Thousands paid for sex toy without seeing the product first
More than a thousand women were so keen to get their hands on a new New Zealand sex product that they signed up to buy it for $169 without seeing the product first.
An email was sent to women across Aotearoa inviting them to buy the mystery product. All they could see of the product was a blurred image of a pink box.
South Island woman Kaz Banks said she had no idea what it was, but didn’t want to miss out.
“I got this invite to purchase a new ‘secret product’ in an online pre-sale where customers did not know what the product was before purchasing it,” said Banks.
“The invite had a QR code which linked to a blurred pink box, so I had no idea what it was, but I put in my card details and bought it. I can’t even remember when – it is all a bit of a blur as I have recently got married”.
Banks had no regrets when the product – a dual pleasure vibrator – arrived.
“I had no idea but I tried it and it’s great,” she said. “I am very happy with it.”
The vibrator was sold by stigma-breaking female pleasure company, Girls Get Off.
The Mount Maunganui-based company was founded during New Zealand’s first lockdown in 2020 by two friends, Viv Conway and Jo Cummins, who bemoaned the fact that it felt ‘sleazy’ to go into an adult store.
In just a short period of time, Girls Get Off has become one of Aotearoa’s best known brands, with a highly engaged social media presence of more than 100,000.
“Viv and I recognised there was a gap in the market for sex toys that are beautifully presented, and something you want to shout about not just in the bedroom but to all your friends, just like you would about a new shoe haul or something,” said Cummins.
The company now sells a range of sex products.
Banks said it was the philosophy of the company that appealed to her.
“I like the fact that the company is about sexual empowerment and normalising female pleasure,” she said. “It’s something me and my girlfriends talk about – we compare notes on purchases. My husband and I are pretty open too.”
With recent research showing that 94.6% of Kiwi women have masturbated in their lifetime (with 76.1% having performed the act in the last 12-24 months), New Zealand women are among some of the most sexually liberal in the world.
The research – Female Sexuality in Aotearoa/New Zealand: Factors and Sexual Response Associated with Masturbation – claimed to be the first study of its kind to measure masturbatory practices of New Zealand women.
It surveyed women of all ages over 18, regardless of sexual orientation, physical location or economic background.
“With this data in mind, it came as no surprise that our Kiwi ladies responded to us with such enthusiasm.” said Conway, who has spent this year in Sydney expanding the company to the Australian market.
“A current goal of ours is to break into the Australian market. That’s why we decided to have the launch event on the Goldie. The response to the event was phenomenal. Many of Australia’s big influencers attended and told us that it was the best launch they’d ever been to.”
Cummins and Conway said selling sex toys is not the only focus of Girls Get Off, and claimed it is also about empowering women to feel confident in the bedroom, to ask for what they want sexually, and to have more open and fun conversations about sex and pleasure.
While the Ministry of Health’s Sexual and Reproductive Health Strategy states that positive sexuality and sexual health are government priorities, researchers found that the sexual education curriculum was narrow and overemphasised sexual danger to women, while only briefly mentioning masturbation and female pleasure.
Currently, sex education is compulsory up to year 10, and this year the government has released resources which address consent, pornography, gender diversity and digital safety.
The resources include videos outlining how teachers can better communicate with students about sex education, as well as written guidelines describing how primary and secondary students should be taught.
Associate Education Minister Jan Tinetti said further additions to health and physical education will be addressed as part of a nationwide curriculum refresh in 2024.
Girls Get Off also started a weekly “true confessions” group online, where women have a safe place to talk about sex, said Conway.
“Anything goes,” she said. “All those questions you want to ask about positions, orgasms, sexual health, contraception, relationship advice – it is basically like getting together with the girls although in their thousands, and some of them you might never have met.
“It is a liberating environment – no one holds back.”
Conway said that women of all ages are involved.
“There was a woman in her 60s who had never bought a sex toy before because she never wanted to go into an adult store. She told us that she’d been using her electric toothbrush instead! So we got her sorted and that was a game changer for her.”