Showing posts with label Sex Toys. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Sex Toys. Show all posts

July 24, 2015

Baghdad’s ‘secret’ shops for ‘sex’ toy’s

Iraqis shop at the Souk al-Shorja wholesale market in central Baghdad, Aug. 30, 2008. (photo by Getty/AFP/Ali Al-Saadi) 
BAGHDAD — In Souk al-Shorja, in the center of Baghdad, a young man called out to his friend, pointing to a street vendor on the crowded sidewalk.
Summary⎙ Print Iraqi citizens and the central government are outraged by the spread of sexual products in popular markets across the country. 

“See? Even in the West, such merchandise is not on display in popular markets,” the young man said.
A woman walked by and saw the man pointing. She looked out of curiosity, but quickly turned and hurried away.
The popular markets spread many surprises over Iraq's sidewalks. You can find anything in these markets, even medicine. But the last thing one expects to see are sex toys, like dildos and other items for both men and women in various colors and sizes and a wide range of sexual performance enhancers.
These are surprising and strange things to find in a popular market, especially one in a capital where Islamist forces control political life and those in power frequently meddle in citizens’ everyday affairs in the name of ethics and religion.
Al-Monitor watched the shoppers in Shorja and saw many youths stop in front of these vendors, smiling and joking. Some went as far as waving a dildo in the air for their friends to see. Some were taken aback and asked the vendor questions like “Do people really buy these things?”
Iraqi society is known for its tribal and conservative nature, and religious control seems to have taken firmer hold in the past decade. It is odd that such merchandise is so openly sold, especially in a huge public market like Shorja, where products such as foodstuffs, clothes and cosmetics are the most common wares and where the open sale of sex toys appeared only relatively recently. Nevertheless, one such vendor said he believes his merchandise is as “normal as any other.”
The authorities have not turned a blind eye to this phenomenon. In 2012, Baghdad’s city council, annoyed with the spread of sexual products, called for legal measures against the networks involved in their trade. But the authorities were not powerful enough to control or limit this trade, and the merchandise has only become easier to find.
There are no specific laws against the trade of sex products, although selling them is widely considered indecent and immoral.
A vendor who wished not to be named told Al-Monitor, “This merchandise has been available in the market since 2004. We would sell it secretly to women’s beauty salons and to some women called 'dalalas,' who were known for selling the merchandise in popular neighborhoods. However, they have been sold on sidewalks in some popular markets for a long time.”
The vendor added while fixing his stand that he mostly “sells these dildos to men for fun and pranks.” But he asserted that some men “really need them, although they pretend to joke about the issue.”
According to the vendor, “Most women do not buy dildos from the stand. Usually, they order them on the phone” from stalls in the market.
Bab al-Sharqi market is a surreal oasis of illicit products. In the completely unregulated marketmedicine is sold alongside shoes, military uniforms, toys, sexual performance enhancers, porn movies and mysterious ointments.
All products are on display, with no supervision or interference by the authorities. Vendors are audacious and blunt. Here, however, unlike Shorja, the shoppers are restricted to men.
Hussein Koulshi, a young vendor who sells sex drugs and toys, told Al-Monitor, “The police are always after us, but they cannot take over the Bab al-Sharqi market. It is our source of living, and we have our own ways to protect it.”
"Koulshi," whose nickname means “jack-of-all-trades,” noted that many clients buy toys and sexual enhancers. “Many teenagers buy this stuff,” he added, noting, “Prices vary between $40 and $200, but some merchandise is more expensive and rarely demanded.”
Abdul Hussein al-Kaabi, a pharmacist who owns a medicine warehouse, told Al-Monitor that the products come from China and are sometimes hidden in shipments of medicine or clothes and smuggled through ports or land border crossings.
“Most of the merchandise is not up to health standards and might lead to diseases and inflammation,” he said, adding, “Sexual enhancers might result in death, especially since they are taken without a doctor’s prescription.”
Ali Jassim al-Maytoti, a member of the Iraqi parliament's National Security and Defense Committee, told Al-Monitor, “Allowing such immoral products to enter Iraq is no less of a crime than IS’ destruction of society.” He added, “There is corruption at the border crossings, and this explains the entry of products banned by the state. Some networks aim to destroy society by supplying products that are against Iraq’s social mores.”
Maytoti does not have much information about these products, how they enter the country or how they are traded on the Iraqi market. However, he blames the “unstable security situation in Iraq, which makes it hard to pursue deviant social phenomena.”
Neighboring countries such as Iran, Jordan and Syria consider Iraq to be one of the places where products below global health standards are sold. The government has discovered counterfeit medicine and tainted food supplies being sold to Iraq from neighboring countries several times.
With the rampant security chaos and corruption in the government, limiting these phenomena or even passing laws to ban the importation of substandard products seems almost impossible.
Author Omar al-Jaffal  
Translator Pascale Menassa

