NEW YORK — Sex toys have found religion.
The ever-burgeoning novelty industry has broken what’s probably the last barrier of mainstream acceptance and has been embraced by a number of religious-based websites that offer sex novelties for couples who want to spice up their spirituality.
Christian, Jewish and Muslim-based novelty sites are now offering their flocks sex aids along with a dose of scripture.
The Daily Beast reports that entrepreneurs have found a new niche in the reported $15 billion industry and a unique way to market to sex toy consumers who consider themselves pious but are turned off by the explicitness and overtly sexuality of most novelty sites.
One leading Christian sex toy site, Book 22 (named after the Biblical Book of Solomon) was founded by Joy Wilson nearly a decade ago when she realized she needed something more to jazz her and her husband’s sex life after their second child was born. The explicitness of most novelty sites offended her so she decided to take matter into her own hands — so to speak.
Now, Book 22 is facing competition from rival vendors including Hooking Up Holy, (with a tagline of "Spouses Who Play Together Stay Together"), Kosher Sex Toys, El Asira, Intimacy of Eden, and Covenant Spice.
Aimed primarily at married, heterosexual couples, the sites are even being supported by a number of community leaders.
Kosher Sex Toy consultant Rabbi David Ribner told The Beast, “Religious people do it like everybody else. Why shouldn’t they have access to toys that make their lives more satisfying?”
The site's owner Gavriel, a 25-year-old furniture salesman said, “There is nothing wrong with having all the sex you want.”
In fact, some of the new religious sex retailers believe that their holy scriptures not only condone, but require a healthy sex life. El Asira founder Abdelaziz Aouragh noted that Islamic belief stresses that men and women must “reach their peak” during intercourse and only after that is the “deed complete.”
Most of the new sites are found though Google searches and ship a few hundred orders a month, but business is growing.
Some use quotes from scripture or other religious messages to soften the sex, but products include vibrators, lingerie, whips, lotions, clitoris stimulators and more. But some draw the line based on religious doctrine and customer concerns.
For example, some Christians will balk at anal items or condoms (but special orders are not uncommon), the El Asira Muslim site will sell only Sharia-compliant items, and Kosher Sex Toys won’t stock male masturbatory aids (because "God frowns on wasted potential according to the Torah").
Packaging for the most part is toned down and shipped in plain boxes.
But the holy use most of the same Chinese manufacturers and local distributors as the typical novelty industry.
Although selling sex toys with a religious hook may be a clever way of further exploiting a growing industry, the purveyors of these new sites claim their mission is to educate and build mutual respect between couples — something the secular industry segment has been touting all along.