Thanks to the blockbuster book series Fifty Shades of Grey, British women are asking Santa for bondage gear and sex toys this year, according to an online sex toy shop.
says that this year top-sellers include whips, cuffs, restraints, ticklers, and paddles, which the company describes as a complete turnaround with couple's bondage taking place over the sales of solo vibrators from last year.
According to Marie Claire UK, the Official Fifty Shades of Grey line of pleasure products, available at Lovehoney.co.uk, sold a third of its entire stock, intended to last until Christmas, in 24 hours. The most popular toys are Inner Goddess
Silver Balls, sex toy jiggle balls referenced in the novel.
And according to the New York Post, New York women were flocking to hardware stores in record numbers to purchase natural filament rope used in the trilogy.
On sex toy websites you'll see a marked contrast in how products are marketed. Products for men sound like they've come straight out of a porn film, while those aimed at women appear to have been manufactured by Care Bears.
Desire and Pleasure, the online sex toy website from the Family Planning Association (FPA), is launching a
selection of sex toys for older people.
The range was created after research found that older people and the disabled are poorly catered for when it comes to vibrators and other sex toys, products and information on how to use them.
Selected For You aims to provide ergonomically designed products that are easy to grip, can be controlled remotely and are easier to use by those with limited mobility, dexterity issues or suffer from fatigue.
The products have been selected by experts and sex toy reviewers to ensure that the most suitable products have been chosen. Their feedback has been compiled and today the range goes on sale.
Terry Hawkins, Business Development Manager at FPA says:
Our research shows that there is demand from older and disabled people, but it is not often clear which products are most appropriate for them or how they should be used. We are aiming to solve this conundrum. Selected For You will eventually
become the world's most inclusive range.
One of the most neglected audiences has been older people. We are finding that a lot of older people are either still sexually active or back on the dating circuit again. Many older people are still very physically and mentally active and don't
need special products. Rather than specially designed products, what they need is information on how to use the products, what they are and how to do so safely.
The Family Planning Association is most famous for establishing the UK's network of contraception clinics. It is now set to start selling sex toys, games, DVDs and other products online claiming to help improve the nation's sex lives.
The charity has launched www.desireandpleasure.co.uk as a good and ethical alternative to what it believes are the bad and ugly practices of the growing number of online sex shops. All profits will go to the FPA to support its charitable
work across the UK.
FPA business development manager Terry Hawkins said:
The internet has created a new era of freedom for people to buy sex products and toys. Just as innovations like the Kindle and downloadable books have kick-started the 50 Shades of Grey phenomenon, people also like the anonymity and choice that the
internet offers for exploring their sexual desires.
However, we're increasingly concerned by some of the common practices in this sector and believe there is a need for safe and trusted place where people can shop with confidence.
The practices on FPA's hit list include online remarketing of sex products. This targets people with explicit advertising even when they are no longer browsing sites of a sexual nature, potentially exposing children using a family computer to
The FPA is also boycotting products with offensive names and packaging, or those that have violent or aggressive connotations. It also changes any product descriptions that it feels are unnecessarily explicit.
How about an alarm clock that wakes you with pleasure?
The Little Rooster Alarm Clock Vibrator is worn inside your panties, but outside your body, explained Tony Maggs, inventor of the device.
Little Rooster's vibrations start gently and sensually. Then they slowly get stronger until you wake up, smiling, he said.
Little Rooster is innovative, beautifully designed, gorgeously packaged and is silent with 27 levels of vibration. It has a snooze function, a snorgasm function, a play mode, a travel lock, and is USB rechargeable.
Little Rooster is available from LittleRoosterStore.com for £ 69 and from other retail outlets.
Trojan's plan to distribute 10,000 free vibrators from hot dog carts ran into trouble when New York council employees shut down the Flatiron District location due to overcrowding.
There's a lot more important things the city should be worried about than a free-vibrator giveaway, complained Park Slope bar owner Melody Henry: Bloomberg doesn't want anyone to have fun. You can't have a giant soda. You can't have a
But city council workers issued a statement explaining that the problem wasn't the sex toys; and claimed it was just that the carts just needed an official permit.
