Tips for Boosting Retail Sales Through Social Media Marketing

It is not news that social media marketing is a tricky tightrope for most adult brands. In fact, it is generally presumed to be impossible. Yet some brands have figured out the right social marketing strategy to maneuver around the hurdles (aka rules and guidelines) in their way as they try to reach out to a worldwide audience.

If social marketing did not work out for you, should you give up on maintaining an active social media presence? Absolutely not. Whether your brand is online or offline, or whether you sell direct to consumers (D2C) or direct to business (B2B), your social media presence is your identity, and in most cases, it is also the face of your brand or business.

A brand is no longer a brand if it doesn’t have a social media presence. There is no easy definition of “presence,” and it does not have to equate to a huge following or having viral videos. It does, however, mean that your brand has a human who is the voice behind the brand, thus engaging other humans in the social media universe. Your following may be small or large, you may post daily, alternate days or weekly. Really, this won’t matter; what will matter is that you are alive and well, your posts come consistently, and you speak to your existing audience and invite new followers to engage.

And yes, do follow the platform’s rules. If you want to reach the most followers you can, keep in mind that you will need to be more careful in managing your content, both visual and text. If you feel you need more room to showcase 18-and-over content, then pick Twitter.

Why do you need to have a healthy social presence? Let me give you four reasons why.

Builds trust:

Ever tried shopping at a big-box store with a name sign at the entrance but nobody inside when you walk in? That’s how your potential client/customer will feel if they stop to check out your social media pages and find not much going on. That would give an impression that you are just a newbie, don’t have much of a visible customer base or may not be a legitimate brand/store. Even for offline stores that depend on walk-in customers, many shoppers check out social media before entering a store’s physical location. Most will first look you up online on maps or Google and, based on your reviews and social presence, will make a decision about whether to drive up to shop at your store.

Assists in conversion:

Never underestimate the power of indirect marketing. The magic that a few good reviews on your social media page can do is much more than a full-size, flashy neon sign that says “Best Adult Brand” outside of your store or on your website home page. Usually a new buyer (which is usually 70-80 percent of our traffic, walk-in or online) will like to know if you are a “good” and a “legitimate” store that has a good reputation. Having an active social channel that talks about products, answers questions, and occasionally puts out deals and specials is a “good sign.” And if you have followers that engage with the brand and have a good thing to say about your store, then that’s golden.

Establishes a brand voice

There are three kinds of people in this world: those who make it happen, those who watch it happen, and those who wonder what happened. Don’t be the third. Take charge of your brand voice. Your social channels will be an extension of your own personality, thinking and acumen. Having a platform to express your brand’s vision, message and your position in the rapidly growing and evolving sex-positive community is not only beneficial, but the crown on your brand. Everybody will look at it.

Expands your user base

Most stores spend anywhere between $10-20 to acquire a new customer. Will you just let them walk away after their first purchase? An average buyer will spend three or four times a year, so when you put all of your energy and effort to give them a fantastic experience in-store, why not keep it going on your brand page? Each time that you post, they’ll be reminded to return to your store. It just takes effort to get the first 1,000 followers. After that, your user base will keep growing as you become more familiar with the kind of posts of yours that they like. I’d say that at least four out of 10 of them will come back and shop again!

To maintain a healthy and active social media presence, the first step is to work towards normalizing sex. Sex sells, you don’t even have to try hard. Don’t try to sexualize your posts whether through captions, titles or images. Seriously, don’t! It will just send the potential buyer away. Avoid using imagery that includes male or female genitalia or products replicating them. This should be easy, as today’s brands have totally changed the visual appeal of products, from packaging to design to shapes and functionality. Don’t forget to give credit for using brands’ images.

Using humor on social media is good, but keep it tasteful. It’s also a good idea to grab your iPhone once in a while and speak to your followers. Record a quick video — or better, go live and answer questions once in a while.

It’s also important to stay consistent with your social media. Yep, if once a week on Saturday is your thing, then that’s cool. If you come everyday and share a new product, new function or some news about the community, that’s even better. Rain or shine, make time. The channels that show consistent content posting, and timely responses to comments, have a better chance to boost followers, engagement and conversions.

Developing a relatable voice on social media is also essential to building a brand online. Speak like a human, not like an automated machine. When you post, it should sound like a person speaking to a person.

In order to flex your brand’s engagement muscles, pick two social media channels. For most adult stores (both offline and online), I would recommend spending your energy on Facebook and Instagram. Facebook will bring you credibility and help you build a following faster (mostly between 30 and 55), while allowing you to showcase products, contests, campaigns and announcements. Plus, most of us have our personal Facebook profiles, so we can always cross-post and bring more followers from our own networks to get the wheel spinning. Instagram is going to be your catalog to showcase your strengths — your store pictures, employee of the week, your latest and greatest product showcase, and short videos about new and exciting launches. They look attractive on Instagram’s layout and you will find a good following among the platform’s audience that’s between 18 and 35 years old. They are often online and will consume good content if you share. If you can’t find original content, you can always ask and get it from your brand account managers, vendors or distributors.

Lastly, if you spend or have been wanting to spend money on SEO marketing for your brand, I would recommend setting up and launching a Youtube channel as soon as possible. Create “how to use” videos of the various toys out there. Upload them, give them relevant titles and descriptions and add links to purchase that product from your store. It will give you a quality back-link and the channel boosts your online store’s SEO.

