Sex toys that try (and fail) to capitalize on pop culture fads

| Cadenza Reporter

In general, sex toys have always been a fairly stable category of products. Most of the Web sites and sex shops have all the same kinds of merchandise, plus or minus some variety in brands, styles and colors. The rest of the world might go crazy with every passing fad, but the sex toy industry knows how to stick with a good thing. Or do they?

The recent “Twilight” mania has seen a huge market of girls who would like nothing more than to sleep with a vampire. Enter “The Vamp.” For all those girls who fall asleep at night dreaming of Edward Cullen, here’s the authentic vampire experience, minus the bruises, shredded pillows and fatal pregnancy. A dildo, in a “deathly pale flesh tone,” which retains temperature if you want to stick it in the freezer so you can imagine a real, stone-cold vampire penis. Also, if there’s a secluded meadow handy, you can take it out in the sunshine and watch it sparkle.

“The Vamp,” according to some nonbelievers, heralds the coming apocalypse. But it’s far from being the only vampire-themed sex toy. Men too, can simulate creepy vampire sex. Or more specifically, a blowjob from a succubus. That’s right, there is now a Fleshlight with vampire teeth at the opening, known as the “Succu Dry.” But wait, there’s more! The inside is “a brand new inner texture called ‘The Fang.’” Imagine dozens of tiny fangs on your most sensitive organ. And, if you want that sensation on your entire body, there are “Vampire Gloves”—leather gloves covered with almost one hundred 1/8 inch steel spikes. There are also Edward Cullen panties, with a picture of Robert Pattinson’s lips at the crotch area, and black “Vampire Condoms.”

In a twisted way, all the vampire sex merchandise does make sense. After all, sex with a vampire would be a qualitatively different experience, so it takes special toys to simulate it. But this got me thinking, have there been other attempts to bring pop culture fads into the sex toy industry? The answer is yes. Remember a few years ago, when you could find sudoku on everything from T-shirts to toilet paper? It’s also a sex game called “Sudofuku.” You do the puzzle with your partner, and then flip over the tiles to reveal sex acts.

And just as nearly every electronic product these days comes with a place to hook up your iPod, there’s a vibrator called the “OhMiBod,” which actually vibrates in time to your favorite music. And for the environmentally conscious set, there’s a vibrator called Sola, which comes attached to a solar panel.

Nearly every segment of fandom has its own weird novelty sex toy. There is an entire Web site devoted to selling dildos shaped like various religious figures, from Buddha to the Virgin Mary. There is an Obama dildo, a Hello Kitty vibrator, a light saber vibrator and even a Harry Potter broomstick vibrator. Interestingly enough, the latter was marketed as a children’s toy. Basically, you put it between your legs and it vibrated. Needless to say, the toy was popular with teenage girls, and soon enough sex shops were selling it for twice the market price. Amazon discontinued it shortly afterward. And on the guys’ side, there are inflatable dolls modeled after Paris Hilton, J-Lo and Lindsey Lohan, as well as slightly freakier ones, like the Area 51 love doll, for any guy who’s ever fantasized about breaking free of boring Earth-girls. It comes with blue skin, three breasts, suction-cup fingers and various vagina-shaped orifices.

I don’t know what scares me more, that these kinds of products exist, or that people actually buy them. Some people just have strange fantasies, and the industry will do whatever it takes to capitalize on those fantasies. So this Valentine’s Day, have fun with that special someone, and do your best to forget that you’ve ever heard of any of these toys.

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