The recent widespread acceptance of sex toys in mainstream commerce like Walmart and Target created the foundation for this kind of revolution, which has positively impacted adult retailers. Some consumers that wouldn’t normally seek out an experience with a sex product have now been exposed to this product category. This exposure is likely a factor in the pandemic sextech boom. The Kinsey Institute at Indiana University published a study in April about sexuality and how the coronavirus pandemic has been redefining what it means to be intimate. They gathered their data via an online survey. In the study, about half of the participants reported a decline in sexual activity, but about 20 percent of participants also reported trying new things. Sexting, sharing fantasies and buying sex toys are among the list of things participants said they are trying for the first time during lockdown. Results from the study indicate that the participants who added something new to their sex life were much more likely to report that their sex life had improved. Curiosity and sexual exploration will continue to be more ubiquitous after the pandemic is over.
There could be lasting effects from this time of isolation, both in and out of the bedroom. Helen Fisher, the chief science adviser for Match.com says that the pandemic is slowing things down. In an article for the New York Times, Fisher writes, “This pandemic has forced singles to return to more traditional wooing: getting to know someone before the kissing starts.” Her research found that 6 percent of Match members were using videochat in their online dating pre-COVID. That number has jumped to an astonishing 69 percent. The use of videochat could increase long-lasting, online relationships. This change in dating style may have the largest impact on younger adults post-pandemic. While the Kinsey Institute did not find any relationship between age and changes in one’s sex life, it is possible that the younger demographic in the study will retain a more explorative outlook regarding sextech after lockdowns are no longer needed. For people that have just recently entered the dating pool, isolated interaction may be the majority of their intimate experience. Dating will never be exactly the same as it was pre-COVID. Some people may find they prefer building relationships more slowly after doing it out of necessity. With an abundance of nontraditional dating and more long-distance relationships, sex-tech is taking center-stage.
This is the power of human adaptation. We are quick to react to our situation, and in this case, our ability to change may have sparked a sexual revolution. The pandemic has led to research and exposure of alternative ways to be sexually active that will have lasting implications on the sex and dating industries. The technology has been around for several years, but now people have discovered it in a big way. Recently, several companies have been working to include new features in products geared towards long-distance relationships. Bi-directional control, biofeedback driven vibration and in-app video chat are some of the many capabilities companies are implementing into their app control and firmware. COVID-19 is jumpstarting the sextech revolution. With more eyes on the industry than ever before, innovation will continue at a rapid pace. Teledildonics are poised to make a big leap forward in a market that has proved its mettle during a global crisis. There are many new technologies being developed in other sectors that can be applied to the sextech world. For example, remote touch is a realistic goal for sextech companies in the near future. As technology makes it easier to have meaningful relationships and sexual experiences from a distance, the sextech industry only has room to grow. Companies are starting out on a new frontier, and they have the consumer support they need to take a leap into the unknown.