a. The first ad, seen in the BBC Good Food Guide app on 13 April 2020, featured images including a naked mannequin wearing a cape, a woman shown from the neck down wearing a corset that partially exposed her breasts and revealed
nipple tassels, and an image of a reclining woman from the waist down wearing fishnet stockings and underwear.
b. The second ad, seen in the Google News app on 22 April 2020, featured images including a woman wearing a jacket
that partially exposed her cleavage and midriff, and a woman shown from the neck down wearing a corset that partially exposed her breasts and revealed nipple tassels.
c. The third ad, seen in the Google News app on 1 May
2020, featured the same images as ad (b), and an image of a prosthetic penis alongside the text Dildo + Ass Sex Cup + Penis Sleeve ... 6cm Longer ... 4cm Bigger.
d. The fourth ad, seen in a Solitaire game on Google Play on 1
May 2020, featured the same images as ad (c), and an image of a reclining woman from the waist down wearing fishnet stockings and underwear. Issue
The ASA received three complaints:
1. three complainants, who considered that the content of the ads was sexually graphic, objected that the ads were likely to cause serious or widespread offence; and
2. two complainants challenged whether ads (b), (c) and (d) had been responsibly targeted because they were likely to be seen by children.
Context Logic Inc trading as Wish.com said that their ads were
comprised of content from listings provided by third-party sellers on the Wish marketplace. Wish.com used techniques to identify and remove potentially objectionable content, which included filtering based on keywords in listing titles and tags applied
to the listing. Wish.com worked with an ad partner who used filtering and other measures to prevent Wish ads from appearing in inappropriate forums.
Regarding the ads complained of, the keyword filters and image analysis used by
their ad partner was not sufficient in preventing the ads from being displayed in general audience forums. Wish.com halted UK campaigns with the ad partner in May 2020. They said that they were not currently advertising through the ad partner until they
had more confidence in their ability to identify mature content and prevent it from being shown in general audience forums. Wish.com agreed that the ads may not have been appropriate for all forums, such as those where the audience were likely to be
comprised of a large number of minors, and they were taking action to address the issue. However, they did not agree that the ads were likely to cause serious or widespread offence.
ASA Assessment: Complaints upheld
All four ads depicted a range of garments, including nipple tassels shown on exposed breasts and a cape displayed on a nude mannequin, and ads (c) and (d) depicted a sex toy. These were all available
on the Wish.com website. While the images were relevant to the products sold, the ASA considered they were overtly sexual and contained explicit nudity.
We considered that consumers using apps for recipes, the news and playing
solitaire would not expect to see sexually explicit content. We therefore concluded that in those contexts the ads were likely to cause both serious and widespread offence.
As referenced above, we
considered that the ads were overtly sexual and contained explicit nudity. We considered they therefore were not suitable to be seen by children. Ads (b) and (c) were seen in the Google News app and ad (d) was seen in a Solitaire game. We considered
that, given the content of the apps, they were likely to have a broad appeal to all ages including children, and therefore any ads that appeared within the apps should have been suitable for children.
While Wish.com and their ad
partner had used measures such as keyword filters and image analysis to try to target them to a suitable audience, it had not prevented the ads being shown in mediums where children were likely to be part of the audience. Because the ads contained
explicit sexual images and had been placed in apps that were likely to be used by children, we concluded that the ads had been placed irresponsibly and breached the Code.
The ads must not appear again in the form complained of. We
told Context Logic Inc t/a Wish.com to ensure that their ads did not cause serious or widespread offence and to ensure their ads were appropriately targeted.
Vibrators today go hand in hand with masturbation and female sexuality. Yet for American housewives in the 1930s, the vibrator looked like any other household appliance: a nonsexual new electric technology that could run on the same universal motor as
their kitchen mixers and vacuum cleaners. Before small motors became cheap to produce, manufacturers sold a single motor base with separate attachments for a range of household activities, from sanding wood to drying hair, or healing the body with
In my research on the medical history of electricity, vibrators appear alongside galvanic battery belts and quack electrotherapies as one of many quirky home cures of the early 20th century. The first
electro-mechanical vibrator was a device called a percuteur invented by British physician Joseph Mortimer Granville in the late 1870s or early 1880s. Granville thought that vibration powered the human nervous system, and he developed the percuteur as a
medical device for stimulating ailing nerves.
