Wednesday , January 27 2021

Gender toy market flourishes in India, despite the legal vacuum

The movie "Veere Di Wedding", which tells about four friends about one of their weddings and "Four stories of desire", has common sense that both women seem to use sex toys, while the feminist film "Lipstick under my burka" presents four women who rebel against their Fate.

"When these films came out, people began to look for these products and how to use them we sold about 1200 vibrators the week in the premiere of Cuatro history, a good number if we take into account that we average on average between 150 and 200 per week" , explains Efe the founder of the internet sales page of sex toys IMbesharam, Raj Armani.

Armani, an Indian businessman who runs a company focused on the Asian country from the United States, points out that demand for adult toys in Kamasutra's land is "one hundred times greater than the offer" and has remained unpredictable for years.

In 2013, his company estimated that the potential market was about $ 200 million, but since then, he confirms "with confidence" that the market has used and moved over $ 1000 million.

IMbesharam is one of the online sales companies that struggle to make the most of the Indian market but is not the only company in the industry optimistic about the future of products ranging from "dildos" and vibrators to more everyday items like preservatives and lubricants .

Samir Saraiya, founder of the Indian adult toy sales company ThatsPersonal ("is personal" in English) and formerly an executive at Microsoft, currently places potential customers of 40 million.

"We believe that in the next three years, this figure of 40 million will exceed 100 million due to increased Internet access, the use of smart phones and more people online," he told Efe.

But despite her optimism and staying in business since 2013, Saraya acknowledges selling sex toys in a conservative country like India is not an easy task.

The biggest obstacle is Article 292 of the Indian Criminal Code, copied from the English Constitution after the country's independence in 1947, which prohibits the sale and distribution of obscene products.

"Unfortunately, obscenity is not very well-defined," Saraiya summarizes, so before he started sending vibrators by mail, he studied the law carefully with a lawyer and co-founder of the company.

"We understand that there are some products that can be sold in India and others that can not be sold," he explains: realistic dildos, dolls and vagina-like objects are beyond the ambiguous limits of legislation.

Why do Indians choose to buy sex toys online, instead of physical stores? According to Saraiya, it is primarily in India in big cities that buy condoms in a shop near the home a problem.

"I've faced the problem, because I did not feel comfortable buying products like condoms near my home, even when I lived in Singapore," he sums up.

The "sex shops" are non-existent in the Asian country and the only option in cities like New Delhi or Mumbai is to go to certain markets that are known to sell these products discreetly.

Cheaper, because the products in Thatspersonal and IMbesharam are free from most Indians, but of poorer quality.

"These products have always been available for 20 years, but they are not very hygienic, they are not packaged, they have not gone through customs and they are secretly purchased, most people would not be comfortable to buy these products" Saraiya.

In the underground market of "Palika Bazar", located in the central Indian capital, pink vibrators and three speeds are visible in some showcase.

One of the sellers – who preferred to be anonymous – strongly refused Efe that it was a sex toy and said they would only give "massage" on the face.

Another merchant, with the same model of vibrator hidden in a black plastic bag under the counter, declared that the sex toys came from Thailand and sold for 200 rupees, just over two euros.

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