Tuesday 14 January 2014

Surging sales for adult items, menswear makeover, and princess play

Something's on the rise …

Sales figures, to be precise. We're buying more lingerie, sex toys and adult themed gadgets than ever, according to end of year financial reports from some of the biggest players around: Agent Provocateur doubled its profits in the last financial year, and Lovehoney increased turnover by 51%. What does this mean for the future of sexy undies and grown-up toys?

Well, it's all positive. The consumer has become more discerning while the role of gadgets and lovely clothing in developing deeper, happier and more fulfilled sexual relationships has moved out of the shadows and into the heart of modern life.

Online lingerie retailers have been a big force in allowing women, in particular, to find what they want and explore their own fantasies, sexuality and appearance. Finally, the growth of boudoir photography, online dating and avatar-related sex play have freed many people to discover new ways of expressing, and sharing, dreams and desires.

So what's next? We predict a boom in online experiences with people using online lingerie and sex toy retailers more as a venue than a shop ... trying on clothes in virtual changing rooms, getting opinions from others in closed forums about which toy to buy for a special evening at home etc.

What men wish for ...?

According to Homme Mystere many men want bra and panty sets they can wear to work. The company creates lingerie that is based on the traditional lacy, floral designs marketed to women, but the China Doll range, amongst others, is plus sized and redesigned so that it fits the male form. It's also discreet enough to wear under traditional male clothing - although we'd caution chaps to be careful about bras worn under white or pastel shirts; who hasn't had the inadvertent 'see through shirt' experience at some time?

The lingerie is being marketed in Japan, where it started an intense debate on the social networking site Mixi, and let's remember that Japan is the country where schoolgirls sell their used knickers in vending machines (okay, the parliament passed a law outlawing this practice in 1993 but it still goes on, illegally!) So what do our readers think? We have to admit, we've watched this video quite a few times … purely for research purposes, of course!

Princess Play

Yes, somewhat of a new concept to us too. Not the princess bit, we're all in favour of letting our inner Fiona, Sleeping Beauty or Cinderella run the show, and of blurring the boundaries between fantasy and fairy story. We're also pretty keen on letting our own Puss in Boots, wicked stepmother and Beast out to play, being equal opportunity explorers of the realm of 'let's pretend', particularly in the bedroom! But that's not what we're talking about here, and once again it's those whacky Japanese who are presenting us with a new view of kink. It's Disney princesses - specifically Aurora, Belle, Cinderella and Rapunzel and each of them now has a matching bra and brief set, in their cartoon colours, but in adult women's sizes.

We're not sure how to take this development - isn't the whole point of Disney characters that they're wholesome and too good to be true? Also, do we really want little girls thinking that they need scanty panties and an underwired bra to be their favourite cartoon character?  On the whole, although we support everybody's right to discover what works for them in the bedroom, we think adult princesses can probably organise their own underwear, thanks very much. And if you'd like a recommendation, we'd always plump for the Beauty Night Glamour Set - stunningly sexy undies with definite princess power!

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