During my constant search for elusive truths, I recently came across an article by Allison Yarrow, a contributing writer for Newsweek, that seemed worthy of reflection. The title of her piece is “Religious Sex-Toy Sites Vow to Save Marriages”. As an effective headline, this one ranks very high on the “stopped in your tracks” scale.
No less interesting was the complete story.
Apparently, for many folks around the world who take their organized religion very seriously, the restraints placed on them by their beliefs have, for centuries, kept the pious and devout from, shall we say, maximizing their pleasures in the marital bed. “Marital”, in this context, is a key word because the Internet sites profiled in the Newsweek article only market their wares to “married, heterosexual couples”. Pervs, gays and single pleasure seekers will just have to rely on the handful of other on-line sex toy purveyors (a Google search gets only 36 million hits).
Ms. Yarrow profiles four Christian-based sex-toy sites, one Jewish site and one for Muslims. I found that there are a handful of other and newer Christian sites, one new Muslim site but, as of this writing, still only one Jewish site. However, this niche market for religion-endorsed sex toys is expected to swell.
The original Christian sex-toy site is “Book 22”, a reference to the Old Testament book (Jews should take note), Song of Solomon. King Solomon was hip to the pleasures of the flesh. One enthusiastic customer of Book 22, a 59-year old wife named Joyce, had never achieved satisfaction with her husband of 25 years until she ordered the “Turbo 8 Accelerator”. Apparently this bullet-shaped device did the trick for Joyce. One might reasonably argue, however, that her husband, rather than now being better in bed and emotionally closer to his spouse has simply become someone who knows how to quickly replace the AA batteries in the Turbo 8 Accelerator. This alone, however, could save a marriage.
Among the many other products for sale at Book 22 is “Happy Penis Cream” sold for a mere $7.50 for a 4 ounce container. Usage rates depend primarily on how happy you want the penis to be, from “modestly amused” to “hysterical”. The product is described as providing a “warming, tingling sensation” and is “deliciously edible and sugar-free”. For wives wanting to insure a happy penis in the household while also watching their weight, this seems the perfect choice.
Book 22 also offers something called “Nipplicious” but I believe that too much detail here could tip this blog into the salacious category and I certainly don’t want that.
Another Christian-based site is “Hooking Up Holy” which distinguishes itself by offering a wide array of couples’ sex toys, but also toys for those who warrant that a little self-pleasuring is in order from time to time, like during those 25 year stretches when a husband couldn’t git ‘er done. These products are listed as the “masturbatory” items. For him, there are such aids as the “Super Head Honcho” or the “Cyberskin Solo Slider”. For her, there is the very popular “Clone a Willie” which can be sized and shaped to suit the buyer’s preferences and comes in light or dark skin tones plus a glow in the dark version which can also serve as a reading light. Perhaps my favorite “For her” product is the “Don Wands Clear Nubby Melon Crank”. You will have to admit, even if you don’t know exactly how this product works in practice, it brings a smile to your face just saying the name out loud. Pleasure enough. As for saving marriages, the efficacy of these products can best be summarized by a customer comment, “Since my husband bought the Cyberskin Solo Slider he pretty much leaves me alone.”
The other two Christian-based sites profiled by Ms. Yarrow are “Intimacy of Eden” and “Covenant Spice”. The array of products at each is very similar to the first two discussed. Intimacy of Eden does have a “consumer panel” that tests all the products before they are exposed to potential buyers, a unique claim among these competitors. It is also a claim that makes me wonder how the hell one gets to be included in their consumer panel. The last consumer panel I was on had to do with taste preferences for turkey versus chicken bacon. No ultimate pleasure there.
For the devout Jewish couple there is the no-nonsense site “Kosher Sex Toys” owned by a fellow named Gavriel. A review of the products on the site illustrates some cultural differences between those who want to experience kosher sex and those who experience kosher only by mistake, like wandering into a New York deli.
The Kosher Sex Toys site has a wide array of couples’ toys, same as the Christian sites and a long list of female toys for self pleasure. Absent, however, are any male masturbatory items because Jewish men are warned in their holy texts not to “spill their seed on the ground,” thus wasting it. A strong case can be made that spilling anything inside of a Cyberskin Solo Slider is also wasteful. To make up for these male product omissions, the Kosher Sex Toys site has a wide variety of items not found on any of the other religious sites, to include: paddles, flogging whips, drip candles, the “Intense Impact Cane”, handcuffs and other restraints plus a heart-shaped padlock. On the “Lingerie” page, the only items are women’s clear-heeled stiletto shoes and thigh-high stiletto-heeled boots.
Picturing a pious Jewish wife, wearing nothing but thigh-high stiletto boots, with furry hand-cuffs in one hand and a flogging whip in the other, one comes away from the Kosher Sex Toys site with a much different impression of a satisfying and marriage-saving sexual experience than might be envisioned by some random Methodist.
There is also a site for devout Muslims, of which there seem to be no current shortage. The site, El Asira, is owned by Abdelaziz Aouragh, a Dutch Muslim who doesn’t sell anything that isn’t Sharia Law compliant. This restriction means that the site sells dozens of creams, gels, massage oils, perfumes, salve creams, massage creams, oily creams, creamy oils, massage gels, gel-like creams, cream-like gels, gel-like perfumes and massage-like goop, most of it edible. Sharia Law prohibits the selling of vibrators, dildos or drugs that promise to enhance penis size because these types of products “misinterpret the male form”. It seems somehow quaint and endearing that devout Muslim men want their wives to know that a 13 inch, veined, vibrating and glow-in-the-dark dildo is anything but representative of the male form. No kidding, Abdul.
Mr. Aouragh defends the necessity of his site by stating that, “If a (Muslim) man is unable to please a woman in bed, she can divorce him.”
However, in any Muslim culture where a woman can be executed for having the temerity to become a rape victim and therefore “dishonor her family and husband”, a woman publicly petitioning a Sharia judge for a divorce because “my husband cannot please me in bed” could find that her stoning death by the husband and both families precedes the divorce decree. On the honor roll of Pyrrhic victories, this would rank way high. Better, I think, to buy several tubes of edible massage goop and and secretly buy a Turbo 8 Accelerator. This could save a life and a marriage.
Finally, according to Rabbi David Ribner, an Israeli sex therapist who consults with the owner of the Kosher Sex Toys site, because of the lack of proper sex education, many devoutly religious and pious couples suffer from misguided advice. “One couple was told that if the woman does not like sex, she should take two Tylenol and finish as quickly as possible.” Sounds right to me as long as she has her Don Wands Clear Nubby Melon Crank in the bedside table.
Observoid of the Day: Some win-win situations turn out to be dumb-dumb and go bad-bad.