SEX TOYS AND THE LAW
Itumeleng picks up the rabbit vibrator she brought in Johannesburg and shows it off.
According to the blurb on the box the device will give her ‘infinity orgasm, pulsation and escalation, 12 levels of vibration, 10 levels of rotation, easy touch control and rechargeable batteries.’
It could also land her in prison for two years.
Researching this article we discovered that although the Botswana Customs and Exercise Act does not have any provision that prohibits the importation of sex toys, such toys are illegal according to the laws of the country.
Deputy Government Attorney (Civil Division) Nchunga Nchunga stated in response to our enquiry that it is ‘an offence under section 178 of the penal code to possess, lend, trade in, export, import and or exhibit obscene objects or any object tending to corrupt morals in Botswana.
By so doing, anyone found guilty of committing these offenses shall be sentenced to two years imprisonment maximum or ordered to pay a fine of P200.’
Itumeleng is clearly shocked when we tell her. We had asked around for anyone who uses sex toys to talk to us, and she agreed provided we did not reveal her identity.
“The law is obviously out dated. In this time of HIV/AIDS these toys should be seen as promoting sexual health. Far from corrupting morals they could save your life.
They can’t infect you, don’t beat you up, and don’t fall asleep before you are satisfied.”
“If you are going to call them obscene objects then you could also classify condoms as the same, or for that matter the penis itself. It just doesn’t make sense.”
“The authorities are making decisions for people. They should allow these things out there for whoever wants to go and buy, providing they are over 18. Those who think it’s wrong shouldn’t go near a shop that sells them. But there should not be a judgmental law,” she says.
Itumeleng, 32, had her first experience with sex toys when she was studying abroad.
“I was single, 20, and wasn’t going out with anyone. My boyfriend was back in Botswana and I was missing him.”
After some friends told her about sex toys, she decided to experiment.
“Being young and away from home, you find there are so many things that you can do that you couldn’t do back home because of parents. Sometimes you think it’s cool because people are talking about it and try things for the sake of it, but this seemed like a practical and risk free solution to my frustrations,” she said.
“The first time I used one it felt strange, “ she continues.
“At first it’s not the easiest thing to do because you are thinking of where you are coming from. In my case it was a Catholic background that treated masturbation as sin. But I tried it and enjoyed it, and what’s more didn’t fell that it was a guilty pleasure,” she confides.
Now married Itumeleng still uses sex toys.
“I have four vibrators which differ in make, feel, shape and size. Just like men are different.”
“ Even in marriage the toys keep sex interesting. Sex shouldn’t be so serious! You are playing so there is a need to be excited.
The moment you find sex not exciting enough you are going to find it easy not to do it.”
As a final thought she adds, “A lot of my friends find that something extra by cheating on their partners.
But I don’t go out looking for excitement elsewhere – instead I play with my toys.
There is no law against cheating, but there is one against sex toys corrupting morals.
You tell me which is the more dangerous.”