Monday, August 11, 2008

Swedish World Records and Sex Toys

A while back I wrote about Sweden’s love for dildos. Apoteket, the state run pharmacy, was going to start selling sex toys in their stores. The Swedish people were polled and they wanted sex toys. And so the government gave them just that. In hopes of taking away some of the stigma that goes into buying sex toys and bringing to light the importance of sexual health and all of that good stuff.

A lovely idea really. But to be honest, I haven’t even been in Apoteket since they started selling these things so I can’t give a firsthand report as to what goes on in there. But apparently other men have. And they are not happy. Two men have filed two separate sexual discrimination claims. Apparently they feel that your everyday run-of-the-mill vagina ball just isn’t fitting for a man. Nor the ever popular clitoris vibrator.

So what does the ever sensitive Swedish man do? Obviously goes to the Ombudsman who takes care of this sort of thing. Luckily, it seems that one of the claims was dismissed outright. The other? No word yet. We can only hope that these poor discriminated against men will be able to find their plastic vaginas elsewhere and that Apoteket doesn’t devolve completely into a porn store. I’m all for sexuality and doing basically whatever floats your boat as long as I don’t have to deal with it personally. But this is just kind of ridiculous. These sorts of claims either suggest that Sweden has nothing else going wrong in the country and this truly is their biggest concern, or that they are just way to sensitive. Seeing as how the Social Democrats want to mandate what city newly arrived immigrants will live in I’m betting that it’s not the former.

My favorite exchange in the article from thelocal.se is as follows:

“[T]he pharmacy chain ‘had a misguided and untrue view on sexuality where a woman with a dildo is seen as liberated, strong and independent, whereas a man with a blow up plastic vagina is viewed as disgusting and perverted.’”

Eva Fernvall from Apoteket responded as follows:

“As I understand it, there are no products of good quality for men on the market. Should there be such products specifically for men, then there is nothing stopping us from selling them.”

Ahh, of course. A quality plastic vagina or blow-up doll is just too hard to get a hold of. Now I’m not all that familiar with the workings of the sex toy industry but my understanding is that for the most part the toys are made with women in mind. So Eva may very well have a good point when she says that quality sex toys for en just aren’t available. But this might just be because all of my life I have been discriminated against and just didn’t know it. Had I known this I would have been fighting for the right to buy a quality plastic vagina.

Anyway, because the Olympics are still going on I couldn’t resist.

Sweden broke the World Record in the Men’s 4x100 Freestyle today with a time of 3:11.92. And only finished fifth. So instead of having a World Record, an Olympic Record, or even a European Record, they have to settle for fifth place and a Swedish Record.

Instead the US took the gold with a stunning comeback from Jason Lezak, who, by all accounts, had no business making up the distance he did today to help Michael Phelps on his way to eight gold medals. I’ll be honest though, I didn’t watch this live. I love the Olympics, and quite enjoy watching the swimming events, especially with the number of records that are falling, but seriously… I’m not getting my ass out of bed before 6 am unless I have a damn good reason. And watching a swimming relay on my 19 inch TV isn’t quite good enough. Luckily, Swedish TV likes to replay entire events, so I got to see the race in its entirety.

Welcome to Sweden, where world records are broken, and men feel discriminated against because they can’t buy a plastic vagina at the pharmacy.

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12 comments:

  1. Man. I know you didn't know it was going to happen, but it would have been worth it to get out of bed for that one. The replays just don't do that one justice...

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  2. it's probably true. but when I say replay I mean the Swedes basically show it like a tape delay. over and over and over. and since I turn on the olympics first thing when I wake up I managed to see the race before I knew what happened. so it wasnt half bad.

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  3. You found a great subject once again!
    Plastic vaginas should be there too, even if no-one bought them, but just to reflect the women's decision to have dildos there. They should accept it just the same, shouldn't they? I know, it seems ridiculous, but honestly I can't see any feminist laugh at their own matter...(no matter how ridiculours matter in question)

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  4. En som tröttnad på jämställdhetsdebattenAugust 12, 2008 at 12:07 PM

    Egentligen borde apoteket sälja plastvaginor (ush vad vulgärt det låter på svenska) för både män och kvinnors skull. Om vi ska vara helt jämstäldda och ultraliberala så vet vi ju att män liksom kvinnor kan använda dildos. För rent vetenskapligt och politiskt korrekt får vi ju inte glömma att det även finns homosexuella i vårt samhälle, som också har ett vitalt behov av sexleksaker (?)..
    Vill vi lena vårt samvete borde dessa sexleksaker tillverkas i organist återvinningsbart krav-märkt material.

