5 Trends Driving Kink and Fetish Products in 2023

Ryn Pfeuffer

In July, I attended the Adult Novelty Manufacturers Expo (ANME) in Burbank, California. ANME is a bi-annual trade show that brings together the biggest names in the adult retail business, with close to 100 different companies spanning almost every category. For over 26 years, ANME has been crucial for new product launches, and to celebrate the best in sex toys, apparel, and just about anything else you can imagine. 

 

While BDSM has gained more visibility and acceptance in recent years (hello, Fifty Shades of Grey, and How to Build a Sex Room), it is still considered a niche within the broader spectrum of human sexuality — and the show itself.  But it’s also clearly a growth market. If this year’s show is any indicator, it’s not only a sector for innovation but a sign of what’s to come to the broader market. Here are five trends driving the industry.

Sex Furniture

Everyone is buying sex furniture, says XR Brands’ rep Elizabeth Porter-Smith. “We see older couples who are grandparents in their 60s buying it, all the way down to customers in their early 20s. Some buy it for private and personal experience reasons, and some use it for content purposes.” In other words, adult content creators like me are helping drive a new market.

 

Porter-Smith adds that with the success of shows like How to Build a Sex Room on Netflix, it’s normalized adding toys and furnishing to the sexual experience. “Customers also are seeing that adding sex furniture to their home or private spaces makes their sensual time more comfortable and allows them more freedom to explore.” 

 

Among the offerings? XR’s Bedroom Bliss line includes a Bondage Love Couch covered in soft faux suede and adorned with 26 attachment points for play. (An attachment point serves as an anchor where restraints can be secured.) If space is a concern, however, they also have a nifty wall-mounted St. Andrew’s Cross. There was also a Deluxe Wand Saddle—an ergonomic cushion with a strategically placed spot for a wand vibe (not included). All I could think of was incorporating rope bondage and forced orgasms.

 

At the Blush booth, my attention was captivated by the Surrender Sex Chair coming soon from their Temptasia line. It’s an ingenious solution to the challenge of sustaining the popular face-sitting position, particularly for those with knee or hip discomfort. This variation of the “queening chair” presents a comfortable seated position, allowing the receiver to effortlessly enjoy the experience, their genital area strategically positioned over a central opening.

 

Liberator, a long-term trailblazer in the sex furniture industry, was absent from ANME. But their array of supportive shapes and cushions amplify comfort and accessibility in diverse sexual positions, and it’d be a shame not to mention their opulent Esse, a chaise designed for Kama Sutra-inspired positions, featuring ergonomic contours and sleek style.

Surveillance Tech

Outside the bedroom, it was XR’s Tracer Tracking Collar that caught my interest — a chic, adjustable, lockable collar that allows you to track your submissive wherever they may be. Until now, surveillance in D/s relationships has been primarily app based on apps like Glympse or Life360. 

 

“The next innovation had to be something that could connect partners together in a different manner, and in my opinion, a more intimate way,” Porter-Smith told me. “This product gives the Mistress or Master the ability to know where their sub is always. It’s designed specifically to fit an Apple AirTag tracking device. Imagine the control, or lack thereof, and intimacy you can have when collared with this device and playing with your intimate partner.” 

It’s a Vibe

According to The Journal of Sexual Medicine, 81.5% of women reported that stimulation of their nipples/breasts caused or enhanced their sexual arousal. Suki Dunham, the founder of OhMiBod, will tap soon into those nerve endings with Sphynx, a sleek pair of nipple clamps that use music-driven vibration, a new variation on to their wearable panty vibrator, Club Vibe 2.Oh. For people who enjoy nipple sensation but may not be into pain, Sphynx is a potentially arousing addition to your sexual toolbox.

 

OhMiBod isn’t the only one setting the mood for pleasure with music. Lovehoney’s Juno collection, introduced last year, lets music set the mood for pleasure. Recognized by Rolling Stone as one of the best music vibrators, it syncs with songs’ beats without WiFi or Bluetooth—simply place the remote near your music source.

Standout items from Adult Novelty Manufacturers Expo (ANME) in Burbank, California.

An array of colorful sex furniture from XR’s Bedroom Bliss

A harness from CalExotic’s new Euphoria line

OhMiBod’s musical nipple clamps

Dame’s Massage Oil Candle

Fetish Fashion

CalExotics Director of Marketing Nichole Grossmann says fetish world aesthetics are taking the fashion world by storm. The fashion and fetish wear pairing isn’t new, and some have theorized that the re-emergence of fetish fashion — Dua Lipa at last year’s Grammys in a vintage Versace bondage dress, Lily-Rose Depp in a domme-inspired cat mask, Balenciaga’s Spring 2023 show — is a reaction to lockdown. CalExotics launched several new lines to celebrate this trend, including the not-yet-released Euphoria, a drop-dead sexy line of vegan leather harnesses, and other wearable fetish pieces. Think a sleek O-ring body suit, a choker collar with a detachable chain leash, and thigh garter belts.

Accessibility

At Sportsheets, sales representative Pettus says she’s seen an uptick in interest in accessible sex toys. Her mother has rheumatoid arthritis and her medication has affected her knees where some days she can’t walk. Pettus grew up seeing the effect it has on her emotionally and thinks about the 27% of the population that also has a form of disability. “Sex is for everyone,” she says.

