Sexuality is a complex subject matter, and there are many ways to approach it. However, most people will probably agree that the aspect at the core of it all is pleasure. And pleasure is also the focus of lesexenrose.com. But the masterminds behind the website don’t approach their project from the viewpoint of experts; instead, their goals is to meet their readers and viewers at eye level. In our EAN interview, we talk about their strategy, their goals, and about the general direction in which sexuality – and consequently, the erotic market – is evolving.
On Le Sex en Rose, you are “writing about every natural, interesting, and funny thing related to pleasure“. Why did you decide to start this website? Le Sex En Rose: I realised that people usually find it difficult to talk openly and honestly about sex. In small talk, we tend to quantify sex and to measure it in terms of duration, size, number of partners. In education, sex is depicted as something we need to protect ourselves from: Sexual education usually takes into account only the risks – unplanned pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases.
It seems to me that we are missing the point and the best of human sexuality: pleasure. I think this puts a lot of pressure, shame, and negativity on sex and desire.
Only if we start from pleasure can we build a truly sex-positive culture that makes people feel comfortable and relaxed about exploring their body, their desire, their fantasies.
Of course, if you’re into specific fetishes and kinks (and you’re conscious about that) you probably can find online and offline communities where you get info and meet like-minded people with whom you can explore and talk openly about things.
But if you’re just curious about sex in general – maybe you want to improve the sexual connection with your partner, or you’re looking for a way to feel good about yourself and to know your body better – you easily bump into extremely clinical or judgmental approaches.
I wanted a place where I could talk naturally and freely about sex, about the sexuality that people experience with in their everyday lives. So, I created Le Sex En Rose.
Could you tell us a bit about yourself and the team behind the project?
I’m actually just one half of Le Sex En Rose. My husband, who’s literally my better half, encouraged me to start this project – writing something that could make other women feel free to embrace and explore their sexuality with curiosity and without shame or guilt.
He’s the author of every single picture and video on the blog. He’s also a regular tester and reviewer of sex toys for male pleasure. But above all, he is the person I share my thoughts with before writing them down on the blog.
There are dozens of blogs and other media dedicated to pleasure and erotic products. What is the most important aspect that sets lesexenrose.com apart from all that?
I think the soft but clear approach – both visual and verbal – distinguishes Le Sex En Rose from other media.
The overall design surely makes the blog stand out visually. It reflects the great effort we put into shaping every single piece of content, carefully selecting each topic, product, and company featured on the blog. It’s our way to attach to sexuality the importance it deserves.
Actually, there’s another thing in our blog that’s drawing attention: the naked interviews, where both I and the interviewee sit in front of each other completely naked. The interviews allow me to enrich the blog with the words of people who, through their job, art, vision, contribute to empowering people to embrace and enjoy their sexuality in a safe, conscious, and fulfilling way. I wanted this format to be a way to normalise nudity as a means of getting rid of all the labels and status symbols that we let define us and setting our body and mind free of taboos and stereotypes.
Do you have a certain audience in mind when you write your articles?
I always wanted Le Sex en Rose to be a safe place that every kind of person would feel comfortable visiting.
I write the blog as an ordinary woman, wife, and lover exploring sexuality, not as an expert, and I try to write articles that other ordinary people can relate to without having a deep knowledge of some topics or mastering a very specific sexuality-related terminology.
What do you think are the most important changes we have seen in the erotic industry in the last few years?
A huge change was shifting the focus to female pleasure and consequently from penetration to other kinds of stimulation.
There’s still a lot of work to do, especially culturally, in order to expand the definition of sexuality and the list of what we consider sex. The clitoris is still often neglected by textbooks and journals but at least there’s a whole range of sex toys of different shapes, textures, and motions designed to massage, please, caress, stimulate it. Speaking of the pleasure products industry, another big change was the evolution of the old dead-meat-coloured, phallic-shaped sex toys into coloured, well-designed, body-safe objects that look nothing like genitals and are shaped to please the body as well as the mind.
What is the most important trend in this market today – the trend that will shape the industry and its products in the future?
