trends

Men’s Products: Sexual Health Awareness Boosts Sales

Alex Henderson

In recent years, terms like “health and fitness,” “wellness” and “all-natural ingredients” have been used more and more in connection with men’s sex toys. These days, men’s sexual wellness is increasingly recognized as an important part of their overall health — and that is reflected in the market for sex toys, whether companies are selling masturbatory devices for men or sex toys that men can use as part of a couple.

Ari Suss, CEO of XR Brands, stressed that promoting men’s health is an integral part of marketing sex toys for men in 2016. “Yes, I do believe men have become more educated in the health benefits as well as the perks of regular prostate massage and masturbation,” Suss told XBIZ. “With the public more aware than ever of prostate cancer, prostate pleasure, and erectile dysfunction, we have definitely seen a boosted interest in our male massagers, pumps and masturbation devices. Along with the surge of Internet shopping, now men can conveniently and discreetly purchase toys to improve their sex lives as well as to maintain their prostate health.”

With the public more aware than ever of prostate cancer, prostate pleasure, and erectile dysfunction, we have definitely seen a boosted interest in our male massagers, pumps and masturbation devices. — Ari Suss, XR Brands

Suss added that mainstream outlets can be excellent vehicles for showing male consumers the health and wellness benefits of sex toys. “I think that editorial magazines popular among male readers are an excellent platform to effectively market to men,” Suss observed. “GQ magazine, automotive, sporting and lifestyle magazines are prime real estate with high return.”

According to Sabrina Dropkick, public relations and social media manager for Pipedream Products, mainstream media have been doing a lot to increase male interest in sex toys. “What we’ve seen with men’s toys is that their education and desires are being influenced by mainstream coverage,” Dropkick told XBIZ. “Tech-based toys are being covered by tech sites that are geared towards men, like Wired and Gizmodo. So men are itching for the next big technological innovation. Although these sites are broadening consumers’ awareness of pleasure-based toys — including virtual reality and automated items — there are still many markets within men’s toys. There are guys looking for better performance, or those that want to replace a relationship with a doll — or guys looking for training toys. The men’s toy category is a really huge market.”

Ryan Fraga, director of sales and marketing for OxBalls, explained that overall, male consumers have grown more health-conscious and quality-conscious in their use of sex toys. Fraga told XBIZ, “It goes in two directions: men want better sex, and more enhancements for sex than they used to. More men are open to welcoming toys in their sex life, which makes for better sex for them and their partner. Men are also looking for better quality toys, with better materials that are safer and function better. Things like vinyl that have strong chemical scents, or have real or perceived toxicity, have become less desirable. So yes, it goes beyond vivid fantasy.”

Fraga continued, “Not that long ago, there were almost no stretchy soft toys for men. Things were very basic and made out of substandard materials: neoprene cock rings that tore, metal cock rings that you’d sometimes have to get cut off, etc. Soft, better quality materials like silicone and TPR are all fairly recent developments.” Chad Braverman, chief operating officer and chief creative office for Doc Johnson, asserted that male consumers are a high priority for pleasure product companies in 2016. Braverman told XBIZ, “In the past few years, the pleasure product industry has been increasingly turning its focus towards the male market. More frequent coverage of sexuality and sex toys in the media, as well as the accessibility of anonymous online shopping, have helped to boost demand across a wide range of demographics — and we’ve been seeing a more recent growing demand for male products that address both style and functionality.”

Braverman cited Doc Johnson’s OptiMALE collection as a prime example of pleasure products that have a health/wellness component, saying, “OptiMALE incorporates a variety of high-quality materials and design, from cock rings made of luxurious black and slate silicone to an array of sexual enhancement creams, sprays and gels made from natural ingredients like tea tree oil, aloe and Vitamin E. As the first-ever comprehensive men’s sexual health and wellness collection, every aspect of the line — from the naturally derived body products, to the smart designs and the sleek packaging — makes OptiMALE the perfect essential, go-to brand for men. Customers love the entire collection, which shows us that people are willing to spend a little extra when it comes to higher-quality materials.”

Kristen Tribby, director of marketing and education for Fun Factory, emphasized that titillation is only part of the picture when it comes to educating male consumers on the benefits of sex toys. “We are seeing a rise in education specifically designed for the cis male demographic,” Tribby told XBIZ. “Men’s pleasure and health is also getting more mainstream attention: i.e., Movember. However, education for female-bodied people is still in the forefront of our industry. Fun Factory customers of all genders are interested in more than titillation.”

Tribby continued, “We need only look at our industry to see that men are quickly becoming sophisticated sex toy shoppers. Where we used to see mostly cock rings and sleeves, the market for toys aimed at men has expanded to include sophisticated prostate toys and penis vibrators, made from a variety of body-safe materials.”

Justin Ross, president and founder of The Screaming O, stressed that more than ever, male consumers are seeking education where sex toys and health are concerned. “Men are absolutely more interested in learning about different ways they can experience sexual pleasure, especially now that more sex toys and adult products are being designed specifically for male pleasure,” Ross told XBIZ. “Traditionally in the sex-toys-for-men market, much focus is put on the penis as men’s pleasure center — which, for many men, rings true. But there are other external erogenous zones on and around the male genitals that are often ignored. So we make sure that during our research and design phase, we pay attention to them all.”

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