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Sex reaches the supermarket!

For generations of women, the road to sexual satisfaction has been paved with Big 'no's: "No, those aren't condoms in my shopping cart." "No, I don't need any 'extra help.'"...Read on...

india Updated: Mar 09, 2006 17:25 IST

For generations of women, the road to sexual satisfaction has been paved with Big 'no's: "No, those aren't condoms in my shopping cart." "No, I don't need any 'extra help.'" "No, I don't own any of 'those things.'" But a funny thing is happening in shopping carts across America: boxes of condoms, "extra help" and "those things" are seeing the light of day right alongside the grapes and Blue Bell and toiletbowl cleaner.

Women are practically perched on the shelves in Aisle 5: declaring, "I am woman! Watch me score!" The selling of sexual satisfaction to women has gone mainstream. Companies are cashing in on what some health experts are saying is women's desire — demand, even — for better sex, and more of it.

You need only look as far as the feminine-care aisle in the grocery store to find condoms that promise women extra pleasure, lubricants that claim to heighten sensation and novelty items such as flavoured intimacy creams.

Log onto venerable amazon.com, and you'll find a Sex & Sensuality section, where thousands of sex toys — most geared toward women — are for sale. Or tune into a daytime soap opera and count how many times commercials for products like "feminine warming gels" air. When Trojan took direct aim at women last autumn, it was officially a trend. Inspired by female focus groups, America's best-known and most profitable condom maker began wooing women during reruns of Sex and the City and in the pages of US Weekly with a sleekly packaged line called Elexa. "People are having a mini-sexual revolution," says Patti Britton, a sex coach, author of The Art of Sex Coaching.

Jean Twenge, associate professor of psychology at San Diego State University, last year co-authored a study that showed that young women are leading the way in dismantling long-held notions about sexual attitudes and behaviours in America.

Among her findings: Young women have significantly less sexual guilt than past generations (73 per cent now think premarital sex is OK, compared to 12 per cent in 1943); and that sexual behaviour has increasingly moved toward pleasure.

And just what are men thinking of this women and-sex talk? Steve, 32, from Burleson, Texas, says he'd buy in a heartbeat a product that claimed to increase women's sexual desire or pleasure.