On the technology front, there’s a lot of experimenting going on. Teledildonics allow pleasure to overcome barriers by intimately connecting people that are geographically distant. VR is trying to make pornography a more immersive experience. Robotics are being developed to replicate human movement, sexual behaviour, and also emotional responses, and people are discussing the socio-cultural implications of human-robot interaction. But this all will take time to go from niche to mainstream.
More realistically, there will be a lot of experimentation with design, materials, and textures in the manufacturing of sex toys – toys that are more adaptable and versatile, allowing different uses and different stimulations.
But, while it’s getting more and more acceptable for women to own and use pleasure toys, the same can’t be said for men. There’s still a stigma surrounding sex toys for men because of the cultural belief that masturbation is mostly a male activity a man should do without aids. Things are changing, also thanks to some brands that are shaping sex toys for men that don’t just replicate a body hole but are designed to enhance stimulation and offer a whole new experience of pleasure. I think and I hope that in the near future, there will be more sex toys designed around male pleasure.
Every person has a different sexuality, every body reacts different to stimulation. With this in mind, is it even possible to objectively test sex toys? What are the criteria you apply in your tests?
There’s nothing objective when it comes to sexuality and this makes it nearly impossible to write an objective sex toy review. It’s especially hard for toys like the popular rabbit that are designed to stimulate more than one spot simultaneously.
We can’t talk objectively about sensations, but we can give important info about features like quality, materials, safety, interface usability, etc.
What I try to do when I test and review sex toys is to suggest possible uses, to share my personal experience in a way that people can relate to, and to understand and communicate which kind of anatomy/sensitivity/experience they work best with in my opinion. Some toys are good for first timers, others require a deep knowledge of one’s body. Some are really noisy, others are very powerful or not powerful at all.
There are toys that look amazing in the pictures, in the descriptions, in the headlines and then fail in use because they just don’t suit the human anatomy. Others are very versatile and adapt to different body shapes. Many people buy toys online and don’t have the chance to touch them, to switch them on and hear their sounds, feel the intensity of the vibration.
With my reviews, I can give people information to help them narrow down the list of the toys they might like.
Does the average modern consumer have enough knowledge to find the right sex toy for her- or himself?
Luckily, this is a time when the sex toy brands themselves are communicating with the consumers, sharing information and suggestion. But the sex toy market is getting bigger every day, offering a huge range of different materials, shapes, stimulations, textures, technologies, interfaces. It’s not that easy to select the right sex toy, especially since you don’t have the chance to try it first.
Making the “right” choice also implies having a consciousness of your body and preferences and I think this is a part of knowledge many people still don’t have. But we’re getting closer.
Apart from English, you also publish your articles in Italian, and the blog is based in Bristol as well as in Turin. How would you describe the current state of the market in Italy? Which role does the brick and mortar business play, or do Italians only order their sex toys online?
The weight of religion and traditional culture is still relevant in Italy and keeps feeding the fake moralism that makes people feel ashamed, guilty, and embarrassed of their sexuality, pleasure, and desires.
I often speak with sex toy manufacturers and many of them report difficulties when trying to penetrate the Italian market. This is partly because of the culture and partly because of the fragmentation of the market due to the specificity of every region in terms of traditional culture, habits, economic strength, population density.
You will only find a few bright, boutique-style sex-positive stores in Italy, and most of the sales are made online.
Are you working together with manufacturers or retailers on your website or are you offering any services that would be of interest for them?
Outside of the blog, we both work as communication and marketing professionals.
Since we launched the blog, we got to know this field much better. We’re now collaborating with manufacturers and offer our range of services – like photo shooting and video production, social media strategy development and management, brand identity design, etc. – to brands and companies in this field.
Communication is key to connect with customers who are new to sexually-related topics and products.
Can you tell us a bit about your plans for the future of Le Sex en Rose?
I’m currently collaborating with other people, companies, and organisations to develop projects that can actually break the stigmas surrounding sexuality and encourage people to embrace pleasure. The dream is to turn Le Sex en Rose from a virtual space to a physical space where people can meet to expand their knowledge of sexuality by attending events, speeches, and happenings built around the subject.