Emergency rooms have seeing a more interesting variety of patients since the release of the “Fifty Shades of Grey” novels and now the feature film. Many Americans have been inspired by the erotic book series and its detailed sex scenes, which featured bondage and other relatively taboo sex practices. Perhaps it’s a case of: Do not try this at home?
According to data from the Consumer Product Safety Commission, emergency room care for injuries involving sex toys has approximately doubled since 2007. And the overwhelming majority of these injuries, about 83%, require “foreign body removals.”
Most involve what most people think of as sex toys, although there are a few even the imagination cant comprehend.
The figures are estimates from the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System, which is a nationally representative annual survey of hospital emergency room data, with an emphasis on injuries involving consumer products.
Patient information is completely anonymized to protect privacy. According to the CPSC, it collects this data “to measure the number of injuries associated with the thousands of different consumer products in the marketplace.”
The CPSC has tracked ER visits related to “massage devices and vibrators” since 1991. But it wasnt until the 2003 that the number of injuries surpassed the agency’s significance threshold.
The average age of men who were sex toy victims were middle aged, around 44 while women ranked in at a younger age of 30. The oldest man in the dataset was 85, while the oldest women was 67. More than half of the patients were male, about 58%.
Most of the injuries aren’t terribly severe, although some are. 71% of patients were treated and released, while 25% required hospitalization or transfer to a different facility. A few refused treatment for whatever reason.
Thankfully, none of the cases required assistance from the fire department, and there were zero deaths recorded.
Brief incident descriptions written by hospital staff betray even more narrative and graphic details, which will not be quoted directly here, for obvious reasons. But let your imagination go wild. Im sure everything you could possibly think of has happened.
There’s no direct proof that the book caused the surge, but it seems safe to thank the book at least a little bit.
At Target, you can buy any number of 50 Shades-themed movie tie-ins. Market research firm IBIS World estimates that adult toys were a $608 million business in 2013, and that much of this 7.5% year-over-year growth was due to the books.
With sales rising and the use of sex toys becoming more widespread, it’s only natural that a certain percentage of people will take things too far and require hospital care as a result. And with the release of the movie this weekend, it’s likely that interest will only increase.