Just as the fashion and beauty industries notice various trends coming in each year, so too does the sexual wellness industry. We can observe different sexual behaviours, interests and technology come into popularity each year, reflecting where our mindset as a collective is. Overall, we tend to be getting more and more open and expressive when it comes to sexuality these days and more people are willing to explore their wild side in new and interesting ways.
We’re checking in with our in-house expert Eleanor Hadley and industry experts from LoveHoney Group alongside data provided by adult film website Pornhub, to get a firm grasp on the year’s biggest sex trends.
1. Advancements in AI
If there’s one thing that the Pornhub Year in Review taught us, it’s that AI is here to stay in the sex world. The adult film website saw searches for “android” grow by 1689% last year and we expect that trend to continue. However, we’ve also seen advancements in the physical world with sexual wellness brand, LoveHoney, leveraging AI technology to create the world’s first images of a real-life orgasm. They expect this technology to make its way into their sex toys shortly too, specifically the use of AI algorithms to create personalised experiences that adapt to an individual’s preferences.
“There is so much potential for customisation with the help of AI. It allows us to interpret data and craft individual responses based on sensory feedback, like body temperature and pulse, to fit the user’s needs. For example, future sex toys could recognise whether you are having an orgasm and then learn from your behaviour whether it should increase or decrease the intensity,” said Fabian Schmolck, Lovehoney Group’s Emerging Technology Expert.
Experts at LoveHoney also expect people to continue to use chatbots as a safe and anonymous way to ask questions they otherwise might keep to themselves. “AI companion apps like Blush and Replika provide human-like interaction to users who can develop real friendships, emotional and romantic connections, and practice communication skills, boundary setting, vulnerability and flirting. These skills can then be used to interact in social settings, and workplaces, navigate dating apps and foster meaningful relationships in real life,” said sexologist Christine Rafe.
2. Virtual Reality and Sex Robots
Virtual reality has already revolutionised sex with the vast majority of adult film websites offering VR videos for use with speciality gear. Furthermore, data from the leading-website Pornhub indicates that searches for “robots” e.g. “sex robots” and “3D robots” grew by more than 300% last year. The trend is here to stay.
At the same time, 3D printing has an exciting trajectory for the sex toy industry with fully personalised vibrators printed straight from home set to become a reality over the next decade. Meanwhile, sex robots are predicted to replace sex dolls as they become fully reactive and responsive to touch and feel.
3. Sexual Literacy
Sexual wellness entered the mainstream last year and people are finally recognising the importance of a healthy sex life. We’re now actively seeking out sex education. It’s a refreshing shift that has created more safety, pleasure and communication skills overall. Many sexual wellness brands, businesses and educators like our very own in-house expert Eleanor Hadley have in-person and online workshops, courses and masterclasses on a whole host of topics.
With the normalisation of sexual wellness, Hadley is predicting that being sexually literate will become – for lack of a better word – sexy. With open conversations about the newest things you’ve learnt and perhaps in-person workshops even popping up as a popular date idea.
“It’s a pretty well-accepted fact that our high school sex education was more than lacking, leaving most people ill-equipped to navigate sex and pleasure to their full potential,” she said. “In the last five or so years of working in the sexuality space, I’ve noticed a huge change in cultural attitudes towards sex. What used to draw embarrassed looks of shock or horror to the simple question ‘So, what do you do?‘ now receives a much more understanding response.”
Make no mistake, this year is one where sex is at the front of everyone’s mind, thanks to our overall cultural shift towards openness and acceptance. It’s a great time to explore your sexuality and try new things.
4. Audio Erotica
Who even watches regular porn anymore? In the past few years, we’ve seen a boom in the erotica industry with the introduction of audio porn. A much more creative and refined iteration of the classic phone sex hotlines, apps like Dipsea and Quinn are leading the way in audio erotica, much to (predominantly) women’s delight.
For those of us with a typically responsive desire type as opposed to spontaneous (like the majority of men), listening to porn is the perfect way to build arousal. The audio erotica trend showcases either scripted scenarios with voice actors, or creator-generated scenes using fantasy and role play. Paired with sexy voices and plenty of moaning, audio erotica transports you into scenarios that you’ve dreamed about and immerses you in that world, if only for 20 minutes or so.
With the rise in popularity, we’re seeing audio creators build a following and gain notoriety. After the success of Quinn’s original series with actor Thomas Doherty, we’re anticipating we’ll see more celebrities jumping on the bandwagon.
