Buying sex toys from China can be worth it if you are looking for cheap bondage gear, dildos and other BDSM equipment. But you need to be aware of sizing issues, material quality and delivery speeds.
I noticed a little package had dropped through my letterbox. I recognised the light grey, non-descript style of packaging immediately. One of the lasted sex toys I’d ordered from China two weeks earlier had arrived.
Excited as a kid on Christmas morning, I ran my fingers over the packaging, feeling the inner bubble wrap, and contained within could clearly feel the solid outline of a stainless steel anal hook.
- Buying adult products from China as an experiment
- Why order sex toys from China?
- What’s the quality of sex toys from China like?
- How can I be sure about the quality of the materials used?
- Do the toys always look like their photos?
- What sex toys and adult items are available?
- How to order sex toys from China
- Recommendations when ordering sex toys from China
- Would I buy sex toys from China again?
Buying adult products from China as an experiment
For several years now I’ve been interested in having my own brand in the kink space. This passion started around ten years ago when I launched a website featuring kinky gift ideas for couples.
And today I have this website, aimed at helping those interested in dominance and submission bring more kink into their life. In the future I’m interested in selling BDSM sex toy kits aimed at those experimenting in their dom sub relationships, maybe even designing my own toys.
Not only that, but I’ve spent many hundreds of pounds (maybe thousands) over the years buying different sex toys, so I was curious to see if buying from China would save me money.
(To see what my collection looked like as of June 2020, read my 34 BDSM Sex Toys I Own and How I Use Them article.)
And so in 2020 I began ordering everything from leather harnesses to day collar jewellery to butt plugs and dildos from sex toy manufacturers China as part of an experiment to determine:
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- What’s the quality like?
- Is the price too good to be true?
- How long does delivery take?
- Do the products look anything like their photos?
- Are the products the same as those you’d buy from online sex stores in your own country?
Read on to find out the answers.
Why order sex toys from China?
The benefits of ordering sex toys from China are:
- The price. You’ll typically pay just 20-50% of the price you’d pay when buying from a local sex shop for exactly the same product. That’s because you’re paying near to the wholesale price.
- The variety. They literally make everything. Any item you find in your local sex shop was probably made in China anyway, so let’s go straight to the source. If you have a particular kink not catered locally, there may be a wholesale adult product from China which scratches that itch (see some example below).
- Discreet packaging. Pretty much all sex toy shops deliver discretely. Buying sex toys from China isn’t going to raise an eyebrow from your postman either. Everything I’ve ordered so far has arrived in a white or grey, opaque plastic delivery bag with nothing but a white sticky label on the outside, no mention of what it contains.
But there are downsides:
- Delivery can take weeks. Don’t expect Amazon Prime level service here. You’ll be waiting at least ten days for your items to get to the UK, possibly a couple of months. My deliveries have averaged around 3-4 weeks.
- Quality. Due to just how many sex toys are available, with multiple suppliers offering near identical, if not identical items, there’s no way of knowing exactly what’ll turn up at your door. The anal hook, for example, is smaller and lighter than I expected it to be. Ive also know way of knowing the quality of the metal used.
- Packaging. Don’t expect the standard of packaging you’d find in a sex shop. Remember, these are products purchased directly from manufacturers in China as samples to evaluate, after which a company decides to buy wholesale and add their own branding. Expect your item to arrive with no packaging beside the outer postage bag.
- Refunds and support. You won’t get much support, and unlikely to get a refund if the sex toy isn’t to your liking. You can’t easily send it back, and you may not get a response from the manufacturer to any question you have.
These are the risks you take buying sex toys of bondage gear from China to get a bargain. In other words, don’t spend all your life savings on ‘mega dildo 5000’ just in case.
What’s the quality of sex toys from China like?
The quality of wholesale adult toys bought from China is variable.
When you shop locally, sometimes you pay more for quality, sometimes you’re just paying for the brand, sometimes for a mix of both.
When ordering from China, there is no brand. Therefore you can expect that the more you pay, the higher the quality of the item you purchase will be (but that isn’t always the case).
All the toys I’ve purchased have been comparable in quality to those you’d find in your own countries sex toy stores.
Because they ARE the same products.
Remember, all that happens is these online stores buy wholesale from the very Chinese manufacturers I’m talking about and add their own branded packing, adding a markup to cover branding, customer support, faster delivery and convenience for you (I’ve got no problem with that at all – it’s simply how business works).
Most sex toys have never really been of high quality anyway. They generally look pretty cheap and tacky. That’s just how it goes.
That said, some sex toy brands have sprung up offering luxury products, often made as one-offs, or better quality materials.
For example, one company creates solid stainless steel dildos priced at ten times what of metal dildos you’d find on the Chinese websites.
Why is that?
The products are still manufactured in China, but they have someone from their company overseeing the manufacturing process and ensuring the products are made to a higher standard. Other companies make BDSM gear locally, using high quality materials and unique designs.
You’ll never get that kind of quality from the Chinese manufacturers (unless of course you provide them with your designs and work closely with them to ensure quality standards are adhered to),
The bottom line: Sex toys you order from China will be the same quality as the mass produced sex toys and BDSM equipment found in your local sex store (because they are identical products).
How can I be sure about the quality of the materials used?
You can’t, just like you can’t be sure what’s been used in a mass produced sex toy sourced locally.
