opinion

Has the Pandemic Caused a BDSM Toys Sales Boom?

Has the Pandemic Caused a BDSM Toys Sales Boom?

This year has been full of changes for everyone, including shifts in our intimacy and sex lives. People have had to adapt to the new realities of their own relationships during the pandemic, which has led people to become more creative with how they experience intimacy and sex. According to a survey done by Psychology Today, about one in five people reported expanding their sexual repertoire during the pandemic. With my experience as an adult store retailer, I have noticed that these consumers who are looking to improve their intimacy and sex lives have turned to BDSM for these ideas. This is because BDSM has the ability to be practiced by anyone, anywhere and provides an escape through creatively deepening intimacy.

At one point or another, we have all looked for a distraction from what has been happening in the world, and for many, BDSM has been that escape. Utilizing BDSM in this way has given people the opportunity to better connect with their relationships and their partners. Participating in BDSM makes room for people to communicate, trust and consent in a way that “vanilla” sex and relationships may not always facilitate.

[BDSM] has risen in popularity during the pandemic because of its versatility and its ability to work for different types of people.

I’m not saying these conversations don’t happen, but it is found to be less common. Having these discussions beforehand can help focus people’s headspaces on their partners and on the activities they are engaging in. Practicing BDSM can also help deepen intimacy by engaging in power play or domme/sub relationships. This is due to one partner giving up some power to another in some way, and trusting that partner to make decisions for them (like how many cookies they can have) or expecting certain things from their sub (like calling their dominant by a certain title).

Another reason why BDSM has been more popular during the pandemic is because engaging in BDSM promotes more creativity in the bedroom because many BDSM items are very versatile and can be used together in many different types of play. For example, a consumer can use a simple sash to restrain someone, to gag someone, or to blindfold them. They may also use this item during foreplay, during sex, during a massage, during a spanking, and in many more ways! This spark of creativity that consumers get with BDSM helps them to focus on their relationships and sex rather than outside stressors by giving them ways to experience sex and intimacy as a creative outlet.

One of the best aspects about BDSM is that it can be done by anyone regardless of sexuality, gender, ability, or distance from partners. Since BDSM can be played with sexually and non-sexually, it opens the door to include people who fall on the asexual spectrum. For example, some people can play with rope bondage sexually by playing into the naughtiness of being restrained and incorporating it into sex or another sexual activity.

For others who may want to play with rope bondage non-sexually, they can be tied up and focus more on the intimacy aspect of it and giving up control to their partner who is tying them up. For some, this may cause an almost meditative state and help them relax by promoting a feeling of closeness, security and trust with their partners. With almost all BDSM play, there is a way to engage in it sexually and non-sexually, which can benefit many relationship styles by promoting creativity and intimacy for all.

According to a survey done by BDSM dating app KinkD, the top three kinks during the pandemic are: virtual sex, dom/sub, and orgasm control. Due to the pandemic, more people have been engaging in long-distance relationships and have been experiencing sex and intimacy through sexting, video chat and teledildonics. Many consumers have been interested in incorporating BDSM into their long-distance relationships, and teledildonics is the biggest contributor to that. Teledildonics has been one of the bestselling product categories during the pandemic. These toys can be used at any distance and usually have secure in-app chats and video chats for consumers to use. These toys have also helped introduce people to the idea of power play because of the toy's ability to be completely controlled by another partner. This introduction to long-distance power play has paved the way for other BDSM activities to be done through sexting and video chat. Introducing power play and BDSM to long-distance relationships has opened new doors to how people can experience sex or intimacy.

As a retailer, I have found BDSM has served a very important role to consumers with how they are playing with their partners during the pandemic. BDSM has provided an escape during a time at which they may have needed it most. It has risen in popularity during the pandemic because of its versatility and its ability to work for different types of people. BDSM has helped many people become more creative with their partners and has promoted a new way for people to experience intimacy.

Brittany Greenberg is the co-founder of Cupid's Closet, a retail store that was created to give individuals a space to embrace our own, as well as others’, sexuality without judgment or embarrassment.

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