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Getting kinky: Indians are ordering sex toys online

Rajesh Kurup Mumbai | Updated on November 25, 2017 Published on July 28, 2014

Thinking inside the box SHUTTERSTOCKS.COM

Discreet delivery encouraging more and more people to buy such items online





On a rainy Saturday evening, Kapil Sharma took delivery of a plain brown parcel. The rectangular box had no labels, no attention-seeking colours or markings to identify its contents.

The box, which just had his address, contained a sex toy Sharma (name changed) had ordered online. “The confidentiality maintained by the online company is why I place orders online,” explained the 27-year-old. Sharma was not willing to reveal what he had ordered.

For a new breed of dotcoms selling sexual products online, ‘discreet shipping’ is the key. The entry of companies such as Ohmysecrets.com, thatpersonal.com and most recently, Flipkart, India’s largest online retailer, has spiced things up in India’s sexual wellness industry, which is estimated to be worth about ₹1,000 crore.

Most companies offer secure online payment systems, and do not ask users to register with them.

Mum’s the word

“We assure total privacy while shipping our products to customers. Even courier personnel are not aware of the contents of the box; they are only told to collect the amount,” said Vinodh Reddy, founder, Ohmysecrets.com.

The company ships an array of sexual wellness products ranging from edible lingerie to massage oils, across major Indian cities. It has tied up with courier firms Aramex, FedEx and Blue Dart for delivery, and gets about 50-60 orders a day.

Apart from discreet packaging, sexual wellness providers also enable secret pickups from the offices or collection centres of the logistics partners.

“It would be embarrassing for people living in joint families or with teenage children to receive these parcels at home. There are chances of an inquisitive family member snatching the parcel and opening it,” said Samir Saraiya, CEO of thatspersonal.com.

The average order on Thatspersonal.com, which delivers to 50 cities, is worth ₹1,900.

Oh, and in case you’re wondering, the business is not illegal, going by what a legal expert told BusinessLine. “There are no laws that prohibit selling of sexual toys or self-pleasure items. However, the law prohibits import, sales or distribution of pornography or obscene items,” asserted Lokhesh Dholakia, a Mumbai-based lawyer.

Mounting the bandwagon

Flipkart has also ventured into the sexual wellness segment, with a catalogue of more than 260 products. Like the others, the company offers discreet packaging to protect customer privacy.



And with privacy guaranteed, it’s just a matter of time before the adult industry — or, at least its Indian e-commerce avatar — explodes in this sexually conservative country.

Published on July 28, 2014
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