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Cory Silverberg

Friday Sex Toy Review: Soraya

By February 18, 2011

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The adult sex toy industry used to be commonly referred to as the adult novelty industry (it still is in some quarters and some telephone directories). Among the many challenges that the early feminist sex stores posed to the industry and consumers, one of the more nuanced political points that staff and owners would make whenever given a chance, was about the idea of sex toys as novelties.

Why do we need to think of them as novelites, or novel? Were sex toys actually new? Were they primarily for adornment? Or did we call them novelties in order to remove the threat of political and sexual emancipation posed by every vibrator and butt plug sold?

This is as worthwhile a discussion to have now as it was back in the 1970s. But, the landscape of political sex shops has changed, as has the manufacturing industry, and as a result the kind of public conversations we're having about sex toys has changed.

And so, for years, novelty has meant mostly that each year manufacturers offer catalogs of thousands of sex toys which are all essentially the same except for minor variations in color and material.

But the introduction into the market around the turn of the last century of new mid-sized manufacturers has brought a reconsidering of what novelty means and how to offer something fresh without diminishing what is already there.

Soraya (buy direct), part of a new line of vibrator from LELO, offers a glimpse of what the future of newness holds. Soraya isn't exactly a dual action vibrator redefined, so much as it is re-envisioned. It's like an abstraction of the original, offering the same essence (two motors, the promise of simultaneous clitoral stimulation and vaginal penetration) in a very different aesthetic and package.

There are some aspects of the new vision that are exciting, like an easy to use switch, a fully waterproof body, and more powerful quieter motors. Some changes are less useful (an extended shaft would make this a toy that will probably fit fewer bodies better than the standard dimensions of your classic rabbit). Still, for sex toy industry watchers and sex toy lovers, it can only be seen as good news that novelty will no longer mean "now it comes in green".

Read the Full Review: LELO's Soraya

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Comments
February 18, 2011 at 3:45 am
(1) Alicia says:

Calling it an Adult Novelty isn’t so much about an attitude towards sex as a way for manufacturers to get around any responsibility in terms of suitability for use.

Many state they are an Adult Novelty and that they should only be used externally – when they’re clearly NOT intended that way!

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