CalExotics’ Pleasure Industry Survey shows retailers leading the charge on sex ed

 CalExotics, has released key findings from a recent survey of industry professionals. A statistic to set the stage – the majority of retailers (62 percent) believe that their customers seem negatively impacted by their sex ed upbringing. 

“I’m not shocked that 62 percent or retailers believe their customers seem negatively impacted by their past sexual education experiences,” said Dr. Jill McDevitt, Resident Sexologist for CalExotics, who helped administer the survey to a live audience via Zoom. “Most adults grew up with sex ed that was riddled with misinformation, untruths, stigmas and judgement. But with all of this lingering discomfort and shame, it’s inspiring and hopeful to know where they can turn for a better education…retailers! ” 

Retailers, particularly in recent years, have taken on a bigger role in the lives of their customers, serving as educational resources for their shoppers on topics far beyond product offerings. The survey concluded that retailers are commonly asked the following questions by customers:  

  • How can I please my partner? –  77 percent of retailers surveyed 
  • How can I spice up my relationship? – 77 percent of retailers surveyed 
  • Is _____ normal? – 73 percent of retailers surveyed
  • How can I introduce ______ to my partner/ask my partner for _____? – 69 percent of retailers surveyed 
  • How can I have an orgasm during intercourse? – 69 percent of retailers surveyed 
  • How can I increase my partner’s libido? – 65 percent of retailers surveyed 
  • What is _____(terminology they read online)? – 58 percent of retailers surveyed 
  • How long should sex last? – 31 percent of retailers surveyed

“Some of these frequently asked questions are product-related, yes, but there are also many that go far beyond that on a physical and emotional level,” said Dr. McDevitt. “And at the root of all of these responses is one important common denominator – compassion.” 

According to McDevitt, compassion is perhaps the Number 1 reason why customers feel so comfortable posing these highly intimate questions to retailers. When interacting in what feels and appears to be a judgement-free, compassionate zone, people are willing to open up, express their concerns and desires, and learn new things. 

What is it about pleasure product businesses – online or in person – that make customers feel comfortable seeking out new information?  The different tactics retailers are taking including: sex-positive marketing (72 percent), sexual health merchandise (68 percent), ongoing training (60 percent), sex-positive corporate culture (56 percent), and sex-positive displays (52 percent). 

“When pleasure product businesses go the extra mile to make their spaces, virtually or brick and mortar, a ‘safe space’ for growth, learning, open communication and acceptance, they quickly become sanctuaries for sex ed,” said Susan Colvin, Founder and CEO of CalExotics. “In the past few years, we’ve really seen retailers take on an educational role for their customers, which is leading to bigger communities, more trust, and in many instances, more sales.” 

So where do we go from here?  Colvin says that there’s only one way to go – forward and to do more!  The survey also indicated some areas in which retailers would like to implement more educational tactics. Many retailers want to implement books and resources (52 percent), do more community work (43 percent), take part in ongoing training (39 percent) and offer classes (39 percent). 

“Retailers have become the new wave of sex ed teachers and as such, it’s our duty to continue serving our communities in this way,” added Colvin.