Current medical opinion held that hysteria was a nervous disease, yet Granville refused to treat female patients , simply because I do not want to be hoodwinked... by the vagaries of
the hysterical state. The vibrator began as a therapy for men only. It then quickly left the sphere of mainstream medical practice.
By the early 20th century, manufacturers were selling vibrators as ordinary electric household
appliances. The merits of electricity in the home were not as obvious then as they are today: Electricity was dangerous and expensive, but it promised excitement and modernity . Electric commodities, like sewing and washing machines, became the hallmarks
of the rising middle class.
Vibrators were another shiny new technology, used to sell consumers on the prospect of modern electric living. Just as banks handed out free toasters for opening checking accounts in the 1960s, in the
1940s the Rural Electrification Administration distributed free vibrators to encourage farmers to electrify their homes. These modern electric devices were not thought of as sex toys.
In what may sound surprising to 21st-century
readers, these appliances promised relief of a nonsexual variety. Users of all ages vibrated just about every body part, without sexual intent.
Vibrators made housework easier by soothing the pains of tired housewives, calming the
cries of sick children and invigorating the bodies of modern working men. They were applied to tired backs and sore feet, but also the throat, to cure laryngitis; the nose, to relieve sinus pressure; and everything in between. Vibration promised to calm
the stomachs of colicky babies, and to stimulate hair growth in balding men. It was even thought to help heal broken bones.
A 1910 advertisement in the New York Tribune declared that Vibration Banishes Disease As the Sun Banishes
Mist. In 1912, the Hamilton Beach New-Life vibrator came with a 300-page instructional guide titled Health and How to Get It, offering a cure for everything from obesity and appendicitis to tuberculosis and vertigo. As such advertisements suggest,
vibrators were not standard medical treatments, but medical quackery, alternative medicine that didn't deliver on their promises. Yet the electrical cure-alls sold by the millions
In 1915, the Journal of the American Medical
Association wrote that the vibrator business is a delusion and a snare . If it has any effect it is psychology. The business was dangerous not because it was obscene, but because it was bad medicine. The potential, acknowledged by doctors, for the
vibrator to be used in masturbation was just further evidence of its quackery.
Sex toy scholar Hallie Lieberman points out that nearly every vibrator company in the early 20th century offered phallic attachments that would have
been considered obscene if sold as dildos. Presented instead as rectal or vaginal dilators, these devices were supposed to cure hemorrhoids, constipation, vaginitis, cervicitis and other illnesses localized to the genitals and the anus. Hamilton Beach,
for example, offered a special rectal applicator for an additional cost of $1.50, and recommended its use in the treatment of Impotence, Piles--Hemorrhoids and Rectal Diseases.
The two most prominent scholars of vibrator history,
Rachel Maines and Hallie Lieberman, argue that vibrators were always secretly sexual, but I disagree. Vibrators were popular medical devices. One of many medical uses of the vibrator was to cure diseases of sexual dysfunction. And this use was a selling
point, not a secret, during an era of anti-masturbatory rhetoric.
Masturbation was thought to cause diseases like impotence in men and hysteria in women. Masturbatory illness was a pretty standard idea in the early 20th century.
One of its surviving formulations is the idea that masturbating will make you go blind.
There's no way to really know how people were using vibrators. But the evidence suggests that they signified medical treatment, not sinful
masturbation, regardless of the use. Even if users were doing physical actions that people today think of as masturbation, they didn't understand themselves to be masturbating, and therefore they weren't masturbating.
For most of
the 20th century, vibrators remained innocuous quackery. Good Housekeeping even bestowed its seal of approval on some models in the 1950s . When the sexual revolution hit America in the 1960s, vibrators were largely forgotten, outdated appliances.
