Good vibrations: Thai party makes sex toy election pledge

By AFP   April 24, 2023 | 11:35 pm PT
Good vibrations: Thai party makes sex toy election pledge
A person holds boxes of sex toys. Photo by AFP
A conservative Thai political party is seeking to woo voters ahead of next month's general election with a pledge to legalise sex toys, pointing to the fiscal -- and frisky -- benefits.

Despite its reputation for being one of Southeast Asia's most sexually liberated countries, Buddhist-majority Thailand remains conservative and vibrators, dildos and other intimate devices are illegal.

The royalist Democrat Party has been a major player in Thai politics since the 1940s but it flopped in the 2019 election and is sagging in the polls for the May 14 vote.

"Sex toys are useful because they could lead to a decrease in prostitution as well as divorce due to a mismatch of sexual libido, and sex-related crimes," party representative Ratchada Thanadirek said in a statement Monday.

She said the government was also missing an opportunity to collect tax on the legal import of erotic stimulators.

While sex toys are considered "immoral" in some quarters in Thailand, many still flow into the kingdom illegally from overseas, the party said.

Anyone convicted of selling them can face up to three years in prison or a fine of up to $1,800, though they are freely available on street stalls in some of Bangkok's less salubrious districts.

Ratchada said there was currently no quality control over imported sex toys and some short-circuited, causing safety issues.

The Democrat Party said it supports legalising the items for people aged 18 years and over.

The Democrat Party is Thailand's oldest, and has returned four prime ministers -- most recently Abhisit Vejjajiva, who led the government from 2008-11.

But its popularity collapsed in the controversial 2019 election which led to coup leader Prayut Chan-o-Cha being named prime minister.

It is currently scoring well below 10 percent in opinion polls.

The party was embroiled in a sex scandal last year when 14 women formally filed complaints against its former deputy leader Prinn Panitchpakdi.

He denies the charges, which are still before the courts.

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