A party in Thailand is wooing voters with sex toys ahead of next month’s general election.
The conservative Democrat Party has promised to make sex toys legal and claimed that they can bring benefits beyond simply personal pleasure.
Let’s take a closer look:
Despite its reputation for being one of Southeast Asia’s most sexually liberated countries, Buddhist-majority Thailand remains conservative.
According to CNN, a stigma remains attached to those that are seen as defying ‘traditional’ values, especially in rural areas.
Vibrators, dildos and other intimate devices remain illegal.
But the Democrat Party, Thailand’s oldest political party, is taking a new tack.
“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.
“Looking at the medical angle, doctors are even recommending [sex toys], instead of buying a sex service or cheating on partners,” Thanadirek told CNN.
She said only 4,000 rape cases are registered each year though the actual number is believed to be closer to 30,000, as per the Bangkok Post.
She added that the government was also missing an opportunity to collect tax on the legal import of erotic stimulators.
She added that such products are legal in countries such as Japan, Singapore, Germany and the Czech Republic.
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 Bangkok Post quoted her as saying that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Thai Industrial Standards Institute (TISI) would establish quality control and safety standards.
The sex toys would be reclassified as ‘controlled goods’, she added.
The Democrat Party said it supports legalising the items for people aged 18 years and over.
Why is the party doing this?
The party has been a major political force since the 1940s.
It has returned four prime ministers — most recently Abhisit Vejjajiva, who led the government from 2008-11.
However, it has recently fallen on tough times.
Its popularity collapsed in the controversial 2019 election which led to coup leader Prayut Chan-o-Cha being named prime minister.
It did exceedingly poorly in the 2019 election and polls show it is lagging – currently scoring well below 10 percent in opinion polls – in the 14 May election.
According to CNN, latest polls peg the Democrat Party winning 20 to 30 seats in the polls.
The Democrat Party is behind the United Thai Nation, Move Forward and Pheu Thai party.
The party was further 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.
The party would need 251 votes to overturn the current law – which means a lot of help from others.
The race is shaping up to be a battle between a pro-military conservative grouping, led by the incumbent Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha, against the largest opposition Pheu Thai party, headed by the billionaire Shinawatra family.
Source : Firstpost