Let’s get good at this game. Social e-commerce is already huge in various parts of the world. Get your channel alive and thriving, so you can reap the fruits of your labor ahead.

Tips for Boosting Retail Sales Through Social Media Marketing by Raj Armani originally appeared in XBIZ

Instagram Activates Default ‘Explore’ Filter Targeting ‘Sexually Suggestive’ Posts

Last week Instagram announced the launch of a feature called “Sensitive Content Control” and set, as a default for all users, an option that prevents the app’s “Explore” feature from showing posts that the company’s algorithms and human moderators deem “sexually suggestive or violent.”

The three new options that users can now select are “Allowed” (less censored), “Limit” (censored) and “Limit Even More” (even more censored). But in order to select “Allowed,” Instagram users are now being forced to navigate through several steps to disable the default filter setting.

statement from Instagram — a Facebook company — introducing the feature claimed the company believes “people should be able to shape Instagram into the experience that they want,” which seems contradictory given that “Limit” was included as the default option for all users.

According to the company’s statement, “Sensitive Content Control” allows the user to decide how much “sensitive content” shows up in “Explore.”

The company reasserted that its controversial corporate censorship policies, which include a blanket ban on “the female nipple” — selectively not applied to celebrities and some people shown breastfeeding — are meant “to keep people safe.”

“We don’t allow hate speech, bullying and other content that might present a risk of harm to people,” the company stated.

“We also have rules about what kind of content we show you in places like ‘Explore,’” the statement continued. “We call these our Recommendation Guidelines. These guidelines were designed to help ensure that we don’t show you sensitive content from accounts you don’t follow. You can think of sensitive content as posts that don’t necessarily break our rules, but could potentially be upsetting to some people — such as posts that may be sexually suggestive or violent.”

The Sensitive Content Control feature further solidifies the corporate stance by Instagram and Facebook that all “sexually suggestive” material is in the same category as “harmful” and “violent” content.

The instructions to opt out of Instagram’s new default content censorship involve several steps and are allowed only for users over 18 years of age. First, users should go into their profile, tap the “Settings” menu and then tap “Account.” Under “Sensitive Content Control,” choose “Allow.”

As many users pointed out on social media, the default censorship of content appeared to discriminate against posts concerning sexual health, LGBTQ+ information and non-sexual posts by individuals and accounts that might have been flagged as “sexual” and thus subject to the company’s notorious (and notoriously secretive) shadowbanning protocols.

Progressive, feminist sexual health company Bellesa was one of many accounts to release a tutorial on how to override the app’s new default censorship feature.

“Instagram? Censoring sex-related content? Groundbreaking,” noted the Bellesa account.

Instagram Activates Default ‘Explore’ Filter Targeting ‘Sexually Suggestive’ Posts by Gustavo Turner originally appeared in XBIZ

How Retailers Can Leverage Distributor, Manufacturer Partnerships

One of the things I love most about my job is the interaction I get to have with our retailers and store partners. I especially love doing store visits and meeting you all in person and seeing your stores and wellness spaces. It reminds me why I love what I do, and most of that is based on the relationships cultivated within the industry.

I feel like there is more we can do to close the gap between what I see as the three beacons of our industry: manufacturer, distributor and retailer. Without all beacons being lit, there is serious missed opportunity within these partnerships. So, how do we leverage and utilize these relationships better from both a fiscal standpoint and a relationship perspective?

Manufacturers create a plethora of marketing support for their brands and items, especially new-release items or collections. Do not be afraid to ask what is available. I speak to so many store owners who wish they had more signage or want artwork with custom specs to create an impactful display. As a manufacturer, we love that! Please partner with your distributor in reaching out to us and asking for the printed marketing materials you want to have on hand.

I also work with a lot of stores that like to do their own printing for example at FedEx because they want to customize the signage. Let us customize some cool digital art for you, and you can print as many sizes or images as you want. It can be a challenge to get printed material from print source to the retailer. Ask your distributors to put you in contact with a rep that can help assist you with digital images that you can use in your stores for branding purposes. The quality of imagery and paper materials has improved significantly over the past five years — update your stores with all the newness you can get your hands on. Walking into a store that has faded posters from the ’80s makes shopping less appealing compared to walking into a store that has freshly printed materials. Keep in mind, there usually is not any cost to getting this signage; it is a matter of voicing your needs.

Social media is becoming a critical part of stores’ interaction with their customer base. Have you checked out your manufacturers’ websites to see what digital assets they have available? Manufacturers can easily create social media content for stores; usually we just need someone to ask us. We spend so much time and money on photo shoots and marketing materials — we want you to ask us for them. In fairness, distributors cannot manage all marketing aspects plus all product info for everyone. Lean on manufacturers’ assets in partnership with your distributor to get the maximum impact you can on social media. We cannot leave out one of the beacons or the partnership loses its harmony and balance.

Your distributor and manufacturer partners are an excellent source for curating training materials and in-person trainings for stores. We want to give you the information on our brands that are the most impactful, but also need your feedback on what works best for your store. COVID forced us all to get comfortable with online trainings; just because we are exiting the pandemic does not mean that we have to leave what we learned behind. If online training works best, stick with it. We do not have to let geography dictate trainings as much as we did in the past. Small stores deserve just as much knowledge and time as big stores — do not let your store size hold you up. It takes time to grow a business; trainings are a great catalyst to increase sales. It is important to keep associates fresh and motivated, and training and store visits are one of the best ways to do that.

The important thing about having harmonious relationships is the trust and balance. The trust between distributors and manufacturers is so critically important. When both partners are working in tandem, it’s such a great experience for the customer. When distributors are close with their manufacturers, it creates the opportunity for everyone to work as a group. One component cannot be left out or we lose the potential for revenue and growing our businesses together.

While we are not in the clear with COVID yet, we are a lot closer to normal than we were several months ago. Let us make the new normal look different in our partnerships and in the way we leverage them to create success for everyone.

How Retailers Can Leverage Distributor, Manufacturer Partnerships by Danielle Seerley originally appeared in XBIZ

Is It Normal To Use Sex Toys?

It’s pretty common to wonder if we are the only ones doing something, when in reality what we are doing is totally normal. This is especially true for sexual experiences and the use of sex toys, largely due to societal influences.

Instead of openly talking about sex, society suggests that the subject should remain private. We have very limited sex education in the school systems and sadly, it does not teach us about sex and pleasure.

Uneducated children grow into self-conscious adults, who have often have difficulty communicating about sex. Sadly, this cycle continues as this discomfort towards sexuality is passed on to our children. So, under these circumstances, it’s only natural to not know what others around you are doing- because not many people talk about it openly.

…But guess what?! People all around you are using sex toys, and they have been for a very long time. Phallic symbols have been in existence since 500BC. Text from worldwide ancient societies mentions the use of phallic-shaped objects (including fruit, vegetables, and stone) for sexual pleasure. These objects were used in religious and magic ceremonies, not only as martial symbols but also to ward off evil spirits and bad luck. The Italians even had a word for this. They called these objects “diletto,” which means “to delight.” It was from this word that the term dildo was born.

In the late 1800s, the first vibrator was made. Early vibrators were big and bulky and used only by doctors to treat women with a condition called hysteria. Hysteria had many symptoms including, but not confined to, anxiety, irritability, insomnia, sexual fantasies, and desires, bloating, fluid retention, heaviness in the abdomen, shortness of breath, and trouble-rousing. Bringing women to orgasm was found to help alleviate these many complaints. Much smaller versions of these vibrators became household objects in early to mid-1900s and were referred to as marital aides or body massagers. In the 1960s, the sexual revolution brought pleasure products into public view, and with them, female orgasms became a more open topic.

Currently, sex toys are a multibillion-dollar industry (vibrators making up roughly 20% of sales, followed by dildos and personal lubricants) and this provides solid proof that people are enjoying them. Pleasure products are easy to purchase and are sold in department and drug stores, online and in sex boutiques. According to one source, AMAZON alone has 60,000 adult products online.

According to recent studies, sex toys are used by at least one person in roughly 50% of couples. Although men’s toys such as anal/prostate toys, sleeves, C rings and couples’ toys have expanded in use, women are more likely to be the toy-users. Wands are especially popular since they enable women to experience orgasms more consistently in their sexual encounters.

The age group between 18-24 use toys the least, most likely because it takes some time to become comfortable enough to purchase and use a toy. The highest user-group is age 35-44, at about 65%. Even couples 55 and older have a 50% use rate.

As sex toys become more prominent and society becomes more accepting of their benefits, the number of people using these products is expected to rise. Especially beneficial for older populations (as they lose partners, or their partners lose the ability for penetration), sex toys are wonderful tools as they provide stimulation that brings blood flow to sex organs and keeps these body parts in good working condition.

Vibrators not only produce genital pleasure but are also beneficial for massaging the sore muscles of these aging bodies. The message here is clear, sex toy use is quite normal. Pleasure tools have been around for ages, are used by many, and are here to stay.  It’s totally normal- so enjoy them without shame!

Is It Normal To Use Sex Toys? Originally appeared on Rumble & Buzz

Suggest These Sex Toy Upgrades to Customers for Added Value

I love when people talk to me about their sex toy collections!

I mean, it’s not like it comes up all the time in conversation, such as “how about this weather” or “did you see that shitty pass that was thrown during the game,” but when someone decides to open up and talk about it, I get a kick out of hearing what toys they’ve acquired over the years.

It’s even better when you both have a similar toy that was either not what you expected and didn’t do the job, or blew both your minds, so that you can sit and gossip about these items like kids back in middle school.

Beginners aside, I think that people who dabble in sex toys, as well as advanced users, end up having collections of toys that have different stages…

  1. You have your old toys that you don’t use anymore, but you keep them for a rainy day. Simply, they don’t do the trick any longer. You’ve advanced.
  2. The toys that are only touched every once in a while that give specific sensations whenever in a certain mood or with a partner.
  3. Of course, the toys you always go to because you know they never let ya down and get the job done right and fast.

As I stared at my personal overflowing collection, I started to think about how even with small things like bullets, penis accessory items, and lubricants, we can let customers know some simple ways to take care of their unused toys, and put them to good use, so they are getting the most out of the product that they paid for. To us, it may seem like a no-brainer to combine toys, but to customers, possibly not so much.

Vibrating Cock Ring

Whether a cheaper design or more expensive ring, adding a vibrating cock ring can add some excitement to ordinary sex toys. Some things customers can do…

  1. Add around the base of a prostate/anal toy for added perineum or testicle vibrations
  2. Add around the shaft of a favorite dildo for clitoral stimulation
  3. Adding a dual-action vibrating ring, with clitoral and anal stimulation, to a favorite vibrator can turn it into a triple-action toy with ease
  4. Slip the ring over the fingers as a finger vibe that can be used all over the body or to tease a partner

Penis Sleeves and Extensions

Penis sleeves and extensions don’t just have to be for the penis. You can get added texture, girth and length by adding them to toys that are already enjoyed or by amping up old toys.

  1. Add a skin-like texture to a toy that supplies great vibrations and angles, but was previously a little too hard for enjoyment, to give it a more life-like feel
  2. Add a textured sleeve to anal toys to stimulate nerve endings even more
  3. See if extra length or girth would be enjoyed by slipping an extension over a favorite toy or dildo. If enjoyed, one can graduate to a bigger size the next time they purchase.
  4. Slip a sleeve or extender over fingers during foreplay for added feels when inserting into a partner’s body

Bullet Vibes

I love bullet vibes. I think no matter what level of sex toy user one is, or what gender, a bullet can add so many sensations alone or with a partner. With that being said, not adding them to toys for additional thrills is almost absurd if you’re able! Especially waterproof bullets that can be used in one’s favorite water spot that they can get into some sexual action solo, or with a partner.

  1. Stick a bullet into the sleeve of a masturbator if it has an open end, or hold in hand under the base of the masturbator while gripping during stroking. A vibrating cock ring can also be worn during uses for extra stimulation.
  2. A dildo or plug that has a Vac-U-Lock-friendly hole can also be a great toy to add bullets to. Just stick the bullet in and feel the vibes.
  3. Whether pleasing a vagina or penis, place a bullet against the cheek to turn a wet mouth into a vibrating wet mouth. If the mouth gets tired, use the bullet to tease.

Stimulating/Warming/Cooling Lubricants

Numerous people, and I have been guilty of this myself, have explained to me how they purchase stimulating or thermal play lubricants, use them a few times, but don’t truly experiment with them. They sit there, they get funky over time, and then when the urge comes around again to give them a whirl, the consistency of the product is just not desirable. Push customers to use these lubes because great feels truly can come from this simple liquid in a bottle.

  1. An old rabbit vibe can be turned into a new toy with some stimulating lube. Get the tingling sensations of the lube on the clit or deep inside, hitting the G-spot while the vibrator makes the tingling more intense. Before orgasm, turn the rabbit vibe around and have the flexible, flickering rabbit ears deliver vibrations to the outside K-spot area with the shaft hitting the spot internally.
  2. Don’t feel like taking out the more intense masturbator that’s hard to clean yet comes with all the great features, but rather just have a quickie with a simple pocket masturbator? Add warming lubricant for a more realistic feel with ease. Warming lube also adds the realism to other toys, adding additional warmth to one’s own body heat and extra slickness.
  3. While using a toy with a warming function, start off by using some cooling lubricant. Feel the cooling minty feel while working oneself up in arousal, then halfway through the masturbation session, turn on the toy’s warming function and get another sensation.
  4. Glass and metal toys of course are the best for thermal play, but start off by running your toy under hot or cold water and use the opposite thermal lubricant for double thermal feel mixed with the weight of a glass or metal toy. Hot, cold and that great feeling of fullness with a heavy toy!

Again, to us, items used in these ways may seem like a no-brainer and the basic of basics since we see and talk about them every day, however informing customers or marketing toys in these ways can be nothing but helpful. Research suggests that people who use sex toys report higher levels of sexual satisfaction. Let customers know how to get even more satisfaction out of their sex toy use and more bang for their buck with a few simple toy modifications in creative ways.

Suggest These Sex Toy Upgrades to Customers for Added Value by Chelsea McCain originally appeared in XBIZ

The Textures of Glass Dildos and Anal Toys

The texture of a sex toy is extremely important to your experience with any pleasure product, whether it vibrates or not. However, especially when it comes to a glass sex toy, the texture of the dildo is what takes you to stimulation nation.

Glass textured dildos and anal toys can make any solo play or partner play extra thrilling by enhancing the sensation of every penetration. Textured dildos intensify sex because they increase the pleasurable feeling of friction as the toy slides in and out of your body. From raised ridges to nubs and spiraled designs, glass textured dildos and anal toys offer a variety of mild to intense touches that can enhance everything from G-spot stimulation to backdoor play and more.

Smooth

The first texture that we’re going to explore is the ultra-smooth texture that’s usually typical of a glass toy. This doesn’t feature any of the raised designs on its surface to create additional friction but instead, the smooth feeling of the glass allows it to glide in and out with ease – creating a constant flow of consistent stimulation.

Smooth glass could be preferable for G-spot stimulation as its slippery surface can make it easier for your dildo — which ideally would be curved to target the G-spot with more precision — to reach this orgasmic pleasure zone.

Sleek glass is made even better when you slather some lubricant on your smooth textured dildo. This makes it even slicker, allowing you to easily slide in and out of any crevice. For example, pairing lubricant with a butt plug in a beginner’s friendly size can make it even friendlier for first-timers.

