According to a new report on the global sex toy industry released by the Statistic Brain Research Institute, South Africa has the third highest number of adult toy Google searches in the world, trailing closely behind the United States and the United Kingdom.
Seventy percent of sex toys are made in China, and almost 20% of these are exported to South Africa. The global sex toy industry has been valued at approximately R240 billion.
Speaking to Times Live, Bonnie Brunton, co-owner of an adult boutique in Umhlanga called The Bedroom, says clients spend excessive amounts on high-end sex toys – anything from R1 000 to R7 000 at a time.
“Our boutiques perform better than our online stores because most clients want the experience of coming into the store and they want to learn about the product. Some are shy when they first arrive, while others walk in and know exactly what they want,” she said.
“Demand continues to grow. People want to spice up their sex lives and there really is nothing wrong with that.”
Brunton added that the topic of sex can sometimes be considered taboo in conversation, but that doesn’t mean people are not exploring new things.
The Statistic Brain Research Institute also reports that the top five most popular items bought online are, in order, vibrators, rubber penises, lubrication, anal beads and penis rings.
Some studies have linked the use of vibrators to improved sexual health. One study led by researchers at the Center for Sexual Health Promotion at Indiana University’s School of Health, Physical Education and Recreation found that vibrator use is very closely associated to more positive sexual function and being more proactive in caring for one’s sexual health.
“The study about women’s vibrator use affirms what many doctors and therapists have known for decades – that vibrator use is common, it’s linked to positive sexual function such as desire and ease of orgasm, and it’s rarely associated with any side effects,” said Debby Herbenick, Associate Director at the centre
Interesting to note is that a number of men are also using vibrators, with no statistical difference between the rates of vibrator use by men who identified as heterosexual, bisexual or homosexual.
“The study about male vibrator use is additionally important because it shows that vibrator use is also common among men, something that has not been documented before,” said Micheal Reece, Director of the centre.