“Fifty Shades of Grey Linked to Vagina Ball Explosion” read the headline of a TMZ article today that wasn’t about a gala held for older women’s lady parts. (That would be a Vagina gala.)
After our eyes finished bleeding, we managed to get to the actual subject matter: sex toys like Ben Wah balls have been on the rise since E.L. James’ Twilight erotic fan fiction-cum-bestseller featured them in her story of Christian Grey and his light bondage sex slave, Anastasia Steele. But can we chalk up the rise of sex toys to just 50 Shades?
The popular sexy book is more of a symptom of a larger trend in women cumming out of the closet (so to speak). Or at least taking their vibrators out of the bureau, where they were hidden under old underwear. Over the past two years, there’s been a surge on sex toys, turning a once fringe commodity into a $15 billion industry, with a 30% growth rate worldwide. And this is during a recession, no less!
Chalk it up to the ability to order your JimmyJane or Hitachi over the Internet instead of driving out of your suburbs in search of a plaything. As a recent press release by The Adult Novelty Groupnoted in a recent article about the subject:
This makes awkward conversations with clerks a thing of the past, which is a huge relief to female consumers. At sites such as www.mypleasure.com the device is described in a thorough and helpful manner, which makes the purchasing decisions much simpler than in a brick and mortar store.
But let’s not underplay the part of pop culture: from the recent Hysteria–with Hugh Dancy as the handsome creator of the vibrator (to paraphrase Girls: ‘He is a sex tool’) — to plugs in shows like Real Housewives, and celebrity promotions, 50 Shades of Grey is only the latest example of the de-stigmatizing of your battery-operated best friend.