The Decade in Sex Toys - part 2
Here are some more of the trends that I've seen in the world of sex toys over the last 10 years.
A Robotics Revolution.....or not.
Even before 2010, many many column inches of press were devoted to the coming sex robot revolution. Soon it would be possible, we were promised, to have actual sex with actual robots who could talk to us, respond to us, and even anticipate our needs and desires. Ten years later, this still hasn't happened. We're still talking about it ALL THE TIME - even more than we were in 2010. I cannot even count the number of articles I've read warning about the dangers of sex robots. There's a lot of hoopla but there's still no robots. Yes, a few companies have made them, but they are not able to do anywhere near the things we've been promised they will. Moreover, the cost to purchase one of these limited capability robots is so high that very few people have actually done so.
It's taking a very long time for the sex toy world to come on board with a more inclusive understanding of gender, but finally, toward the end of the decade, we started to see some changes.
Buck Angel started working with toy company Perfect Fit and with lube company Sliquid to design toys specifically for the needs of trans men. These toys have proven successful enough that other companies have tried to copy them. These copies are far inferior products, but at least they are less expensive so there are more options available for people who have limited income.
AVN Network announced in December that it was changing the categories for its industry 'O' awards. Instead of the previous categories for 'best male toy' and 'best female toy' they now have 'best internal stimulator', 'best external stimulator', and 'best anal toy'.
When I first became enchanted with vibrators, about 25 years ago, a friend and I (also a HUGE sex toy fan and one of the people who helped me pick out some of my first toys) said to each other 'You know what would be great? A rechargeable vibrator.' We joked about how perfect it would be to never have to change a battery - just plug it in and let it charge while you sleep - just like your razor or your toothbrush. It seems like such a ridiculous and awesome idea.
Almost ten years later, Lelo and Fun Factory came out with their rechargeable vibes. We Vibe was to follow only a few years after that. Soon, induction charging was added to Fun Factory and We Vibe toys so they could be rechargeable AND waterproof. These technologies made the toys more durable and even more powerful. They even changed the way we used the toys!
Rechargeable batteries have become standard for a lot of toy makers - so much so that, at ANME this year, we actually had a hard time finding toys with replaceable batteries. The cost has come way down as well, making decent rechargeable toys affordable for a lot more people.
Better Materials Equals Better Toys
I think the biggest change I've seen over the past ten years is the increase in the quality of the materials toys are made of. Sure, there are still a lot of horrible jelly rubber and 'cyber skin' toys out there, but the amount of silicone, ABS plastic, and polyurethane coated toys on the market is simply astounding. When I first started in toys, my entire purpose was to seek out the good quality toys so my customers could get access to them. So hard was it to find body-safe toys, that this role was very very necessary. Now, it's not difficult to find toys made of body-safe materials. This does not mean that all toys are good quality or that all toys are safe, but it does mean that there is so much more choice out there for people who are concerned about what they put on and in their body.
While we haven't come even one step closer, in Canada, to regulating what goes into sex toys, the market started to regulate itself by simply responding to customer demands. This is a case where the internet definitely won the day. Because sex toy consumers could finally get access to information and learn what good and bad toys were, they started to demand the good stuff. And fortunately, if perhaps very slowly and begrudgingly, sex toy designers and manufacturers have given the public what they want.