Sex Toy Sales Surge Spice Up Lockdown Boredom
The sales of sex toys have exploded during a period in which many businesses strived to survive due to the coronavirus pandemic. However, the lockdown caused millions of people around the world to find new ways to ease off the boredom, consequently shaking off the taboos around female pleasure.
Speaking with AFP, Sofia (not her real name), a 29-year-old singleton in Paris, said she overcame her “psychological barrier” to sex toys when the first lockdown kicked in last March: “Something clicked. I knew it was the right time, that we were entering a crazy period during which I was going to be cut off from all social contact and my love life.”
According to a 2020 report by Statista, the global market was set to almost double from $28.6 billion to $52.7 billion between 2019 and 2026.
Berlin manufacturers WOW say their global sales have trebled over the past year. They have shifted more than four million of their most popular model, the “Womanizer”. While Sweden’s LELO says sex toy sales were up 10 percent in 2020, despite stores being closed.
Christophe Manceau of market researchers Kantar believes this upsurge is about more than lockdown boredom, pointing to the wider “porno-isation of society”. “Western societies have reached an era in which sexual well-being is totally normal. Buying a sex toy is no longer taboo at all, quite the contrary,” he told AFP.
Sex toys have been “completely democratised,” adds sex historian Virginie Girod. “They are seen as playful and banal.”
Part of this lies in the changing public discourse around sex, not just franker, but also more focused on the female experience.
The products are changing along with attitudes. Traditional phalluses are in decline, in favour of increasingly ingenious forms of stimulation and high-end design. Dutch brand Biird offers a sex toy that doubles as a bedside lamp, while technological advances have already seen a boom in remote, app-controlled devices for long-distance relationships, AFP reported.
In most Western countries, and increasingly around the world, lingering media taboos around sex are being wiped out in the digital age.
In Africa, except in light-hearted conversations and on social media, sex and sexuality is still a critical subject and is often approached with caution. The stigma associated with sex toys in Africa is grounded in religion and African society as a whole. It is worse for women, who have to hold back for fear of being labelled as nymphomaniacs.
However, during the lockdown sex toy sellers in the Nigerian cities of Lagos and Abuja said that their sales shot up, according to a Premium Times report.