In the 1970s radical feminists transformed the vibrator from a relic of bygone domesticity to a tool of female sexual liberation. At Betty Dodson's bodysex workshops , electric vibrations changed feelings of guilt about masturbation
to feelings of celebration so that masturbation became an act of self-love . She and her sisters embraced vibrators as a political technology that could convert frigid anorgasmic housewives into powerful sexual beings capable both of having multiple
orgasms and destroying the patriarchy. This masturbatory revolt erased the vibrator's fading reputation as a cure for masturbatory illness and replaced it with a specific, powerful, public and lasting linkage between the vibrator and female masturbatory
One of South Korea's top football clubs apologised for using properly clothed sex dolls to fill empty seats at a weekend game.
FC Seoul insisted the mannequins, used to replace banned crowds, had no connection to sex toys. But some of the
artificial spectators wore T-shirts with the logo of SoloS, a sex toy seller. Other mannequins, which wore facemasks and were separated according to social distancing guidelines, held placards advertising the company and some of its models.
Seoul said in a statement:
We are sincerely sorry for causing deep concern to fans. We have confirmed from the very beginning that they had no connection to sex toys.
Thai olice have launched an investigation after a video which showed a woman playing with a sex toy in public was shared 7 million times on social media.
Deputy police spokesman Pol Col Krissana Pattanacharoen said police are aware of the clip and
warned that those involved face up to 5 years in jail and a fine of up to 100,000 baht (£2500) or both for creating and distributing pornographic or indecent material online in accordance to Section 14 of the Computer Crime Act.
Pol Col Krissana
also warned that anyone who shares the clip online could also be breaking the law.
In fact the video is part of a worldwide internet craze often identified by the tag #VibratingPanties. The video in question is on Pornhub with the title Thai
Cute Girl Remote Control Vibrator. Note that the video is not explicit, nor has nudity, nor is it proved that the toy is in use.
Most Germans are spending much more time at home due to the coronavirus pandemic. That means good news for some in the sex industry and bad news for others.
Rising sales figures at many online erotic shops suggest what some healthy Germans told to
lock down at home are doing in some of their free time. But on the flip side, the crisis is hitting the livelihoods of many sex workers hard.
Sex toys, for example, are selling particularly well. The number of orders placed with the online erotic
shop EIS has doubled since Covid-19 hit Germany in late January. Vibrators are particularly popular at the moment. A spokesperson for erotic outlet Orion said its online shop had also seen increased sales.
Erika Lust, a producer of feminist porn,
has reported that more people are viewing her films than usual. Since the outbreak, streaming times on her platforms have increased by 20 to 30% globally.
But for many sex workers in Germany and worldwide, the pandemic has had drastic
consequences. I simply don't have a job, said German sex worker Marlen, who did not want to give her full name. She has some money saved and could at least take a few weeks off. But others cannot afford to, even though the German federal and state
governments have decided to close brothels.
The coronavirus outbreak has forced countries into lockdown, and maybe sharing the time with a guaranteed virus free partner has its attractions. But just at the same time sex doll sellers are facing a shortage as most are are shipped in from Chinese
factories that themselves have been affected by lockdowns.
Jade Stanley, who owns a sex doll business called Sex Doll Official, revealed that there has been a major slowdown due to the ongoing Coronavirus situation in China. They've gone home, been
quarantined and been unable to return to factories.
The pandemic has also led to a worldwide increase in sales of sex toys. With the prospect of long periods at home either alone or with your partner, people are exploring new ways to make the best of
the time available.
The owner of a Russian sex shop chain has warned about disruptions to the sex toy market caused by Chinese flu.
Maximilian Lapin, founder of the 60 strong chain of Pink Rabbit shops, told website Gazeta that sex shops nationwide are facing a shortage
because the country's Far Eastern border with China has been closed. A high percentage of the world's sex toys are produced there.
According to Lapin, supplies have so far stood firm as his company doesn't import many products directly from China.
Most are from America, Europe, and Russia, he explained. However, the businessman added that many American and European companies produce their goods in China -- and this could lead to a scarcity of naughty merchandise.