I’m sitting in the brightly lit offices of global sex-toy brand Fun Factory on what I hear is a rare sunny day in Bremen, Germany.
Alina Eynck, 23, the company’s newest (and youngest) designer, is graciously walking me through the process of how she designed Mr. Boss ($95, FUNFACTORY.COM)–a vibrator that’s curved specifically to stimulate a woman’s G-spot. I nod in approval as she describes how she got the size, shape, and flexibility just right.
Then Eynck’s boss, Simone Kalz, 44, shows me her latest creation: The Volta ($140, FUNFACTORY.COM), a clitoral stimulator that flutters faster than my eyes can follow. I’d just toured the company’s actual factory, where I witnessed about a hundred employees and a dozen machines bringing Mr. Boss and The Volta to life, and it’s clear that these two humble women should have way bigger egos. They don’t seem to get how major they are or that they’re pioneers in a female-led pleasure quest revolutionizing sex as we know it.
“The sex brands most people are aware of were created by men,” says certified sex educator Alicia Sinclair. (Case in point: Fun Factory was founded in 1996 by two guys making dildos out of Play-Doh in their kitchens.) “Men aren’t using these products themselves, so I don’t think there’s been a lot of thought on how the toys interact with women’s bodies or what makes us feel sexy.” That’s why many vibes focus on two things–penetration or shaking hard (aka what a man assumes feels amazing to a woman)–and why a lot of them are ergonomically hard to hold or made of toxic or sketchy materials.
Coming in (super) hot: a new squad of female designers, like Eynck and Kalz, who are using modern technology to reinvent adult play things to cater to women’s comfort, complex arousal processes, and erogenous hotspots. Since 2015, more than 100 women from allover the world have joined Women of Sex Tech, a community for sex-toy company founders, executives, and other girl bosses. And major manufacturers have started to hire a lot more women (at press time, 62 percent of Fun Factory employees were female).
As a result, the $15 billion adult-toy biz is quickly morphing from a male-dominated empire to an even more valuable vulva-pleasing, women-for-women industry. “The demand for better products, accurate content, and education has created a huge change,” explains Meika Hollender, cofounder and co-CEO of the sexual-wellness brand Sustain Natural and author of the new book Get on Top. “By pulling back the curtains and having open, honest, and real conversations about sex, the taboos and stigmas are lifting on sex technology.”
“Women are now creating toys that are really thoughtful and based on their own experiences,” adds Sinclair. And those toys are being marketed in sex-positive, inclusive, and empowering ways.
Personally, as an editor who’s covered sex for seven years, I couldn’t be more excited for this feminist revolution...and you should be too.
How you can help shape the future:
Your voice as a consumer of arousing accessories is a powerful force...and one that sex-toy designers are eager to hear. Whenever you purchase a new plaything for yourself, make sure to post a review online, or if you’re shopping at a brick-and-mortar store like Babeland, give the sales clerk direct feedback about your experience. Your suggestion may lead to the next orgasmic invention.
This article was originally published as "The Future (of Sex) is Female" in the March 2018 issue of Cosmopolitan. Click here to subscribe to the digital edition.