Northern Japan, recently devastated by a 9.0 earthquake, is home to 90% of the world’s production of Ben Wa balls. The earthquake and subsequent tsunami have all but halted production of this high demand product.
Ben Wa balls, also known as Burmese bells, Benoît balls or Geisha balls, are small, marble-sized metal balls, usually hollow and containing a small weight that rolls around—used for sexual stimulation. Ben Wa balls may also be used to increase the strength of the pelvic floor muscles, similar to Kegel exercises. Hundreds of millions of women around the globe are dependent on this ravaged region of Japan to satisfy their Ben Wa ball needs.
Rebekkah Young of Provo, Utah, became very distraught when she learned her local adult novelty store ran out of Ben Wa balls. A Mormon, Young has given birth to eight children and uses the therapeutic orbs for Kegel exercises to strengthen her pelvic muscles. “Before using Ben Wa balls, sex with my husband was like throwing a hot dog through a tunnel,” Young wept. “Now I am praying that I can find a set on eBay before my pelvic muscles loosen.”
There are anecdotal reports around the world that panic buying, not the earthquake, has actually caused the current shortage of Ben Wa balls. The shortage is so acute that some sellers are unapologetic in asking as much as $500 for used Ben Wa balls on Craigslist.