As people seek new ways to have fun while being stuck at home during the COVID-19 pandemic, some local sex shops are reporting a serious increase in sales.
“It’s always exciting to run a sex shop, but it’s really fascinating to watch,” said Julia Bueneman, Floor Manager for Venus Envy Ottawa.
The downtown store says sales have increased since the start of the pandemic, with online sales tripling from the previous year.
“This [rise in sales] really continued during the pandemic, but it seems like every time there’s a lockdown there’s a slightly higher bump, ”Bueneman said.
In addition to loyal customers looking to replace sold out toys or add to their collection, Bueneman said she has also noticed an increase in the number of first-time buyers.
“A lot of people are looking for new things and new forms of pleasure.”
At the Sensations Plus sex shop on Greber Boulevard in Gatineau, owner Daniel Beaulé told Radio-Canada that at its peak, his store was reaching 200 online orders per day during the pandemic.
Nationally, online retailer PinkCherry Canada reports year-over-year growth of 81% from 2019 to 2020.
Auto shutdown is a popular feature
So which sex toys are proving to be the most popular during the pandemic?
According to Bueneman, parents whose kids are now at home all the time prefer toys that automatically turn off when not in action.
“If there’s some kind of door opening or ‘Oh no!’ situation, you can just throw it to the side and it stops doing its job, ”she said.
Bueneman said she also sees a lot of interest in app-friendly toys that can be operated remotely, especially among couples separated by distance.
Whatever the toy, Bueneman has this advice for anyone entering the sex toy world. “I always recommend exploring it on your own first to really feel comfortable with it.”
While sex toys can certainly help individuals and couples achieve pleasure, Gatineau sex therapist Martine Poirier warns that satisfaction can be superficial and short-lived.
“Sexual pleasure is a very healthy thing,” Poirier said. “The problem is, we also have to look at how we feel, because if that becomes a way of escaping our emotions and not dealing with our emotions, then it can harm us.”