Baby Boomer Blast
"One thing that the aging baby boomer population has which greatly benefits this demographic, is that they were raised in an age where there was a huge sexual awakening and that a vibrator is not such an alien idea, as it was in the generations before," Pipedream Products resident sexologist Kim Airs told XBIZ. "When a baby boomer (perhaps with the assistance of an educated sales staff member) can make a connection that a product can not only be fun but beneficial to use too, it will make them feel more confident in their sexual health and wellbeing."
Honey's Place Laura Sweet told XBIZ she thinks there's a "use it or lose it" attitude when it comes to sex and the older generation. One sector of the adult novelty industry fueling this second sexual revolution among baby boomers is the home party business.
In her 16 years in the business, Sweet said she's seen the business grow and shift toward older generations of women.
"I'm positive that the age demographic [for home parties] is getting older and older," Sweet said, adding that home parties used to be primarily held among college-age, bachelorette women. "These parties give them a safe venue for comfortable dialogue about toys."
Home party products range from "soft" items like powders and lube to more edgy items like pocket rockets, jack rabbit vibes, egg and bullet massagers.
Adult manufacturers have eased in more products by softening catalogs to look like those from Avon, Sweet said, and the more manufacturers get involved the better.
"The entire adult novelty industry benefits," she said, "because we get a wider demographic to participate."
The adult male enhancement industry is almost directly fueled by older generations of male consumers.
"Based on our customer feedback, we're clearly popular in the 40-plus demographic," said Eli from KMG Sales, which distributes natural male enhancement supplement Bigralis. "Younger men tend to overlook their issues in the bedroom because of the stigma and embarrassment associated with such issues. However, as people age, they are more likely to take a more practical approach to their problem and are open to address it at any cost."
The company's spokesperson is Ron Jeremy — "the king of all porn stars," and with commercials running on mainstream cable networks Bigralis markets itself using Jeremy's familiar face.
"Ron Jeremy is very likely the most famous baby boomer adult film star in the world," Eli said. "Our late night cable TV advertising campaign is going full force on popular channels including VH1, Spike, Comedy Central and many more."
As a member of American Society of Sex Educators, Counselors and Therapists, Airs trains medical professionals on the benefits of using sex toys as part of their patients' health.
"As we age, many people come down with age-related difficulties whether it has to do with movement, circulation, arthritis, loss of libido due to hormonal changes, vaginal dryness and erectile dysfunction," Airs said.
Besides male enhancement pills, Airs noted other popular sexual aids for men experiencing erectile dysfunction include penis pumps and hollow harnesses.
Pipedream Products offers many styles of pumps, including the Potent Developer, which is basic and simple to use, in addition, Airs said, pumps manufactured by adult companies are more affordable than any sold through a physician.
Sweet said hollow harnesses are often purchased by women for their men as a tool that allows a man with erectile dysfunction to still participate in sexual activity. Similarly, harnesses that attach to other parts of the body, such as the thigh also allow men to please their partners without requiring a functioning penis.
Several of Pipedream Products' offerings are presented to the medical community by Airs, including the LuvTouch Flexa Pleaser, a long vibrator with a flexible head, that can help those with arthritis or obesity get at those hard to reach places, she said.
"For women, the clitoral pump is good for any kind of circulation issues such as diabetes, as it will draw blood flow to the clitoral area," Airs said.
Vaginal dryness can be cured with lube, preferably a silicone-based lubricant, such as Pipedream's Moist line, that won't dry out as fast as a water-based one, Airs said.
Melissa Brewer, toy buyer for Castle Megastore, told XBIZ that the retail chain also works with members of the medical field for age-appropriate purchases.
"We work with doctor's offices and supply them with samples of lubricants that help with certain health issues," she said. "With that, we attach information about our store and hope they come in to try other products we carry that might apply to their health issue."
Mature men must address the health of their prostate. Having an enlarged prostate requires the need to massage it and whereas a finger can seem too invasive or uncomfortable some may find a prostate massager more effective.
Tantus' Prostate Health line is marketed solely on its health aspect. The massagers are made from pliable, hygienic material and packaged in a generic box with much of the product info available online.
Michael Smith, CEO of adult toy manufacturer Tantus Inc., said the packaging of his prostate massagers is plain to make consumers feel comfortable.
Retailers also recognize the need to be knowledgeable about the health benefits of sex toys while maintaining equality in the way customers of all ages are approached.
"We don't focus on a specific generation like baby boomers, but we bring in products that speak to various health concerns," Brewer said. "Our sales staff is trained to speak to any generation and does not judge customers when helping them."
Brewer said that Castle Megastore offers store associates two methods for training on new products.
"The first is Castle University, where we regularly train our sales associate on the newest products on the market," Brewer said. "We bring in vendors to train our staff on new products, the general category of the product, and health benefits associated with the product. We also have monthly sales programs that encourage sales associates to sell a product or product line. We send them information about the products to help educate them when selling to customers."
While many products target this demographic with a health-focused approach, sexual gratification is still very important to the aging population. A 2004 AARP study on baby boomer sexuality, which surveyed a nationally representative group of 1,682 adults ages 45 and older, showed that only four percent thought that sex was meant for younger people.
"Sexual satisfaction will make anyone of any age feel better about themselves, their partner and the world," Airs said.