 

When purchasing and designing sex toys, Pettus emphasizes the importance of asking  questions like, “Will this be painful in my hand?” “Can I reach a pleasure point with this toy?” and “Could a product be causing my partner frustration and avoidance around sex?” 

 

Sportsheets’ new Pivot line was designed to facilitate sexual activities that may be challenging or inaccessible due to physical limitations, such as mobility issues or flexibility constraints, enabling them to engage in a broader range of sexual positions and activities.

 

“It is our responsibility to create products that can help but also make the adult industry a safe space for everyone,” she says.

 

The Pivot Positioner, a high-density foam wedge, offers ergonomic support for any body type. Like some sex furniture, it can help reduce strain on the body and allow individuals to sustain positions for extended periods, enhancing pleasure and reducing physical discomfort. The looped webbing on either side makes it easy to add restraints. To incorporate some hands-free fun, the Pivot 3-in-1 Play Pad allows users to tuck their favorite harness-compatible dildo, bullet, or wand-style vibrator to stimulate erogenous zones or target specific areas of the body.

 

“Everyone is starting to have the conversation around disability and accessibility of their products,” says Pettus. “I give a lot of credit to the stores and their employees—they are the biggest advocates for more inclusive products.”

 

(Sportsheets isn’t the only one. While not an ANME exhibitor, brands like Cute Little Fuckers are paving the way in accessibility. Founded by Step Tranovich, a queer, trans, and disabled activist, CLF vibrators are gender-neutral or inclusive and designed to work with as many bodies, genders, and physical abilities as possible. Their Starsi vibrator, a red star that sits in the palm of the hand, is beneficial for people with disabilities affecting their hands.)

Back To Basics

More than 65% of adults have fantasized about BDSM, but only a small fraction have actually tried it. More than a decade after 50 Shades, that means beginners’ products are still a growth market.

 

Blush sales manager Nancy Cosimini, told me that more and more adults are curious about exploring kink and BDSM products. For individuals new to BDSM, Blush’s Temptasia Safeword Bondage Kit has everything necessary to stock your essential bedroom toolkit. Housed in a sleek black briefcase, it contains all the basics for exploring different aspects of BDSM play. While I was there, a female attendee gushed over the presentation, saying the variety of toys would make it easier to approach the topic of kinky play with a partner versus breaking out a single ball gag, flogger, or restraints.  


At both Dame and Je Joue, candles were the entry point for beginner exploration. Depending on the temperature of the oil, candles can be used for a simple massage or entry-level wax play. Both look innocent on a nightstand, but melt into a pool of skin-friendly oil. All you need to do is light the wick, blow out the flame, and pour it across the skin.

More than 65% of adults have fantasized about BDSM, but only a small fraction have actually tried it.

Shifting Societal Attitudes

Back in the 1990s, when I began exploring BDSM, there was no clear path for those intrigued by its intricate desires. Though some BDSM toys existed, they were far less accessible and diverse than today. I relied on a handful of local sex shops with basic equipment, limited in quality and options.

 

Accessing education and community was a challenge, pre-internet. I turned to books, word-of-mouth, and local events for knowledge. Key resources like Gloria Brame’s Different Loving (1993) and Jay Wiseman’s SM 101 (1992) pioneered my understanding.

 

Now, the digital era and shifting societal attitudes have fostered a rich online realm catering to BDSM enthusiasts. Online platforms like FetLife and forums foster connections and learning. E-commerce and forums* offer a vast array of high-quality BDSM gear, catering to all levels of exploration. And nowhere is that more apparent than at ANME, where kink and fetish products aren’t only coming out of the shadows, they’re leading the way in innovation and accessibility.

*[Ed Note: An online resource like Zipper, which features everything from a beginner’s guide to pegging to expert level discussions of BDSM’s Prime Directive. Once you’ve got your gear, we’re here.

Share on reddit
Share on twitter
Share on facebook
Share on linkedin

Sharing is caring 

Ryn Pfeuffer is a queer sex and relationships writer, and over the past two decades, her work has appeared in more than 100 media outlets, including Marie Claire, Playboy, Refinery29, Shape, The Globe and Mail, The Washington Post, and WIRED. Ryn is also the author of 101 Ways to Rock Online Dating (2019). She lives in Seattle. You can find her on Twitter @rynpfeuffer or IG @ryn_says.

READ NEXT

Ludella Hahn on Dollification & Objectification

In anticipation of the Barbie movie, Zipper Editor-in-Chief Sunny Megatron spoke with Fetish Creator Ludella Hahn of Ludella Hahn’s Fetish Adventures about her experience making fetish doll, robot, dollification kink, and bimbofication content.

The Art of bondage with Freshie Juice

Femdom and Clips4Sale creator FreshieJuice explores the depths of bondage and advanced kinks. Celebrated for her expertise in bondage, blasphemy, and role-play, she delves into the dynamics of power, highlighting its significant role in enhancing self-reliance and confidence.

We use cookies in order to give you the best possible experience on our website. By continuing to use this site, you agree to our use of cookies.
Accept
Reject