Pandemic creating buzz for sex toys
Ottawa-area sex shops say sales are up as people seek new pleasures
As people seek new ways to enjoy themselves while stuck at home during the COVID-19 pandemic, some local sex shops are reporting a serious bump in sales.
"It's always exciting managing a sex shop, but it's really been fascinating to watch," said Julia Bueneman, floor manager of Venus Envy Ottawa.
The Centretown shop says sales have been on the rise since the pandemic began, with online sales tripling compared to the previous year.
"That [rise in sales] has really continued during the pandemic, but it seems that every time there's a lockdown, there's a slightly higher bump," Bueneman said.
In addition to returning customers seeking to replace exhausted toys or add to their collection, Bueneman said she's also noticed a jump in the number of first-time buyers.
"A lot of folks are looking for new things and new forms of pleasure."
Over at the Sensations Plus sex shop on boulevard Greber in Gatineau, owner Daniel Beaulé told Radio-Canada that at its peak, his store reached 200 online orders a day during the pandemic.
On a national level, online retailer PinkCherry Canada is reporting a year-over-year growth of 81 per cent from 2019 to 2020.
Auto-shutoff a popular feature
So which sex toys are proving the most popular during the pandemic?
According to Bueneman, parents whose kids are now home all the time prefer toys that automatically turn off when they're not in action.
"If there's any sort of door opening or 'Oh no!' situation, you can just throw it to the side and it stops doing its thing," she said.
Bueneman said she's also seeing a lot of interest in app-enabled toys that can be operated remotely, especially among couples separated by distance.
Regardless of the toy, Bueneman has this advice for anyone entering the world of sex toys. "I always recommend exploring it by yourself first to really get comfortable with it."
While sex toys can certainly help individuals and couples achieve pleasure, Gatineau sex therapist Martine Poirier warns the satisfaction may be superficial and short-lived.
"Sexual pleasure is a very healthy thing," said Poirier. "The problem is, we also need to look at how we feel, because if it becomes a way of escaping our emotions and not dealing with our emotions, then it can harm us."