Sex-Toy Injuries Have Spiked Since Fifty Shades Was Published

Photographed By Dan McCoy.
Much ink has been spilt over the risks of Christian- and Ana-wannabes engaging in BDSM-inspired sex without proper education. Now, it appears that ill-informed bondage isn't the only sexual consequence of Fifty Shades of Grey's popularity. Over the past eight years, hospital visits necessitated by sex-toy injuries have about doubled, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, with a huge increase following the release of the Fifty Shades of Grey trilogy over 2011 and 2012.

As The Washington Post reports, the CPSC collects anonymized data on ER visits and what causes them, with a focus on injuries caused by consumer products, including "massage devices and vibrators." Sex toys fall into that category, but so do things like massage chairs and back-scratchers — and so the Post disregarded the 20% of "massage/vibrator" injuries caused by non-sex toys and looked specifically at bedroom mishaps.

So, what happens when playtime goes wrong? Since 2005, 83% of sex-toy injuries that have required hospital visits have also required "foreign body removals" (not the kind of foreign body attached to a seductive accent). Of the patients admitted for sex-toy injuries, 58% are males with a median age of 44; the median age of females admitted for these injuries is 30. The oldest woman treated at an ER for a sex-toy injury was 67; the oldest man was 85 (we salute you, adventurous seniors, but please try to be more safe).

The data makes clear that the proliferation and expanding mainstream acceptance of sex toys must be accompanied by education on their use. Thankfully, no sex-toy-caused deaths have been reported — let's hope this will remain true in the wake of the experimentation that's bound to follow the release of the Fifty Shades movie. Because really, is there anything more awkward than explaining to a stranger what exactly it is you can't remove from which orifice?

More from Sex & Relationships