Technology is making sex toys better and smarter for men. Here’s what's changed

Image: iStock/YakobchukOlena
This article has been sponsored by Arcwave.

The sex toy industry is currently thriving. In a report released in April 2020 by Technavio, the sex toy market has been projected to grow by USD $9.92 billion during 2019-2023.

As the market for these products has increased over the past decade, so have the innovations when it comes to designing and creating new pleasure products. The attitude to sex toys has changed. What was once an embarrassing secret is now an accepted asset when it comes to pleasuring yourself or others.

These new sex toys are more than your standard dildo or vibrator. There are different shapes, different sizes, different ways of stimulation. They have features like remote control functionality, discreet designs and near-perfect replications of various body parts. Some products are more eco-friendly or environmentally conscious. Toys with rechargeable batteries help to lessen the amount of dead batteries being dumped into landfills.

One of the global brands leading the innovation of sex toys is WOW Tech. It’s previously struck big with the clitoral suction toy, Womanizer, and the couple’s vibrator, We-Vibe. Its latest brand, Arcwave, is set to stimulate the male sex toy market and the concept of what’s possible with sex toy technology.

To better understand how the landscape for male sex toys has evolved, and the role Arcwave is playing in this evolution, we spoke with Johanna Rief, WOW’s Tech Head of Sexual Empowerment.

A new kind of pleasure

When it comes to sexual stimulation, the needs of the modern man have broadened, with the sex toy market responding in kind. The market has also recognised that users may want a variety of options and/or are willing to experiment when it comes to getting off. This desire for personal experimentation has lead to innovation when it comes to designing and creating these toys.

Arcwave understands that stimulation requirements aren’t a one-size fits all matter. Different men have different needs and different sensitivity thresholds. Rief explained that when developing the Ion, the company logged over two years of research, creating over a dozen prototypes in the process with regular input from their international tester panel – the MasturbaTEAM.

The Ion is designed to target the Pacinian pleasure receptors in the frenulum, using pulsating air to stimulate these sensitive parts in a way that the user’s hand can’t quite achieve. To help cater to a wider market of users, the Ion comes equipped with eight settings that control the intensity of the pulsating airwaves.

“Arcwave’s engineers wanted to elevate male masturbation,” Rief notes,” just the way Womanizer elevated female masturbation, by offering a new and more intense orgasm.”

Designed for subtle use

Image: Supplied

Owning a sex toy has also carried a stigma of shame and embarrassment. There was a notion that these aren’t something you should be proud to own, and they should be hidden away, in the deepest part of your sock drawer.

Over the past decade, these attitudes have been changing. What was once seen as a dirty secret is now seen as empowering. Owning a sex toy isn’t something you should be ashamed of, but rather, an almost essential factor when it comes to achieving a satisfying orgasm.

Arwave understand that this stigma is still a prevalent one, and that discretion is still a factor when it comes to using a sex toy. In a global study conducted by Arcwave, using 7,000 men and women from 14 countries, it was found that 40% of men think that it’s more acceptable for women to use a sex toy, while only 7% think that it is more acceptable for men.

To make sure that use of the Ion remains subtle, Arcwave have equipped the product with intuitive “Smart Silence” technology. The Ion is designed to only activate when the user’s skin comes in contact with the pleasure Air sensor. Once that sensor is triggered, the device will proceed to stimulate the user – and will automatically stop once the sensor-to-skin contact has been broken.

With a sleek, subtle design, the Ion doesn’t look like a sex toy – or at least, it doesn’t like the general definition of what a sex toy. Place it on a shelf in your home and it will blend right in with its surroundings.

Rief also points out that when it comes to sex toy use, men are just plain stubborn. “A lot of men don’t tend to buy sex toys because they believe that they don’t need it to climax,” she said.

Despite this reluctance, Rief hopes that this new wave of sex toys will help men become a bit more adventurous, seeing these devices as a way to enhance their experience: “Arcwave is dedicated to change the perception of male sex toys by offering a range of innovative, technology-driven toys.”

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