When the Hitachi Magic Wand first launched in the 1960s, it flew off shelves once an off-label use spread through whispered wildfire: the intense vibrations doubled could help you have an incredible orgasm. In the sixty-plus years since, the OG vibrator has remained iconic, only needing minor updates (like the more recent cordless option).
“It’ll always be culturally relevant,” says Kayla Marmillion, general manager of Austin-based and online lingerie and sensuality shop Elle’s Boutique. “No matter what other breakthroughs there are in the sex toy world.”
In the past two years—with a lot of time spent at home—we’ve not only seen major technological advancements in the world of sex toys, but also increased sales. A study from the Journal of Psychosexual Health found that when the first lockdown was announced in 2020, consumers began “panic buying” several categories, including sex toys, which saw an increase in sales of 30% in a single month.
“People really opened up to the idea of anal plugs during the pandemic,” adds Elle Florescu, owner of the eponymous Austin shop. “Maude, which is like the Apple of sex toys, launched one that was aesthetically pleasing, very straightforward, and relatively entry level. People are really into it. It’s a new era for sex tech because those toys used to be considered something incredibly niche.”
Germany-based Satisfyer is also pushing the limits in the realm of orgasms. Twenty of the brand’s best-selling vibrators, from the air pulse-enabled Love Triangle to the classic Curvy, can be synced with their (super-encrypted) app. From there, you can access the Remotyca feature: the app is filled with sexy audio-only short stories that work in tandem with your vibrator—completely handsfree. As the story plays out loud—and you imagine it in your mind’s eye—the vibrator creates the sensations you’d be feeling if you were right there.
Other popular pleasure toys at Elle’s, because it is almost Valentine’s Day, after all, include the WeVibe Chorus or Moxie Panty Vibe for couples; and the Kiki de Montparnasse Flexivibe for any time. And when it comes to true breakthroughs, Lora DiCarlo is another one Florescu and the shop girls at Elle’s are excited about.
“Each toy is tailored to a specific sensation,” Florescu says. “They don’t look cheesy or phallic, but instead confidently a sex toy. And all of the movements have been engineered to emulate the human body.”
The Sway is a popular pick for those shopping at Elle’s in person, partially because of the warming sensation that enhances the experience (that’s another advancement that’s been popular in the last few years).
Though, Florescu says, the most important thing when searching for the best vibrator for you or a partner is comfort level. “There’s a massive barrier to entry because people are intimidated by shopping for sex toys,” she says. “When you have the chance to see these toys in person or talk to an expert about what they do or what they are looking for from there, the whole world opens up.”
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