opinion

How Retailers Can Challenge Stigmatizing Attitudes Toward Masturbation

How Retailers Can Challenge Stigmatizing Attitudes Toward Masturbation

Masturbation is a natural and healthy aspect of human sexuality, yet it is often surrounded by stigma and misinformation. Fortunately, adult retailers can play a crucial role in reshaping the narrative surrounding masturbation and creating inclusive, welcoming spaces for customers. In honor of Masturbation May, let’s explore some strategies for debunking myths about masturbation, breaking down taboos and fostering an environment that celebrates sexual pleasure in all its forms.

Education Is Key

Use humor and lighthearted messaging to break down barriers and make conversations about masturbation more approachable.

One of the most effective ways to debunk myths about masturbation is through education. Equip your staff with accurate information about sexual health, pleasure and the benefits of masturbation. Provide training sessions to ensure that your team can confidently address customer questions and concerns with knowledge and sensitivity. Take advantage of the free retail education programs your distribution and manufacturer partners offer. By becoming trusted sources of information, retailers can help dispel misconceptions and empower customers to explore their sexuality without shame or guilt.

Challenge Stereotypes in Marketing

Take a critical look at your marketing materials and messaging to ensure that they reflect a diverse and inclusive representation of sexuality. Avoid perpetuating stereotypes or reinforcing harmful narratives about masturbation. Frame masturbation and the use of pleasure products as an empowering act of self-care and self-love rather than something shameful or embarrassing. Marketing messages can emphasize themes of autonomy, pleasure and self-acceptance. Use humor and lighthearted messaging to break down barriers and make conversations about masturbation more approachable. By challenging stereotypes in your marketing, you can create a more welcoming and affirming environment for all customers.

Create a Judgment-Free Zone

Make your store environment a place where customers feel comfortable exploring their desires and preferences without fear of stigma or judgment. Display signage and messaging that communicates your commitment to inclusivity, diversity, and sex positivity. Train your staff to greet customers warmly and respectfully, creating a welcoming atmosphere from the moment they enter the store. Consider offering private consultation areas where customers can ask questions or seek guidance in a confidential setting. When customers feel comfortable and supported by salespeople, they are more likely to trust their recommendations and advice. This trust is essential, especially when it comes to purchasing intimate products, as customers rely on the expertise of sales staff to make informed decisions.

Curate a Diverse Range of Products

Stock your shelves with a diverse range of products that cater to the diverse needs and preferences of your customer base. Offer a variety of sex toys, lubricants, accessories and educational materials that promote pleasure, exploration and sexual wellness. Consider partnering with brands that prioritize inclusivity, body positivity, and ethical production practices. By offering a diverse range of products that encourage sexual exploration and pleasure, adult retailers help normalize the idea that masturbation is a natural and healthy aspect of human sexuality and open conversations about sexual self-expression.

Foster Community Engagement

In an age dominated by ecommerce, with brick-and-mortar establishments facing challenges in attracting foot traffic, providing your community with a warm and captivating environment is becoming increasingly imperative. Engage with your local community through events, workshops and educational programming focused on sexual health and pleasure. Partner with sexual health organizations, educators, and advocates to host informative sessions on topics such as masturbation, consent and sexual empowerment. Create a space where customers can connect with like-minded individuals, share experiences and learn from each other in a supportive and inclusive environment. Work with your supply chain to organize events and programs that will draw customers into your store. Hosting a game night, setting up a loyalty program, or offering a gift with purchase are a few examples. Interacting with your community and other local businesses on social media is also a great way to expand your reach. By fostering community engagement, retailers can build trust and loyalty among customers while challenging stigma and fostering a culture of openness and acceptance.

As adult retailers, you hold a unique position of influence. You have the power to do much more than simply sell products. By challenging stigma, debunking myths and creating inclusive, welcoming spaces where all customers feel valued and respected, you can shape attitudes and perceptions surrounding human sexuality. Let’s work together to break down taboos, celebrate sexual pleasure in all its forms, and create a world where everyone feels empowered to explore and embrace their sexuality without shame or stigma.

Verna Meng is the co-founder and CEO of Blush, and the recipient of the 2018 International Women’s Entrepreneurial Challenge Foundation Award.

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