A conservative Thai political party has backed the legalisation of sex toys as it seeks to revive its appeal before a looming general election.
The Democrat party representative Ratchada Thanadirek said sex toys were being smuggled into Thailand regardless of laws that prohibit their sale, and that the government was missing out on collecting taxes and regulating such products.
It is illegal to sell sex toys in Thailand, and doing so can lead to a prison sentence of up to three years or a fine of up to £1,400. However, they are sold openly on street stalls in parts of Bangkok.
The Democrat party, Thailand’s oldest political party, suffered humiliating losses in the 2019 election and is trailing in the polls in the lead-up to next month’s vote.
There would be social as well as economic benefits to the policy, said Ratchada. “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.”
While products were brought into the country illegally, she added, there was no quality control, resulting in some short-circuiting.
The Democrat party supports establishing a sex toy industry in Thailand and would legalise the items for people aged 18 years and over.
Once a key player in Thai politics, the conservative pro-monarchy party previously had strong support bases among middle-class voters in Bangkok and in the south. However, it suffered huge losses in its usual strongholds in the 2019 election and failed to win a single seat in the capital, with many voters abandoning it to support the military-backed Palang Pracharath party.
The election will pit former army generals – including the prime minister, Prayuth Chan-ocha, who first came to power in a coup – against the Pheu Thai party, which is associated with the former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra.