Brands have a role to help progress this simplified understanding. They can do so by conducting surveys, partnering with research centres, gathering data from their own communities and developing more specific products. Let’s take three examples:
Sexual wellbeing is impacted by life events. For people with vulvas, sensations in the pelvic floor are going to fluctuate across their lives and with events like puberty, pregnancy, perimenopause, menopause… We’re starting to see the emergence of a specific offering for these life moments and this will be a change that endures.
Gender and sexual expression also shape our sexual wellness. Scientific studies have just started to emerge in the field of transgender endocrinology. More is needed to understand how hormone treatment and gender transition impacts a person’s sexual wellbeing and experience of pleasure. We’re already seeing gender neutral products or brands addressing the LGBTQI+ community, and again this will only strengthen.
Thirdly, sexual wellbeing is impacted by some physical conditions, be it polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), endometriosis, cancer treatments or a physical disability. Such conditions are rarely spoken about through the lens of sexual wellbeing and pleasure, but I believe we’ll see better and more relevant solutions in future. At Smile Makers, for example, we already partner with sexual health experts to test how some of our products can help their patients navigate conditions like vaginismus or vulvodynia.
These three scenarios alone show how important it is to develop a more precise and diverse understanding of sexuality. The future of the sexual wellness industry is to embrace its role as a factor of change for a more inclusive society. The way it develops its offering can fuel the development of new knowledge. The way it shapes its offering can embrace a richer and more real representation of human sexuality. And finally, the way it delivers its message can advance a respectful, informed and open-hearted conversation about sex.
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