Sexual wellness has officially entered mainstream retail.
DTC femtech and sexual wellness brands are being scooped up by big-name retailers, taking the category from niche to mainstream. Consumers are thinking more holistically about their sexual health as it relates to their overall wellbeing, prompting retailers to embrace modern menstruation and wellness solutions.
Kimberly-Clark announced a majority stake in the Thinx period underwear brand in February. Currently maker of Huggies, Kleenex and Kotex, the investment reflects growing demand in the sexual wellness category and will deepen Kimberly-Clark’s sexual health portfolio.
In February, Sephora began selling sexual wellness products by Maude and Dame online. The products, ranging from vibrators to lubricants and massage candles, will be sold under a new “Intimate Care” section of the beauty giant’s e-commerce platform, under its current bath and body category. Dame tells Wunderman Thompson Intelligence that their biggest retail partners are Sephora, Nordstrom, Bloomingdales, and Free People. According to Maude founder and CEO Éva Goicochea, the brand’s sales are 75% direct to consumer. Sephora is the latest addition to Maude’s other retailers, which include Nordstrom, Bloomingdale’s and Free People.
Dame products from left to right: Eva Couples Vibrator, Aer Suction Toy
In a statement to Glossy, Sephora said its “Intimate Care brands will encompass sexual wellness, feminine hygiene, hormonal care and more, and they were selected with inclusivity and accessibility as our top priority.” Dame co-founder and CEO Alexandra Fine told Glossy that “Being in Sephora as a part of their community is such a [milestone] in letting me know that we’re changing the way the [sexual] category is understood.”
#PeriodTok, courtesy of TikTok.
One glance through posts on #PeriodTok reveals a sweeping community of gen Z consumers, eager to speak openly about periods and menstruation. The willingness to speak about sexual wellness rather than shy away from it might indicate a shift in young consumer habits and a continued shedding of taboos in the space.
Some of the youngest consumers are leading the change in sexual wellness perspective. Girls With Big Dreams, an online undergarment shop for tweens, launched in February this year. Started by a mother and her frank conversations with her 8- and 9-year-old daughters, the platform sells reusable period underwear for young people who menstruate. Aviana Campello-Palep, one of the daughters, told the New York Times that she hopes “to make a difference in somebody’s life so they’re not embarrassed at some point by something that’s so normal.”
As more retailers embrace the category, these traditionally private products may continue to hit more public shelves, bringing the category fully into the mainstream.