Just a few years ago you couldn’t throw a rock without hitting the latest incarnation of a CBD beauty and wellness product. To say the calming, soothing ingredient was trending is an understatement. Right now, we’re amid a sexual wellness revolution, as vibrators, vulva creams and libido-boosters are being sold in the wellness category at Ulta and Sephora alongside face oils, gua sha stones and bath bombs. Sexual wellness is the new “feel good now” category that is blowing up just as fast as cannabidiol-based products did a few years back.
According to a recent “Global Sex Toys Market Report,” the global sexual wellness market is expected to grow to $43 billion by 2025. “The sexual health market is booming recently, largely due to a younger generation of liberal-minded individuals willing to be vulnerable and honest and talk openly about one of the core pillars of human wellbeing,” says bido supplement co-founder Andreas Wikborg. “There’s been a generational shift, especially in the western world, where we are encouraging people to talk about previously taboo and stigmatized topics and bring them to light.”
Healthy Sex Equals Wellness
While it may seem like the Goopification of intimate products has pushed the category into the wellness space, Wikborg says it has long belonged here. “Ironically, people don’t realize sex has always been a part of wellness. The World Health Organization even defines sexual health as a ‘state of physical, emotional, mental and social well-being in relation to sexuality,’” he shares. “This is what is at the center of at the center of what we are trying to achieve with our wellness shot and brand identity.”
Pandemic-Era Attitude Shifts
During the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic, Hims & Hers Senior Director of Innovation Lindsey Roberts says the company saw a rise in the purchases of self-pleasure toys, giving way to a shift in attitudes. “This triggered a movement by many key players in the space to destigmatize the topic, especially for women,” she explains. “Our first-ever Hims & Hers ‘Let’s Talk About Sex’ 2022 Report also found that new social norms, an up-and-coming generation, and new digital health resources are all changing how America perceives sex and care related to sexual wellness.”
Vella Bioscience places women’s pleasure at the forefront of their brand and brand creator and chief marketing officer Bulbul Hooda says we have been under-served in the sexual wellness category for decades, but with increased education and access we’re catching up quickly. “We are now equipped to have complete agency over our bodies and claim our fundamental right to pleasure,” she says. “We are on a quest to normalize this category by leading conversations that break the associated stigmas.”
Beacon Wellness, a fast-growing personal care appliance and sexual wellness company, says they’ve partnered with retailers like Walmart, Target, CVS, Walgreens and Amazon. “While there is still a stigma surrounding the category, we’ve teamed up with key retailer partners to make our plusOne sexual wellness brand more accessible and available. We found many women were surprised to hear they could purchase these products during their average weekly shopping trip,” said a spokesman for the company.
Meeting Consumer Desires
According to Rosebud Woman founder Christine Mason, we can also thank technology for giving us more visibility into what people are looking for. “When we look at search data for intimate and sexual health, we see that the need is great,” explains the feminine wellness brand owner. “The data has been key in convincing buyers and retailers to take a risk on a new category. Women want solutions for things like dryness, irritation, perineal care, sexual pain, arousal support and so much more. They want to know more about the normal cycles a female body goes through.”
While we have come a long way, Wikborg notes there’s still a long way to normalize sexual wellness concerns and solutions. “Purchasing sexual health products can be compared to buying serums, face creams, SPF and body washes—we don’t just buy these things to fix a specific problem, but rather to look after all aspects of our bodies in a healthy, sustainable way.”