opinion

Bridging the Gap Between Sex Toy Manufacturers, Bloggers

Mark Espinosa

Come with me… and you’ll see… A sex toy world full of imagination! Once, the magical and mysterious mastermind of personal pleasure products, Willie Wanker, invited a few special guests into his top secret factory and granted them special access to all of his most secret of secret projects. Bloggers from all around the world scoured the Internet in search of the elusive “golden E-vite” that would grant them access into the most desirable sex toy locale in all the land. After the winners were announced, Willie personally provided them with a guided tour of his facility. Were these wonderful wonderments truly real or simply the beautiful dream of a madman? Dildos that customized themselves to fit the unique preferences of whomever touched them. Vibrators with batteries that were powered by the raw sexual energy of their users. Lubricants that need only be applied once and last forever! Unbeknownst to his blogging guest, this was not a simple tour of his factory, but actually a quest to discover who shall inherit his empire! As each blogger fell victim to one of his many wild creations, (the river of lube, the goose that laid the golden anal beads and the aphrodisiac pill that turned your body different colors of the rainbow, depending on your sexual arousal) Willie found himself with one remaining visitor — a blogger whose ideals greatly mirrored his own. One who refused to expose his secrets to the world. And most importantly of all, one who would never drag his name through the mud. Because, at the end of the day, Wanker knew that his nigh invincible imaginarium of sexual innovation could all come tumbling down with but a single blog post.

Just like in the magical world of Willie Wanker, a large portion of our industry’s social media experience is separated between “those who make” and “those who review.” Online bloggers remain ever vigilant in their quest towards better understanding the thought processes of adult manufacturers and adult businesses continually attempt to produce a product that doesn’t get rotten vegetables thrown at them. At least, that is my personal understanding since I also have a line of pleasure products that I desperately want people to enjoy. “Please love my dildos!” Being on the sales side of the spectrum, I’ve noticed that there tends to be two different paths most reviewers go down in their articles. (Mind you, these perceptions of mine are my unique industry perspective, so, please forgive me for reducing the large array of conversations had by online columnist down to these two limited categories.) I feel that online topics of discussion tend to focus on a particular product and its functionality OR a dissection o the decisions made by a particular company and/or decisions made within the industry as a whole. One has the more prominent purpose of educating end consumers about a specific product’s attributes with the intended goal of connecting a customer to a product that is perfect for their needs. The other puts a magnifying glass to the adult industry and publicly acknowledges specific aspects of it in an attempt to motivate positive change and increased transparency. Regardless of who you are in this industry, the one thing that we all have in common is that we all want those sweet eyeballs on our pages.

Just like in the magical world of Willie Wanker, a large portion of our industry’s social media experience is separated between “those who make” and “those who review.”

So, why is the relationship between manufacturers and online columnists so complicated? I hate to overly simplify the situation and say that one group is trying to survive by selling products and the other group is trying to survive by reviewing products. This (occasionally) symbolic relationship is often stressed when a situation arises that evokes an individual’s personal ideologies: “I think this product can perform these functions for these people.” “I can’t believe they claimed this product can do this for these people.” It’s a matter of perspective and not all individuals feel the same way that you do. People standing strong on their personal beliefs are to be expected when you work around something you are passionate about. In fact, I sleep better at night imagining that our industry is full of people who do what they do because it’s what drives them. But, If a manufacturer is trying to get quality products into the hands of people who need them and online reviewers are trying to make sure that the right products go to the right people, where does the disconnect occur? Ego? Conflicting ideologies? Regardless of the reason, I think the last thing anyone should be doing is condemn individuals for trying to contribute in making this world a better place. I also believe that people need to be more open to “behind closed door” conversations that allow everyone to clearly and calmly communicate their individual perspectives. More offline talking; less online rock throwing. We’re all in this industry together and the last thing we should be doing is fighting one another, especially when there’s a whole world out there ready to take us all on.

As national sales manager of Pleasure Works Wholesale, Mark Espinosa believes that as the industry progresses alongside communications technology, it’s important that we always remember that we get to say that we “give people orgasms for a living!” So, why not have a little fun in the process?

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