Spirals and Swirls

A spiral along the shaft of a textured dildo can enhance the sensation of every thrust from the toy. A spiral can start anywhere along the shaft of a toy and swirl up the shaft of a textured toy until it reaches one of the ends. A spiral textured dildo can easily enhance the friction that the toy’s surface creates as you feel the sensations of the spiral and smoothness. What’s more – some glass toys are part spiral and part smooth, creating a journey of gentle tingles on the G-Spot / P-Spot follow by constant stimulation.

With enough lubricant, a spiral textured dildo will still easily glide in and out of your body, however, the raised spiral will increase the sensation as it applied more toe-curling pressure as it penetrates.

Nubs

A textured dildo that is covered with nubs is your ticket to thrilling pleasure. Nubs are small raised rounded bulges and when they’re all over your dildos the uneven surface of the shaft massages deeply and thoroughly for a thoroughly tantric orgasmic experience.

A nubby textured dildo can satisfy your desire for a toy that’s filling. Once inserted, the nubs provide even more coverage to ensure that you stimulate all of your erogenous zones. Its nubs also make this type of textured dildo extremely easy to hold. This particular texture is a favorite for anal play. Just imagine it – it’s amazing!

Bumps

While a nubby textured dildo will provide a fuller feel with its nubs that will provide more pressure and stimulation with their all-over texture, some textured dildos feature strategically placed bumps that are designed to target exactly where you enjoy stimulation.

Having a row of bumps along one side of a dildo allows you to direct the stimulation to exactly where you want it — such as for G-Spot stimulation. Rotate it, start with one side and move to another, do what you want – you’ll love this one and the many many…MANY levels of orgasms you can achieve.

Ribbed

Ribbed textured dildos are versatile pleasure products because they can be used to intensify any kind of intimate play. Used vaginally, a ribbed dildo provides delightful internal stimulation as it plunges in with its ribbed shaft. An in-and-out motion with this dildo increases friction to turn up the heat as much as you want.

Ribbed textured dildos also are ideal for backdoor play as anal newbies can insert the toy and measure how deep they’re going based on the bead of the ribbed shaft.

Raised Ridges

Raised ridges on a textured dildo can create a realistic feel when inserted. The ridges of a textured dildo may feel similar to the veins on a real penis or like the veins that are added to lifelike dildos. However, when the sex toy is made out of glass, the ridges are firm and will be deliciously yet delicately flick with every thrust. Be gentle, it’s the best way to tease.

A textured dildo can help to introduce a world of new sensations that you’ve been fantasizing about. Additionally, because it’s glass, you can easily cool or heat your textured dildo for even more thrills.

The Textures of Glass Dildos and Anal Toys originally appeared on Glastoy.com

Working From Home Opens Up New Talent Pool for Adult Retailers

I recently heard someone bemoaning the fact that retail stores were not going to ever be the same after the pandemic and I just took that as a challenge to become better than ever. There is no doubt that the last 18 months have created a seismic shift in the retail business and regular life. While business has been great and adult retailers are selling more than ever, success brings its own stressors.

Finding good, loyal employees with the educational background and social skills level to talk to such a wide variety of customers that adult stores bring in has always been a challenge. Additionally, some employees don’t even reveal to close family where they work because of the shame factor. Even though I offer a competitive wage for the area and use a payroll company to offer benefits, it is still not considered white-collar work.

I will say, once I get someone in and trained and integrated into the crew, they do tend to last with me a long time. Nevertheless, it is a challenge to find the right mix of introverts that will sweat the details, and extroverts that will wow the customers with great customer service.

Like many of you, I have found the pandemic to be a high-water mark for our sort of retail because people are nesting and spending a lot of time alone together. Who knows when or if this trend will change? While I have increased our crew level on weekend shifts, who knows if the bottom will drop out when the vaccinations reach critical levels and we all get to go outside and play again?

To take some of the stress off of me, I have dipped my toe in the virtual work-from-home world and find a lot of things to love about it. I have gone through a personal assistant talent agency and actually have different assistants for different tasks.

Someone in Oklahoma is helping me create website content and proofreads my work before it goes live, while another assistant who’s based in Florida helps me receive inventory into my system properly. And an honorable mention goes to my online reputation management company, who slay internet trolls for me even while I am on vacation.

Some things I love about virtual workers is that once I show them my system, they don’t require as much oversight as my employees in the store. They each have their own business that they run from home and have an entrepreneurial mindset. They encourage me to be creative because it generates more billable hours for them. Time is as precious to them as it is to me. The more efficiently they can do a task, the more money they make.

I have tried multiple times to teach in-store employees to import spreadsheets using our POS system’s software, but most do not have the education to support that level of complexity. Formulas are a foreign language, and invoicing can take days at the store; however, my virtual assistant does it in hours.

Because virtual employees are able to maintain their privacy, the issue of working for an adult business is almost non-existent. As long as someone is mature enough to be comfortable with grammar-checking adult content, you can just say that you are a remote proofreader, and work from home so you can keep an eye on the kids. The social stigma is taken out of the equation.

At the end of the day, we are in the people business and adult stores will always need local talent, but the freedom to outsource some specific repetitive tasks has the potential to be a game-changer for productivity and the potential for growth.

