The sex toy market is enjoying growth, buoyed in large by the “Fifty Shades of Grey” phenomenon, say industry insiders and experts.
And with the new “Fifty Shades” instalment - titled “Fifty Shades Darker” - at cinemas, business is expected to boom all the more.
Globally, the sex toy industry is valued at US$15-billion (about R240-billion).
Kim Bosman, manager of online sex toy and lingerie store, Lady Fay’s Boudoir, said web stores provide a discreet way to purchase these items.
“It is so convenient and totally discreet. Our online store is always open and orders can be placed at any time of the day. Shopping (online) enables shoppers to purchase sex toys or lingerie without the embarrassment of having other people watching them and what is being put into their shopping baskets. We also ensure that every order sent off is packaged discreetly,” she said.
Bosman believes there is still a number of people who perceive sex toys as taboo.
“If only they knew of the great benefits a sex toy or two could bring to their bedroom antics. Couples become closer, communication is at its best and relationships are made stronger all because of a healthy and super-fun sex life. An orgasm a day does keep the doctor away, so throw away those inhibitions and liberate your saucy side,” she said.
Bosman listed some of the more popular items.
Monogamy will take your relationship to a new level.
There are over 400 seductive ideas and three levels of play. The game ends with the winner selecting from one of 50 fantasies to act out.
Discover Your Lover features a range of intimate questions, as well as some interesting tasks. It will push your boundaries with three levels of questions ranging from tender and playful to passionate and challenging. There is no winner or loser, but you will be left feeling aroused.
Fifty Days of Play is inspired by the Fifty Shades of Grey franchise. It’s for couples who want to spice things up. There is a dice and 50 envelopes. Each envelope has an instruction that must be followed, from mild to sensuous.
Kama Sutra Playing Cards includes 54 unique Kama Sutra positions for you and your partner to try out.
Top toys for men
The Fifty Shades of Grey Feel It Baby vibrating penis ring is easy to use and allows him to stay aroused for longer.
The Fleshlight Pink Lady Stamina Training Unit masturbation sleeve is designed to replicate the sensation of sex.
The You. Are. Mine. Metal Handcuffs from the Fifty Shades of Grey Official Collection is a great addition to the bedroom - but keep track of where the keys are, and make sure you know how the quick-release lever works.
Instead of a PS4, get him a remote control that pleasures you. The OhMiBod Club Vibe 2.Oh is designed to stimulate you, while he uses the controls to manipulate the five vibration intensities on the wireless remote.
Top toys for women
The Satisfyer Pro 2 clitoral stimulator is waterproof and has a hollow body-safe silicone tip, with multiple-speed suction.The Je Joue Mimi Soft vibrator offers clitoral stimulation for solo-use or for couples.
We-Vibe 4 Plus fits to target the G-spot and clitoris. The remote can be used to change the vibration mode or you can download the free We-Connect app to your Android or iOS device, which allows you to customise your vibrations. He can also feel the vibrations, which makes this an incredible couple’s toy.
Rave, another We-Vibe product, takes long-distance relationships to a new level. It targets G-spot stimulation, has a wide range of vibration intensities and patterns, and the We-Connect App allows you and your partner to enjoy each other from anywhere in the world.
Ben-wa balls are great for pelvic-floor exercises. Strengthening these muscles is important to maintain bladder control as well as more intense orgasms.
Lelo Luna beads are great for Kegel muscle exercises, and provides pleasure too.
Brick and mortar stores remain a popular choice for consumers, said Magda Havenga, who runs Luvland Adult Fun Store in Sea Point.
XXXopoly is a board game she said was quite popular.
“It is a game that will ask people to strip,” Havenga explained.
Penis extenders are also a popular purchase for men, as well as lubrications.
Havenga always encourages people to buy lubrication along with their purchases.
There is a variety of lubricants on sale in her store, which includes warming, tingling, flavoured and edible lubricants.
Chocolate body paint is also a good buy for Valentine’s Day, she recommended.
Luvland Adult Fun Store also offers a variety of items for bondage play which includes straps, paddles, whips and floggers.
Vibrating underwear with different intensities is also a popular choice for a gift, as well as love swings.
Havenga said some customers are shy when they enter the store, but she always tries to make them feel at ease.
If you are not comfortable visiting an adult store, there are options to have a party at your home where a consultant can bring their toys to your house.
Ananja Keown, who runs Pure Romance, offers women the opportunity to view and purchase a variety of products in a safe environment with friends.
“A Pure Romance party gives women the chance to have fun, laugh and learn in a safe environment. I offer fun, classy in-home product demonstrations for women 18 and older. Pure Romance is about educating and empowering women.”
The parties are free and Keown said she only makes a profit on products that are sold at the gathering.
“I host the party and I set up demonstrations. The women are allowed to touch, feel, taste and smell the various products. It is a ladies’ night with a twist.”
Keown has several best-sellers in the sex toy range, which includes vibrators and penis sleeves. Low libido creams and lubricants are also popular.
Her house parties are clean, safe and filled with laughter, she said, and the women are able to release their inhibitions.
“I love doing these parties. You see the little bulb going on on the top of the women’s heads,” said Keown.
EL James, the British author and producer of the erotic Fifty Shades of Grey novels and film franchise, knows that her story about an attractive couple engaged in a kinky relationship is very much a fantasy.
“It’s a wish fulfilment piece that you can escape into. You can become Ana (the female lead character), you can see where you can go to with this guy and change him to be a far better human being, and of course that’s just a fantasy,” said James, 53.
After the first film ended with Ana and Christian Grey, the male lead, driven apart, Darker sees the two reconcile, but on her terms.
The film franchise wraps up next year with the release of Fifty Shades Freed.