The global sexual wellness market is expected to be worth a whopping $39 billion by 2024, with female pleasure increasingly becoming an openly spoken about wellness trend to have on your radar. Gone are the days of shameful conversations and attempts to hide your pleasure-inducing tech gadgets; now, they are loudly & proudly displayed on the shiny shelves of premium retailers, and women all over the world are now (quite literally) taking pleasure into their own hands.
Sexual pleasure brands are now positioning themselves alongside brands that champion self-care. Lucie Greene, worldwide director of trend forecasting agency JWT innovation tells Refinery29 that ‘we’re seeing a move away from sexual fulfilment and health as an overly eroticised tone [and] sex is being positioned as part of a 360 make-up of being a healthy person’. And rightly so, we are now seeing sexual pleasure products peak into what once were exclusively skincare product-filled #shelfies on Instagram.
Sex-positive influencers like Ev’Yan Whitney and Shelby Sells are unapologetically snapping photos of sex toys and sharing valuable information, encouraging their audience to normalise the conversation and embrace sexual wellness as part of their self-care ritual. With the ongoing market shift, ‘sensual shopping’ is no longer something to be ashamed of, but rather a habit that ultimately makes our lives better. ‘Yes, I am a woman who has sex. No, I am not going to hide my tampons on the way to the bathroom. And, yes, lube and vibrators exist to make our sex lives better, along with a slew of other accessories’, says writer Hallie Gould in a piece for Byrdie. From next-gen vibrators to personal care formulas for down there, more and more women are turning to the array of products that promise pleasure to lift their mood and support their mental health. The endorphin kick induced by sexual pleasure has been proven to help support your all-over wellbeing and temporarily reduce stress; ‘those endorphins are like the ones you get from a great workout’, women’s mental health expert Kelley Kitely tells SELF for a piece exploring the benefits of female masturbation. The trend is now undoubtedly bigger than ever; research by female pleasure brand SmileMakers revealed that, in the UK, more women own a vibrator than a dishwasher.
Becoming more sexual-wellness conscious can be the ultimate confidence booster too; ‘you cultivate very good feelings with yourself, and you can transfer that to the rest of the world’ says clinical sexologist Dr. Tanginika Cuascud in a piece for Cosmopolitan.
For the sake of harnessing your feel-good hormones, introducing products that support your sexual wellbeing into your self-care routine can do wonders for your all-over mood. Destigmatising the concept and bringing sex-positive practices into your life not only allows you celebrate your body, but it’s also a power-move towards finally stopping the neglect of female sexual pleasure which, historically, has never come first. With old science having refused to study the matter until the 20th century, the current celebration of female bodies is not only empowering, but also very much needed.
The fact that you can now shop sexual wellness products in the same places you buy your skincare, shampoo or tooth paste is definitely a step in the right direction. The idea of self-care has long been associated with beauty regimes and aroma-therapeutical scents, accompanied by a Netflix binge and a glass of wine, but bringing pleasure into the mix is bound to up your #SelfLove game. Helen Normoyl, marketing director of a giant high street retailer Boots, tells Glamour that ‘80% of people believe that your sexual wellbeing can increase self-confidence, and nearly 60% of us believe it can improve general happiness’. With many of us becoming increasingly aware of the importance of our mental and physical wellbeing, there is no wonder why sexual wellness has created a buzz in the self-care world.
By journalist Maria Bita