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What is the first thing that comes to your mind when you think about the beauty and wellness industry? Is it adhering to a strict skincare routine? Or, is it taking part in a daily yoga workout? Perhaps, it’s a combination of both — we’ve previously shared here that there’s now a sub-industry called ‘Active Beauty’ that’s focused on creating cosmetics that can be used for exercise. But have you ever thought about sex toys as something to boost your overall well-being?
Sex isn’t that big of a taboo these days. Whether it’s talking about it with your mates or watching film or television scenes depicting the act, people have become more comfortable with this topic of intimacy. Despite this, being intimate with yourself wasn’t part of the conversation, not until the world hit pause due to the pandemic.
When the country went into full lockdown a few months ago, going on dates or seeing your partner wasn’t an option. As more and more people found themselves feeling lonely or unfulfilled, many filled this void through the act of self-pleasure. True enough, Business Insider reports that the online demand for sex toys spiked up to more than two-fold compared to last year’s sales during the first three weeks of April.
Overcoming the Stigma of Self-Pleasure
Although the rise of sex toys might sound surprising, The Cut reveals that the first-ever dildo was carved from siltstone about 30,000 years ago. Fortunately, sex toys are not only made from much softer materials, but they’ve also evolved from the standard phallic design. From bullet-sized vibrators to tiny ring-sized ones, many of today’s products are designed by women who understand the value of female pleasure. Sex technology industrial designer Ti Chang stressed the importance by saying, “We are tired of not being able to talk about it. We’re starting to feel we can have the pleasure we deserve.”
Moreover, when you shop for sex toys online, you’ll find them under the beauty or wellness section, as it promotes and protects our well-being. In fact, Yahoo points out that it alleviates depression and anxiety, as it lowers cortisol — otherwise known as ‘the stress hormone’ — levels. Another reason why they should be more welcomed is that it helps you satisfy your natural urges. Lastly, it helps you become fully connected with your body and embrace the skin you’re in. This rising popularity of sex toys shows that they’re not objects that you should be ashamed to talk about (and use, too). Rather, it highlights how essential of an act self-pleasure actually is.
A Global Attitude of Acceptance
The growing attitude of acceptance towards self-toys is a reflection of powerful global trends. Case in point: Third-wave feminism has encouraged women to not just be vocal about their sexuality, but also embrace it in a very positive light. Similarly, the concept of self-care has encouraged them to get more in touch with themselves, as they address their personal needs.
This is something that’s felt as far away as Australia where stores say buying sex toys should be “no different from a yoga mat.” In more conservative countries like the Philippines, Pretty Me notes how people are a bit more reluctant to discuss sex toys, but that doesn’t mean the market — and general acceptance for it — isn’t growing. In fact the numbers show how the whole world is changing. The Guardian points out that the sexual wellness industry as a whole is predicted to hit £97.6 billion by 2026.
Self-Pleasure as Self-Love
Though the life of self-isolation is temporary, it’s safe to say that the way sex toys are perceived by the world, especially women, has greatly shifted. Once considered a massive taboo by society (even if it was supposedly created 30,000 years ago), sex toys have now found a global market that’s finally acknowledging their feelings of sensuality. Today, people are not scared to admit that they have desires they need to fulfil. At the end of the day, sex — whether it’s self-pleasure or with your partner — will always be a natural part of our lives.