Trend: Now certified and eco-friendly sex toys

Faced with the explosion of the adult toy market, manufacturers are becoming eco-responsible and standardized. But are consumers really benefiting from this?

The sex toy market, so far valued at 30 billion francs, is expected to rise further to 54 billion by 2028.


Decidedly, sex toys are becoming more and more emancipated. A few weeks ago, luxury brand for adults Lelo teamed up with fashion giant Diesel to offer two intimate toys in the Italian company’s colors. In turn, influencers no longer seem to swear by the tests of the latest models. And last year, the British pope of naughty toys, Lovehoney, even received honors from Queen Elizabeth II through the prestigious Queen’s Award for Enterprise, rewarding outstanding economic performance.

Above all, the pandemic has already passed and the market has taken the opportunity to take a crazy scale in the last two years, with sales multiplied by three in the world. Or when confinement makes you want to let go… And again, according to the 2021 report by The Insight Partners institute, the sex toy market, so far valued at 30 billion francs, is yet to rise to 54 billion here in 2028.

A standard to regulate them

Meanwhile, the news today is that manufacturers are finally concerned about their consumers. Not only seeking to maximize the safety of their products, but also addressing environmental issues.

Last November, we saw for the first time the creation of the first international standard dedicated to sex toys – ISO 3533 – supposedly to help manufacturers design safer devices for their users. A Swedish surgeon, Dr. Martin Dahlberg, is the instigator and proposed to the SIS (Swedish Institute for Standards), an association that contributes to the development of standards in various sectors, to work on the subject. The famous Lovehoney Group, notably owner of brands such as Womanizer and We-vibes, then entered the financing of this standard. “We are convinced that this type of standard is an important step forward for the entire industry”, explains Johanna Rief, director of public relations for the group. Symbolically, this certification will bring recognition to the devices that will benefit from it, but more importantly, it means that the quality of sex toys will improve significantly.

Compatible sex toys that are long overdue

And the time has come! Because between devices so poorly designed that they require a jump to the emergency room to dislodge them from our privacy, or others made with hazardous materials – containing phthalates (toxic substances capable of penetrating our body) or turning into nests of bacteria – there was enough to run after them, unable to get the curtains up. “Until now, there was no guarantee about what manufacturers were offering, continues Eyal Bar-Or, Lovehoney’s head of quality and compliance services. With these new standards in place, they will now have clear guidelines to follow.” In fact, the standard emphasizes 3 very specific points: first, materials that must minimize the risk of allergic reactions and injuries in contact with the skin and mucous membranes; then the shape and design of the product, which must henceforth prevent it from getting stuck in certain holes; finally, the desire to offer clear and complete user manuals.

So, 7 months after implementing this standard, what changes can we see? “It’s still too early to tell, continues Eyal Bar-Or. As an ISO standard is not mandatory for manufacturers, we cannot know whether manufacturers will take it into account or not. All I can say is that at the Lovehoney Group we are currently in the process of developing new products that will soon reach the market and comply with the ISO standard in question”.

“Coquiner” ethically

Meanwhile, Tristan Barras, director of online sales site KissKiss, one of the most popular in Switzerland, confirms: “No product is yet available that meets this standard or mentions it on its packaging. And the problem, then, will be to what extent competing brands will adopt it, knowing that they will likely have to pay to use it.”

So safer gadgets, to maximize enjoyment, is one thing. But, in addition, some brands are already betting on the green aspect of their products. At a time when people are increasingly concerned about the responsible aspect of their everyday purchases, why not do the same with those that concern their sexuality? History of the “coquiner” in an ethical way…

Biodegradable and recyclable

Because a continent like Europe already played in 2017, before the recent market explosion, almost 3 million sex toys in the trash a year. Products that wear out, break down, or are replaced with better performing models. And above all, they require large amounts of plastic to manufacture. Hence the desire, on the part of some brands, to now produce intimate toys in biodegradable and recyclable materials. This is, for example, the case of Sinful, Scandinavia’s largest online sex toy company. Associated with #Tide, a Swiss company specializing in upcycling and recycling of plastics, it now develops a line of products – the Ohhceans – designed from tons of plastics collected by local fishermen in the seas of Southeast Asia. . Each of the models being accompanied by its packaging in natural brown cardboard respecting the environment. Also noteworthy is the famous Womanizer, one of the leading products on the market with its technique of stimulating the clitoris by air jet, which now has a Premium Eco model. In addition to being made of Biolene, a bioplastic composed of 70% natural material, it is also completely removable, so any part can be replaced. And the brand still promises to plant a tree in Uganda, with the NGO One Tree Planted, for each item sold.

100 times the sales of eco-friendly products

The problem is, in reality, consumers still don’t seem to respond favorably to these laudable intentions. At least not in Switzerland. “Sales of these ecological products are still very anecdotal, confirms Tristan Barras. The Womanizer Premium Eco is a very revealing example of this, as the brand also offers a non-Eco version, for the same price, which literally sells 100 times more: one piece of the Eco version sells for 100 of the other. So the result is a little skewed as the non-green version has more advanced features, but it must be recognized that green notions among our customers are still very marginal.” Believing that in terms of sexuality, consumers are already much less careful about the ecological virtues of their purchases.

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