Primordial pleasure


(Note: This story appears in the October 2021 issue of Storerotica Magazine)

Taking care of one’s self may be the sexiest exercise available, which is why stocking up on self-care products from Exsens may be the most prudent business decision you make.

From toilet paper to mental health to sex toys, the COVID-19 pandemic has helped usher in a heightened awareness for self- and sexual wellness and a correlative bump in products that can deliver them. Exsens, a company that touts body care and sexual wellness products, believes intimacy and wellness are deeply connected.

SE Magazine spoke with Rebecca Pinette-Dorin, North American Sales Manager for Exsens, about bridging the two worlds of intimacy and wellness as well as how the pandemic has accelerated that connection.

SE: How important is body care in general? Why do you think it may be (or was) understated?
PINETTE-DORIN: Body care has always been important, important for our bodies, but also for our mental health. When we spend time taking care of our skin, face, hair, etc., we are sending our subconscious the message that we are important and worthy. Self-care time also provides a relaxing break from our hectic schedule, one perhaps we didn’t even know we needed.

So, it is unfortunate that in times of stress, self-care is often the first thing to be neglected. Last year was high on the stress meter, but the fact everyone had to stay home created a sort of perfect environment for people to find solace in taking care of themselves. A combination of boredom and a need for stress-relief had everyone trying new self-care products and vamping up their old routines. Daily masturbation became a must, so did Zoom cocktail hour, but meditation also saw a resurgence, as did weekly dance classes on Instagram, like Sweatfest with Ryan Heffington.

Everyone knew, in a general way, that self-care was important, but by the beginning of 2021 it had become primordial. COVID showed us what we needed to survive: food, water, self-care.

SE: Health/sexual wellness seems to be becoming more and more popular, what do you attribute this rise to?
PINETTE-DORIN: Ultimately there are two factors at play. First and foremost, our “moral” compass is changing. Sex is just not as taboo as it was even just 10 years ago. Largely thanks to Millennials and Gen Z, there is a growing indifference to the concept of sexual activity, a sort of “of course, you have sex” attitude. Masturbation, sex toys and lube have become givens for most young people, (though ironically, sex education remains terrible throughout the country), and so buying sex toys or lube has become common-place, leading to a dramatic shift in the market.

Secondly, the medical establishment has finally accepted and become vocal about sexual disfunction and the importance of healthy and happy sexuality with respect to treating the “whole body.” There are now numerous medical articles and studies available to read on sexual disfunction as a common side effect of oncology treatments, diabetes, menopause, and other factors, and how to treat it. The phrase “sexual wellness” first came from doctors who wanted to tie the concept of healthy sexuality definitely to the concept of the healthy body as a whole.

SE: What Exsens products have been most popular since COVID began?
PINETTE-DORIN: Our Warming Massage Oils definitely were the stars of the show. We saw a huge bump in sales in the Spring of 2020 and it has not slacked off since then. Our lubricants also did extremely well, perhaps aided by the fact that quarantine kept a lot of our competitors from being able to replenish their stocks. Once customers tried our lubes, they became converts and we have retained that market share. Another notable pandemic favorite: our Intimate Cleansers, Intime Fresh and Intime Balance.

SE: How can body care be sexy?
PINETTE-DORIN: Whether it’s pampering the feet, a deep hair wash or rubbing coconut oil into the thighs, the preparation is always a part of the anticipation. Even better when partner(s) get involved! Sensual is not just sex, it’s all the touching, the pampering, the self-care that comes before (and after!) the main event. Body care is sexy because it leads to intimacy. Body care reminds us that we have bodies, and that those bodies were made to be loved.

SE: Can you talk about how intimate/body care products fit in the adult retail landscape?
PINETTE-DORIN: Lubricants, massage oils, cleansers and arousal gels are consumables. They are what keeps the customer coming back to the store. A good vibrator, a pair of handcuffs, a dildo, these are things you buy once a year at most, but lube — that’s a monthly purchase. You cannot have a successful adult retail business without sexy consumables. Look at every sex toy brand out there and you will see at the very least a branded lube in their webstore, if not even more consumable products. Sex toys and accessories are the car, intimate body care is the gas.

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