Sex toys are a billion dollar industry. The worldwide market is projected to reach 29 billion dollars by 2020, according to research by TechNavio. Even so, these devices are still taboo, which leaves many consumers with countless questions and concerns.
“It is not easy to approach the use of sex toys for the first time,” said Tameca Harris-Jackson, a 41-year old sex educator. “Videos, magazines and some online websites can sometimes portray their use in ways that are intimidating or that can create misconceptions.”
Sex toys may not be for everyone, but those interested in finding new ways to enhance sexual pleasure may find sex toys and devices as a positive option, she said.
Before purchasing a device, she suggests research: Make sure the toy you have in mind is the best type for your needs.
Sex toys require more than simple soap and water. Instead, owners should invest in specialized cleansers that sanitize, but don’t break down the material, said Charissa O’Quinn, a senior consultant of Pure Romance, a sex wellness company.
Using a sex-toy specific cleanser is important to prevent health problems. With silicone toys, if not cleaned properly, it can lead to infections because the toy has a film on it that can collect dirt and bacteria, added the 27-year-old Gainesville resident.
According to O’Quinn, sex toys should be used with lubricant and should not be stored collectively.
O’Quinn wants to break the stigma that masturbation is dirty or unnatural. She explains it can be a way to alleviate stress or become a happier human being.
“There’s nothing dirty about using a toy. It’s like a tool. It’s an instrument,” she said. “Just like if you were an artist, it’s like a paintbrush. It’s going to help you get to that masterpiece that you want.”
These devices are not only for cis-gender females. There are devices for males, transgender individuals and those in the process of transitioning as well.
“Regardless of gender or sexual orientation, any person who desires can use sex toys,” Harris-Jackson said. “There are many options of pleasure toys out there and most are designed for almost any person's body to be able to use.”
Monday night, Pure Romance introduced the RGB collection, which is designed for “all genders, identities, and orientations.”
“You know, there wasn’t a safe place for the trans community for a long time anywhere. They couldn’t go in and get these devices,” O’Quinn said. “We are now starting to cater to that group that was before left behind.”
As with most technology, there is always some ponderance as to how it will affect us. Some worry that sex toys will leave “regular” sex in ruins.
For those with this valid concern, O’Quinn explains sex as a cheeseburger.
“They’re fulfilling. It’s delicious, but sometimes you just want a bacon cheeseburger,” she said. “And it's not that you’ll never have a cheeseburger again, it’s just that this time you want it with bacon on it.”