There’s no question that in the last few years, India has been undergoing somewhat of a sexual revolution. In a country that, up until 2014, the country had held on tight to restrictive and repressive Victorian style decency laws and morals. Making it next to impossible for the newer generations to discuss sex openly, have casual dating lives, or even go about self-exploration.
These conservative sexual views served to make the country seem a little bit more than uptight to the Western world. Indian parents became the next line of jokes in the “Jewish Mother” set, laughing uncomfortably about how prudish our parents are. With an aging Gex X and Millennial population, voices are starting to be heard, and people are beginning to change their more traditional views on sexuality.
Largely, thanks to the ladies.
“What we’ve found is that while men view our pages in greater numbers, it’s women who are really driving up purchase numbers.” Says a spokesperson for premier retailer of sex toys in India, Adult Products India. “It’s really exciting to see women take a more active role in sexuality.” They gush.
While India still exists largely in a classic patriarchal society mindset, the latest generations are really starting to break that mold that was the standard for decades. “Where adult products and toys were really only available in back-alley markets or through shady under-the-table transactions, women really didn’t feel comfortable buying them. Women didn’t feel safe, they didn’t feel catered to.” Adult Products India says that new technology and the anonymity of internet retailers have pushed the boundaries of the sex toy market. “Women feel much more comfortable and confident in making these purchases online.”
This growing confidence is why some believe the underground revolution is really starting to find its feet. “With an online ordering platform, you can purchase the toys and products that you’re genuinely curious about. You can ask all the questions you want.” Adult Products India says that so much of this renewed sexual confidence is due to the fact that people are purchasing these toys, and using them, without being shrouded in shame. “You find that when you use your vibrator, you don’t go blind, your hands don’t fall off… all of these horror stories we were told as kids turn out to be patently false. Giving more people a chance to really explore and enjoy their own sexuality.”
Women are talking, men are listening, and everyone is having a great time. From massive metropolises like Bangladesh to the tiny townships of Baroda, women are out purchasing men. “We think this is a great thing.” They say about the growing number of female participation. “Understanding your body, feeling confident about your preferences, these things make desire more enjoyable for everyone.” Sex toys aren’t just a naughty frill enjoyed by the wild and brazen sexual deviants. They’re making their way into normal households and improving intimacy and opening up discussion.
Ever-increasing desire and sexual satisfaction in long term relationships can be tough to maintain, especially for couples who are in it for the long haul. Sex toys can help keep that spark thriving. In fact, many sexual therapists suggest the use of sex toys for this exact reason. As we become more comfortable in our own sexuality, we can often extend that comfort and joy to our partners. Starting a better dialogue and growing together.
Starting an open and honest conversation about sex and desire has also helped sexual minority groups feel a bit safer about their own preferences. While not everyone is on board with these lines of thinking- India’s patent law rejected an application for a vibrator, calling sex toys “morally degrading”, it hasn’t stopped many couples, queer and heterosexual alike, from flocking to online stores to snag the devil's devices. Some believe this earnest conversation is what prompted the historic overturn of Indian law section 377, a law criminalizing homosexuality.
“While we may never actually see a complete abolition of these archaic and outmoded laws, offering options to those parties that are interested is a top priority… We believe in love. We believe that, provided no one is getting hurt, we should be free to happily explore ourselves and our partners.” Adult Products India closes.
For now, sex toys are being sold to more people, in more areas. And women are finally stepping in, gaining a voice.
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