Less than two years ago, the team at Hotwire was prepping to launch plusOne – the first vibrator sold across Walmart stores in the US. At the time, the media landscape was almost non-existent when it came to the subject of sexual wellness. Yes, there were round ups of ‘best vibrators’ across sex & relationship focused publications (think Cosmo and Elite Daily), but the articles were not taking the wellness benefits of vibrators or sex toys seriously. Instead, articles on the subject were light hearted and playful with only a few forward thinking publications, like Vox, discussing sex toys as wellness products too. The #metoo movement was well underway but sexual wellness and masturbation was not.
It was during this time that we launched plusOne – a time when it was pretty crazy to imagine a vibrator sitting on a Walmart shelf (I mean, we won an award for it!). And now here we are less than two years later with sexual wellness products considered to be a serious player in the wellness industry, which now even touches industries like CBD and beauty. In fact, a couple of weeks ago, on Valentine’s Day to be exact, we saw the launch of new app Lover – which lets users take a sexual personality quiz, explore carnal knowledge tutorials and discretely figure out which turn-ons you share with your partner – with barely a blush in sight. Companies openly trying to enhance Americans sexual wellness and happiness really are the new normal.
So, what’s changed? What brought on this new wave of brands leading the way when it comes to sexual empowerment? In my opinion, it is a combination of the self-care industry going from ‘luxury’ to ‘necessity’ – and this happening alongside the #metoo movement that opened up conversations that previously felt taboo. The combination of the bravery that #metoo brought to discuss this somewhat awkward (but not shameful!) topic led to women across the country being open enough to want to explore other ways of self-care through sexual wellness. And it’s not going anywhere. Bring.It.On.
Best New Company Launch: Making Masturbation Mainstream - plusOne with Hotwire