Let's talk about sexual pleasure - an £18 billion industry

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Like many wellness trends (yoga, turmeric, massage, green tea) masturbation is hardly a new one for humans. The act of self-pleasure may have been around forever, but that doesn’t mean it’s been embraced as a natural and remedial practise, especially for women. Only recently, the subject hit headlines when a female vibrator was banned from CES, the world’s largest tech show, highlighting that the “old-school” approach to women’s sexual wellness is still most definitely around today.

But this is 2019. Luckily, some more progressive brands and influencers are starting to de-stigmatise masturbation and take sexual pleasure as wellness into the mainstream, marketing them alongside other wellness products.

Women’s tech retailer Soda Says recently announced the launch of its newest collection – the Sex Edit in collaboration with women’s influencers Natalie Lee (@stylemesunday) with support from the Pink Protest, founded by Scarlett Curtis and Grace Campbell.

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[AD] For the past few months I've been beavering away reviewing sex tech for @soda.says in between launching some shoes and getting dick pics. I know, you're feeling really sorry for me right now, aren't you? Well, funnily enough I'm fairly new to the whole area of sex tech so I come from a place of novice rather than well-practised veteran. Female pleasure and solo sex for women is often sidelined or discriminated against. CES – the largest tech festival recently revoked an award and banned a sex toy from a women-led company, which is one small example of how female pleasure is not considered important enough to be given a platform. Many of you will remember Instagram deleting my 'let's talk to kids about female masturbation' post, twice, even though it didn't in anyway breach guidelines. Well, as you know I don't take things lying down (except maybe when reviewing sex tech) and it's only made me more determined to talk, share and educate myself and others more about female pleasure. After all, I very much see it as an act of self-care, don't you? Swipe across to see my favourites and head to https://sodasays.co.uk/collections/wellness/sex-tech to see the full range available at Soda. Look out for events, including a panel talk coming shortly. #femalepleasure #solosex #sextech 1st Image by @chelonewolf

A post shared by Style Me Sunday | Natalie Lee (@stylemesunday) on

Soda Says noticed the migration of sex toys from basement sex shops and onto the nightstand of Britain’s women, in a global market estimated to be worth £18 billion.

This collection of vibrators aren’t intense realistic numbers, nor are they girly pink vibrators disguised as lipsticks. These are smart, sleek, chic and unapologetic sex toys.

Natalie said: “It’s still quite a taboo topic so often we don’t know if our female friends masturbate. My feeling is that women are doing no more and no less than previous generations, but the discussion of it is on the rise. As are gadgets to aid self-pleasure.” It’s even been hailed as the next big trend in beauty.

photo: citiesocial

Alex says: “Self-pleasure releasing endorphins which helps with our moods, it’s also been known to relieve stress and aid sleep.. Anything that aids sleep significantly helps with my beauty routine.

“Self-pleasure helps us to learn about our own bodies – what we like, what we don’t like and how we like it. It helps improve our relationships with others, when we can communicate our desires effectively. It’s powerful when you feel like you’re in control and you discover things through self-exploration. Therefore, I feel like self-pleasure can help with body image and self-esteem issues.”

Grace Gould, the director of Soda Says said the collection has seen a phenomenal response since its launch on the 1st February, and Sex tech is a category line they’ll continue to invest in and grow.

She says: “Sex toys used to be giant phallic shaped moulds of plastic. Women’s sex toys are now being designed for women’s pleasure, not a male concept of what women will find pleasurable. Today’s sex toys are innovative, design focus and using real technology.

“We put sex tech in the wellness category of our site alongside products to help you sleep, to help your skin, to help you work out. There’s no debate of the positive impact female pleasure has on a women’s health and wellbeing.

Prior to SODA I’d spent my career in tech, from working at Apple Retail to investing in tech startups at a London and Silicon Valley based Venture Capital firm. Tech retail was just so dull. It was either a phone store with a dodgy carpet, or these Apple style brand churches. No one was talking about tech or selling tech in a fun, irreverent and more importantly, sane way. So we started SODA – short for School of the Digital Age where we curate the best new tech products on the market with a mantra of ‘useful is the new cool’ with a weekly newsletter which tells you what’s what in the tech industry. Sex tech is a natural progressive. It’s new, innovative and female focused. Perfect addition to our tech edit!”

Women’s empowerment coach and vagina expert Grace Hazel believes the hands-on technique is best. She says: “Women across the globe are taking masturbation and transforming it’s old roots which hold a stigma of shame and taboo, and reframing it as Self Pleasure. When a woman can take time to fully dedicate her attention and touch towards her entire body in the way she would desire the most skilled of lovers to, she takes back her power to fill herself up. This is about getting to know your body from scratch. Using the simplicity of your hands to allow a new understanding to come forth around the intricacies of every single part of you, which in fact, with dedicated practice, is entirely more pleasurable than a quick fondle of your vagina”.

By Lucy

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