Research by the Foresight Factory found that just 34% of men and 20% in the UK say they ‘feel comfortable talking about their sexual desires with others’.
But the world of sex – and the conversation surrounding it – is changing. Sex and related topics like masturbation are undergoing a major shift from taboo to ‘essential self-care’, according to experts.
The act of doing it alone, or with others, is being championed as a way to increase body confidence, improve sleep and even reduce pain, among other things.
Driving this transformation are the many ‘self-care’ apps, premium brands, masturbation coaches and online content creators presenting a more realistic, educational and mindful view on the topic.
Innovative brands are breaking down the conventions of the ‘adult industry’ with premium, aspirational and beautifully designed products that don’t look out of place on the bedside table.
So forget cheap rubber and seedy adult shops. Here’s a threesome of brands leading the sexual self-care revolution.
Not the fizzy drink brand – Tango are a new company on a mission “to help everybody have really, really, great sex”.
Although they currently have just one product (a plug for those who are curious), they’re set to launch a set of high-quality sex products aimed at “all genders, all orientations and all genitalia” – and they deliver straight to your door.
What’s interesting is the design, tone and personality of the brand. They balance a confident, friendly and playful tone, but manage to keep it feeling premium and desirable.
Alongside the considered brand design is a clear aim to do good and promote positive conversations around sex and self-care.
Tango’s blog openly and credibly explores topics around sex. Similarly, their podcast ‘Thank You for Coming’ dives into everything from one-night stands to being a virgin. And putting their money where their mouth is, 10% of all Tango profits support SIECUS (the Sexual Information and Education Council of the United States).
Time to Tango? Take a look for yourself.
Ferly is an app and community for women. It exists to “radically transform your relationship with sex. How you think about it – and how you have it”.
Here’s how they describe their mission: “Sex is taboo, but it shouldn’t be. It should be about as normal as taking a nap or going for a run. This is why we’ve created a space where you can discover what exactly sex means to you. A space where you’re able to lead a life that is pleasurable, confident and healthy.”
The app contains a wealth of audio content backed by research and written by experts, including programmes and guides that touch on the clitoris, orgasms, the mechanics of libido and the pros and cons of monogamy.
Beyond educational and inspirational content there are also audio meditation courses, intimacy exercises for couples and “sensual stories”, helpfully ‘hotness’-rated from one chilli to five. Members can also access a wider community to talk about sex and connect with other women on a Slack channel.
Forbes described Ferly founders Billie Quinlan and Anna Hushlak as “the entrepreneurs who want to bring mindfulness to your sex life”. Last year, the Times reported that the pair had secured £1 million from venture-capital firms and investors, with people in 53 countries already using the app.
So keep watching (and listening) for Ferly.
Maude is redefining the sex essentials industry for modern consumers, according to Forbes. Seeing themselves as a sexual wellness company, the brand is on a mission to “make intimacy better for all people”.
They make premium lubricants, condoms, bath oils, massage oils, massage candles and wipes, all presented in super-desirable packaging that stands up favourably next to luxury brands like Aesop.
Understanding the modern consumer’s love of travel and experiences, Maude neatly package their products into themed kits like ‘The Weekender’ and ‘The Quickie’. This means their kits are now stocked as an in-room essential by some of the hippest US hotels, which seems like a great way to drive trial and build premium associations.
Like most D2C brands, Maude also created a brick-and-mortar pop-up in Brooklyn.
Called Staycation, the space was modelled on a modern apartment (worlds away from a conventional sex shop) and aimed to promote making room for sex in your life with a relaxed environment.
Self-care never felt – or looked – so good.
SEEN. has been compiled by Neil Bennett. Want to say hello, ask questions or question his cultural knowledge? Throw an email over to firstname.lastname@example.org. Or you can find LOVE in all the usual places: