Diamonds Upstaged by Sex Toys
They say that a dog is a man’s best friend. They say diamonds are a girl’s best friend.
But a woman’s best friends are her sex toys.
Don’t you wish you owned a sex toy company? As the pandemic continues, sales are way up both for conventional sex toys and for the (previously underperforming) teledildonics market. In case you’re wondering, “teledildonics” refers to Bluetooth-enabled sex toys that allow long-distance couples to pleasure each other by using a phone hosted app. With many couples sheltering separately, this is an idea whose time may have come – if you’ll pardon the expression. And women sheltering alone with time on their hands are inclined to put something else in their hands… and in other places.
All kidding aside, while sales are up, sex toy companies may have a bumpy ride in the months ahead. In her blog, “Dildos in a Pandemic,” the terrific blogger Epiphora points out that the industry may be in for a tough time. With so much invested in now-shuttered brick and mortar stores, and with limited access to government aid (those morals clauses are a killer), manufacturers, distributors and stores are all being challenged. Some products are simply disappearing.
So setting aside the lust for a healthier investment portfolio, there is the even more important question of which sex toys we women after midlife should buy. It’s a question that has become increasingly charged during lockdown.
The quest for the perfect vibrator for women after midlife made a big public splash on the third season of the television show Grace and Frankie, in 2017. The question of how to design a better vibrator for older women was top of mind for the screenwriters. In the show, the two main characters create and market a vibrator for seniors, the aptly named “Menage a Moi.” It’s pretty great that a television show focused on postmenopausal women developing a sex toy. This imaginary toy had lots of great features: glow-in-the-dark controls, easy to reposition, lightweight, and a soft grip gel sleeve. But, as this article points out, real toys can have even more features than the fictional “Menage a Moi,” including rechargeable batteries, multiple vibration settings, and being waterproof for use in the tub or shower.
As I mentioned in a previous blog, Joan Price, the queen of older adult sexuality, frequently writes about real life sex toys for older women. Joan’s Senior Planet article, “A Senior’s Guide to Vibrators,” includes a list of questions to ask yourself – everything from how strong a vibration you prefer, to how concerned you are about noise.
Joan stresses the importance of choosing a vibrator made with body-safe materials, and she is not the only one raising concerns about the safety of materials in sex toys. Smitten Kitten, a Minneapolis sex toy store, started a program at badvibes.org to inform customers about the dangers of toys made from industrial grade, rather than medical grade, materials. For more information on safety, click here to learn what a CE mark is, and why it’s a good idea to consider toys with a CE mark.
Epiphora is passionate on this subject and wrote a very educational article, focused on the need for body-safe materials and the unfortunate pushback from industry. She has some great suggestions for ensuring your toys are safe.
Joan Price also writes about the importance of softer materials for the delicate tissues of older women. For women with arthritis, ease of use is another consideration. Once you’ve considered all the criteria you want or need, click here for reviews of individual products from the standpoint of senior users.
While many of these reviews are written by Joan and directed at women, others are written by an older man and directed at seniors with penises. Joan also recommends Epiphora as a reviewer. Although she is not an older woman herself, Epiphora is a great ally because of her supportive relationship with her mother, a sexually vibrant older woman. Her reviews are plentiful and well-written.
Even after you’ve read the reviews and chosen your ideal vibrator, keep in mind that phallic-shaped vibrators are not the whole story. Toys with suction, especially for the clitoris, can be a great addition to the toy bag of the sexy older woman. By all accounts, these toys, called “air pulse” or “clitoral suction” vibrators, provide a very different sensation that is totally out of keeping with their appearance (which is something like a banana slug with one end cut off). One model, the We-Vibe Melt, even has Bluetooth capability. We all know that looks can be deceiving, and I may have to get over their appearance and try one of these.
And last but certainly not least, be sure to choose lubricants that will promote your enjoyment, whether you are having sex solo or with a partner. While lube is great at any time in life, it’s especially key after menopause. Here is a great Senior Planet article that discusses the ins and outs of lubricants.
It describes the advantages of silicone lube for sensitive older genitals, the moisturizing effects of aloe vera, and the ingredients to avoid so that you can minimize the risk of a urinary tract or vaginal infection. The combination of the right lubricant and the right sex toy can add so much to your mood while we are sequestered.
Yes, lockdown is a drag. But as I wrote in my last blog, one big lesson of living in this time is not to defer joy. So let’s make the most of this difficult phase in our collective lives and make friends with our vibrators. After all, if we had to have a pandemic in our lifetime, at least we are in lockdown with Grace and Frankie and some great sex toys, hence I ask the question, “Are diamonds upstaged by sex toys?”