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Sex toy sales are on the rise amid coronavirus crisis
Photography Malvestida Magazine, via Unsplash

Sex toy sales are on the rise as the world goes into isolation

If you can’t go out, get off

Not being able to leave the house is boring, particularly if there’s no one in the house for you to have sex with. As we all self-isolate amid the coronavirus crisis, it seems we’re constantly looking for ways to get off – news which has been welcomed by sex toy companies, who have seen a worldwide surge in sales.

According to T3 Magazine, sex toy brand Womanizer has seen a 50 per cent rise in sales since January 1, when the outbreak took off in China. While sales in Italy – which has been on lockdown since the beginning of March – are 60 per cent higher than predicted.

“Of course, we didn’t anticipate a surge in sales due to coronavirus,” Johanna Rief, Womanizer’s head of sexual empowerment, told T3. “We do know that time is an essential factor when it comes to sexuality and self-pleasure. With the prospect of long periods at home either alone or with your partner, people are exploring new ways to make the best of the time available.” 

Sex has unsurprisingly come up a lot during conversation about coronavirus. Porn sites CamSoda and Pornhub both offered free content to those in quarantine, while ‘coronavirus porn’ has popped up on a variety of adult platforms – e.g. “COVID-19 Coronavirus: Horny Slut Has to Use Protection During Outbreak!”.

However, the pandemic has also had a detrimental impact on sex workers’ livelihoods, much like others working in the service industry at this time. “I’ve lost a significant travel booking in Europe as a result of the virus,” London-based sex worker Alice* told Dazed last week. “I was banking on that income to get me through the next few months, especially as London work has dried up too.” 

In an attempt to support those losing work, sex worker-led collective SWARM has set up a hardship fund for UK workers “in financial crisis due to COVID-19”. Speaking to Dazed, SWARM member Cat said: “Many sex workers are living in very precarious financial situations, living week-to-week without savings, family support, or access to adequate welfare benefits to support ourselves in times of crisis.”

Earlier this week, the porn industry called for a total shutdown amid coronavirus. UK-based adult performer Victoria Summers told Dazed yesterday (March 18) that “it’s definitely necessary for production companies to stop shooting now”. Summers is one of many adult performers whose income comes primarily from OnlyFans. “It will be interesting to see which way it goes,” she says. “If people are self-isolating, they will be bored, so maybe more people will join. At the same time, a lot of people are out of work, so not earning money or as much money to spend on porn.”

While the future of a number of livelihoods, including the sex industry, is still uncertain, you can support sex workers by subscribing to their OnlyFans accounts, or paying for your porn. Now you’ve got your supply of sex toys – and given masturbation can reportedly “help boost your immune system which can prevent you from becoming sick” – there’s really no excuse.

Donate to SWARM’s hardship fund here.

*Names have been changed