Sex toys are having a renaissance and 3D printing is either helping or hurting, depending on which side of the business you’re on.
From the golden dildo that Julius Caesar supposedly gave Cleopatra to the infamous Rabbit, which had a starring role in an episode of Sex and the City, sex toys have long held a place in the bedside drawer of our culture. The advent of 3D printing technology means people can now print sex toys modeled after themselves or their loved ones in the comfort of their own home – indeed, the limits are now only as far as the creator’s imagination will reach. But how will 3D printing affect the sex toy industry? To answer that question, UK sex toy retailer Pink Rocket has released an infographic that tells all.
The infographic takes a look at the history sex toys before considering the innovation of 3D-printing, and the problems and solutions it presents to both consumers and the industry. Created by Rosie Gardner, illustrator and media & communications executive at Pink Rocket, the infographic stemmed from a team conversation about popular products on the site. She tells PSFK:
One of the most popular products we sell is the “We-vibe” series for couples – a toy researched and designed using 3D printers. This triggered the whole topic for us. We wanted a blog that appeals to a broader audience beyond ‘5 sex tips you must try’ and ‘how to choose the perfect x’. Producing [an infographic on] something we’re seeing more of in the industry and, which we also have a professional interest in, seemed like a great choice.
The infographic offered Pink Rocket the opportunity to educate their customers in a fun and casual way. ‘We love what we do, and firmly believe that sexual education is a hugely important part of life,’ said Gardner. ‘Purchasing a sex toy can often be a very embarrassing situation for a person, especially if they haven’t done it before. Anything that makes it easier to explore your own sexuality is good in our books!’ The infographic reveals both the innovations of 3D printing and the dangers – including the possibility of the printing process creating a rough surface which may allow for more bacteria to hid in the crevices.
But this infographic is not nay-saying the technology. It also explores how the sex toy industry is responding to these problems, such as how Maker Love founder Tom Nardone recently created a silicone gel that would result in a smoother finish. Through her research, Gardner realized just how often the adult industry has driven adoption of a technology and she is optimistic that the availability of 3D printing will push the industry to improve on quality.
For the full infographic, click here.