Sex has changed a lot over the decades; from the days of women being prescribed vibrators to ‘hysteria’ to Miranda extolling their virtues for relaxation on SATC.
Back in the day, you would have seemed crazy describing contraception tools that determine your daily fertility or period trackers, but these healthcare tools are now part of our daily lives.
As with the rest of the tech sphere, sexual health technology has moved quickly recently too, and we’re likely to see even more improvements during the coming years.
So what can we expect in the world of sexual wellbeing? Will we be getting down to business on hoverboards or using mind waves to control our eggs and sperm?
Dominnique Karetsos, CEO of The Healthy Pleasure Group, gives her insights in to the sexual wellness trends we will see in 2022.
Thankfully they’re a lot less World of Tomorrow and a lot more helpful, encompassing physical and mental health solutions for the bedroom.
Although people have been going through menopause for centuries, it was rarely discussed publicly.
Dominnique says this is in the process of changing, and 2022 will see a more open and informative discussion around menopause – as well as some innovations to help ease people through it.
She tells Metro.co.uk: ‘Menopause is fast becoming an accessible and acceptable topic of discussion, as a glut of brands have begun creating products that attempt to address menopausal symptoms.
‘However, there’s a lack of education around why someone would need to use any of these products. Brands can’t simply slap on a menopause label; they have to solve unmet needs with honest solutions.’
Education needs to come with technology, and Dominnique believes brands should steer away from ‘scaremongering women into thinking they will need hundreds of products when entering this stage of their lives.’
She adds: ‘Thankfully, on the flip side, there are some great brands whose offerings are specifically tailored to this time in our lives. 2022 will see the rise of brands like Gennev, Tabu and Womaness that put education at the forefront of their approach.’
Many people take supplements to top up their vitamin stores or reach health goals, and Dominnique predicts this will move into the world of sexual health over the coming months.
She cites mainstream retailers like Holland and Barrett stocking sexual wellness supplements and new brands popping up (like MYHIXEL Max for premature ejaculation and YourSuper.com Moon Balance to balance hormones) as drivers in this trend.
‘We have seen a huge increase in supplements that are scientifically proven to help us through various sexual health symptoms and issues that we can face during our lives,’ Dominnique says.
‘There’s a growing acceptance and acknowledgement that what we put into our mouth can affect our sexual health.
‘However, we have to be mindful that no supplement is a complete solution. We have to consider our sexual health and wellness from the inside out and no single product is a solution for your entire sexual health.
‘Supplements can be just one tool in your armoury towards your holistic sexual wellness.’
Male grooming moving into sexual health
Dominnique says: ‘In 2021 we saw the popularity of a lot of intimate male grooming devices like SmoothNuts and Manscaped.
‘Just as we predicted with the beauty industry welcoming sexual wellness into its offering, as we move into 2022 we will see this extend into new conversations around sexual wellness beyond grooming.
‘The success of male sexual wellness brands like Champ, Hims and Numan has given male grooming brands the confidence to play in the space from beard to boner.’
There’s also talk of a male contraceptive – the testicle bath – being introduced too, showing that the industry isn’t just geared towards women.
Sex Education goes mainstream
Sexy shows made their mark in a big way this year, with Sex, Love, and Goop on Netflix, Davina McCall’s Sex, Myths, and Menopause on Channel 4 both proving hits.
Dominnique says: ‘Mainstream channels have extended the invitation for exploration around alternative sexual therapies.
‘For too long the focus of conversations about sex in mainstream media have been around how to be more attractive, how not to lose a man (even saying this makes my blood boil!).
‘Thankfully now and into 2022, sex is going mainstream as the media is finally having honest, raw conversations about why we should make our sexual wellness a priority.’
Sex on the high street
‘How we shop is radically changing,’ says Dominnique, ‘but the way we shop for sexual wellness is lagging behind.’
With sexual health products becoming ‘mainstream’, it’s still hard to find products on the high street, with most people shopping for sex toys or tech online.
Dominnique calls it ‘the equivalent of putting our top shelf magazines in brown paper bags.’
She adds: ‘Retailers don’t know how to shape the in-store experience, or are scared to do so.
‘The tampon aisle is still segregated from lubricants, menopause products are only tackled in the beauty shelves, you still have to ask for thrush creams at the counter and condoms are jammed in a corner with few options other than the obvious players that have monopolised our emergency stash.’
Over the next year, she expects this to change, spurred on by department stores like Urban Outfitters and Bloomingdales adopting a more holistic approach and stocking products for sexual health.
Making the medical, accessible
‘In 2022 we will see new innovations in sexual health that had previously been hard to get your hands on without a trip to the doctor become available to pick up off the shelf,’ says Dominnique.
If her predictions are correct, you won’t need to get a prescription for certain products, instead being able to pick up what you need without GP trips.
She continues: ‘Sexual wellness solutions like Milli, a vaginal dilator to help treat relieve the symptoms of vaginismus, are taking products traditionally only offered by doctors and giving people the power to choose their treatments.’
Although we’re two years into Covid-19, the innovations created at the start of the pandemic are now filtering through to the rest of the health industry.
Dominnique says: ‘We can’t ignore that COVID has encouraged more brands to invest in telehealth (or digital healthcare) over and above their standard products.’
In sexual health, she praises brands like Numan for breaking taboos and offering an easier way to speak to a professional, but says more needs to be done to modernise the industry.
‘Over 2022, I hope and believe that we will see the evolution of sexual digital healthcare via subscriptions that talk to us at every stage of our lives,’ Dominnique says.
‘Whether it’s speaking to pre-teens about their menstrual cycle or to menopausal women about how to deal with their symptoms.’
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