The Evolution of Online Sex Shopping

Recently I had to update/delete a ton of links on my site because I’ve now been at this long enough for a bunch of stuff I love to have been discontinued. This process gave me a chance to really think about how much online sex shopping has evolved over the years. First, I was thinking how much everything has changed since I started this site in 2012 but then I dug back further and thought about when I bought my very first vibrator online in 2001 and seriously, we’ve come a long way baby! That’s why today we’re going to look at a couple of the ways online sex shopping has grown and evolved into what it is today. Now, are the things I’m saying here true about EVERY online sex shop? Probably not. Are they true about enough of them that I feel good about the general trend of the industry? Hell, yes!

So, without further ado, let’s look at some amazing benefits of the evolution of online sex shopping:


Does anyone else remember when the norm was pretty much: “most places sell lost of stuff made of mystery materials and this handful of places sell stuff that is safe”? Because I certainly do. Now between more companies making affordable silicone toys and more retailers understanding why that matters, it’s become far easier to locate quality products. Now, don’t get me wrong, the sex toy industry is still unregulated and companies can still say things are silicone when they definitely are not but watching the world go from “very few places sell silicone” to “lots of places sell stuff that claims to be silicone but probably isn’t” to “hey, look, there’s a lot of actual silicone happening!” is very exciting.

Getting kinky

Chain holding BDSM gearI remember when I went on my brick and mortar sex shop tour in 2013 and, as it was the height of the 50 Shades boom, a bunch of shops that had previously carried a very minimal kink selection were bringing in more stuff. There was still, however, a very clear pattern of shops that had a broad selection of kink stuff being noteworthy. I only saw 3 electro-stimulation devices on that whole tour and the shops that had a lot of impact toys, restraints etc were the ones people said they specifically traveled to for those things. I saw some other shops that were nothing but kink but the idea of both kinky stuff and vibrators coexisting in one space was nothing like it is now. These days both IRL and online shops have robust BDSM selections. Many sites have multiple e-stim options and, in general, it’s become a whole lot easier to do your kinky shopping along with your “vanilla” shopping.

Rivers of lube

Pile of various lube sample packets

Sure, there was never really a time when people just weren’t selling lube but theses days the selections tend to be HUGE and include a variety of formulations, textures, flavors, and more. I feel like this was a process. For a long time there were water-based lubes and some “silk” formulas. Then places started picking up on silicone lube and would add one or two of those. Then after years of “oil based = bad” (I was just as guilty as this one!) people started getting curious about those too. Now it’s not at all uncommon to find options for each kind. It’s a good time to be shopping for lube online!


Sex ed books

This one is my favorite. I love how these days many online shops feature blogs, educational videos, robust book selections and, generally, the vibe that learning more about sex is fun and healthy and they want to help you do that. Back when I bought my first toy online the vibe was “the only info you need from us is that we ship in ‘plain brown packaging’” but these days so many online shops are committed to hooking their customers up with some bonus education and that’s pretty great.

More, More, More

This one is kind of the sum total of everything I’ve said so far: these days online sex shopping just features MORE. More products, more quality, more options, more thought, more learning, more accessibility… just all around MORE. The way I see it, there’s no downside there! The online adult retail game has gone from being about cheap questionable products and the feeling that one was participating in something illicit to being all about options, respect, education and quality. In my book, that’s a huge win!



This post was sponsored by Tabu Toys. All opinions are, as always, my own.

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