Hopefully it will free up more time to focus on customers and ensuring that they have a great experience every time they walk through your store’s door.

I encourage you to think differently about how you can use the changing economy to help your business run better. The only thing in life that is constant is change; we may as well embrace it.

Working From Home Opens Up New Talent Pool for Adult Retailers by Tami Rose originally appeared in XBIZ

8 Masturbation Techniques Your Vulva Needs Right Now!

Sex date with yourself? Yes, please! No one knows your body like you, and that can make masturbation one of the most intimate and stimulating acts you can do with yourself.

Masturbation Benefits

Masturbation goes beyond orgasm by being an important act for self-exploration and body confidence and provides many benefits:

  • Relaxation and better sleep

Masturbation releases feel-good hormones like endorphins and oxytocin, which can lead to decreased stress levels and help you fall asleep faster.

  • Increased sexual confidence

Solo sex can lead to better partnered sex because you develop an understanding and appreciation of your body during masturbation and experiment with what might feel good on your partner as well.

  • Learning how to orgasm

Masturbation helps you tune into changes in arousal and discover techniques and hot spots that bring you pleasure as well as an opportunity for erotic and fantasy exploration.

  • Soothing menstrual pain

Masturbation releases the body’s natural pain killer chemicals that can help reduce the intensity of period cramps.

Masturbation Types

Just as there are many different ways to stimulate your body, there are many different ways for your body to react. Your body is capable of different types of orgasms depending on how you stimulate and explore your body and mind.

So, it’s important to know the various kinds of orgasms your body can have before settling on a technique:

  • Clitoral orgasms

The clitoris is like your personal shrine to nerve endings. Engaging with the clitoris can create pleasure bursts during different types of orgasms, but can also be stimulated directly for its own specific orgasm. This type of orgasm feels like a build-up followed by a tantalizing burst of pleasure.

  • G-Spot/Vaginal orgasms

The G-spot (or Gräfenberg spot) is not so much a specific organ or “spot” but an entire area of pleasure internalized within the clitoral system.

There is no “one spot fits all clitoris” map of where the G-spot is, so it is best to discover yours through personal exploration. Using fingers or a curved sex toy can generally find and stimulate the G-spot with a “come hither” motion within the first few inches of your vaginal canal, as it located more towards the pelvis than the back.

G-spot orgasms are often described as a deeper, full-body kind of pleasure that may build up with a feeling similar to when you have to pee. You may even experience squirting with G-spot orgasms.

  • Blended Orgasms

Erotic stimulation to multiple spots, for example, the clitoris and the G-spot, may lead to a combo of orgasms (AKA a blended orgasm) that can feel like they are a full-body response.

  • Anal Orgasms

The anus is full of nerve endings that can be stimulated (with or without anal penetration) using fingers or sex toys like butt plugs. The sensation is much more prominent with prostate owners by using prostate sex toys, but vagina owners can also find pleasure by activating their “A-spot” (or anterior fornix erogenous zone) which is located between the bladder and cervix. While it is located within the vagina, the A-spot is generally deeper than the G-spot and requires stimulation from behind (pun intended) to reach it. This orgasm can also be blended by double penetration, flanking the G-spot and A-spot simultaneously.

Best Masturbation Techniques

Beyond just knowing where your erogenous zones are is how to stimulate them in a way to reach orgasm, which, if you want to get the best orgasms (and have the most fun) requires more than just touching one spot.

Here are 8 amazing masturbation techniques for your vulva:

  1. Layer your pleasure

Increasing sensation in layers can encourage erogenous zones to fully arouse and be more receptive to stimulation.

Try layering with underwear on, and rubbing or stroking through clothing. Clitoral hoods, labia, and foreskin can act as layers too.

  1. Try edging

Edging is a technique that can help you gain greater awareness over your arousal build up and help you have multiple orgasms. Try masturbating to the point just before orgasm, slowing stimulation down, and repeating to create a build-up of pleasure.

  1. Explore dual-stimulation

Explore stimulating more than one erogenous zone at a time with dual vibrators, nipple clamps, and butt plugs.

  1. Use all of your senses

Activating your other sensory organs like the tongue and ears can greatly add to your orgasmic sensation. Moaning, verbalizing, taking long deep breaths, and tasting your own arousal fluids can all impact and extend your sensations and extend post-orgasmic pleasure. You can even utilize a mirror to enhance visual stimulation and improve body confidence.

  1. Warm up the vulva

Cup the vulva with your hand and squeeze, massage, or shake it.

Try rubbing with your hands or using a strong vibrator on the mons pubis (the mound above the clit) with increasing pressure to warm up the area.

  1. Approach the clit indirectly

Rub the clitoris through the clitoral hood or use your fingers or a vibrator around the sides of the clitoris in circles hovering near the clit but not directly on it.

Try making your fingers into a “V”, use some lube and explore rubbing the sides of the clit up and down experimenting with what pressure, speed, or even squeezes feel good.

  1. Play with penetration

Warm up to vaginal insertions by playing with the clitoris, then use lube on toys or your fingers to stimulate the vagina.

Start with a lubed up finger inserted about 1-2 inches inside the vagina. Curl your finger in a come hither motion towards the belly button. G-spots like firm and consistent pressure, so instead of thrusting with fingers, try wiping side to side or making circles with your fingers.

