Sexual wellness is so hot right now, and we’re even not in the least exaggerating for the sake of a good pun. By 2026, the global sexual wellness market is expected to be worth over $125 billion. That’s a lot of vibrators. 

But vibrators are just the tip of the iceberg. Fuelled by sex positivity, third wave feminism, the #MeToo movement, and growing acceptance of the LGBT community, the sexual wellness has reached a dizzying peak. 

No longer the taboo it once was, the conversation around sexual wellbeing has opened up. The concept is positioned as the third pillar of health, that’s just important as physical and mental wellbeing. 

Of course, sexual wellness is big business too. The industry encompasses a wealth of personal and intimate care products that promote sexual health and pleasure in many ways, for all genders, bodies and ages. 

From apps to toys, specialist lubricants to audible porn, we’ll discuss the top 8 sexual wellness trends you’ll be getting intimate with in 2021 and beyond. 

1. Next-Gen Sex Toys

Sex toys no longer look, or feel, how they used to. Gone are the garish colours and phallic objects traditionally associated with sexual pleasure tools. Instead, a new generation of female-led companies offer a suite of sex aids to address the stubborn “pleasure gap” between men and women.

As a result, sex toys are sleeker, even Instagrammable, and promoted through accessible and inclusive marketing. For example, the oh-so cool market leader Unbound, blurs the lines of sex tech and fashion, specialising in wearable toys. 

What’s more, our understanding of how and why vibrators work is different too. Suction vibrators are becoming more popular. These use air pulse technology to stimulate the clitoris, mimicking the feeling of oral sex.

Inclusivity is a hot topic in sex toy innovation. San Diego brand Wildflower, creates gender-free sex toys, and its most recent release, Enby, was specifically designed with transgender individuals in mind. 

Meanwhile, sex toy company Smile Makers has a clitorally inclusive vibrator, with three different “mouth” sizes to ensure that it is comfortable and personalised for everyone.

2. Genderless & Sustainable Condoms

Firstly, let’s chat condom stats. Did you know, worldwide, six to nine billion condoms are sold every year? While the first rubber condom was made in 1839, prior to that they were made from tortoiseshell, animal intestine, and even linen. It’s safe to say condoms have come along way. 

However, the majority of modern condoms are made from latex, along with stabilisers, preservatives, and hardening agents. Consequently, there’s no official knowledge on how long they will take to biodegrade. 

Enter the sustainable condom. Condoms developed without animal testing, that use no animal protein, and are completely compostable are now more widely available. For example, you can pick up stylish Hanx condoms in your local Boots store. 

Hanx prides itself on creating condoms designed with women’s needs in mind. Stripping back the ‘penis-centric’ messaging traditionally associated with condoms. They are easy to buy, sex-positive, and sustainable, and stylist so they can sit on your bedside table with no embarrassment or shame required. 

3. Sustainable Sex Products

However, it’s not just condoms that are upping their eco-credentials. Proving that orgasms don’t need to cost the earth, Womanizer recently introduced the first ever mass-produced recyclable sex toy. 

The eco-air vibrator is entirely degradable, and replaces plastic with a material synthesised from renewable raw materials, mostly corn starch. 

All parts of the toy can be individually recycled too. Plus it works just as well, proving that sustainable pleasure is the future of the industry. Same intensity for you, less intense on the planet. A win win. 

In addition, Lovehoney offers a guide on how to recycle your former companion, while the company will also accept old sex toys to recycle.

It’s not just condoms and vibrators that have gotten a sustainable upgrade. There’s cruelty free lube, like Good Clean Love, and lingerie made from sustainable, biodegradable materials too. 

4. Erotic Audio Stories

Fuelled, at least in part, by the self-love boom during Covid-19 lockdowns, interest in audible porn or audio erotica is on the rise. As opposed to visual porn, this format allows you to listen and tap into your own imagination with the help of anything from guided masturbation tutorials to hot original stories and standalone porn sounds. 

Dubbed the Headspace of Erotica, Dipsea is an app offers short audio ranging from five minutes to 20 minutes with the aim to get you feeling aroused and more in touch with your body.

Meanwhile, sex tool brand, SmileMakers, introduced a Bedtime Stories audio series in 2020, based off of sexual fantasies sent in by female writers around the world. Likewise, TeaseMe offers an array of sexy audio stories, from sex with your yoga teacher, the hot librarian, or in a chalet on a ski trip. 