5. Open Relationships
The past few years have seen a closer examination of monogamy and traditional relationship structures, with many people opening up to explore new dynamics in dating and partnerships. Many people have tried exploring open relationships, polyamory and other styles of non-monogamy with varying results. People are realising that there are so many different ways to be in relationships that are vastly different to what we’re accustomed to.
Sometimes called ‘relationship sabbaticals’ the experts at LoveHoney believe this trend is on the rise and can lead to a healthy long-term relationship. “If done with clear communication and agreement around intentions and boundaries, relationship sabbaticals can foster self-reflection and growth both personally and interpersonal,” said Lovehoney Group sexologist Christine Rafe.
“Healthy long-term relationships rely on a balance of separateness and togetherness, with the separateness providing self-identity, agency and independence, and the togetherness providing an anchor of support, stability and human connection.”
With open relating comes a need to level up your communication skills, which is a huge plus. For those already in relationships, swinging is making a comeback – but not in the old-school keys-in-a-punch-bowl style. We’re expecting an uptick in luxe swinger parties for those couples wanting to explore the sexual fantasy of inviting someone (or several someones) into the bedroom, but not necessarily the relationship.
6. Holistic Sexuality
On the flip side of non-monogamy is the idea of holistic sexuality where couples take a ‘less is more’ approach to sex. Let’s not forget for a second that pleasure (alongside old-fashioned love) is the underlying factor for sexual satisfaction. It’s a simple equation to get your head around, the more pleasurable a sexual experience is, the more likely a person will be satisfied after engaging in the experience.
“Sex is inherently an emotional experience and we do both ourselves and our sexual partners a disservice
when we view sex as simply physical. Try as some people might to separate sex from emotions, I’m an
advocate for incorporating and integrating our emotions into our sexual experiences. I think this makes sex better and more pleasurable,” said Cam Fraser, Lovehoney Group sexologist.
Penetrative sex is so last year… seriously, outercourse is in people and we’re looking forward to more consistent orgasms because of it. “Some definitions of outercourse might say it is specifically genital touch that is non-penetrative, but I like to define outercourse as more of a whole-person experience,” says expert Christine Rafe.
“Where we might have historically called non-penetrative touch ‘foreplay’, this insinuates that non-penetrative activities are less important than penetrative, and follows a linear view that sees penis in vagina penetration as the goal of what sex ‘should’ be, which is only true for reproductive purposes.”
8. Conversation Card Games
About as simple of a sex trend as you’ll find. Conversation card games are a fun and simple way to bring some excitement back into the bedroom according to our experts. “As a result of extended periods of isolation over the past few years, I’ve noticed that societally we’re becoming more aware of the importance of real, deep connection,” said Eleanor Hadley. “Many people are no longer content with surface-level relationships and are craving depth and intimacy. This is where conversation card games, like Sex Talk or Rosewell’s Love Deeply Deck, come in.
“These types of tools invite you to open up emotionally and sexually to a lover to cultivate a connection and I predict you’ll be seeing card decks as a fixture on many bedside tables this year,” she said.
9. Age is Just a Number
Our population is aging but that hasn’t stopped older Australians from having plenty of sex and we expect that to continue this year. According to a recent global survey conducted by Lovehoney Group, the average libido ranking of people 55 years or older is only 19% lower than that of people 54 years and younger.
At the same time, it’s men who need to think about their sexual health and how it changes as they get older. “Physiologically, older men might notice a decrease in libido, longer time needed to achieve erection, less firm erections, and potentially longer periods required for recovery between sexual activities. These changes are often influenced by declining testosterone levels, as well as other health conditions like cardiovascular disease or diabetes, and the side effects of certain medications,” explains Lovehoney Group sexologist Cam Fraser.
10. Lube is Coming Back
During the pandemic, an abundance of new lube brands hit the market but most people seem to have forgotten that bottle sitting in their draw. According to Hadley, couples and singles realised the advantages of lube at the time, but need a little more encouragement to get back into the swing of things this year.
“We’ve seen a lot more discourse and education about the benefits of lube lately – especially the concept of ‘arousal non-concordance’, and many folks are shedding the taboo that lube “isn’t necessary” and embracing just how much it can enhance pleasure for all.”
Disclaimer: Man of Many’s list of the best sex trends is for information purposes only. Materials here are not intended to be a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis, medical treatment, or therapy. Never disregard professional psychological or medical advice nor delay in seeking professional advice or treatment because of something you have read on this website. Read our full editorial policy here.
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