A Pattaya Mail reader, who prefers to remain anonymous, has just revealed an alarming tale of a visit to a local postal depot to collect a parcel from Manchester. Sadly the wrappings had come partly apart in transit and the clerk informed that the contents had to be destroyed as they breached section 287 of the Thai criminal code, dated 1928 and modified in 2000. This states that it is an offence to “sell or promote or own obscene objects” with a post-conviction penalty of 100,000 baht or two years in prison. Luckily, our reader hastily signed a non-delivery note and hurried down the exit steps.
The offending objects were adult toys, one apparently being a b*** plug and the other a starfish liberator dispatched by a UK company aptly called Secret Desires. One might be excused for believing that the former item was some kind of hard cushion for the elderly and the latter an escape mechanism for stranded fish. A quick review of the internet reveals that there are literally hordes of these personal pleasure aids including the dental dam, the poached egg and the erotic glider. Some of them are so confusing to the surfer that it is not always obvious whether the publicity photos are upside down or not. Probably it doesn’t matter.
Importing this type of paraphernalia is against the law in several other countries including Malaysia, Saudi Arabia and India. A local statute in Texas specifies that you may not own more than six of this type of adult toys to stay within the law. An old by-law in Liverpool specifies that an adult shop must not open within 1,000 yards of an “ecclesiastical establishment” which would not be difficult now as most churches there have been knocked down, become bingo halls or serve as food banks. Even Pattaya has had its legal battles. Many years ago, the police here closed down a night club called Cruella de Vil after an off-duty officer saw workmen carrying in a portcullis in the middle of the night.
But it’s obvious that Thailand needs to update the 1928 obscenity act. Pleasure robots are becoming increasingly sophisticated and there are even people who regard themselves as technosexuals because they prefer the company of machines to humans. There’s a new science, called teledildonics, which connects playful devises to the internet and uses a touch technology to send sensations between lovers who are miles apart. A new prototype offers connected pillows which can transmit the sound of a lover’s heartbeat to his or her partner, not to mention long-distance kissing devices. There are already on the market d**d*s made of glass which you can put in the dish washer. Whether you would actually want to do so is a different matter.
One Thai politician has campaigned for the country to decriminalize prostitution, establish legal brothels and allow adult shops and toys. Mongkolkit Suksintharanont, leader of the one seat party in parliament Thai Civilized Party, argues that his proposals would end the massive corruption which currently surrounds these issues. So far he appears to have made very little progress in the corridors of power which are no doubt dominated by issues such as the Covid-19 pandemic. But there’s no time to lose. As technological innovations such as 3D printing and virtual reality reduce the need for human partners to be present in a sexual context, traditional intimacy could eventually become a thing of the past, except strictly for conception purposes. It’s another reason for Pattaya, or neo-Pattaya, to seek a new identity far-removed from the outdated red light district syndrome. In the meantime, cross b*** plugs and starfish liberators off next Christmas’ wish list.