Over at Buzzfeed Shift, Amy Odell provides an eyewitness account of the Flatiron Scene. When she arrived, the carts were already empty. Trojan employees were taking down email addresses and promising to get people their free vibrators somehow,
even if they had to mail them. About 50 people were waiting in line, and when two cops showed up to deal with the crowd, they put their names down too.
A new messaging device, dubbed Kissenger, lets users send kisses wirelessly to one another.
Unveiled at the Designing Interactive Systems conference in Newcastle, UK, in June, Kissenger comprises a pair of pressure-sensitive soft plastic lips which protrude through a smooth plastic casing the size of a large Easter egg.
The lips contain pressure sensors and actuators. When you kiss them, the shape changes you create are transmitted in real time over the net to a receiving Kissenger. There, the actuators reproduce the mirror image of the pressure patterns you
Hooman Samani of Singapore-based Lovotics developed the device. For the moment it is a prototype and Samani says it will not be commercialised until all the ethical and technical considerations are covered .
Here's an idea. What if sex toys just
showed up at your door once a month for a fairly nominal fee? That's what Boink Box is for. It's bringing subscription commerce to the world of adult toys, promising its subscribers monthly packages of a variety of toys.
It's all about trying out something new and getting exposed to products that you might not have bought for yourself. Boink Box sends subscribers curated collections of vibrators, binds and blindfolds, beads, ben-wa balls, eggs, lubricants and
massage oils, and other adult fun stuff, sent in an attractive package, once a month.
Subscribers even specify what kind of toys they'd like to receive: There's a something for everyone box, a box mostly for penises, and a box mostly for vaginas. Boink Box costs $45, which isn't bad when you consider the price of sex toys
these days. Or if they're feeling really adventurous, you can sign up for an $85 premium box of sex toys.
The feminist writer and 'academic' Marina Warner believes the unexpectedly wide appeal of this explicit fiction could be a sign of how difficult people now find it to feel aroused in an era when sex and nudity have become so commonplace:
There has been a general unveiling of the body in our culture and there is a connection between prohibition and arousal. It is in some way linked to our feelings about the sacred and the profane.
I definitely don't want to go back to censorship,... BUT. ..I don't think the answer is to reach for extremes either.
The runaway success of Fifty Shades of Grey , the graphically sexual novel that has sold more than a million copies, has led to a boom in sex toys and erotic literature.
Ann Summers is just one of the stores reporting that sales of blindfolds, whips and handcuffs have soared, reflecting the strong sadism and masochism theme running through the book. Sales of jiggle balls, for example, have risen by 200%.
Fiona Davis, a director of Ann Summers, said the consumer effect of the book was similar to that of Sex and the City , which popularised designer shoes and vibrators.
She said that the book has sold out in many stores and that sales of other erotic literature have risen by 130%.
At Simply Pleasure, one of the Soho's most well-known erotic bookshops, employees said that the curiosity generated by the book was introducing a new generation of women to sex shops and sex toys. People realise that it's not seedy and sordid,
which has always been the problem for the sex shop industry, said store manager Jane.
Sex shops across the USA are seeing a spike in sales of the kinds of toys and accessories mentioned in the New York Times best-selling trilogy by E L James, including Fifty Shades Darker .
The sex is between two consenting adults, with an explicit contract and much discussion of safe words, but the books are filled with spanking, flogging and gagging, and the use of restraints, masks and Kegel balls, which are used during exercises
to strengthen vaginal walls and the pelvic floor.
From national online retailer AdamEve.com to Tempe-based Castle Megastore, displays are going up in shops, banner ads are being added to websites and sales staff are being encouraged to read the books, which have been selling out in stores for about two
Mark Franks, president and CEO of Castle Megastore said:
These books have ... introduced the average woman to modern fetish sexuality. We're seeing a customer coming into our store seeking the books and accessories who maybe wouldn't have thought about these products before, but now they're intrigued.
At Fascinations, which has locations in Arizona and Colorado, sales in the bead-and-ball category are up 98% in the past four weeks. Feathers and items that tickle are up 34%, and the BDSM category is up 18%.
Good Vibrations, which has six stores, mostly in the San Francisco area has seen a 350% increase in BDSM items, including handcuffs, blindfolds, bondage tape and paddles.
