Who run the world?
The future of the sex space is bright for women, says Bryony Cole, creator and host of podcast Future of Sex. “A lot of my guests [on the podcast] are women, often designing pleasure products for women,” she says. Trend forecaster JWT Intelligence identified 2017 as the year of ‘vagina-nomics’, hailing the rise of with-you-in-mind products from toys to vulvar skincare and G-spot stimulators. Cole also namechecks toys such as Lioness – this US-available vibe tracks patterns in your orgasms and arousal to give you feedback about what turns you on. “There’s a big conversation at the moment about security [with tracking that sort of data],” says Cole. “But I think it goes a long way to making women feel good and in control.”
Toying with classics
Hot new vibe trend: revamped favourites – in other words, “looking back at strong hero products and making them the best they can be”, says Bonny Hall, sex toy designer at retailer Lovehoney. “We’re seeing improvements in design, power, function, material, look and feel.” Take the iconic Rabbit (which is still a hit nearly 50 years after launching – Lovehoney sales grow year on year). It’s been reinvented by online store Ann Summers with the Magnetize Rampant Rabbit ($134.34, annsummers.com), using magnets to increase sensitivity for next-level orgasms. Hall adds, “We’re working on ‘an ultimate toy’ at the moment, based on a classic design and thousands of customer reviews. It’s an exciting one.”
A new type of party
The words ‘sex party’ used to conjure awks ideas of chucking your keys in a bowl. But luxe events have revolutionised the scene – girls-only Skirt Club branched out to Oz in 2016, followed by Killing Kittens (KK) earlier this year. And KK founder Emma Sayle sees a diverse future. “Rather than just the classic house party, we’re doing more and more experiential events – cabaret nights and erotic dinner parties, along with workshops, retreat weekends, naked yoga. Events about exploring your sexuality and experiencing new things.” Intrigued? At your first party, just watch and get a feel for it all, suggests Sayle.
It’s not just long-distancers who’ll appreciate teledildonics – that’s a big word for sex toys that use an internet connection to let you ‘feel’ your partner and what they’re doing with their own toy in another room, city or even country. “People see teledildonics as a novelty right now, but it’s gaining steam,” says Cole. For now, try MysteryVibe’s Crescendo ($225, mysteryvibe.com). An app lets someone else control the vibe within a 30m bluetooth range (the company’s working on a longer-distance update). You could also go remote next time you’re out for dinner – or in Kmart; whatever turns you on – with vibrating knickers operated by a remote control (from $64.95, lovehoney.com.au). Underwear vibes and couple toys are on the rise, says Hall. That’s teamwork.
In (virtual) reality
One reason Cole started her podcast in 2016 was the emergence of virtual reality in sex tech. “There were these two guys in LA who wanted to create a scent release attachment to a VR headset, so you could look around and be in a hot tub with three supermodels,” she laughs. “I thought, ‘wow, that’s f*cked!’ but also what happens in a few year’s time when this technology is inside everyone’s homes rather than just fringe? It seemed to have so many ethical and psychological implications, and that’s interesting.” The fast-growing virtual world is all about escapism, adds Sayle. “Experiential and fantasy-world apps/sites will increase as the world we live in gets crazier and more stressful.” Watch this space.