Sexuality has always been a breeding ground for creativity and technology. The first steam-powered vibrator was built in 1734, quickly moving us out of the age of sex toys made of stone, wood and leather. In 1896, about 10 seconds after film-making was invented, two French men filmed the first nine-minute adult film. From there on, with the invention of every chemical, plastic, circuit board, VCR, Polaroid, digital imaging device and communication device, we continued to push the evolution of design within the industry of sexuality.
I love this industry just for that reason - there is always something new to learn and explore. I love design, color and quality. Mix all those elements with orgasms and I am in heaven. I also love how luxury toys add value and legitimacy to a business that historically has been considered shameful or morally low. This is in an industry that continually evolves.
What is a "luxury" sex toy?
So, what makes a sex toy a luxury item? First and foremost, it should deliver. Through design, packaging and presence, a luxury sex toy should carry a sense of refinement. More specifically, it may have many or all of the following elements:
High Quality Materials
The toy should be made of materials which have no taste and no smell. They are usually food grade, easy-to-clean materials like 100% silicone, stainless steel, glass, wood, leather, or ABS plastic. (Read more in Sex Toy Safety: A Guide to Materials.)
Most luxury toys shy away from shades of flesh. My favorites are the jewel tones and deep sexy colors, like burgundy, ruby red, royal blues, deep purples, and splashes and swirls that can only be made with hand-poured silicone.
Research and Development
A great designer will insist on beta testing with an unbiased group of individuals. The designer will listen to consumers, value their input, and build with the end user in mind.
Stylish, modern designs, with smooth curves, unique bases, or creatively sculpted details are always a draw in a luxury toy buyer. Overly abstract designs can overcome that obstacle if they pair the product with quality information and educational materials.
Quality Motors and Features
These internal workings may have extraordinary features: they are very strong, heat up, have pulse or wave sensations, memories, and travel locks.
A USB charger, ideally with the wall adapter, elevates a pleasure product to that of a smartphone or personal electronic device. It also saves the customer from having to buy and replace batteries.
Thought and care goes into luxury toy packaging. Rather than being clear clam shells, the packaging will convey quality. The boxes often feel like a gift box or have magnetic closures. They sometimes include a storage bag or case.
A luxury toy will come with well-written instructions with a positive flair that encourages joyfulness without being condescending or presumptuous. A manufacturer should also be able to present their product without assuming the gender or orientation of the person buying and using the products.
The warranty should come from the manufacturer and span at least one year from purchase. This tells you the manufacturer believes in their product and is prepared to care for the customer if the product does not measure up.
Marketing & Branding
It is easier for a store to sell an item when the consumer is familiar with the brand name.
Luxury Should Deliver
All of these elements that elevate a toy to the luxury category are the same elements that make the price point justifiably higher. When I sell someone a beautiful high-end pleasure product, I want to have the confidence that the product is going to deliver. I want to know the buyer is going be able to spend quality time with their new toy, find new ways to explore their own body, find new ways to explore their lover’s body, have seriously heightened excitement, and ultimately have the kind of orgasms that make them want more luxury sex toys.
That said, just because an item is expensive, doesn't mean it's great. Sometimes the best product for you is a less expensive toy. Understand the facts when you're shopping for a toy and let them decide. Toys in the luxury category have a lot to offer, but they still have to be the right toys for you.