I’m not overly cautious, but remember that these products are going inside your body. So, as with all sex toy purchases, you should avoid jelly and PVC toys and stick to silicone, metal and glass.
- PVC toys are somewhat porous, meaning fungi and bacteria can grow in the pores, making them difficult to sanitize.
- Other toys contain phthalates to make the material softer. Some have expressed concerns these are toxic to the body, although how much of that is scaremongering I don’t know.
- Silicone toys are the best. They are easy to clean and non-porous. Medical grade silicone is top-notch, but food-grade silicone is probably ok too (this is not medical advice!)
- Glass toys. Ideally, you want the glass to be annealed (a process it does through to make it tougher and less likely to break). The glass toys you buy from China are unlikely to be annealed to a high quality, if at all. Does this make them less safe than annealed glass? Yes. Does that mean you can’t enjoy them? No. As I said, sex toy shops in the UK already sell the very same glass dildos with no issues, because the risk is so low you’d have to be incredibly unfortunate for something bad to happen to you whilst using them.
- Metal toys. Pure stainless steel is best. When you order a toy from China there’s no way of knowing the purity of the metal. That’s why personally, of all the sex toy materials, metal ones are probably the ones I’d stay away from (I know I’ve just ordered a metal anal hook, but I wanted to see it for myself!)
Products that you don’t insert inside yourself, such as floggers, paddles pose no risk (as long as they are used safely).
The bottom line: Regardless of where you buy your mass produced sex toys from, you can never be 100% sure exactly what the quality of the material is, as the sex toy industry is unregulated. Millions of people around the world use these toys with no issues whatsoever, so I’m comfortable using them.
If you are the cautious type, the only way to guarantee the quality of the material is to order from a specialist brand known for their use of body-safe materials and make a big point about quality materials in their branding, but be prepared to pay top dollar.
Do the toys always look like their photos?
The sex toys I’ve ordered generally have (although the scale is sometimes difficult to judge).
The only items I’ve experienced issues with are clothing items.
For example, the faux leather body harnesses I purchased don’t do up as depicted in the photo, or seem to fit my sub in the same way they were depicted in the photo.
The strap lengths were different, and despite trying, no amount of loosening and tightening could make the product sit around her body like shown on the model (I guess you can say that about a lot of clothing bought online!)
Still, we salvaged the wrist cuffs from the outfit, and use those on their own.
What sex toys and adult items are available?
Everything and anything. If you can find it in your local sex shop, I pretty much guaranteed someone in China is making something similar.
You’ll also find some extraordinary products for particular kinks and fetishes, you didn’t even know existed.
Here are a few of the weird and wonderful items I found.
As you can see, as well as the regular adult products, if you have a particular fetish buying from abroad might help you find exactly what you’re looking for.
How to order sex toys from China
If you’ve read this far without being put off, and ordering a sex toy from China is something you’re willing to try, then I’ll explain precisely how I do it.
It’s incredible easy.
For those you haven’t heard of it, Alibaba is a huge online marketplace where buyers from all over the world get in touch with Chinese manufacturers to buy large quantities of any product under the sun.
AliExpress (owned by Alibaba) is its direct to consumer sibling, a place where you and I can buy wholesale adult products as one-offs rather than in bulk.
Simply download the app (or open the website), sign up for an account, and start browsing through the millions of products available.
The product descriptions tend to be cluttered and message, and you’ll find multiple manufacturers selling the product. The product reviews are most likely fake too.
I just find the product I like the look of, do a search for the product name to see if anyone else is selling it cheaper, plus what other products that manufacturer sells. Then it’s just a case of ordering from the manufacturer your gut is telling you.
After delivery, if you have a positive experience with them, and like the product you received, make a not of the manufacturer so you can use them again.
Recommendations when ordering sex toys from China
Some more things to consider when buying sex toys from China are:
- Don’t expect any support. if your order goes missing in the post, or you have a question about the item, don’t expect much support. These are manufacturers, not training customer support representatives.
- Don’t expect any refunds. As mentioned above, it’ll probably cost you more to send the sex toy back to China than it cost you. If you’re not happy with it, there’s nothing you can do.
- Clothing sizes are tricky. I recommend staying away from clothing or anything that is worn. The chances of you ordering the correct size are slim (see what I did there?).
- Be prepared not to like it. I treat ordering sex toys and BDSM toys from China as one big experiment. I expect to be disappointed, and am pleasantly surprised when I’m not.
- Don’t spend large amounts. That way, if the product doesn’t live up to your expectations you can write it off as a fun experiment without making yourself unhappy.
If anything in that list makes you uncomfortable then I recommend you don’t buy sex toys from China, and stick to your local sex retailers.
Would I buy sex toys from China again?
Yes. I know the downsides and risks associated with buying adult products from abroad, but I am willing to take the gamble in order to not have to pay over the odds at local online retailers.
If I was buying as a present for a lovely one, or wanted something special, then I would probably not buy from China, and instead buy from a reputable sex toy brand who don’t sell mass produced toys.
Buying sex toys from China:
- Can save you money. Typically sex toys are 20-50% cheaper than buying locally for exactly the same product.
- Is not for everyone. Understand the pros (price, variety) and cons (delivery speed, refunds, support, quality) before you buy
- Is easy if you use the method above.
And that concludes my guide on buying BDSM equipment and sex toys from China!