Thursday, October 13, 2011

made in China?

When purchasing adult toys there are few guarantees.  

For public health reasons, returns are almost always forbidden by local law.  I believe that even the most staunch of my libertarian friends would nod at this as an acceptable role for government regulation.  I mean who wants a used dildo? (btw - don't answer that . . . you don't want to go there . . . there are people who pay for used panties after all!)

There aren't many adult toy makers who offer any kind of meaningful warranty for their goods either, although there are a few higher end manufacturers these days offering a year or two worth of limited protection against failure.  

This also makes good sense to me, as I'd be ashamed to try and return some cheap "Johnson" made by Doc Johnson.  I'd like to think toys like that are like a really bad one night stand where it's best to cringe, walk away, and try to pretend the whole thing never happened.  Some things aren't worth returning . . . 

My wife Serafina and I recently had an experience with a warranty return on one of those higher end products.  It's a really nice piece from an established and respected European company in the $100+ price range.  The toy's name sounds a lot like a role once played by Keanu Reeves.

Please note that this particular company proudly advertises manufacturing all of it's products "in house."   That leads me to believe, for instance, that if this particular company is headquartered in Sweden, then it's gear would also be manufactured in Sweden.

Imagine my surprise then when the FedEx tracking for my warranty replacement originates in Suzhou, China.  That's not a typographical error either, as my package then transited through Shanghai to Ancorage before making it to the mainland USA and towards the humble abode we call Samadhi House.

Ooops!  In a day and age when good numbers of Chinese exports are discovered to be tainted with toxic chemicals, heavy metals, or poisons like diethylene glycol, I really do my best to avoid purchasing most products that wear the "Made in China" label.  

I'm also concerned about the common use of forced labor (i.e. political and religious prisoners) in Chinese manufacturing.  Estimates of the total number of Chinese political and religious prisoners run as high as six or eight million.  Some of those folks are imprisoned simply for their faith, a disturbing thought for a blog author who believes that BDSM can be a spiritual activity.

I knew a girl who wouldn't accept a $10,000 engagement ring without certification.  She had to know it was not a "blood diamond" used to fund some evil insurgent or warlord before ever wearing it.  Her poor naive fiance had to return the first ring he bought her!

Do you really think  folks like her are going to take kindly to the possibility that the "Sweedish" toy humming in their vagina was "Made in China", let alone that it might be some kind of "prisoner dildo" fostering Communist repression?

Somebody's got some 'splainin to do!


  1. The box on my Lelo Soraya clearly says it's assembled in the PRC. It's no secret.

  2. Thanks for your comment melbourne!

    It's good to hear that there is some truth in advertising. But, with that said, our Lelo Nea had no such disclaimer.

    Perhaps Lelo does properly label some toys for some markets, but we also know for sure that is not the case for all of their products in every market.

    It also does little to mitigate Lelo's website where they clearly tout their origins as a Swedish company and asert that their products are manufactured "in house" - whatever that might mean, eh?

    Don't get me wrong, we own a number of Lelo toys, and we enjoy them very much. If that was not the case, this posting would have had a much stronger negative tone.

    We really just want to encourage all sex toy manufacturers to more fully disclose the manufacturing origin of their toys, as well as providing information about the ingredients in the toy and disclosing any toxic or harmful chemicals used in the toy's production.

  3. Most sex toys with electronic parts are manufactured in China - this was relayed to me by industry professionals in comment to a recent post of mine. Even the highly regarded Njoy Steel products are manufactured in China.

    That doesn't mean, however, that all are bad. Many of the smaller companies keep a very close eye on their products and the place that manufactures them. Other bigger companies do not, and you will see many anomalies come out, some of which I've talked about already.

    Perhaps the Nea did not list it because you were purchasing old stock? It's from their first line and isn't as popular now with the newer models out. Since there are no regulations as to what sex toy manufacturers have to tell us, maybe Lelo didn't think anything of it a few years ago. Who knows. But it is also very possible that Lelo has their own manufacturing division located in China. Owned by them, overseen by them, so yes it is still in-house. As in not outsourced.

    Of course, this is just information, and doesn't mean that I think Lelo toys are worth the price anymore. But I don't necessarily think it's an automatic black mark if a toy is manufactured in China.

  4. Thank you for your informative comment Dangerous Lily, it did seem a bit of a shock to us and we questioned whether we even had a safe toy, let alone a wise purchase. I love the Nea, the shape fits so wonderfully in my hand. And we did not even notice when we first bought it, but had to ask for a replacement, because it would not take a charge. And we noticed because the return box had a hidden label that clearly stated where it originated from, as though someone had attempted to not disclose it's origin.
    I really enjoy the NEA, particularly because Master has instructed me to keep the NEA in my purse charged and ready at all times for use in "Emergencies"! LOL