Contributor,  Iraq Pulse
Omar al-Jaffal is an Iraqi writer and poet. He is an editor of Bayt and Nathr, two intellectual magazines that are published in Iraq. He is also the chief editor of Al-Aalam al-Jadid, an electronic newspaper. 

January 7, 2013

There is Sexting, Cyber Sex and soon Great Robot Sex

If people get turn on  by the image of someone far away or someone typing sexually descriptive words, then a piece of machinery seems just like the right thing.

Laci Green comes clean with how she'd like to see sex and orgasms evolve: robots! Not the lame vibrators and other mechanical sex toys that are out there, but fully-fledged sexual partners that aren't human. It's worth thinking about...
Then, scroll down to see an incredibly cute with with yawning puppies. I had a hard time deciding which one to put up top!
Robots: The Future of Great Sex!

March 14, 2012

Attitudes Toward Men's Solo Pleasure Toys are Changing

 As high-end brands make sleeker, sexier products 

 (Credit: Salon)
Recently, a friend of mine told me about his roommate’s new solo sex toy. “It’s Japanese — all sleek, high-design,” he said breathlessly, as though enthusing about the latest iPad. “Apparently it feels amazing.”
This was the same male friend whom I recall some 10 years ago telling me — with a mix of pity and disgust — how he’d accidentally found a “fake pussy” under his buddy’s bed. This wasn’t just a personal attitude shift: penetrable sex toys for men have been revolutionized over the past decade.
“Pocket” vaginas have long been ridiculed as objects of desperation and creepiness: Most are misproportioned and rubbery — some even have synthetic pubic hair sewn into faux flesh (they aim for far greater anatomical literalness than most vibrators or dildos). These types of toys range from a few bucks to a couple hundred, but are generally known for being pathetic imitations of the real thing. Thanks to a couple lof eading companies, though, masturbatory sleeves — which are generally soft tubes that go over the penis — are becoming sleeker, sexier and more high-tech. As a result, attitudes toward “jerk-off” toys are changing, ever so slowly.
Mark, a single dad in his early 40s who owns a Fleshlight, explains that in order for a toy to escape the “creepy guy” stigma, it has to strike just the right balance: “The more realistic (and expensive and elaborate) the simulation, the more it can be perceived as a replacement for the real woman, and the man is assumed to be unable to attract.”
Fleshlight, which has sold more than 4 million toys since its start in 1995, “pioneered” the transition away from the slab-of-flesh look, says Charlie Glickman, a sex educator at Good Vibrations. In the classic model, 10 inches of the company’s signature “Real Feel Superskin” are concealed in a flashlight-like tube, save for an opening on one end, which either has a simple slit or is modeled after various orifices. It comes with a range of interior textures and shapes — some are so maze-like, they seem designed to replicate sex with a duck (fun fact: ducks have corkscrew vaginas).
But it was a “game-changing product” largely thanks to its high-tech materials, says Glickman. Before Fleshlight, “the male masturbation sleeves were either these not very well designed or attractive products, or they were the blow-up doll types,” he says. ”[The Fleshlight] is not inexpensive plastic or vinyl.”
The brand’s marketing helps too: It’s a company with an irreverent sense of humor — just consider its line of monster-themed Fleshlights (apparently Lady Dracula has bat-shaped labia) or its collection outfitted in faux beer cans. Add its series modeled after various female porn stars’ naughty bits, and its sponsorship of the Air Sex Championships, and it’s easy to imagine it being accepted (semi-ironically, of course) within a certain college crowd. It’s a far cry from the desperate old man stereotype of yore.
The other industry leader is Tenga, the brand my friend’s roommate was talking about: a line of Japanese sleeves that entirely eschews the porn aesthetic. If you ended up on the product’s website without a primer, you might think that they were selling high-tech remote controls or modern art sculptures for your desktop. Its new 3-D line of sleeves are being advertised using images of them turned inside out, revealing elaborate and, quite frankly, beautiful raised geometric patterns. The Zen model looks like a phallic Japanese rock garden.