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  5. Marknaden styrs av efterfrågan, inte onödiga moraliska ståndpunkter. Jag är ingen tjej, men om jag var en 14 årig tjej

    (och om nu tjejer vill det vid den åldern, har ingen aning hur avancerat en dildo ses. Kan ju säga direkt att ja inte kände en enda kille i min ålder vid den tiden som sprang omkring med en Barbara:P)

    som sagt, om jag var en 14 årig tjej som ville ha en dildo, så skulle jag nog aldrig gå in i en porrbutik själv och fråga efter dildos.


    //braus

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  6. Went with the flow and posted in swedish, sorry.

    Though i dont think its a viable arguement that the Apotek is doing something unjust for a part. I just doubt there is a great market for "barbaras" or "plastic vaginas" around. And regardless i'm pretty sure there is a reason why they choosed to sell Dildos at a place like Apoteket(the place swedes go buy medicines, a state monopol company) since it is believed to be safe.
    Do you think a 14 year old girl would like to go to store with black windows, a porn store and ask for help to choose a dildo. Maybe, but i do think alot of em would feel uncertain doing so.

    "The market is made from demand" or however i'm supposed to translate that :)

    //braus

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  7. @smek - its true, a feminist would not laugh at an issue like this. luckily, being a malist I will laugh a little bit.

    @en som... - this is a glorious comment. seriously. so Im going to do my best to translate and give it justice:

    I guess I should start by saying that the name this person wrote under was "one who has grown tired of the equality debate"

    "In actuality Apoteket should sell plastic vaginas (eww that sounds vulgar in Swedish) for both men and womens sake. If we are going to be completely equal and ultraliberal we need to admit that men, just like women, can use dildos. Because, if we look at it in a scientific and politically correct way, we can’t forget that there do exist homosexuals in our society who also have a vital need for sex toys.

    If we really want to clear our conscience these sex toys should be produced using organic recycled ecologically marked materials."

    I did my best and I hope you approve.

    This is beautiful. First, I appreciate the sarcasm. A lot. Because I agree. I’d like to point out though that “plastic vagina” probably sounds pretty awful and vulgar in just about any language.

    But you bring up some good points. Where does equality end? Because as Ive written before. Men and women are not the same. People in general are not the same. Trying to make everyone equal will eventually destroy all individuality. So where does it end? It’s somewhat frightening that this sort of thing even happens. Is it really worth fighting over the equality issues of sex toy availability in the state run pharmacy?

    @anonymous (braus) – another good point. The market is driven by demand.

    And this was my point when I said that my understanding was that sex toys tended to be made with a woman in mind. There’s no point in stocking the shelves with plastic vaginas if there is no market for it. there is apparently a market for dildos.

    Which is why it blows my mind that this could be considered inequality. When I can’t find peanut butter in a store here in Sweden can I file a claim saying that Americans with a sweet tooth for peanut butter are being discriminated against?

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  8. I purposely made a trip to see if there was any hoopla in my kommun...it has not reached a feverish pitch in Uppsala as of yet...I personally could give a rats ass about sex toys, but am concerned that if I don't plan for a headache on the weekend, I have to solicit the neighbors or drive to the hospital pharmacy...THAT makes me loony.

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  9. I may be a bit late chiming in, but I read about Apoteket's decision to sell sex toys over here in the states via a british paper. The article (I can't find the link, belive me I've tried) was in The Guardian blogs. Amazingly enough, they we're more concerned with the argument that there was no 'high quality sex toys for men' than they were anything else (it was a female reporter, if that matters to anyone). She then listed about eleventy billion sex toys for men, and of course being the curious doctor that I am I did a little investigation into the matter. There are high quality sex toys for men. VERY high quality. So high quality in fact that I couldn't afford some of them. Or at least would feel very very weird putting up half a months rent to penetrate a rubber torso. If you get curious, google real dolls. But don't say you weren't warned.

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  10. @jersey - you bring up a good point with the pain killers. at some point the government control of stuff so benign as aspirin has to be seen as ridiculous.

    @the good dr. - you're never too late to talk about sex toys. I must say I am amazed that people are so concerned about the availability of male sex toys in the pharmacy. But Im glad you enlightened us. Because I had no idea there were such high end sex toys for guys.

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  11. I think male pride creates a false perception that there is no demand for plastic pussies. No guy would normally admit that he is not getting any action. In this case, I'm talking about men who are not really getting anything.

    Now when it comes to males with the regular ration, it is generally true that females tend to reach orgasm much slower than the males. Therefore sex toys are naturally seen as "tools" to equalize the time discrepancy. Now, if you are a male and already has problems keeping up, you wouldn't need a tool which will speed up a process you wanted to prevent in the first place.

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  12. @mogLi - some good potns here as well. male needs for sex toys probably aren't quite as talked about. but as you also say women tend to take a bit longer to get there. I suppose it depends on what you are using the toys for. to get your action as you put it or as a tool to help you reach orgasm.

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