opinion

What Is Contributing to the Increasing Popularity of Fetish Products?

Ariana Rodriguez

Incorporating BDSM or kinkier desires into a vanilla lifestyle is undoubtedly easier if the goods can pass as fashionable outfits or camouflage among home décor, thereby discretely delivering added value. Modern romantic reinventions in product design and female-friendly marketing are making it easier for mainstream to view bondage products as an acceptable form of enhancing intimacy between couples.

Meanwhile, pop culture boosts bondage and latex style as fashionable and trendy — a source for sensuality, adventure and taking command. Authentic leather or latex outfits may be too expensive and/or intimating for some people’s inclinations at first but with comfortable, affordable alternatives, shoppers have something to work up from.

Major brands and established specialty designers alike are reimagining their fetish designs that novices can identify with.

With the current buzz surrounding “Fifty Shade of Grey,” many manufacturers are preparing for a boom in the sales of bondage products with collections to introduce them to every level of play. As adult store shoppers pace further into the world of fetish, previously underserved niches are being demystified with expanded collections offering different options and accessories.

Major brands and established specialty designers alike are reimagining their fetish designs that novices can identify with — and the end results are flexible, upselling opportunities for retailers.

Kathryn Hartman - Sales & Marketing Director Nasstoys

The inundation of fetish goods being marketed and sold on the Internet, combined with mainstream Hollywood celebrities and pop music icons including fetish items in music videos and photo shoots. This has opened the doors to the BDSM world to new people we weren’t reaching five years ago.

Sesha Brown - Brand Ambassador Spartacus Leathers

Spartacus has been approached by various popular networks to provide products for use in different types of programming. This has directly boosted the consumer’s interest in all things fetish. Having mainstream exposure has easily made a basement/dungeon fantasy into a more openly discussed kink, and Spartacus loves being part of that exploration. The Spartacus brand has been recognizable for having the best in both quality and cost. There are lots cheaper one-time-use products in the market but as couples explore their fantasies with those they will turn to buying the products that are made to last.

Charlie Glickman - Education Program Manager Good Vibrations

Several things — more info about BDSM is available than ever before. There’s more mention of it in the media, and even mainstream shows sometimes mention safewords or other related topics. Plus, as kinksters become more visible, curious newbies become more curious to try it out.

Andy Smith - Managing Director/CEO Cyrex Ltd

I believe that as every year passes we become a little bit more sexually liberated. Much of this change in attitude is in my opinion, due to what we see on the TV and read in magazines, not to mention the song lyrics we hear every day. The fact that the more ‘sexy’ a music video seems to be the more popular it seems to be which in turn fuels the fire. Given this increased exposure and public acceptability (although sometimes controversially) it would therefore follow that we are now more inclined to participate in recreational sexual activity more frequently and for longer “sessions.” As with most recreational activities, to get the most out of it requires a little investment and as our sexual demands grow so too does the need for props and toys. The progression to fetish products is simply going to the next level of sexual liberation and self-expression and there is no going back!

Randy Alvstad - General Manager XR Brands

My feeling regarding the growth in fetishism is related to younger generations being less inhibited and not being so intimidated by standard social mores regarding sex and sexual exploration. More open communication and education regarding human sexuality has lessened taboos associated with what used to be described as kinky or deviant sexual behavior. I don’t think younger generations who are exploring aspects of their own sexual desires are thinking of themselves or describing their behavior as “fetish” or “kink” especially in terms of the classic definition assigned by older generations. Fetishism is currently being redefined.

Tom Stewart - CEO Sportsheets International

Sportsheets has been in this business for 20 years now with a cadre of products designed precisely to appeal to our collective desire to experiment beyond the norm. People are dragging their sexualities out of the closet and trying new positions, acts and techniques using our products as the catalyst. Society is discussing bondage and fetish more often thanks to news articles and media frenzies like those surrounding “Fifty Shades of Grey,” giving journalists, bloggers and regular Joe’s and Jane’s permission to write, gossip and talk about it. Because kink is cool. Everybody has one — yours may be different from mine, but everybody finally understands that it’s OK to reach out and explore what gets us off. Whether it’s dolls, feathers, floggers — the list is endless. One person’s kink is another’s repulsion, but that’s the beauty of it all. Kink makes the world go ’round.

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