As the topic of sex becomes less of a taboo in Malaysian conversations, we’re starting to see more organisations taking to social media to have open discussions.

When it comes to sex education in Malaysia, I’d always only hear things about how to practice safe sex, like “always use a condom” or “X contraceptive options for women”.

While it’s great that as a society we’re progressing towards being more open about this topic, Lith and Adam felt like there should be more to normalising healthy conversations about sex, especially pleasure. 

Knowledge on what your body likes and exploring what gives one pleasure was how they envisioned their platform to be, and in mid-November 2020, Erosu was brought to life. 

A Good Mix Of Customers

Erosu is an online sex toy shop on Instagram that’s run by Lith and Adam part-time.

On their page, you’d find a variety of vibrators, dildos, plugs, sleeves, etc., and each of their toys has its own name.

Alston, their bestseller (left) along with some of their vibrators / Image Credit: Erosu

“We believe that sex toys have no gender and anyone can use toys however they want to, as long as they don’t harm themselves or others. However, our products as of now are more popular among vulva-havers,” they shared on their Instagram.

“So far, the majority of our customers have been a young crowd, ranged between 18 to 30. Race and gender-wise, it’s also been a good balance,” Lith shared with Vulcan Post. 

On their Instagram page, you can see that besides selling sex toys, they also regularly share sex ed with their followers.

One thing I found interesting about the page is their story highlights, where they’d post anonymous awkward or memorable sexual experiences and fantasies from their followers. Everything shared is done so with the consent of their followers.

As their customers’ anonymity is their top priority, you can expect to receive a discreet packaging from them if you choose to buy their products. There won’t be any labels of their brand or other sex toy companies on it.

Lith and Adam, and their discreet packaging (right) / Image Credit: Erosu

Running An Online Sex Shop In M’sia

“We registered our business under sexual health products on SSM with ease, and it was approved on the spot as well. The only red tape we faced with our business is advertising, as we can’t promote our brand on Facebook/Instagram,” Lith explained. 

Because of the strict regulations Facebook and Instagram set for sex toy advertisement, they’re just relying on word-of-mouth marketing for Erosu. 

According to Facebook’s advertising policy on adult toys and services, ads must not promote the sale or use of adult products or services, except for ads for family planning and contraception.

Facebook’s advertising policy on adult toys and services in 2021

In other words, advertisement of any adult products can only be approved if it’s for safety purposes and not pleasure, which makes sense why it’s hard for Erosu to get past.

However, it’s much easier advertising on Google, as Malaysia bans Adult ads but not Non-family safe ads, which are ads that include the sale of sex toys.

“We’re still learning what’s okay and what isn’t okay, but we aren’t discouraged and would love to hire content creators in the future to help get our brand out there,” Lith shared.

Hiring content creators would actually help ease the burden they carry because Lith and Adam are still handling everything on their own as of now. 

“We get overwhelmed trying to navigate and handle the volume of our orders. We’re responsible for everything from internal stocking all the way to day-to-day business,” Lith said.

“Meetings, discussions, planning and stock maintenance, managing the website, coming up with content for social media, design, and many more.”

An issue they’re currently facing is the untimely restocking of their products, as they underestimated the amount of time it took for their stocks to sell out, hence the empty-looking website, Lith said.

Despite the hindrances they’ve faced with advertising, Lith shared with Vulcan Post that they actually hit their first RM10k in sales in under a month since starting in mid-November 2020.

Curating Their Products

Now the tricky thing with sex toys are, you can’t return them if they aren’t right for you. And because of how personal sex toys are to the users, having a bad first-time experience with a sex toy may affect a customer’s confidence in the brand. Hence, curating a line of sex toys can be a bit of a sweat.

The shelf of good vibes / Image Credit: Erosu

Lith acknowledges that there isn’t such a thing as the best toy, since we’re all built differently and enjoy different things, and they make that very clear from the start when their customers ask for recommendations. 

“When our client finds that the product they bought doesn’t suit them, we can’t issue a refund or exchange unless its a faulty product.”

“What we do is we’d recommend them to use it differently, maybe use it on their partner, or gift it to their close friends after thoroughly disinfecting it, of course,” Lith shared. 

As of now, Erosu’s products are imported from the US and China. Most of what they sell have been tested by them or referred to by other adult toy sellers.

Getting Real With M’sian Attitudes Towards Sex

“No matter how much we’d like to normalise self-pleasure and buying pleasure products, we understand that it’s still a huge taboo subject for many people.”

“We respect how most would still prefer the privacy of shopping online, as opposed to risking themselves being seen by people in real life when buying something from an adult shop,” Lith explained, when I asked about her plans of opening a physical store.

Hence, their focus now is to continue normalising the conversation and empowering people who are ready to explore and embrace their sexuality on their social media platform. 

  • You can learn more about Erosu here.
  • You can read about other startups we’ve written here.

Featured Image Credit: Lith, co-founder of Erosu