Oh, Fifty Shades of Grey… Always causing trouble. I have to admit, this one tickled me (pun intended). According to hospital room surveys, since the publication of the book, sex toy injuries have risen exponentially. While there is no proof that one caused the other, there is certainly a correlation between them that can’t be denied. This makes me think that maybe the movie should come with the disclaimer: “Do not try this at home.”
According to the data collected from the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), sex toy injuries have actually doubled since 2007, with the biggest increase during 2012 and 2013. This of course coincides with the release of the salacious book series Fifty Shades of Grey by E L James. Now you might be asking yourself, why does the CPSC collect data on sex toy injuries? Totally valid question. Their response was, “to measure the number of injuries associated with the thousands of different consumer products in the marketplace.” Sex toys are definitely consumer products, so I suppose that makes sense.
The figures are estimated by using The National Electronic Injury Surveillance System, which is a nationally representative annual survey of hospital emergency room data, with an emphasis on injuries involving consumer products. The CPSC started specifically tracking massage device and vibrator injuries as far back as 1991, but around 2003, the numbers jumped up to a point where they started deeming them significant. I personally blame this on Sex and the City’s vibrator episode, but I’m no scientist.
Now onto some, shall we say, interesting data. Eight-three percent of these injuries involve “foreign object removal,” which means people were likely getting a little overzealous with their sexual hardware. If you’ve read Fifty Shades, you may recall a little episode where Christian takes some metal balls and puts them in some places during foreplay with Anastasia. I’ll just let your imagination do the work here. Anyhow, I can totally see why those particular injuries happen most often.
Again, there is no real evidence that supports the sex toy injury/Fifty Shades connection, but since the book has been read by tens of millions of people, it is likely responsible for new sexual exploration among couples and singles alike. For example, the sex toy industry has experienced a real boost since the publication of the book, and is amping up even more with the upcoming Valentine’s Day release of the movie adaptation. At Target, you can actually buy a number of Fifty Shades-themed movie tie-ins. You know, right next the aisle marked “Home Appliances.”
So my question is, what if the movie’s a total bomb? Will it have any kind of effect on these rising numbers? I suppose we’ll just have to wait for the premiere this weekend to find out. But until then, please remember to practice safe sex. And in this case, that means using looser straps, more pliable toys and having 911 on speed dial.