Several factors are coming together to create what Franks of Castle Megastore calls a phenomenon. Sex shops are more welcoming and more female-friendly than their adult-video-store predecessors, looking more like lingerie shops than kink palaces.
And, said Tristan Taormino of New York, a feminist sex educator, women are more sexually self-actualized today than ever before: They are more likely to say, 'This turns me on and I'm going to go do something about it.
The economic crisis is affecting the sex industry, Dutch BNR radio reports. Sales of sex toys, DVDs and edible underwear are down sharply due to changing tastes, a lack of cash and competition from internet.
In particular, the vast number of free online porn channels and footage uploaded by amateurs is proving strong competition.
Hanni Jagtman, founder of the Amsterdam sex shop Mail & Female said:
The situation in the porn industry is disastrous, The industry must look at where it is going or decide to call it a day.
Jagtman also cites changing society attitudes saying:
Women are demanding control over their own sexuality. This means they want more quality, responsible products rather than dirty books.
Store shelves at supermarkets, pharmacies and supercenters across the USA are making room for sex toys once reserved for adults-only eyes.
CVS, Walgreens, Kroger, Safeway, Target and Walmart are among major national chains that now include vibrators on store shelves. Condom makers Trojan and Durex are among brands that have expanded product lines to include vibrators, starting with small
vibrating rings. Bruce Weiss, vice president of marketing for Trojan said: People are more comfortable than ever talking about vibrators and the idea of having one .
Vibrator sales are increasing, show exclusive data provided to USA TODAY by Trojan. The research is by Nielsen, which tracks UPC-coded items scanned at food, drug and mass retailers, including vibrator rings and handheld devices. First-quarter numbers
for 2012 count 318,840 vibrators (all brands) sold at retail outlets, excluding Walmart. That's $4.4 million worth of vibrators sold, up about 14% over the first quarter last year, Nielsen says.
An internet display ad for Durex Play O lubricant gels, which was seen on www.tvguide.co.uk, featured the facial expressions of a number of women who appeared to be experiencing sexual pleasure, whilst an operatic aria played. A
voice-over stated Feel more with Durex Play. Lubricants to add pleasure to every touch. Get your free sample on Facebook. The ad offered the functionality to click through to further details of the free sample offer.
One complainant challenged whether the ad was offensive due to its sexual nature.
Three complainants challenged whether the ad was irresponsibly placed, because they considered that it was unsuitable to be displayed on a general interest TV listings website, which could be viewed by children.
Reckitt Benckiser said that, whilst the product and the brand were of a sexual nature and the advertising must therefore have some sexual content, they did not believe that the sexual content was explicit or likely to cause serious or widespread offence.
TVGuide.co.uk said that the ad was provided by an independent network that serves ads through their website. They told us that, following the complaints, they had requested that the ad be blocked from appearing again. They told us that 4.6% of their
users were under 18 years old.
ASA Assessment: Complaints not upheld
1. Not upheld
The ASA acknowledged the complainant's concern, and appreciated that advertisers and publishers needed to be aware of the sensitive nature of ads for this type of product. However, we considered that the ad was not overtly graphic, contained no explicit
material and we concluded that it was unlikely to cause serious or widespread offence, provided it was targeted appropriately.
On this point, we investigated the ad under CAP Code rule 4.1 (Harm and offence) but did not find it in breach.
2. Not upheld
We acknowledged the complainants' concern that children using the website might have been exposed to the ad. We noted, however, that only a small proportion of TVGuide.co.uk's users were under the age of 18, and we therefore concluded that it had been
targeted appropriately and was unlikely to cause serious or widespread offence to users of TVGuide.co.uk.
On this point, we investigated the ad under CAP Code rule 1.3 (Social responsibility) but did not find it in breach.
Erotic Trade Only is the UK adult industry trade magazine. The annual ETO Trade Show held at Birmingham NEC also hosts the ETO Awards. This year the show will be held on the 24th and 25th June. Voting is open now for ETO readers.
A French firm has offered free sex toys to women widowed by the fantasy game Diablo III , released this week.
The game has been a huge hit - as has Absoloo's sex toy offer, where women get a free toy for posting a picture of themselves with the game on the company's Facebook page.
