What Makes a Sex Toy Brand Truly Ethical?

In the early days of the pleasure industry, few people mentioned body-safe silicone, and instead of openly discussing sex toys, there was a culture of shame surrounding these products. Today, however, people embrace a sex-positive attitude that includes a higher degree of consciousness about the materials used in sex toys. Ethical considerations are now a crucial aspect of a brand's identity, and buyers want to be assured that the products they purchase are both fun and ethical. They want to know that these products are safe for their bodies and the environment. Maintaining ethical business practices is beneficial for the customers because it fosters a positive connection between them and the toys they use.

Brands can mislead customers by "greenwashing" and making unfounded claims of ethical practices. Almost every brand in the world has claimed to be "doing the right thing," but saying something and doing it represent two different things. Therefore, it's necessary to ensure that you are genuinely ethical and be prepared to communicate your practices to your customers effectively.

If you're considering a creative refresh, a good starting point is to focus on diversity.

Be 100% Transparent

Complete transparency is critical in building customer trust, and the best way to achieve it is by being open and honest about your practices. If you're not comfortable sharing something with your customers, change it instead of attempting to disguise it.

For instance, our factory in Germany follows progressive laws relating to worker pay, workplace safety, and accessibility. When we speak about "ethical manufacturing," we're not engaging in empty marketing talk. Rather, we draw on an actual regulatory body protecting our employees. If you have to distribute products internationally, use a company that has minimal carbon footprint or offsets carbon. Besides, ensure that the factory you're engaging pays its employees fair wages and have humane working conditions. Instead of greenwashing your operations, make any necessary changes and proudly share them on your website.

Awards, Certifications and Standards

Winning awards or receiving certifications can help you to earn the trust of your customers, investors, and employees. Certifications operate as stamps of approval, letting people know that your business complies with high standards of accountability, transparency, and social responsibility. Although you may not win every award you apply for, the act of applying can help you focus, and the standards required by the awards are useful in measuring your progress.

Moreover, it is crucial to guarantee that your products meet all applicable local regulatory standards. For sex toys in the United States, this means ensuring that the products meet the requirements established by the Consumer Product Safety Commission and the new ISO certification standards that have recently emerged.

Go the Extra Mile

The younger, eco-conscious generations that are increasingly gaining more purchasing power look for brands with high-quality standards, performing thorough research before inserting a random, unregulated toy into their bodies. It's worth going the extra mile to show these consumers that you share their values.

One small yet meaningful action manufacturers can take is to hand-buff toys to avoid using chemicals that might contaminate them. This change is easy for most businesses to make. Additionally, avoid designing toys to break down quickly, just to stimulate new purchases. Sex toys should remain on the nightstand and not end up in landfills.

Be Inclusive

Ethical business practices extend beyond manufacturing and labor. Excluding certain body types, genders, sexualities, or races in your website or marketing materials might exclude many potential customers interested in your products. Showcasing real people and sharing their personal stories that customers can identify with is crucial. Powerful, unfiltered imagery is an excellent way to counter stigma and stereotypes. Focusing on diversity is a great way to revitalize your creative approach. Challenge conventions and break the mold!

Kristen Tribby is a sex educator certified through the Everyone Deserves Sex Ed program. With over 15 years of experience, she is the head of global marketing and education for Fun Factory, an award-winning German manufacturer of pleasure products. She regularly conducts workshops that promote sexual exploration.