling about this letter and the assertion that sex toys pose a significant risk to public health.

To the extent that the trend to "eco sex toys" is producing thoughtful public discussion and encouraging everyone who wants to buy sex toy to educate themselves, I think it's great. But if you read what's written on this topic much of it lacks any critical analysis. Sex toys were once emancipatory tools of empowerment and I fear they're becoming luxury accessories with little more meaning than deodorant or mouthwash.

I wish it didn't have to be an either-or situation, but the fact is that the public, the media, and certainly the government don't have a history of managing more than one public discussion about sexual health and pleasure at a time. The minister is absolutely right when she writes that the government shouldn't "shy away from legislation that protects us" because the topic of sex may make us uncomfortable.

But given the disparities in access to sexual health and experience of sexual pleasure among Canadians, I just can't help but feel like this is a much easier topic to deal with than the known threats to public sexual health, which are routinely ignored, by most politicians and citizens every day.
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Re: Canadian Minister Calls for Regulation of Adult Sex Toys

Postby Starshine » Sun Dec 20, 2009 12:29 am

Smart woman and good for her!!! Neither of these chemicals are good for the body and while I know quite a bit about their use in products for babies (bottles, sippy cups etc.) and the those with dentures or partials, it never occurred to me that they would be found in sex toys as well.
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Re: Canadian Minister Calls for Regulation of Adult Sex Toys

Postby Emma » Mon Dec 21, 2009 11:37 pm

As Starshine said, good for her! Things like this do need addressing. It is horrible to think of the use of chemicals not being properly governed, simply because they are used in a product that people don't like to talk about.
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