How to sex it
Roula Khalaf, Editor of the FT, selects her favourite stories in this weekly newsletter.
When Gwyneth Paltrow included a $28,500 sex chair in her Goop holiday gift guide, many balked at its extravagance. The chair, designed for New York brand Kiki de Montparnasse, has shiny brass stirrups and smooth leather quilting. It’s one of many pleasures in the Goop wellness repertoire, which also includes “romantic” vibrators, gold-tinted wristlets and a cowgirl sex machine. All are extremely chic.
Paltrow has banked on a flourishing industry: the global sex-toys market is expected to reach $62.32bn by 2030, with a compound annual growth rate of 8.4 per cent. Other champions include Cara Delevingne, co-owner of award-winning sex-tech company Lora DiCarlo, and actress Dakota Johnson, an investor in Brooklyn-based Maude. “Loving yourself should be the most normal thing in the world,” says Lily Allen in a promotional video for her collaboration with Bavarian brand Womanizer. “I masturbate. Do you?”
“Our capacity to experience pleasure can be life-changing,” affirms Coco de Mer CEO Lucy Litwack. “A confident sexuality can empower so many facets of your life; it’s all about self-love and self-respect.” Litwack compares the brand’s sex toys to objets d’art, with popular items including a topaz-topped butt plug (£165) and a rose-printed ceramic dildo (£150). “My vision was to build a true icon of pleasure in luxury,” says Litwack.
Still unconvinced? Try something simple like Lelo’s clitoral pinpoint vibrator (£159). Or go for beauty: Kindred Black’s sex toys could be confused with sculptures. And for those that scoff at pleasure entirely, let me direct you to an illustration of a 13th-century erotic Iranian poem that was recently sold by Roseberys for £16,000 – more than five times its lower estimate. Sex sells, as it always will. The only question is how much you’re willing to spend.