Jim Blanchard, the senior vice president of development at the company in charge of U.S. distribution of Tenga, tells me, “The interior designs of the products have nothing to do with the internal organs of a female. It’s an artful concept.”
Blanchard says that in the U.S., most of Tenga’s new growth is in spas and salons. “We’ve also been pushing it in the medical community for the benefits for folks with [erectile dysfunction] or for rehabilitation after prostate surgery or vasectomy.” He says a partnership with the Keith Haring Foundation is in the works. Interestingly, the company’s egg-shaped product was Amazon’s biggest seller a couple of Easters ago, thanks to an adorable ad that featured the product alongside a chick (tag line: “Different strokes from different yolks!”). The brand’s U.S. audience is largely split between gay men, “mature” straight males and couples, he says.
Matt, whose girlfriend bought him two Tenga Eggs when their relationship was long-distance, says, “It’s like having superhuman masturbation powers when you use one.” The aesthetics are important too: ”It looks more like silly putty than some kind of big clunky sex toy,” he says and adds, “We’ve taken them through airport security and never had a problem.” Now, his girlfriend occasionally uses the toy on him or watches him while he uses it.
In addition to better design and technology, these companies have benefited from what Glickman calls “porn’s coming out of the closet.” He explains, “The more you hear other guys talking about which porn star they like, even if nobody says, ‘Oh yeah, of course I was jacking off while watching so-and-so, you know that it’s there.” In general, men “are becoming much less embarrassed about masturbating,” says Glickman.
Mark agrees. “I think that the high-end wanking product niche is a result of the Internet, which has revolutionized the expression of sexuality generally,” he says. “People are becoming less ashamed and secretive about their sex lives, and a lot of ridiculous pretense and ignorance is giving way to frankness and information.” It’s also “harder to bully and shame people who have a support community,” Mark points out.
That isn’t to say that the stigma has disappeared — but it has lessened noticeably, most remarkably among straight men. “There has been much more acceptance of sex toys and masturbation among gay men for a long, long time,” says Glickman. “If part of the masturbation phobia among men is the masculinity piece, gay men are much more likely to have worked through stuff around that.”
There’s also a double standard in the sex toy realm, which is remarkable given that there a much greater barrier to acceptance of the fact that women masturbate, period. Vibrators — which can be used by either sex, it’s worth noting, but are primarily marketed toward women — are solidly in the mainstream. They’re advertised on daytime TV, and sold in drugstores and through “Tupperware parties.” It’s not so with men’s solo toys.
Chuck, 52, tells me that he bought a Fleshlight when his wife was out of town. “After [she] came home, I broached the subject of me getting a sex toy and she said, ‘I know it’s not fair, because I’ve got one, but I don’t want you to.’” He ended up throwing the toy out.
Phil, a 25-year-old virgin who has owned several different sleeves, says, “Our society expects that men should be able to find sexual gratification whenever they want and not have to resort to sex toys. When men can’t find sex partners, they’re considered ‘losers’ by both men and women alike.” As he sees it, women’s sexual experience has benefited far more dramatically from “the sex revolution and several waves of feminism.”
But Glickman argues that the greater acceptance of toys like the Fleshlight has gone hand-in-hand with the rise of female sex toys, which was similarly aided by higher-end design. Progress may be slow, but masculine norms are shifting: As I’ve written about before, straight guys are increasingly opening up to incorporating vibrators into partnered sex and being on the receiving end of anal play. Change is being hatched, one Tenga Egg at a time.
Tracy Clark-Flory
Tracy Clark-Flory is a staff writer at Salon. Follow @tracyclarkfloryon Twitter.More Tracy Clark-Flory

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