Over the past 10 years, I've been lucky enough to witness the sex toy revolution. No longer are adult toys buried beneath people's beds, lurking in shoe boxes, or hidden in the underwear drawer. These days, the stigma of owning a sex toy has largely dissipated and that's a thing to celebrate. But while not all sex toys are worth celebrating, the very best ones have a few things in common. As a sex toy reviewer, there are six things that I feel will make the industry better at making better sex toys - and making sex toy users happy. Here are my recommendations to sex toy manufacturers everywhere.
Stick To What You Do BestThere are several companies within the sex toy world that are known for certain products: Tenga for boy toys, Aneros for prostate toys and Fucking Sculptures for one-of-a-kind glass toys, to name a few. Customers know what to expect from these companies and they have built up a loyal following over the years. When companies stray into unfamiliar territory they can expect that their loyal customers will continue to hold them to a high standard.
Do Thorough Research and TestingThese should be two of the most important processes that a sex toy company takes into consideration, but sometimes it seems that these steps get skipped. Of course, there's something to be said for being creative within any industry. Creating new and differently shaped toys that can produce orgasms is important, as is harnessing new technologies, but these toys need to be tested on real vaginas and penises before hitting the marketing department. A good ad agency can spin any new product into something consumers want, but it's a short lived success if, when used, the toy fails to produce the pleasure it promises. (Do your own research and testing with our list of 10 Basic Sex Toys You Should Know (and Try!))
Know Thy Customer's AnatomyI have a vagina and I have a clitoris. So do loads of other women in the world. But the strange truth is that my vagina and clit are unlike any others. "One size fits all," is not a phrase that works in the sex toy world. While it's impossible to please all of the vaginas (and penises) all of the time, knowing the basics of female and male sexual anatomy is, in general, a great place to start. (Learn more in 10 Things You Don't Know About Vaginas.)
Know Thy Materials and Declare Them PubliclyGone are the days when consumers knew nothing about sex toys. Most sex toy users are educated, especially by the time they are ready to venture into the world of luxury sex toys. Unfortunately, sex toys are still thought to be novelties, when they are in fact changing the dimensions and understanding of human sexuality. A company should always declare the type of material their toys are made of as this can go a long way in building a strong relationship with both potential and returning customers. For example, I know that when I buy a Tantus toy, I get high-grade, body-safe silicone. (For more on what your toy is made of, check out Sex Toy Safety: A Guide to Materials)
Gimmicks Are Just That, GimmicksLike we've said, consumers are no longer in the dark when it comes to sex toys. A vibrator shaped like a cupcake might look cute, but if it doesn't hit the right spot then it's not much more than a buzzing shelf decoration. When you call something innovative, you'd better make sure it lives up to that claim. Just take a company like OhMiBod, which has built an entire business around innovative technology, and has done so very successfully. The key is research and development, not advertising and sales gimmicks as detailed before.
Reviewers Are Your FriendWhile lots of sex toy stores realize that reviewers are an invaluable source of knowledge, it seems that many manufacturers have missed out on using reviewers as a resource. I would love to see companies involve reviewers in the research and testing process of a toy before it hits the consumer market. If you manufacture sex toys, reviewers are your friends, period. We have excellent knowledge of the material. We are honest, we know our anatomy, we know our audience, we know exactly what we like and don't like, and we're happy to tell you all about it. Please, for the love of God and vaginas everywhere, use us! (We have even compiled a list to help you find The Holy Grail of Sex Toys.)
Sex toys are here to stay, but not all sex toy companies make the grade. As consumers become more savvy in choosing what to spend their hard-earned cash on, some sex toy companies will fail to impress them. By following the commandments above, I feel that many companies can develop a foolproof method for sex toy success.