Widows [unfortunately only in France] who post pictures - there have been a surprising number, some in fantasy costume - will be sent a code by the company, which entitles them to a free toy from the site.
The Diablo III game is already the biggest pre-seller ever, according to CNBC.
The Mojowijo is the very latest in sex toy technology. Billed as the toy that has transformed cybersex, the Mojowijo vibrator can be connected wirelessly to a laptop and controlled remotely, meaning that those forced to say goodnight via Skype could now
see their late night calls suddenly spiced up.
The Mojowijo is a sex toy of two parts - one, a traditionally shaped pink vibrator for the ladies, the other, a blue ring-shaped device. Both attachments are fitted to a handle that can be attached to the accessory port on a Nintendo Wii remote control.
Using Motion2Vibration technology, the device is able to transform the movements performed by each user into vibration signals and send them to another selected device, either in the same room or over the internet.
Couples simply dial into each other's laptops using Skype, and the presence of both Mojowijos is picked up. Using the motion of their own remotes, the users can then play with the settings on their partner's vibrator, upping the frequency or taking it
down as required. So the more one partner moves their wand, the more the other partner's will vibrate.
Soft, crescent-shaped and Barney-purple, the We-Vibe could pass for an air freshener in its unremarkable plastic package. It's not what most people imagine when they think of a sex toy. Launched four years ago by an Ottawa husband-and-wife team, it's a
vibrator for couples that stimulates both partners at once, and outsells its competitors by three to one.
Now in its third generation, the We-Vibe has become the most successful branded sex toy since the Rotating Rabbit gained fame on Sex and the City.
Ex--Nortel Networks engineer Bruce Murison came up with the idea for the device. His wife, Melody, was the one with the marketing brainwave. The Murison's company, Standard Innovation, set out to become a cornerstone of the domesticated,
wellness-oriented side of the sex industry.
Standard Innovation now has 25 full-time employees and have been working on new features like waterproofing and a remote control version.
The We-Vibe has always been made from medical-grade silicone, challenging the idea that sex toys are by definition cheap. At $150, the We-Vibe has also found a new market as an affordable luxury for middleclass couples often intimidated by sex shops.
More Sex Please, We're British
Tuesday 8th May 10pm, Channel 4
A look behind the scenes of one of the UK's most successful online sex toy businesses.
Lovehoney, is a thriving operation that brings sexual pleasure to the women and men of Britain through the click of a button. Founded in 2002 by Neal Slateford and Richard Longhurst, Lovehoney has seen its sales increase each year to
£ 16 millon.
Lovehoney reckon that nearly half of the nation owns a sex toy. The UK sex toy market is worth an estimated £ 250 million. And with high street retailers such as Boots, Tesco and Superdrug now stocking erotic toys, the
market is set to grow and grow.
More Sex Please, We're British meets the people working at the company's HQ in Bath, sending out over 11,000 parcels a week - from adult toys and sexy lingerie, to erotic literature and games.
The cameras also follow the company as it prepares to revamp the upscale Coco de Mer in London's Covent Garden and break into the USA.
Offsite Comment: Blogging about Sex Toys in Britain
Even a decade ago, using a vibrator or (worse!) a male mastubator was an admission of failure, a last resort for the losers in love who had given up on ever having an actual flesh-and-blood relationship. All the lonely people, the Beatles nearly sang,
where do they go to come?
But now, according to research group Hewson, the sex toy market is worth an estimated ?250m a year in the UK. 71% of readers of Fabulous magazine admit to owning a sex toy. There simply has to be more to this sex toy business than singletons furiously
masturbating - and there is.
What kick-started this wider acceptance of sex toys was that famous episode of Sex and The City. First broadcast in 1998, The Tortoise and The Hare saw Charlotte become a virtual recluse after buying a rabbit vibrator at New York's Pleasure Chest sex
store. The rabbit instantly became the must-have sex toy for women and is now available in more varieties than Heinz has ever baked its beans, including Lovehoney's soon-to-be-launched Happy Rabbit.
San Francisco's newest museum is sure to cause a buzz when it opens April 12 -- because it's devoted to vibrators of the past.
The Antique Vibrator Museum is designed to showcase kinky collectibles from the late 1800s to the 1970s, according to curator and sexologist Carol Queen:
The new exhibit contextualizes the vibrator's role in society and highlights how our attitudes around sex and female pleasure have evolved. It really gives us an appreciation for how far both society and technology have come.
The museum showcases vibrators collected since 1977 by the proprietors of Good Vibrations, a sex shop chain. The new 300-square-foot museum is in the back of the Good Vibrations shop on Polk Street . Admission is free.
The easy-to-clean Joyballs are very simple to insert. With each movement, the little balls excitingly stimulate your innermost parts. This will strengthen the muscles of the vagina in next to no time. This way you will feel more of your partner -- and he
will certainly feel more of you!
In addition, the anal Joyballs are a pure pleasure when it comes to anal sex.
Channel 4 has commissioned Sex Toy Story , a one off documentary that will follow Britain's biggest supplier of sex toys, Ann
Summers, in its attempt to create the first ever people's vibrator.
The chain's chief executive, Jacqueline Gold, has decided it's time for bold ideas if she wants to stay ahead of the competition. She has set her company the task of developing a range of vibrators.
A cross-section of British women will be called upon to create a panel of experts. Over a period of six months, they will road test the best sex toys on the market, take part in a range of experiments to determine exactly what turns women on, and then
pitch their ideas to the Ann Summers design team.
The Daily Mail has rounded up a handful of people willing to have a knock at Boots for selling sex toys within view of children.
The sex toys are a change of policy for Boots. Seven years ago, the company scrapped plans to sell sex aids alongside toiletries over fears that stocking them could damage its brand.
A Boots spokeswoman said:
We believe a healthy love life can improve overall health and wellbeing and our customers have told us that they would like to buy these products from us.
Approximately 1,200 stores stock these products and we have worked hard to ensure they are discreetly packaged and merchandised.
There are no laws restricting the sale of these products. However, if someone who looks under 16 tries to buy such a product, Boots staff would use their discretion to decide whether it is suitable for them.'
The toys are sold under the banner Sexual Wellbeing and strapline Help you and your partner have a more positive sexual relationship . Example products are the massage devices Durex Play Dream, Play Discover and Play Delight.
The Daily Mail has rounded up a few inconsequential sound bites and presented this as a customer backlash.
Grandmother Julie Burgess said:
I am appalled. It's completely inappropriate. I'm shocked that a store like Boots is selling sex toys, let alone displaying them so openly.
And Scott Millins:
It's quite disgusting. I've got a nine-month-old baby boy and a three-year-old son and it wouldn't be a problem now, but when my young boys are older, that's definitely not the sort of thing I would want them to see. Children shouldn't know about
that sort of thing until they're grown up and in a relationship with someone. It's really not very good at all.
Former Conservative MP Ann Widdecombe said:
Boots, which is a family store -- and a very popular one at that -- should adopt standards that Ann Summers have been happy to adopt. That says it all.
Enter the religious sex-toy industry, which carefully markets and sells a range of sexual-pleasure products to the faithful. With the voice and disposition of a summer-camp director, Joy Wilson founded Book 22 a decade ago, when she had trouble
getting her body to respond to her husband after their second child, and her online search for remedies yielded scandalous imagery that offended more than it helped. The pioneering site, named after the Biblical book also known as the Song of
Solomon, now faces growing competition from rival vendors including Hooking Up Holy, Intimacy of Eden, and Covenant Spice.
And the industry grew exponentially this fall with the launch of the Orthodox Jewish shop Kosher Sex Toys, and last year with the Muslim vendor El Asira. The sites even enjoy the support of many community leaders. Religious people do it like
everybody else, said David Ribner, a rabbi and sex therapist based in Israel, who works as a consultant for Kosher Sex Toys. Why shouldn't they have access to toys that make their lives more satisfying?
The burgeoning niche, part of the roughly $15 billion sex-toy industry, reports that business has been steadily growing, with most sites shipping a few hundred orders per month. Clients usually find them through Google, say the owners, or a
thoughtful religious leader or astute sex therapist. The vendors use many of the same distributors as secular shops, with most products made in China. Gavriel, a 25-year-old furniture salesman who owns Kosher Sex Toys (and asked that we use only
his middle name) stressed in an interview, There's nothing wrong with having all the sex you want.