The world is changing fast. The global trends come and go creating the waves, provoking disturbance in people’s minds, influencing world economy, tourist flows, and even landscape. The internet generates numerous memes responding to trends; stand-up comics grow their popularity, generating jokes about newest tendencies, the scientific researches are being held to explain the phenomenon. Large budget projects are being launched; people go out to the streets protesting or supporting… You feel the influence of global trends all the time, unless you spend your life living in a cave in the middle of the deep prehistoric forest… But even if it’s so, you might be occasionally interviewed by an eco-activist or random travel blogger and influencer will ask you for a selfie for their Instagram.
Big and small businesses must follow trends unless they want to be left on the side road like Kodak company in the age of digital pictures. The same goes for sex toy manufacturers.
Being an extremely niche and targeted business, sex-toy companies have to follow global trends like no-one else, first, because of the high competitiveness on the market; second, because of the highly viral nature of the internet – the primary means of spreading the word for the sex-intimate niche. Doubt so? How many billboards and tv ads dedicated to sex toys have you seen so far?
Sextoys produced in the first half of the 20th century were advertised as massaging devices to keep women’s skin fit and good looking, and also, as a cure for hysterical states. The paper ads and instructions were showing how the device was applied on face and neck areas, but the target consumers knew what really it was meant for.
The further emancipation and the rebel winds of the 60s brought the new wave of trends. Women should be independent! They’re free human beings who do not need men’s recognition, and men are not required to get sexual pleasure. So the magic vibrating wand was sex-toy manufacturer’s response. Easy to hold and handle; it was not even close to the shape of male genitalia.
Though the questions of civil rights of disabled people have been raised for all the 20th century, and specifically after World War II, when the injured soldiers came back home, the real acknowledging of disabled humans’ rights in the US occurred in 1973 with the passing of Rehabilitation Act. Wich has also influenced the sex toy industry as the first dildos for disabled people appeared in the early ’70s. These also came in a few skin color variations, as ’60s-’70s also appeared to become the time of the great outbreak for the civil rights of black people.
Sex toys actually became referred as “toys” in the 80’s when Japanese manufacturers came up with a rabbit-shaped vibrator. Japanese laws restrict advertising (not manufacturing, though, thus some companies are trying to stay on the safe side) sex toys that look “too realistic” so the infinite fantasy of designers resulted in products that, to an unsophisticated customer, could be easily taken as a weird-looking children’s toys . And, of course, the popularization of Japanise culture that started in the early 80’s triggered the worldwide spreading of Japanise-style pleasure devices.
Further studies of sexuality confirmed that women need additional support to get the same amount of orgasms as men do, which gave another green light to manufacturers, as funky-shaped devices resembling art objects followed.
The recent decades raised global awareness towards climate change and ecology, and the sex industry followed the wind. PornHub has filmed the porn movie on the beach covered with plastic to draw attention to the problems of the ecological state of the coastal areas and to popularise recycling. Currently, it’s not a problem to find a variety of vegan BDSM equipment and supplies which are made of recycled, vegan-friendly materials. The variety of vibrators powered by sun batteries is also an option. And as a pretty much logical consequence, companies that are dealing with sex toys recycling are being found. More and more sex shops are getting involved in sex toys recycling program. Go green!
This is the time for the mass culture to hit the spotlight on the sex industry stage. It is kind of obvious that certain products and trends became highly popular after sensational show or movie was aired. This happened with northern inuit dogs after the first season of Game of Thrones show was launched – almost everybody wanted to have their personal “direwolf”. A crazy wave of geeky stuff popularity was raised by The Big Bang Theory show. Rabbit vibrator sales, mentioned above, hit the sky due to mentioning one of those in the episode of Sex and the City. So no wonder that it’s not a problem to find John’s-Snow-sword-shaped dildo, or Alien vibrator, or anal plug with C-3PO’s golden face shaped on it. And don’t be freaked out if you’ll see Sailor Moon’s dildo wand in your wife’s bedside drawer. Kids from the 80’s have grown up, and their toys have evolved.
The dashing development of technology also leaves a significant footprint. Despite realistic dildos are still popular, the toys are getting thinner and smaller and more high-tech-looking. You can send faxes, take pictures, manage your documents from your smartphone… Why not control your clitoral stimulator via Bluetooth? Oh, wait… Easy! It’s an option already. And a tiny bullet vibrator in your purse can easily be mistaken for a lipstick.
So the sex toys manufacturers are highly responsible to the trends that hit the society and, consequently, the market, so who knows how the future will shape the pleasure industry within the following decades.