Sex, more and more, is being discussed not only from an erotic standpoint, but also, from a health and wellness standpoint. MensHealth.com, MensJournal.com and many other mainstream websites have been reporting that sexual activity can have numerous health benefits for men, from preventing heart disease to combating high blood pressure and hypertension. And the adult industry is taking notice; with the sex toys/pleasure products sector and prominent sexperts touting the ways in which an active sex life can help men live longer.
Aneros manufactures a variety of men’s pleasure products, including stimulators and lubricants — and according to Brent Aldon, Aneros’ director of sales and marketing, stressing health and wellness has been an important part of the company’s marketing strategy.
With our background in the medical field, we made it our mission to educate the consumer. -Brent Aldon, Aneros
“With our background in the medical field, we made it our mission to educate the consumer about the sexual health benefits achieved through our products,” Aldon told XBIZ. “We are the pioneers of prostate play.”
Aneros’ male customers, Aldon noted, include heterosexual, as well as gay and bisexual men — and all of them, he stressed, can benefit from prostate play.
“There is a misconception, stigma and taboo when it comes to anal prostate play that anal play is (only) meant for gay men,” Aldon explained. “In reality, it is not.”
Aldon continued, “Prostate products set the foundation for improving male sexual health and functions. Not only does research show that massaging the prostate can improve sexual wellness — such as improving blood flow, maintaining a healthy prostate and helping with prostate-related issues — it aids in stronger ejaculations, clearer semen, erectile dysfunction and even lowers the risk of prostate cancer.”
Dr. Ava Cadell, one of the U.S.’ most prominent sexperts, has written and lectured extensively about men’s sexual health — and she is glad to see more pleasure products being marketed to men than in the past.
“Men’s products are becoming a lot more mainstream, sophisticated and high-end luxury items,” Cadell told XBIZ. “Men’s sex toys are the third bestselling category on SexToy.com and other retail sites, next to vibrators and dildos. So, they are very popular. Men have more disposable income and are more willing to spend money on themselves now when it comes to sex toys.”
Cadell continued, “There is no doubt that sex toys were originally marketed towards women, then couples and finally, men. I think it’s because men are so good at giving themselves a hand job, and sex toy manufacturers didn’t want to invest unless it was a guaranteed return on their investment.”
Products that promote masturbation, Cadell said, can play an important role in men’s health.
“There will always be a stigma around anything that includes the word masturbation even though we’ve being doing it since the beginning of time,” Cadell observed. “That’s why I write so many articles on why masturbation is good for your health. For men, this is important because it replenishes and rejuvenates sperm, with ejaculation making for an excellent preventative against prostate cancer and improving reproduction.”
Dr. Hernando Chaves, another well-known sexpert, stressed that given the health and wellness benefits of masturbation for men, it is regrettable that self-pleasure is still being stigmatized.
“Unfortunately, stigma still exists surrounding male masturbation and sex toys,” Chaves told XBIZ. “Some of the stigma is associated with false beliefs of masculinity, where masturbation is seen as a step down from having sex with a partner. Another aspect that can create stigma is conservative and religious cultures where masturbation and sexual enhancement products are viewed as sinful, degrading or improper. These cultural messages can become entrenched in our belief systems and can fuel shame, guilt and stigma with masturbation and sex toys. There’s light at the end of the tunnel, though. We’re now seeing sex toys, often doubling as massagers, in mainstream outlets and more visibility in the media. While I think female sex toys will pave the way, male sex toys will eventually gain more mainstream exposure and begin to reduce the stigma.”
Patrick Lyons, VP of marketing for Diamond Products (which includes Pipedream Products, Jimmyjane and Sir Richard’s Condoms), described men’s sexual wellness and male sex toys as attractive growth markets for the adult industry.
“While the women’s sexual wellness market has seen dramatic innovation and technology advances in the past decade, the men’s sexual wellness market has lagged behind,” Lyons told XBIZ. “However, we know that there is opportunity in this category. PornHub’s 2016 review showed that 64 million people visit its site daily, and 74 percent of all visits are men; men are looking for visual stimuli to enhance their masturbation experience, and there is also an opportunity to enhance their physical stimuli.”
Lyons continued, “Socially, male masturbation habits and porn consumptions are pretty widely spoken of; however, male sex toys remain a bit taboo. The items haven’t been marketed as aspirational, like in the female market. That is what we are trying to do with Sir Richard’s: speak to men and demonstrate how we can enhance the experiences they are already having. We don’t speak to the Sir Richard’s customer like they need help in a certain arena, but like he is a connoisseur who wants to have the best possible experience with top-quality ingredients or design elements.”
Chad Braverman, COO and CCO of Doc Johnson, noted that although male sex toys have been stigmatized, they have considerable growth potential — especially when men’s health is part of the discussion.
“One of the biggest marketing challenges in this sector is the lingering stigma that still exists regarding straight men owning sex toys,” Braverman told XBIZ. “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.”
Braverman added, “The male sexual enhancement market is one of our leading growth categories in 2017. We have seen a definite trend toward men taking a greater interest in their sexual health as part of their overall health and wellness regime, and the stigma of men owning a sex toy is slowly but surely fading away.”