After many hours of online research and shopping, we concluded that the Love Treats is the best place to buy adult toys in India for women, and buying sex toys is not ‘illegal’ by interpretation of the law.
A Rabbit Hole
It started with a knot in my shoulder. After a few intense months in the gym, I found myself with niggling muscular aches. A search for “massager” on Amazon led me down a rabbit hole. Yes, you do find massagers but from the looks of it, they were not only for my eye or my face as the product titles suggested. The reviews even hint as much. you find ‘vibrators’, or ‘massagers’ or ‘self-care toys’. A permutation of these search terms on India’s many e-commerce portals brings up the inventory of sex toys available online.
We all have those stories. A friend’s husband was stopped at the baggage scan at the airport because they were curious about an object in his bags – turned out to be my friend’s vibrator. He told them exactly what it was and went on his merry way. I have ordered a harness that looks like underwear from the US, it was delivered all okay, brought in vibrators from Japan. No problems, sure. But I and many others always felt like maybe the bunch of us just got away with something?
Is it legal?
This question was pressing on my mind a few years ago, as I’d purchased a vibrator from snapdeal. Shortly after I received my order, things began to get weird for snapdeal. They got into trouble for selling sex toys. But what emerged from the legal wrinkles that snapdeal faced was more a view that anything considered obscene is not okay, and before the reading down of Section 377, anything that encouraged anal sex was not okay and from that, we were led to make our own interpretations of the law, aside from the moral stance that many petitioners took. So here’s a handy FAQ with the questions many of us may have:
- Are sex toys considered ‘obscene’ by the law?
No, The Calcutta high court ruled that just because they bring out sexual desires, sex toys cannot be called ‘obscene’. That said, if they are marketed obscenely or they look obscene then the seller and the transaction could run into trouble.
- So what exactly is considered ‘obscene’?
A visual reference may be more helpful – The next time you go to snapdeal and look up vibrators, you may notice ‘No Entry’ emoji 🚫 carefully placed on specific areas of product photos. Now you know why, and also why many massagers massage your eye and face.
- Can I bring in a sex toy from outside the country or order it to be shipped here?
On the surface, this appears to be legal for as long as the said sex or adult toy does not look obscene i.e any naked pictures or obscene language on the cover or very overt resemblances to body parts, the law – by omission – does not appear to object in any way.
- Can I buy toys online or offline and keep them in my house?
Yes, you totally can buy sex toys and keep them at home. But there doesn’t appear to be clarity on whether selling them online or offline is legal – it should not be obscene and that is all sellers have to go on.
- Are sex toys safe to purchase?
The same rules apply here as for other products. Make sure you read the product specs and depending on the type of toy – ensure they are waterproof and made of silicone or non-allergenic material. Sex toys generally tend to be of two varieties here in India – the lower-priced plastic products that come from China or the more expensive products from the better known sex-tech brands in the world. We at Bentobox aim to help with legitimate reviews of sex-tech marketplaces in India to help guide your buying choices.
Where can I buy sex toys online?
Yes, you have your Crawford market, Pallika bazaar and Burma Bazaar and that’s great for the bachelorette party you have to throw – like tomorrow. For an investment in personal care and self-love, online stores and their catalogs offer a wider range and are a more credible bet. We scoured the Indian internet, found and ordered off different stores to discover the most trustworthy, safest and pleasant online adult stores in the country.
- Top pick: Love Treats – We concluded that aesthetic of the shopping portal is one of the factors that really help us feel good and safe about purchasing any pleasure toys. Love Treats wins by a mile.
Aside from a range of generic options, which can be hit-or-miss (see not a dealbreaker section below), they also have the better-known brands like We-Vibe or Lelo. But the reason we recommend Love Treats? Their customer service and discretion.
Not A DealBreaker
Here is what happened with our experience buying from Love Treats. We went ahead and purchased a bullet vibrator. To be honest, it was a gift for a friend – something small, and nifty that would work as someone’s starter vibrator. Owing to travel schedules, we ended up giving it to her a month after purchase. She opened it up and found it did not work as per the instructions on the pack – the on/off button was wonky, the speed settings did not add up. I wrote an email to Love Treats and they followed up with suggestions, and when those did not work immediately arranged for a return pick up and replacement. A few weeks later, the replacement arrives. It acts wonkier than the earlier device. I wrote into Love Treats again. This time they just told me to hold onto the device, refunded the full amount and said they would have a chat with the manufacturer. Now as far as traditional shopping experiences go, this should have been disappointing. But, Love treats was incredibly prompt, efficient and discrete in their communication – with emails and phone calls to update me every step of the way. So much so that some of the other BentoBox testers contemplated becoming customers. 🤷🏽
- Easy pick: Amazon – Yes, Amazon! If you want a starter vibrator or are curious and do not really want to fork out a chunk of money, Amazon has got you covered.
- Runner-up pick: That’s Personal – We know that That’s Personal has been around a while and has the widest inventory of products, though things do tend to be out of stock. They have the best range of vibrators in the market and appear pretty invested in a sexual wellness market report that they do every few years that gets media coverage. A caveat here: aspects of their website user experience and language are less than tasteful, but they are not full out sleazy as many others tend to be.
- Do they all offer discrete packaging? Yes.
- How do they appear on my bank statements? Discretely. They all have a fairly boring private limited company names that appear on your card and bank statements against the purchase debit.
Disclaimers & Sources
Just a quick disclaimer – This article outlines our experiences buying products from personal care marketplaces, and our research and layman interpretation of the law as consumers using secondary sources. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional legal advice or the last word on the applicability of Indian law to the purchase, sale, transfer or possession of sex/adult toys in India.
- For a picture of what sex toy shopping looks like and thoughts from people who are actually in the business of selling sex toys, watch this enjoyable short from Vice India.
- Is Online selling of Sex Toys Illegal in India ?, iPLeaders, Feb 15, 2018
- Legal text of the Calcutta Judgement on Sex Toys and Obscenity