5. Age-Inclusive Sexual Wellness

Being open and transparent about sex has become synonymous with the Gen-Z cohort. This sometimes means more mature consumers are left out of the conversation – and brand marketing strategies. Now, similarly to how products going genderless, the conversation on sex is increasingly age-inclusive too.   

For example, there’s Dotyk (Polish for ‘touch’), a sex toy concept that addresses the lack of products specifically for over-50s. The kit includes a tickling thimble and an ear trumpet for listening to a lover’s heartbeat. 

Each tool is designed to ignite sensory foreplay that could help partners to reconnect and rediscover each other’s bodies. As well as shaking up sex lives, the objects are designed to be accessible for older people experiencing restricted mobility. 

6. Mindful Masturbation

As female masturbation becomes increasingly normalised, how we masturbate is evolving too. Rather than turning to porn to get you going, a new breed of masturbation techniques tap into the power of the mind and the imagination. 

First up is edging, a mindful masturbation technique that involves building yourself up to come, and then having a rest before starting again. 

Another example is framing, a combo of mindfulness and masturbation. The idea is to change how you ‘frame’ an orgasm, which is said to dramatically increase the pleasure experienced. It’s suggested that you visualise a sexy scenario and take your mind off the physical act of touching yourself. 

7. Sexual Coaching

We all know practice makes perfect, so why don’t we train to be better at sex? In addition to the advancement of masturbation techniques, a slew of new apps have cropped up designed to coach us to peak sexual performance. 

For example, there’s Pillow, which promises to rescue any sexless marriage. Kindu is a Tinder-style app with sex ideas for couples. Then there’s Kama, which offers daily mindful sex practices and tips to help you master your body. 

Ever wondered how many calories you’ve burned during sex? The popular app for calorie counting, Run Keeper, launched Sex Keeper which lets you track calories, time and positions.

Similarly, an app called Boost Sex Drive Hypnosis claims to work wonders to improve your sex drive. The app boasts an incredible 5 million users, who tune into hypnosis audio read by the soothing voice of a certified hypnotherapist.  

8. Luxury Lubricants

Previously, lubricating sex products were a purely functional item. Now, they’ve had a glow up. Blurring lines between skincare and sex, oils and lubes are chicly packaged, and formulated with sensorially invigorating smells and textures as well as skin loving ingredients.  

In fact, Rosebud goes as far as labelling its best selling lube a ‘serum.’ It blends traditional aphrodisiacal ingredients such as maca and ashwagandha for their stimulating effects. Maude sells candles that melt into erotic massage oils as well as lubes packaged like expensive hand soap. 

Meanwhile, Unbound’s Clitoral Jolt Gel doesn’t mess around. The powerful formulation contains peppermint oil, natural damiana, L-Arginine and L-Ornithine to increase blood flow to the clitoris. A little goes a long way. 

References:

– https://www.globenewswire.com/news-release/2021/02/08/2171250/0/en/Global-Sexual-Wellness-Market-By-Product-By-Distribution-Channel-By-End-User-By-Region-Industry-Analysis-and-Forecast-2020-2026.html

– https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lanpub/article/PIIS2468-2667(21)00099-2/fulltext#seccestitle130

– https://www.forbes.com/sites/ninawolpow/2021/06/29/woman-led-sex-product-startup-maude-raises-series-a/?sh=699e4edc660d

– https://www.boots.ie/wellness/condoms-sexual-health/sexual-pleasure-shop-all#facet:&productBeginIndex:48&orderBy:&pageView:grid&minPrice:&maxPrice:&pageSize:&

– https://unboundbabes.com/

– https://wildflowersex.com/

– https://www.dazeddigital.com/beauty/body/article/52104/1/smile-makers-vibrators-inclusive-orgasms-shame-free-gender-neutral

– https://buffofficial.co.uk/ 

– https://www.womanizer.com/eu/eco https://www.lovehoney.co.uk/help/lovehoney-and-the-environment.html

– https://www.stylus.com/accelerating-ageing-well

– https://www.dezeen.com/2020/07/23/dotyk-dmytro-nikiforchuk-sex-toys-elderly-graduate-design/ 

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