  1. Grind into your sex toys

Hold your sex toy still and hump it or gyrate your hips into it. Engaging the rest of your pelvis in masturbation can feel really sexy and generate more blood flow and arousal to your pelvis.

Masturbation Techniques for Penis-Owners

Penis-owners can also try switching up positions and masturbating with a partner. For even more penis self-pleasure, try these techniques:

  1. Try a vibrator

Pressing vibrators against the perineum can give stimulation to the prostate without anal penetration. Explore vibrators on the frenulum (the spot right under the head of the penis), the shaft, or the testicles.

  1. Combine penis and anal pleasure

Using a butt plug or a prostate sex toy while stroking your penis can provide a sense of fullness and stimulation to all the nerve endings of the anus.

  1. Play with edging

Use lots of lube and stroke to the point just before orgasm, then squeeze just under the head of the penis to stop ejaculation. This will take time to learn for penis-owners because ejaculation and orgasm happen seconds apart.

Masturbation is Self-Care

Masturbation helps us develop our own erotic relationships to ourselves, in addition to the ones we have with others. The more you know about your pleasure and your body, the better you can communicate with your partners – get to know more of you by doing you!

8 Masturbation Techniques Your Vulva Needs Right Now! Originally appeared on Rumble & Buzz

Why Sexperts Recommend App-Controlled Toys

One thing that people have learned through this pandemic is that physical distance does not have to be reflective of emotional distance. With this evolving mindset, retailers need to stay up-to-date on how their consumers are currently seeking pleasure.

The ever-evolving category of sex toys is constantly unlocking new benchmarks in technology. While we all know it is essential that retailers have the latest and greatest in their stores, it is also important to conceptualize why these products are needed or desired by consumers in the first place. People live mobile lives and travel independently. While they do this, they are looking to emotionally and sexually stay connected with their partner. Long-distance or remote relationships are at an all-time high. Sexting, camming and long-distance sex are becoming a new norm.

As a sex therapist, I am constantly helping couples stay sexually connected. Whether they are in the same home, travel for work, or even live in different cities, I am here to tell you that this connection is essential to a healthy relationship, sexual or otherwise. Often, my go-to sex toy recommendation for couples in a rut are app-controlled vibrators. These products offer the unique ability to help consumers stay emotionally connected with their partner. An app-controlled sex toy offers users control, but also allows that same user to give all the power and control of the toy to someone else! What better way to let your partner know that you are thinking about them than by buzzing over a little pleasure throughout their day!

These toys also offer something completely different and equally important — an emotional connection independent of distance between the users. This innovation adds another layer of closeness when it comes to long-distance sex. Physical distance, however, is not always the problem. We do not need to be across the country to feel sexually disconnected. Every long-term couple falls into a sexual rut at some point in their relationship. App-controlled toys offer versatility in one’s sex life. They can be used while sitting across the dinner table, at a work desk, or during a sexy night out.

Nowadays, consumers are looking to have the most life-like and erotic experience from online sessions with cam models. So, let’s start with the idea of why camming is so popular. Remember, I always say, “Sex is between the ears, not just the legs.” Anticipation, imagination, the excitement of something forbidden happening in real-time provides the mental stimulus that turns the customer on. Until now, that suggestion of sex was the only tool in the cam user’s arsenal. Enter the app-controlled sex toy. This revolutionary product offers to send the consumer deeper into the moment. The cam model can be in possession of the toy across the world and the viewer can download a free app and immediately begin controlling their toy. They have the ability to change patterns, intensity and create and save vibrating patterns of their choice. A cam model can offer toy sessions to their best customers, adding a unique value-added experience and a tremendous second revenue stream! When both people have app-controlled sex toys, it adds another dimension to the perceived feeling of being physically closer.

In addition, app controllers are versatile, customizable and can control multiple toys. This means that a cam user can have all their favorite entertainers, and their respective toys, saved in their app. When the user is ready to have a session, all they need to do is swipe on that cam performer’s toy. Likewise, a cam model can have all of their best customers saved in their app and ready to go without having to fumble over settings. Just imagine the convenience for a domme who can pre-program individualized stimulation with multiple subs all over the world while ordering a double-latte. Imagine the excitement of a sub that is sitting at work all day with their toy on, not knowing when the Dom will put them in a sexy state of submission. “Will it be while I am on a call?” “While in a meeting with my team?” “In the car on the way in?” That anticipation is simply delicious.

Having sex with a cam model is stigmatized. People are not sharing with their friends how they engage with a cam model or even that they are visiting camming sites. Camming is still a very personal experience. This personal element may be the reason why camming and custom-tailored experiences like those found on OnlyFans are quickly becoming industry leaders. With the increase of long-distance sex taking place, retailers can now capitalize on offering a tool to both cam models and their fans.

Why Sexperts Recommend App-Controlled Toys by Melinda DeSeta originally appeared in XBIZ

Rope Bondage Tips, Tricks and Benefits for Users

I love rope! Rope bondage has been described as gateway kink. Many love experimenting with bondage and sex without playing with pain. Sexual positions can be more comfortable when adding rope bondage to take weight off some spots or add support to others. Rope itself can be a form of sexy accessory. Every pleasure product shop should have some rope for bondage available, and should consider rope bondage classes to bring in more customers.

