19 March 2021 Posted By : Alex Peters

These fun, shame-free vibrators are for anyone with a vulva

Long gone are the days that sex toys languished in shop back rooms and Incognito mode on late-night laptop sessions. Sex tech has been brought out into the day – celebrities like Lily Allen and Cara Delevingne are attaching their names to sex toys, and even Goop launched a vibrator this month. Once something to whisper about among friends or awkwardly murmur to the Ann Summers sales assistant, the taboos around pleasure are breaking down. Masturbation has become something of which to be loud and proud, and sex tech has become an area of impressive innovation. 

This shift comes amid wider conversations around normalising pleasure for people it’s been withheld from – women, non-binary people, trans people. The rise of sexual wellness has seen it permeate pop culture, alongside a slew of new brands that are prioritising sleeker designs, elegant packaging, and accessible marketing. One name that has been there since the beginning is Smile Makers. Launched in 2013, the women-focused brand aims to create products that remove the stigma around the act of buying a vibrator and has become known for its pastel-coloured aesthetic and playful, anthropomorphic designs based on traditionally lusted-after characters such as firemen, tennis coaches and Frenchmen. 

“We wanted to create something joyful, colourful, that you feel proud to own and that validates pleasure as part of your overall well being,” says brand director Cecile Gasnault. “We purposefully chose pastel colours to look friendly, safe, and welcoming and used humour to break the ice and make the products approachable.” 

Alongside the products themselves, the brand aims to encourage education and open communication among their audience through its online pleasure-positive sex education program Vulva Talks and recently launched podcast Clitastic Chronicles. Headed up by Gasnault, Vulva Talks grew out of IRL workshops the brand was running and taps into its extensive network of sexual health experts to help answer the questions that were coming up repeatedly from its audience. 

Already stocked in online retailers like Cult Beauty and high street stores including Boots, last month Smile Makers launched in Holland and Barrett, a pertinent sign of the significant progress made in the normalisation of women’s sexual pleasure, and the shift in the perception of sexual wellness.

As the brand launches a new redesign with more inclusive language and more powerful vibration technology, we speak to Gasnault to find out more. 

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