From cock rings and penis pumps to creams, gels and sprays, male sexual enhancement products have long been a fixture in the pleasure products/sex toys sector. But the marketing of those products has evolved considerably in recent years. And couples-oriented promotions, adult sex education and a diverse range of product options are doing their part to push the demand for male enhancement products in 2017.
Chad Braverman, COO and CCO of Doc Johnson — a sex toys institution that has been in business since 1976 — noted that more and more, male enhancement products are being marketed from a sexual health and wellness standpoint.
Today, the male enhancement category has evolved to take a more integrated approach toward sexual wellness that can encompass everything from grooming and personal care to enhancing pleasure and long-term sexual health. -Chad Braverman, Doc Johnson
“In the past, when you talked about male sexual enhancement products, you were talking about pills and supplements,” Braverman told XBIZ. “But today, the male enhancement category has evolved to take a more integrated approach toward sexual wellness that can encompass everything from grooming and personal care to enhancing pleasure and long-term sexual health. Additionally, men are looking for entire collections they can rely on — not just a product here and another there from various manufacturers. Trust is a hugely important factor, and in order to emphasize the standard of care that goes into each product, all products in the line must be well-made and thoughtfully designed.”
Braverman continued, “One of the biggest marketing challenges in this sector is the lingering stigma that still exists regarding straight men owning sex toys. As frustrating as this stigma is, brands and products can often leverage a couples-friendly approach or emphasize couples-friendly features to help remove some of that reluctance and help to normalize sex toys for men by offering an alternative experience centered around interaction — not just solo masturbation.”
Kathryn Hartman, sales and marketing director for Nasstoys, cited “herbal supplements, prescription drugs, desensitizing creams and sprays and penis enlargement pumps” as some of the most popular products for improving male sexual performance in 2017. And the fact that the sex toys/pleasure products market in general has enjoyed so much mainstream exposure in recent years, Hartman said, has been beneficial for male enhancement products.
“Nasstoys has been around since 1978; so, we can write a bestseller on the evolution of the sex toy business, which is now referred to by the more vanilla-flavored term ‘pleasure products industry,’” Hartman told XBIZ. “The Internet and media and now, mainstream retailers, have mutually contributed to the increased popularity and acceptance of all adult products. Human sexuality itself has evolved in so many directions, and these gender and relationship/lifestyle changes and acceptance thereof have greatly influenced product development. Men will always want more stamina and size; women will always want more sensitivity. The companies in our industry offer a myriad of creams, gels, sprays and supplements to help with this. Nasstoys is the original manufacturer of many of these items — specifically, Anal Ese, Stay Hard, China Shrink Cream, China Nympho Cream, Stallion Spray. These items all are such consistent top sellers that over the years, many other companies have duplicated our original formulas. And they all continue to sell consistent volume.”
Nichole Grossmann, assistant director of marketing for CalExotics, asserted that as long as men want to please their partners, the demand for enhancement products will remain high.
“Male enhancement products have been a staple in the market for years,” Grossmann told XBIZ. “Men’s interest is high when it comes to enlargement and lasting longer in bed… The most popular products for men include pumps and rings. Pumps are a large category, as men are always looking to be bigger and last longer — which can be achieved with this type of product. Rings are popular for a similar reason, but also, because they can be used to enhance their partner’s pleasure. Couples rings, which stimulate both partners, offer something for both partners. This appeals to both men and women.”
Jo Racklin, regional director for Pound International, cited adult sex education and couples-friendly marketing as two things that have been helping push the sale of male enhancement products.
“As sales staff at retail locations are becoming more involved with truly learning about products, they are better able to educate and introduce new items to consumers,” Racklin told XBIZ. “There are many options to choose from, and I believe that men and couples are willing to explore more ways to enhance great sex. In the sexual health and wellness category, there appears to be a real acceptance of male enhancement products happening — especially with the products that meet a certain standard of quality and are manufactured by trustworthy companies. I would argue that it’s not just about enhancement products, though. Couples are learning techniques. It’s a personal choice to invest time to learn a new technique.”
Racklin added, “It is likely that mostly men purchase products for men, but it is clear that women are joining their partners in selecting products and trying new things. And some women are quite comfy in making a suggestion to their partner.”
Vadim Days, a spokesperson for Bathmate and Brand One, observed that a wider variety of male enhancement products are available than in the past — and the pleasure products sector, he said, has been doing a lot more male-friendly marketing.
“The adult industry, for many years, was focused on toys for women,” Days told XBIZ. “Over the last 10 years or so, more and more male toys and more and more ways to enhance the male body have become available. Bathmate was launched to the market in 2006 and had a difficult birth; at that time, no one had heard of a hydro pump, and probably, no one believed how effective Bathmate pumps could be. Since then, Bathmate has introduced a full range of pumps catering to sizes from three inches to 11 inches, and a range of accessories to complement the range of pumps. There are now more and more male enhancement products available; they range from traction devices, pills and creams to pumps, and they are more accessible than ever before. Men are increasingly body-aware, and just as men go to the gym to train and look good, men also want to feel empowered where it matters most: in the bedroom.”