The only thing better than rope for bondage is a lot of rope for bondage. First-time couples showing up for a bondage class with one small bundle of expensive jute rope can be sad. Bondage newbies are going to have better experiences and be more enthusiastic with at least three to four 30-foot-long bundles of well-priced, user-friendly rope. Working with rope is addictive, and newbs will gravitate towards more expensive rope as they experiment and accessorize.

Braided cotton is the most affordable. Beginners love it because braided cotton is inexpensive, comes in pretty colors, and is easy to find on the internet. It is very forgiving and soft. Those qualities are great, but braided cotton is not safe for suspension. Once you add weight, braided cotton will stretch, cutting off circulation and causing other problems. Only use braided for floor work or where weight will not be added. Like other ropes with natural materials, cotton has a slight tooth to the material, which means knots don’t have to be super tight to hold, just hitched properly. This is important to know because we’ve seen knots on braided cotton so tight, they had to be cut to undo the tie.

Avoid any braided rope with a solid core. We’ve seen braided ropes with plastic, wire, and even lead cores. That’s not safe for bondage and the rope will begin to self-destruct with use.

I prefer to recommend braided multi-filament polypropylene (MFP) synthetic rope for beginners. MFP is a better value, has a great look, is easy to clean and is user-friendly. Unlike braided cotton, MFP can be used for suspension. Beginners and advanced riggers love that unlike with more expensive twisted ropes, MFP doesn’t unravel. Beginners have the advantage that they can get their rope-handling skills down with MFP, like pulling the rope through a tie instead of pushing it through. Advanced bondage enthusiasts love the colors and the low maintenance of the material. Due to the sexy, smooth surface of MFP, an extra hitch or knot may be necessary to lock down your tie, which is easy.

If there’s a bratty escape artist in a couple looking to buy rope, suggest the MFP or braided cotton. The aspiring Houdini may be sexy, but they’re better off picking through a MFP than a more expensive rope while trying to wiggle loose.

There is a twisted cotton and synthetic blend I like to work with. This rope is super soft. For those who love to play in the club scene, it is available in black light reactive colors. This gives it an awesome look in the dark! This blended rope is still not advised for suspension and weight, but is still great for floor work, decorative harnesses, predicament bondage and looks badass when used for a rope corset.

Hemp rope is very popular with advanced players and there are a lot of requests for it. The material is perfect for suspension, and very durable when handled correctly.

However, natural fiber hemp can cause allergic reactions in people who have hay fever and pollen allergies. Hemp is awesome for those who can use it. If you stock it, ask those requesting it if they’ve played with it before and if they’re allergic to pollen or get hay fever.

Twisted jute rope is often considered the gold standard in bondage. Master class bondage experts love jute, and I love it too! You’ll see jute in most of the erotic bondage photography out there. The material is natural and has the traditional look for bondage. Jute is strong and is frequently used for suspension.

I love a particular colored jute that has been conditioned to be softer than usual. The maker has a conductive version for use with a violet wand. While this rope is higher in price, it is worth every penny and the bondage bunnies agree!

Source your hemp and jute carefully. Jute for bondage has to be properly washed and conditioned before it is suitable for tying a partner. Cheap jute that hasn’t been conditioned may also contain pesticides because bugs love it. Some cheap jute is being marketed online as hemp. Know the differences and the sources before offering hemp and jute to customers.

Hemp and jute are not recommended for beginning players. These ropes are quality investments. Jute and hemp need tender loving care to last. Since these ropes are twisted, improper handling and cleaning can cause the ropes to unravel, and the damage can’t be undone. Tossing a bag of jute rope in a washing machine will destroy it. There are some who don’t wash these ropes at all, making them very personal items. Including care instructions with rope is always a smart move.

When stocking rope, don’t forget the accessories! Popular accessories include anal “hooks,” and violet wand kits for conductive rope. There’s also the typical upsell potential of beginners’ kink items like paddles, butt plugs and nipple clamps.

One final accessory my peers and I stock when touring events are paramedic-grade safety scissors. If something goes wrong, it’s not always necessary to cut the rope, but every rope bondage lover’s gear bag should have a durable pair of safety scissors that can cut through any rope.

There are potential rope bondage lovers every day; many are daunted by pricey rope, fancy techniques and complex ties. While we offer great books on bondage, one little secret is much of the bondage you’ll see is actually macramé techniques. Inexpensive macramé craft books are a good start for newbies.

When selling rope for bondage, don’t forget to point out that rope is a great fetish fashion accessory. While a lot of latex and fetish gear can be prohibitively expensive for curious fetishists, rope is an inexpensive alternative that turns heads. There are a number of easy-to- learn decorative rope harnesses that look great over a bodysuit.

If you’re running a brick-and-mortar store and haven’t tried rope bondage, we recommend learning more. It’s great fun, and you get to know more about your product. Consider reaching out to a local club on Fetlife.com to see if some of their rope enthusiasts would like to offer classes or workshops at a spot in your store. This makes for a great way to sell rope and additional gear.

Rope bondage is easy to start and a lifetime of kinky fun to master. Don’t miss out on this enjoyable way to grow your customer base, sell more products, and have a lot of fun.

Rope Bondage Tips, Tricks and Benefits for Users by Anne B. originally appeared in XBIZ