Have you ever wondered about the legally-ridiculous disclaimers that you see on the packaging of most sex toys? You know the ones: “sold as an adult novelty”, “not a medical device”, “for external use only”, and so on. Why are they there? What good are they?

Well, Dangerous Lilly has expended an astonishing amount of investigative effort in putting together a pair of blog posts in which she attempted to answer that question by contacting numerous sex toy companies and asking them (along with anybody else in industry) what they were hoping to accomplish. She got a lot of silence and inadequate answers, a lot of hand-waving about old habits and “everybody’s always done this” thinking, and a few solid speculations relating to the avoidance of regulations and tariffs that might apply to a thing that that was labeled as a toy or misidentified by some bureaucrat as a medical device. It’s interesting reading if you’re interested in sex and business:

“For Novelty Use Only” Part 1
“For Novelty Use Only” Part 2

The anecdote that most engaged my dark sense of humor, though, involved a catastrophic sex toy injury from early in the industry’s history, involving a brand name (Doc Johnson) that’s always been synonymous (at least in my mind) with shoddy materials, pedestrian designs, and garish packaging. Lilly got this anecdote from Metis Black of Tantus:

When the industry was a baby Ted Marche made toys in his garage and he sold them very prolifically. This was the first US large manufacturer. He made a toy that had a wire inside the soft latex which rotated, much like the modern rabbits do. On one toy the interior wire was not capped, the edge of the wire as it was being used inside a man’s rectum chewed through the toy and did severe internal damage to his body. I think this was the mid 70’s. He (Marche) was sued and lost. The judge gave the victim a $14 mil settlement- which of course Mr. Marche couldn’t pay. That is how Ruben Sturman, and later Ron Braverman, got Doc Johnson. He took it off Mr. Marche’s hands.

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