It’s been more than a decade since Lovehoney paired with the book-and-film franchise Fifty Shades of Grey for a line of sexual wellness and sex-positivity products. This licensed product line is credited as the first in this sector—and one of the first product lines in the sector in general—to achieve mainstream success and awareness.
Since then, licensing deals and collaborations have proliferated, some for single limited-edition products and others for full ranges of sex toys, lingerie, lotions, and accessories. Collections are often focused on women and marketed as empowering or taboo-busting, but they can include men’s, couples’, and gender-neutral products or all of the above. Although celebrities including actors, musicians, reality stars, influencers, and models dominate the space, other IP types are occasionally represented as well, including entertainment, corporate, and fashion brands.
The following sampling of companies active in this space includes marketers headquartered in the U.S., U.K., Japan, and Australia. Most sell their products, including the cross-section of collaborative items listed here, on a global scale:
- Lovehoney. In addition to its extensive Fifty Shades collection, which launched in 2012 and is still ongoing, Lovehoney has partnered with lingerie brand Agent Provocateur, in 2021; the TV series Broad City, in 2017; and the bands Mötorhead and Mötley Crüe, in 2015 and 2016, respectively.
- Womanizer. In 2022, this marketer collaborated with the Marilyn Monroe estate for a limited-edition toy in four colors, as part of a campaign called I.Am.Original. And singer Lily Allen paired with Womanizer in 2020, serving as Chief Liberation Officer and releasing her own product under the “Liberty” name. Womanizer has been part of Lovehoney since 2021 when its parent WOW Tech merged with the latter.
- Bellesa. In November 2021, Bellesa worked with singer-actress Demi Lovato for her first toy. In late 2020, the company paired with BuzzFeed, the online publisher that recently shut down its news operations, for its first licensed product in this space; the publication had been seeing growth in interest in its sex and wellness content at the time.
- Tenga. This company, which specializes in products for men, has done a number of collaborations with fashion and lifestyle labels, especially of the street and skate variety, including RipNDip in 2018, Anti Social Social Club in 2017, Opening Ceremony in 2013, and Huf in 2012, among other examples. It also partnered with The Keith Haring Foundation, which manages Haring’s artwork on behalf of his estate, in 2012.
- SheSpot. In May of last year, SheSpot teamed with the lifestyle influencer Zoella for a sexual wellness box featuring sex toys, intimate care products, and treats. The partnership does not involve branded items but rather a branded subscription with a curated selection of merchandise. Prior to this deal, the influencer had been in a paid promotional relationship with the company.
- Lelo. In spring of 2022, Lelo paired with fashion label Diesel for a limited-edition assortment, while in 2021 it partnered with designer Marco Marco for a Pride collection. It has also lent its own brand name to products outside the sexual wellness space, as it did in 2022 with On Aura Tout Vu, which created a limited-edition capsule of haute couture bags for the brand.
- Vush. In February of this year, Vush paired with body-acceptance influencer Nelly London. And in 2021, it worked with Abbie Chatfield, a radio and TV presenter and reality star, for a gender-neutral product that became a bestseller for the company.
- Bad Dragon. A marketer of sex toys tied to fantasy art and imagery, Bad Dragon paired with the heavy metal band Gwar in November of last year for a product called the Cuttlefish of Cthulu, among other collaborations.
In addition to these deals focused specifically on sexual wellness, a few fashion brands have entered the space by offering one or a few products within broader ranges of lifestyle goods, from apparel to skateboards to home décor. Kappa’s collaboration with rapper Tommy Cash was one example, as was Collette’s final designer collaboration, with Yves Saint Laurent, before the boutique closed its doors in 2017.
It should be noted that celebrities beyond those mentioned here are involved in the category in other ways, aside from collaborations and licensing deals. Some, such as Gwyneth Paltrow, Cara Delevingne, Frank Ocean, Kandi Burruss, and Dakota Johnson, market their own products, are investors in specialist companies, or serve as creative directors, while others, including Amber Rose, Ariana Madix, and Demi Burnett, are involved in the space as brand ambassadors or promotional partners.