WTF? Beauty Retailers Now Sell Adult Novelties

First things first – if a frank discussion of an adult-adjacent topic bothers you, its best to skip this post. It isn’t going to get graphic or gruesome, but still.

I happened to be on Musings of a Muse the other day, and, well, the title says it all. I never would have seen it at Ulta, who is apparently the latest beauty retailer to join the fray, since I’ve stopped doing business with them. But I had no idea about Sephora – although I am still a Sephora customer, I haven’t browsed much this year.

ANYWAY. Isabella expresses some discomfort at seeing the novelties there despite having accepted their place among the sexual wellness and hygiene items at stores like Wal-Mart and Target. She shared that just doesn’t really want to be shopping for beauty items then BAM – vibrators.

What do you think?

To me, while I don’t think it makes sense that beauty retailers now sell adult novelties, it doesn’t offend me. It isn’t going to be jarring to me or ruin my experience. It disturbs me less than a beauty retailer selling overpriced supplements. If anything, I find it funny.

But it’s important to note that I am not remotely squeamish about these things. I’ll even go as far as sharing this opinion: the mere existence of a device on a shelf (or, in this case, a digital shelf) is not embarrassing. I think if you’re embarrassed by its existence when you aren’t interested in or shopping for such, then, well – you’ve got some maturing to do.

But If It’s Any Comfort

At the moment and for likely the foreseeable future, these devices are all online-only. You aren’t going to run into them in a brightly-lit aisle in a mall or have people see you looking at them or buying them.

Now, to be clear, they aren’t selling products that look explicit or vulgar. You aren’t going to just stumble across something that belongs in a seedy shop with blacked-out windows or as a low-brow bachelorette party gift. The devices on offer all appear to be aesthetically pleasing, and not necessarily immediately obvious to their purpose to the uneducated onlooker; things that, if you didn’t know any better, might look an abstract art piece.

Business Analysis

Now I do think this is a bit of, “one of these things is not like the others.” I realize that beauty retailers are trying to be more than just beauty by trying to toy with the wellness market, of which sexual wellness is a part. Furthermore, such products tend to carry high margins which would make them an attractive diversification option. But do their buyers have the expertise in that area?

Judging by the fact that Sephora carries a goop-branded device, I’d say no. 🙄

Obviously, people are buying them I really must wonder what type of consumer elects to buy their adult novelty devices from the place they’re buying retinol and nail polish. There are better places, with better selections, prices, and relevant expertise in cultivating their product line.

Additionally, in a world where consumer data is extremely valuable, I don’t think I want to give beauty retailers insight into those sort of purchases personally. (And, after my experiences with data security at Ulta, I certainly wouldn’t want to entrust THEM with that sort of sensitive info). But if you don’t share that concern, then more power to you.

The Bottom Line

If you’re perfectly fine buying a blush called Orgasm – and many, many people are because it didn’t just become a best-selling cult classic a zillion years over by itself, I don’t really think you should be flustered about this.

But I also wouldn’t particularly recommend shopping for those types of things at these types of retailers.