Last month in Canada, Dr. Carolyn Bennett, a Liberal Minister of Parliament, sent a letter to the Conservative Federal Minister of Health, Leona Aglukkaq, expressing concern about the sex toy industry and asking the government to take action in regulating sex toys.
The letter, which you can read in its entirety here, read, in part:
I am writing to express my concern for the urgent need for responsible regulation in the adult toy industry. In Canada, we are not yet doing enough to protect women against the very high concentratuons of materials linked to reproductive and other health issues.
… Our current legislation is insufficient. There are safe alternatives to pththalates and [bisphenol A] that are readily available.
It sounds like a good idea, right? Like they say on Facebook: It’s Complicated.
I’m gonna turn it over now to Cory Silverberg, blogger at About.com’s Sexuality Guide, who’s written about this topic at length:
In order to regulate sex toys first one needs to define the product category for proposed regulation. What qualifies as a sex toy? Currently in the U.S. sex toys are defined legally in some states (often as devices intended for genital stimulation). But they don’t exist as a defined category by health regulators. The same is true for many other countries where the term “sex toys” won’t be found in legal or regulatory documentation.
Even among sex toy retailers and manufacturers terms like dildo, vibrator, penis ring, butt plug can mean very different things. Is a sex toy defined by how it’s intended use? How it’s commonly used? Is a sex toy defined by who uses it or what kinds of bodies it gets used on? There is no generally agreed upon taxonomy of sex toys. There isn’t even an organization or body (public or private) that would be in a position to develop such a taxonomy.
But until we’re there, I’m certainly not comfortable with a government deciding what is and isn’t a sex toy, and regulating the products they think are while ignoring the products they decide aren’t.
And that’s just the beginning. Read his impassioned piece Why Government Regulation of Sex Toys Is a Bad Idea.
I’m with Silverberg on this one. I believe in educating consumers and leaving the government out of as much as humanly possible. But then, I’m a conservative. That’s just how we roll. Or used to. Yeah, yeah.