Fifty Shades Lube Suit Filed in California

Rhett Pardon

SAN DIEGO — A lawsuit seeking class-action status has been filed by a Southern California woman who claims that the Fifty Shades of Grey Come Alive Pleasure Gel for Her doesn’t live up to promises that it has “aphrodisiac properties” to increase pleasure and enhance orgasms.

The suit, which seeks corrective advertising and a recall, names as defendants British sex toy and novelty company Lovehoney, “Fifty Shades of Grey” author Erica Mitchell (aka E.L. James) and Adam and Eve stores.

The lead plaintiff in the case, Tania Warchol, said that Fifty Shades of Grey Come Alive Pleasure Gel for Her’s packaging promises users will "experience enhanced orgasms and stimulation as every tingle, touch and vibration intensifies."  

But Warchol said that the lube, part of Lovehoney's “Official Pleasure Collection Approved by E.L. James,” lacks the beneficial properties that induce orgasms and that the companies distributing the product should face an injunctive order over alleged violations of California's unfair competition and false advertising laws and of the Consumer Legal Remedies Act. She purchased two of the gels at a San Diego-area Adam and Eve store.

“Defendants … use purported consumer endorsements or excerpts from E.L.
James best-selling book, such as: 'I surrender, exploding around him — a draining, soul-grabbing orgasm that leaves me spent and exhausted' to further induce consumers to buy the product under false pretenses as described herein,"said the suit filed last week at San Diego federal court.

Further, Warchol said, the $15 product, labeled as an “intimate arousel gel,” is defined as a “Class I Medical Devices” intended for medical purposes “that is used to lubricate a body orifice to facilitate entry of a diagnostic or therapeutic device” but isn’t registered or cleared with the FDA.

Timing of the lawsuit, which also asks for attorneys fees and consumer reimbursements, comes just days before the theatrical release of “Fifty Shades of Grey.”

U.K.-based Lovehoney, which boasts the official license for all Fifty Shades pleasure products and pharmacy items, has spent $1.5 million on TV advertising for the line of products since Christmastime.

Lovehoney’s co-owner credits the book and upcoming movie for a dramatic surge in sales at the company.

“The whole market for erotic goods changed virtually overnight when ‘Fifty Shades’ took off,” Lovehoney co-owner Richard Longhurst recently said. “Our turn-over doubled in the space of year. Suddenly women were reading erotic fiction on the beach and on trains and no one was batting an eyelid.” 

Lovehoney and Adam and Eve officials did not immediately respond for XBIZ comment in the case.

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