Staying at home for months has clearly had plenty of disadvantages, but some businesses are surprisingly booming as a result of social limitations. Among products that have become most popular are sex toys, as indicated by a consumer trends analysis from Tophatter which showed an increase online searches by nearly 30 percent.
What does this trend say about the state of physical intimacy — both when it comes to relationships and solo self-care sex? One expert, Dr. Carolina Pataky — a sex therapist and co-founder of the Love Discovery Institute — believes the increase in sex toy searches and sales is directly connected to the population's restricted access to physical human connection. "The extra time at home has left many people bored, anxious, depressed, or stressed," she explains, adding that stimulating sex toys, much like masks, are poised to become a part of our "new normal."
And for those of you making a list of safe summer activities you can do if you're limited to staying at home, Dr. Pataky notes that sexual experimentation — including the introduction of toys — could be a positive use of your time. "Being at home allows us to have the time to explore our sexuality," she says. "If you and your partner have been dealing with the homebody blues, the virus has given us a reason to connect. When we add sex, we can connect even more."
The way Dr. Pataky sees it, more time alone together means more time for sex, and if you and your partner have found yourself in a rut, now might be the perfect time to spice things up with toys. "Sex toys can provide a platform to break up the monotony of sex," she explains. But they're also helpful to those who don't currently have a partner. "For individuals staying home, sex toys can help bring a sense of realism that was previously unavailable," the expert adds.
That said, Dr. Pataky does warn that excessive masturbation, as well as excessive use of toys specifically, can be harmful to your relationships, your sex life, and even your mental health. "Of course, I always [suggest using] toys in moderation," she says. "Especially now when so many individuals are lacking the structure that they previously were accustomed to. It’s important that they remain focused on their day to day functioning as to not sabotage their work or their relationships. But if they keep the healthier aspects of sex, toys are great way to add some excitement in an otherwise strange year."
As for what to look for if you're considering adding a new toy to your sexual routine? Dr. Pataky says that impressively innovative and user-friendly toys are more accessible than ever. "Women have continued to enjoy a slew of new textures and materials that are safer and feel more realistic," she explains. "There are a number of fantastic brands and sellers making touch friendly toys and accessories." For beginners, she recommends a simple "comfortably sized dildo" with a vibrating function, whether in rigid, smooth shapes or something more soft and flexible. If you want more bells and whistles, try incorporating features that provide even more stimulation, like variable speed settings, attachments, and the inclusion of both internal and external stimulation. Ahead, find a few best-selling toys that might be just the thing you need to make self-care time at home a little spicier.
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