No safety regulations exist in the sex toy industry. The sex toys are sold as novelty items so they do not need to adhere to certain regulations such as reporting the chemicals and materials used in a product. Due to this status, manufacturers are not responsible if their toys are used for any other purpose than being a novelty. Regulations such as REACH do exist, and some sex toys may be compliant to this though, despite that there is no obligation for manufacturers on attaining compliance. A recent (2006) study conducted by the Greenpeace Netherlands office found high level of phthalates in seven out of eight plastic sex toys tested.
Some companies manufacture cloth sex dolls using the same technology that is used to create plush toys. With widespread cultural use of the internet amongst younger generations, numerous forums exist for amateurs who create their own sex dolls from fabric or other materials. There are even mailing lists for discussing techniques and experiences with MLDs (material love dolls).
Some glass sex toys vibrate. There are two main ways this can be achieved. Either the toy may have a hole into which a small bullet vibrator can be inserted, or the core of the glass design can be modified to form a standard vibrator. The latter option usually has a plastic cap covering the battery compartment, which will also house any control buttons or switches.
One of the most popular sex toys is the male masturbator. In essence, a masturbator provides a tight pocket to slip the penis into, simulating the sex act. These range from small, handheld devices to larger, more realistic body parts that create a lifelike sexual experience for men. Made of silicone, male masturbators sometimes have a vaginal shape, or the shape of a woman’s mouth.
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By the 1980s, purges of the police force along with new and tighter licensing controls by the City of Westminster led to a crackdown on illegal premises in Soho. In the early 1990s, London's Hackney council sought to shut down Sh! Women's Erotic Emporium, because they did not have a licence. Sh! took the council to court and consequently won the right to remain open as there were no sufficient reasons for the closure. In 2003 the Ann Summers chain of lingerie and sex toy shops won the right to advertise for shop assistants in Job Centres, which was originally banned under restrictions on what advertising could be carried out by the sex industry. In 2007, a Northern Ireland sex shop was denied a licence by the Belfast City Council. The shop appealed and won, but this was overturned by the House of Lords. Sexshop