There are some wildly inaccurate misconceptions about sex and faith -- that they're incompatible and incongruous. Perhaps the misunderstanding comes from the fact that most religions view sex as something that should be enjoyed within specific confines and scenarios (i.e. marriage).
But before I continue, it's important to acknowledge that the headline and subject matter of this article may be jolting to some of you. We're here to spark a discussion about this intriguing topic and we assure you -- there will be no explicit content in this piece. Ordinarily, we provide helpful links in our articles. Due to the graphic nature of the related materials, we won't be doing that in this piece.
Now many people, regardless of their opinions on sex and religion, will likely be shocked to hear about the growing success and popularity of religious sex toys and products. There is no doubt that there is some controversy surrounding the subject. On one hand, there are those who believe that these tools can be marriage-savers; on the other, there are individuals who contend that the purchase and use of sex items "dirties" the inherent beauty of sex between a man and woman.
Those who produce and sell these products are in the first group, as they believe that they can be used to help strengthen marriages, while also assisting people in better enjoying sexual experiences. In a report by the Daily Beast, writer Allison Yarrow explains that those being targeted by entrepreneurs who sell these sex products are religious, married and straight.
Christians, Jews and Muslims are all part of the general audience that these items have been created for. There's Kosher Sex Toys, a company designed for Orthodox Jews, and El Asira, a vender that markets to Muslims. And there are numerous sites -- Book22, Hookin' Up Holy and others -- that are targeted at Christians.
David Ribner, a rabbi and a sex therapist in Israel, stands firmly behind these sites and services. “Religious people do it like everybody else,” says the faith leader (who is also a consultant for Kosher Sex Toys). “Why shouldn’t they have access to toys that make their lives more satisfying?”
Yarrow quotes "Joyce," an evangelical Christian who claims her life has been revolutionized by these products. “I’m a Christian, but this is awesome,” she says of the products she discovered on Book22. “It was like being newlyweds again.” A screenshot from the web site she references (below) provides insight into some of the available items.
Apparently, the industry is an up-and-coming hit among certain subsets of believers. Yarrow reports:
The burgeoning niche, part of the roughly $15 billion sex-toy industry, reports that business has been steadily growing, with most sites shipping a few hundred orders per month. Clients usually find them through Google, say the owners, or a thoughtful religious leader or astute sex therapist. The vendors use many of the same distributors as secular shops, with most products made in China. Gavriel, a 25-year-old furniture salesman who owns Kosher Sex Toys (and asked that we use only his middle name) stressed in an interview, “There’s nothing wrong with having all the sex you want.”
While the stated goals behind these products are said to be pious, there will likely be those among the religious who see the sale of sex toys for the faith community as inappropriate or, at the least, mildly offensive. Still, others, like Joyce, revere them as viable tools to assist married couples in better enjoying one another. You can read more about these intriguing religious "sex shops" over at the Daily Beast.
What do you think? Are religious sex toys appropriate for religious people? Take our poll, below: