Supreme Court denies Alabama women mechanically induced orgasms

GordonUnleashed says: "Talk about sex toys is once again the buzz around Alabama. The United States Supreme Court refused to hear the Alabama sex toy case, ending a nine year battle for the right to keep and bear (well, more accurately, purchase) sex toys in the state. Sherri Williams provided the money quote in this AP article:"
An adult-store owner had asked the justices to throw out the law as an unconstitutional intrusion into the privacy of the bedroom. But the Supreme Court declined to hear the appeal, leaving intact a lower court ruling that upheld the law.

Sherri Williams, owner of Pleasures stores in Huntsville and Decatur, said she was disappointed, but plans to sue again on First Amendment free speech grounds.

“My motto has been they are going to have to pry this vibrator from my cold, dead hand. I refuse to give up,” she said.

Alabama’s anti-obscenity law, enacted in 1998, bans the distribution of “any device designed or marketed as useful primarily for the stimulation of human genital organs for anything of pecuniary value.”




  1. any device designed or marketed as useful primarily for the stimulation of human genital organs

    I’m surprised that the Alabama legislature hasn’t attempted to close the current law’s gaping buttplug loophole…


  2. This is the same state that only started allowing inter-racial marriages in 2000.

    They still think George Wallace was a hero.

    They have a gay marriage ban.

    They have “anti-sodomy” laws.

    These are not the most forward looking people.

  3. The Court may have made the right call here. Just because a law is stupid doesn’t mean its unconstitutional.

  4. Alabama: the thinking man’s Kansas.

    So how long before the backwards denizens that support this nonsense elect a rube who’ll treat it like the war on drugs? Crackdowns, seizures, “medical” vibrators… it’s an Onion article with the potential to happen in real life.

  5. Just because a law is stupid doesn’t mean it’s unconstitutional.

    Yes, and since this is about the sale of, not the possession or use of, sex toys, the privacy argument is pretty weak.

  6. Fck that ns*

    *ns to be fcked is the subject of the post, not boingboing or its editors or moderating staff.

  7. hahaa!
    But this is Ludicrous! Talk about Oppression!

    somebody get some photos of a Real Doll in a ‘Miss Alabma sash..

  8. Someone should launch a campaign to get donations of new dildos to give away at publicized events in Alabama. You wouldn’t be breaking the law and it would sure piss off the bible/wife beaters in the state.

  9. Mr. Anthrope,

    Haven’t seen the statute, but that’s probably covered under “distribution”–not that it’s a bad idea.

  10. “My motto has been they are going to have to pry this vibrator from my cold, dead hand.”

    Phew! I was afraid that sentence was going to end in an entirely different way.

  11. That would be distribution, but it wouldn’t be “for anything of pecuniary value” so it’d still be legal. I’m all for it.

  12. …It’s decisions like this that keep the former Confederacy intact as the National Reserve for Selective Inbreeding.

    [Shakes head in utter dismay]

  13. Why doesn’t somebody repackage/rebrand the vibrators as a personal massager. It would be a great way to “stick it to them” and make a buck.

    Of course the vibrators would have to be shaped as big black veiny dicks .

  14. Amazing -and I thought America was a free country. Sometimes, it’s hard to believe that pilgrims have sailed away to escape religious persecutions…

  15. This entire decade has been full of real news stories that have been worthy of articles in The Onion.

    This scares me more than anything else.

  16. Is it wrong that when I read this headline in my feed reader I read it as: the supreme court was denying “allegations” that some alabama women had mechanically induced orgasams?

  17. < >

    I don’t get it. “Pecuniary?” Does money fall out of human genital organs when stimulated in Alabama? And why specifically “human” genital organs? Are animal vibrators okay then? And why “genital organs?” Is it okay to stimulate other organs, say nipples? Are there parts of human genitalia that aren’t considered “organs?”

    I am confused.

  18. #12 alreadfy said it: giving vibrators away for free doesn’t seem to be illegal.
    i could imagine that would be great propaganda for the shop in question too.

  19. I live in Birmingham, and my wife and I have access to a really great shop selling a wide variety of items labeled “For Novelty Use Only”. It would seem that there are any number of ways to just barely sidestep this law and sell whatever the people want. And they do want it, let me assure you.

  20. @Abdiel:
    Be wary of the items labeled “For Novelty Use Only”. They are not specifically so labeled to get around this law for sale in Alabama. They are labeled that way to get around federal regulations that would otherwise require that they not be toxic, or not be otherwise unsafe. Consult the the blog of the esteemed Violet Blue for a thorough discussion of this issue and recommendations of reputable online dealers.

  21. Yes– the fact that the law pertains to the sale of these objects, and not ownership of them is confusing. What if adult stores offered “free vibrator with $50 video purchase”– would that violate the law?

    Plus there’s the fact that the device has to be “primarily for stimulation”– so if they made one with a cigarette lighter in it or small LED clock (“see how fast to can achieve climax!”), would that skirt the law?

    Perhaps the “Dildo Liberation Front” should purchase huge amounts of vibrators in bulk and give them out free in massive demonstrations. I’m sure the cops will find a way to arrest them for it and the whole process will begin again.

    No abortions, no birth control, and NO self stimulation– they are trying to overpopulate the earth!

  22. Since the law is deliberately vague, to wit:

    “useful primarily for the stimulation of human genital organs”

    a different tack might be stimulating: items that are not useful *primarily* as stimulators.

    They might be “farm implements”, components of “plastic fruit baskets”, or “lovely lawn flamingos” — appropriately enhanced to have secondary potential — while honoring the deep sense of tradition and obliquity that Alabaman statesmen clearly treasure.

    Marketing styles of the Victorian era were viscerally clever in that way.

  23. @ Vertigo25:

    “This is the same state that only started allowing inter-racial marriages in 2000.”

    The laws were still on the books, but no one paid attention to them. Inter-racial marriages were allowed for quite a while before that.

    “They still think George Wallace was a hero.”

    No, overwhelmingly, they do not.

    “They have “anti-sodomy” laws.”

    Lots of places do. They’re not enforced anywhere except when prosecuting some rape cases.

    “These are not the most forward looking people.”

    I would say that about most people across the world. Alabama isn’t particularly special in that regard.

    About the original post: sex toy parties are immensely popular in the area I lived in, and judging from word-of-mouth, it was the same across the state. I think the problem with Alabama sex laws is that the laws are made by aged men who don’t care for a second what women might want, beyond what they need to consider in order to pander to their conservative female base… which really isn’t all that demanding in terms of women’s issues.

  24. While there are ways to circumvent the law, and since it only pertains to sale, it’s not a privacy issue. I feel that this is a First Amendment issue.

    The spirit, if not the letter, of the law is to impose a certain morality on Alabamans, and that morality is without doubt a morality derived directly from orthodox Christianity.

    I don’t think it’s a stretch to say that a law that imposes religious morals violates our separation of church and state.

  25. @TwoShort

    I appreciate the tip, but I am well aware of what I am buying before I buy it, and the issues around sketchy sex toys. Much of what they sell is questionable and/or outright junk, just like any such store, but just as much is quality stuff. When I say that they are labeled for novelty use only, I mean that almost every item in the store has the exact same sticker attached. It is clear that the store is using them to skirt the edge of the law.

  26. So what’s next? If your caught at a store or a “party” buying an illegal item, will you be thrown in jail, or added to the national sex offenders list, have your children taken away and added to the overpopulated child welfare system?
    Perhaps there wouldn’t be so many illegitimate children if couples were allowed to do more than “state sanctioned missionary” sex.
    This state needs to wake up and see what is out there. There are far worse things going on than this.

  27. It seems to me that you Americans should probably just let the deep south go ahead and become their own sovereign nation. They’re a bit of an embarrassment.

  28. ill lich @ 29, I was just thinking MP3 player. I bet these would be easy to manufacture. Less so without it leeching hazardous chemicals, mind.

  29. #31 JacobDavis

    Is a “sex toy party” an actual orgy or is it more like a tupperware event where people flog goods? Or both?

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