As the manager of Naughty North, Carolyn Eagle knows a thing or two about pleasure.
More specifically, she knows about what toys and sex aids people tend to enjoy when they’re looking to enhance their pleasure. And yet, when the outbreak of COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus, began to rapidly shut down whole countries, Eagle would have guessed demands that people stay home would lead to a spike in sales of “kinky stuff.”
After all, is there a better time to be a little more adventurous in bed than when you are indefinitely shut in? So far, Eagle laughs, she appears to have guessed wrong.
“Many people are so stressed out,” she says, “so maybe their mind can’t go there right now?”
Nevertheless, people’s minds went somewhere: Naughty North’s March sales were up 142 per cent over February — and the Canadian sex shop is not an anomaly.
Other sex toy companies in Canada and around the world have recorded record sales. Stag Shop, a Waterloo, Ont.-based adult fun store, says online orders have more than quadrupled, while the owner of Adulttoymegastore says it had its largest sales week on record in Canada in March.
“Generally, after Valentine’s Day, there’s a dip in sales because everybody has bought their presents,” Eagle says. And yet:
“This is almost Christmas-level sales.”
Nicola Relph, Adulttoymegastore’s owner, says the company can practically track the date of each country’s shutdown based on the spikes in adult toy sales in those places.
“People are buying toys to prepare,” Relph says. “They want to be safe and stop the spread of COVID-19 but they also want to enjoy themselves while they’re stuck inside.”
If there is an upside to social distancing, aside from flattening the curve, Lyndsay Jackson, marketing manager for Love Shop, says it’s the chance to reconnect away from the “daily hustle and bustle of life.” Whether that’s on your own (“Self-love is a wonderful thing!”) or with a partner, she says: “Sex, love and orgasms are all part of a healthy and happy life.”
Right now, the pursuit of orgasms is driving the sales jump at Stag Shop, says Marcus Horea, whose parents founded the family business in 1972. Top sellers are the Womanizer, the Magic Wand, the AutoBlow and beginner bondage kits.
After all, as a viral notice about sex and the new coronavirus from New York City’s public health department said last month: “You are your safest sex partner.”
More than once in the weeks since the World Health Organization declared the coronavirus outbreak a pandemic, Horea says the number of new orders has crept past 300.
“It seems like women in particular are thinking, ‘Well, I’m at home alone, so there’s no better time to try something new,’” says Relph.
Since the sales surge is “unprecedented,” Eagle says she has no best guess for when it will level off.
At the moment, the big sellers are “sexy dice” and other sexified games, she says. But for the most part, people are picking high-end vibrators.
“I’m really noticing a focus on pleasure and comfort.”
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