For the past several years, sexual wellness has been one of the fastest growing sectors in global retail. The sector’s annual growth (CAGR) is a stunning 6.7%, and it’s projected to reach $122 billion by 2026. And yet, at nearly every stage — from investment to production to marketing — gatekeepers seem intent on hobbling it.
Any sextech entrepreneur will tell you the barriers they face are legion. Facebook and Google largely prohibit ads for sextech, including female sexual wellness products. Major app stores routinely ban apps related to sex, and increasingly restrict even what users say and do. Institutional investors and mainstream conferences often avoid the space out due to conservative boards.
But today’s sextech entrepreneurs aren’t mistaking the gatekeepers’ power for invincibility — rather, the opposite. For many, a gatekeeper’s refusal to engage with sextech is a sign of their stagnation and obsolescence, and a weakness that can be used against them.
Take Osé. In January, the Consumer Electronic Show — one of the biggest gatekeepers in tech — famously rescinded an innovation award for the robotic massager, citing a morals clause. The company behind it, Lora DiCarlo, was even denied booth space on the CES show floor.
And yet Osé was possibly the most talked about launch at CES, garnering nearly two hundred press mentions — over $2M in free marketing and advertising, according to Lora DiCarlo founder Lora Haddock.