Banning The Sale Of Sex Toys

Sex Guides and Tips

The Alabama court has upheld the state's ban on the sale of sex toys – on Valentine's Day, no less. Now, that cuts deep. This ban was upheld despite the Supreme Court decision Lawrence vs. Texas, which overruled anti-sodomy laws across the country. The Alabama court decided that, despite the Lawrence ruling, upholding public morality remained a "sufficient rational basis" for upholding the sex toys sale ban.[1]Eleventh U. S. Circuit Court Of Appeals, Williams v. Morgan So if someone wants to open up shop in Alabama to sell butt plugs and massage cream, the law in 'Bama will shut them down faster than you can say "spank me!"

These bans seem to be a Southern thing. Georgia, Texas, Alabama, and Mississippi already ban the sale of sex toys.[2]Sodomy Laws web site, citing "Alabama Set To Ban Sex Toys", Scripps Howard News Service, February 25, 2005 Indiana and South Carolina[3]WIS10 web site, "Bill Would Make Sex Toys Illegal in South Carolina", April 21, 2006 are considering bans. Laws banning "the sale of sex toys on obscenity grounds" have been found unconstitutional in Colorado, Kansas, and Louisiana.[4]Hayes, Michael, "11th Circuit Court Of Appeals Says: No Fundamental Right To Sex Toys", Free Speech Coalition, February 15, 2007 Sacramento County, California is considering a ban on the sale of sex toys "near churches, schools, and parks."[5]Darklady, "California State Capital Seeks Sex Toy Free Retail Zones", Ynot web site, February 7, 2007

Sherry Williams, who lives in Florida, but has two adult-oriented shoppes in Alabama, is in the process starting an organization called "The National Alliance of Adult Trade Organizations", which would address bans on the sale of sex toys. She has worked with the ACLU for the past seven years against these sex toys bans.[6]Liberated Christians web site, "Banning Sales of Sex Toys Upheld And Could Spread To Other States And Cities", June 13, 2005

Many people prefer to buy their sex toys online. They may be too shy to walk into a sex toys store. They feel better having the anonymity of buying from an online store. They also may find more variety online. Not every sex toys store carried the Hello Kitty vibrator, for instance. Selling online is one way brick and mortar businesses may get around the state bans. The Cupid's Love Boutique in California – the focus of the proposed ban – plans to continue to sell sex toys, DVDs, erotic lotions, and other sexually –oriented products online should the ban go through.[7]Darklady, "California State Capital Seeks Sex Toy Free Retail Zones", Ynot web site, February 7, 2007

Still, plenty of people like to visit sex toys shops; they're fun. Toy shops are great for finding gifts and for impulse buying. They have that personal touch from owners and clerks who know their products and enjoy talking to people. States like Alabama want to prevent shops from selling sex toys to their customers.

Alabama is not alone. Indiana and South Carolina are considering bans on selling sex toys.

Of course, the Bible Belt states don't think that sex toys are a good thing. South Carolina is on the verge of banning the sale of sex toys. Rep. Ralph Davenport of Boiling Springs, South Carolina has proposed House Bill 4830; it would ban the sale of sex toys. If you are convicted of selling some horny man or woman a double dildo, you could get up to five years in prison and a $10,000 fine. The House Bill would "make it a felony to sell devices used primarily for sexual stimulation and allow law enforcement to seize sex toys from raided businesses."[8]Tchris, "Sex Toys v.Sex Slavery", TalkLeft legal blog, April 23, 2006

It sounds like South Carolina's legislators are spending too much time thinking about dicks and pussies and then getting all excited about it.

It's rather surreal to read dry legal prose that includes the words "vaginal", "anal", and "oral intercourse." The bill describes the sale of sex toys as "prurient interest in sex", as if sex is a bad thing. Would South Carolina also ban the creation of laws using very detailed descriptions of sex that arouse legislators during hearings?

The bill also differentiates between "normal or perverted, whether between human beings, animals, or a combination thereof."[9]WIS10 web site, "Bill Would Make Sex Toys Illegal in South Carolina", April 21, 2006 So lawmakers in South Carolina are afraid the locals are going to get their rocks off by having a little fun with barnyard sheep. And everyone thought Montana was the state where "men are men and sheep are afraid".

At the moment, the bill sits in a House subcommittee; so far, so good. It isn't going anywhere. That's better than passing.

Alabama refused to hear a case that would challenge the state’s ban which "prohibited the distribution of 'any device designed or marketed as useful primarily for the stimulation of human genital organs.'" The punishment for a first offense: A year in jail or a $10,000 fine. The bill did allow for the sale of sex toys and body massagers if their use was "for a bona fide medical, scientific, educational, legislative, judicial, or law enforcement purpose." It would be difficult to explain away that pair of plush handcuffs as necessary for "scientific purposes".

Tennessee Senate Bill 3794 (House Bill 3798) is legislation that would make it illegal to sell, advertise, publish, or exhibit to another person "any three-dimensional device designed or marketed as useful primarily for the stimulation of human genital organs…."[10]Spragens, John, "Down With Dildos: Two State Legislators Say No To Sex Toys", Nashville Scene, March, 2, 2006 There are exemptions. College students and professors may use sex toys for teaching purposes, specially, "teaching or pursuing a course of study related to such a device." So, a college professor may use a Rock Chick vibrator to illustrate to a class exactly how to find a woman's G-spot. A doctor or therapist may also prescribe the "regular use of a sex toy 'in the course of medical or psychological treatment or care.'" Historians may also create displays depicting the history of the sex toy.

Sex toys bans can be embarrassing. An article in the Village Voice described a woman's humiliating encounter with personnel at an airport when she was ordered to remove her vibrator – a Pocket Rocket – from her luggage.[11]Taormino, Tristan, "Dallas Dildo Defiance: Have Dildo, Will Travel," The Village Voice, February 17, 2002 At least a Pocket Rocket doesn't look like a stereotypical vibrator. It looks like a lipstick case. Imagine having to pull out a gigantic, dick-shaped, bright purple vibrator while standing in line at the airport. That would be mortifying, and an invasion of privacy.

In light of Alabama upholding the ban on the sale of sex toys – on Valentine's Day, no less – everyone reading this article should buy a new sex toy for themselves or someone they love. A blogger had credited her commenters with coming up with the "Alabama Slamma", which they decided should be a new, gigantic dildo created in honor of the Alabama ban on the sale of sex toys.[12]Wilson, Trish, "The Alabama Slamma!", The Countess Blog, February 26, 2007 The Alabama Slamma should be hot pink, neon purple, or bright red so that it is obvious. Use LOTS of lube for this baby; it is HUGE.