3 min

Recession paves way for innovative sex toys

Demand for toys has remained strong: Forbes

NOT YOUR AVERAGE SEX TOY. As the stock market flounders, demand for sex toys has remained strong, says Forbes. Logically, that means we'll see more and more innovative products, such as the Cone (shown above).

Popular wisdom has long maintained that when the stock market plummets, hemlines drop as well. Conversely, a robust market leads to miniskirts. More wealth, more leg. But lest we spuriously deduce that this means a healthy economy is sexier, Forbes magazine has recently hit us with a story to the contrary.

In mid-December came the joyful news that sex toy manufacturers are cushioned from economic downturns. An industry spokeswoman was quoted as saying, “It does seem people use us even more heavily in bad times.” Gee, that’s nice. I guess during a recession people tend to turn towards homespun activities, and getting off is a tried-and-true DIY pastime. According to Forbes, access to sex toys has also expanded. Gone are the days when our vibes and dills were hidden in the bottom of a drawer. Now even Wal-Mart proudly displays them on suburban, big-box shelves.

That’s a relief in places like Winnipeg, where sex toys are often sold in the same stores as dog-eared porn, frat-boy party favours and stripper-wear. Which is not to besmirch used-porn buyers (obviously they recycle, which is admirable). Or fraternities. Or exotic dancers. But as a woman (and animal lover) I would prefer not to shop next to an inflatable sheep. I like having more retail options and more product options (which can only add up to more fun).

That said, I don’t have a car, so Wal-Mart is out of the question. I admit I’m thrilled by the thought of Costco selling sex toys. Everything there comes in very large sizes. But for me it would be the same problem. Without a vehicle, no go. So, like many of us in the hinterlands, I really have two viable options: online mail order or simply waiting until I’m in a big city to do my shopping.

Fortunately, a couple of weeks ago I happened to be in Toronto, so I took the opportunity to check out the phallic market: a little auto-erotic sex tourism. And at my sex shop of choice two new things caught my eye.

The first was a design feature I have never noticed before: vibrators with lanyards — no doubt for the seasoned outdoorswoman. I can imagine how frustrating it must be to be both rockclimbing and coming, and to drop one’s tool. No doubt many a happy camper has been exuberantly rocking a canoe, only to have her love-utensil slip from her hand to the murky lake bottom. And let’s not even speak of the mundane frustration that comes from having to rummage in the tent or the backpack when overcome with desire. Far better to dangle that pleasure prong around your neck or wrist for ease of access at a moment’s notice. As every bushwoman knows, it is important to be prepared.

The other news in sex toys is something called the Cone. It can be infinitely programmed to vibe at many different speeds and intensities. It might even be able to record your favourite TV show. But more than being a mere technological marvel, it is an imposing presence. To call it furniture would be an exaggeration, but it’s definitely bigger than a knickknack. There is certainly no room for this peaked, salad-plate-sized contraption in my tickle trunk. I suppose you could leave it on your coffee table as a conversation starter. Luckily its minimalist black or white styling will compliment any décor. And since it doesn’t look anything like a dong, your mom will be none the wiser when she visits. I’m also a bit unclear what you do with it besides sit on it. Any further manipulation would require two hands and some upper body strength. Who knows? Maybe it’s the best thing since batteries. I just couldn’t imagine how I would get it home. Air Canada is very strict about the two-bag rule.

I’m certain this is just the beginning of a whole new generation of product innovation. No doubt there is much more to come (so to speak). The stock market continues to flounder, which, according to Forbes, means more sex toy sales. More sex toy sales mean more resources for research and development. More research and development means more variety: colours, shapes, solar powered… the possibilities are endless. See, there always is a silver lining! I guess every economic crisis has its winners and losers. And this time it looks like we’ve won.