Sex toys are starting to look less and less like, well, sex toys.
Sexual lifestyle company Unbound recently launched a new sex toy collection that doubles as high-end jewelry. Dubbed “sexual accessories,” the Unbound jewelry collection includes pineapple earrings that can be turned into nipple clamps, a choker that transforms into a whip and even a sleek necklace that holds your lube. One of the standout items is a set of gold bangles that double as handcuffs with the words “There is freedom in restrain” etched on each.
The collection is sexy and practical. But perhaps more notably, it’s cute. Really, really cute.
Unbound was created by a group of NYC-based women in February 2013 to help women empower themselves through sexual exploration. The company specializes in monthly subscription boxes like the BDSM box (filled with handcuffs, nipple and clit clamps, and more), the G-spot box (comes with lube and a g-spot vibrator) and even a strap-on box. The company also offers somewhat less sexy gift boxes, such as the period box, pregnancy box and the “Ovaries Before Brovaries” box. Their latest offering is their signature jewelry collection.
As Unbound CEO Polly Rodriguez explained to The Huffington Post, the new collection offers women “a chance to, quite literally, wear their sexuality on their sleeve” and, in the process, have more open conversations about female pleasure and sexuality.
“The goal of the collection is to further the notion that female sexuality should not be relegated to the shadows,” Rodriguez said. “By offering women an opportunity to artfully display their sexuality in a fashion-forward, thoughtful manner, we hope to encourage a more widespread acceptance of formerly taboo topics in order to encourage frank conversations in the new year.”
The collection was inspired by and stylized in honor of three historic women: aviation pioneer Amelia Earhart, model and actress Twiggy, and Egyptian pharaoh Cleopatra.
As sex toys increasingly become sleeker and prettier ― a.k.a. less and less phallic in their design ― it’s opened doors for many companies to create high-end, luxury sex toy lines.
In a 2015 article for Fusion, reporter Hannah Smothers described how this shift in design has transformed the sex toy market in the last 10 to 15 years. Smothers wrote:
As sex toys have become increasingly sleek and modern ― taking cues from the minimalistic designs of like Apple and Ikea ― one clear trend has emerged: They no longer look like human penises. In fact, they no longer look human at all ― which, according to designers, entrepreneurs, and sex therapists alike, is a very good thing.
…When sex toys start looking less like severed organs, it gets easier for consumers to take them seriously. And when consumers start to take them seriously, it opens up room for a luxury class of sex toys.
Companies like LELO and Crave are leading the charge in this arena. LELO offers customers the Ora 2, an oral sex stimulator for women that features gold-colored accents and costs just under $200. And for the women who really want to mix conspicuous consumption with sex, LELO also sells a $15,000 24-karat gold plated vibrator which, as the website reads, is “defined by decadence and elegance.”
We hope to encourage a more widespread acceptance of formerly taboo topics in order to encourage frank conversations.
Polly Rodriguez, CEO of Unbound
Crave tracks closer to Unbound’s designs. It too has a jewelry line that doubles as a line of sex toys. While their repertoire of sleek jewelry toys is much smaller than Unbound’s, it has a similar look. The Vesper is a chic necklace slash vibrator that users can get customized to feature sexy phrases like “Don’t forget to play.”
As co-founder of Crave, Ti Chang, told Smothers, part of this high-end trend simply came from more women breaking into the sex and pleasure business.
“I think the sex toy industry has really had a lot of male voices ― it’s been men designing products for women, so it tends to be very male anatomy centric,” Chang told Smothers. “Like, ‘Oh, it’s sex, she wants a big cock, so we’ll just make lots of different colors of cocks, and to make this really silly, we’ll put a little rabbit on it.’”
With high-end designs from companies like LELO, Crave and Unbound, the sex toy market is innovating, and therefore working to shift the way we approach female pleasure and masturbation.
Female sexuality should not be relegated to the shadows.
Polly Rodriguez, CEO of Unbound
Rodriguez told HuffPost she wanted to make the Unbound Collection fashion-forward with a subtle nod to it’s other purposes.
“The collection is intended to be an implicit wink to anyone who notices, and we think that’s incredibly powerful,” she said. “There should be a safe space in between overtly sexual and completely repressed. Women want to own their sexuality, but they want to do it in a way that’s still edgy and fashion forward.”
Simply put, often women know what works best for women. And along with this shift of approach in the sex toy industry, comes more woman-led companies that encourage honest and open conversations about female pleasure.
Luxury sex toys and sexy jewelry represent one small step toward a more feminist approach to female sexuality, pleasure and masturbation. And that’s a step in the right direction.