May 162017
 

A topic that I’ve been really up front and vocal about for ages is my weight and how that factors into sex toy use. It can’t be overlooked (but boy can it be mocked) and many readers over the years have appreciated my candor. A lot of factors come into play when using sex toys and your body size is one of them – something most thin people don’t think about because it’s not their lived experience. The same can be said for using sex toys as a disabled person – most sex toy creators are able-bodied so the ease of use by a disabled person is usually not thought about. It’s a mostly-ignored market so when a sex toy literally is called “plus size” it feels like a game changer.

I don’t think I’ve ever seen a sex toy made for – or marketed specifically towards – plus size folks1.  In the absence of a specialty product, we have to try a little harder to find a product that will work better for us. There are attributes we can look for – different handles/bases on dual-stimulation vibrators, handles on dildos, or simply using a g-spot vibrator as a clitoral vibrator. There are attributes we can try to avoid – poorly placed buttons is a big pet peeve of mine along with long handles that point away from my body. But a few months ago Womanizer/epi24 started advertising their newest model, the +Size (or Plus Size, if you prefer). I don’t think it was a stretch to assume that this was a calculated move and would be marketed, in some part, towards plus size folks. This assumption is especially based on the stock images they chose – slightly plus-size femme folks alongside Womanizer’s traditional images of thin femme folks. 

Screengrab of the marketing images from the Womanizer site for the Plus Size model - 2 photos on the left show artistic photos of thin femme bodies, the product image is next, and then there are two artistic photos of plump or slightly large femme folks

The current language on their site talks about the +Size having an extended handle which measures 8.5″ long and intensity buttons at the end of the handle. This handle is 2.3″ longer than their PRO40 model and 1.5″ longer than the largest (but poorly made) Satisfyer, the Satisfyer 2. I am not certain on the measurements but it also appears that there’s more depth from the tip of the nozzle to the backside of the body.  The elongated handle has a slight curve which is more ergonomic for rounder bodies and disabled folks. With the exception of the poorly-placed power button, the buttons are in a great spot. Just by looking at the Womanizer +Size I feel like it was made more with my body type in mind than nearly all other sex toys on the market are.

The Womanizer Plus Size is disappointing me heavily in their marketing choices, though. Despite absolutely loving the Womanizer PRO40 and W100 in use and supporting the Womanizer brand over the Satisyfer brand I’ve always been turned off by the name, their prices, and the stereotype images they’d chosen originally for all their different design themes of the W100. I won’t pretend that, despite the name, the Plus Size is meant only for plus-sized people but you certainly can’t ignore the fact that it IS great for larger bodies. As a plus-sized woman, I felt, briefly, like I was finally being “seen” in this industry. Briefly. The fact is that beyond a couple of photos on their site of slightly larger femme folks they have been using thin folks in their marketing images on social media so far. The brand’s marketing seems to have completely ignored the subtly stated target market of larger folks or disabled folks. Where are the images representing those people? Where is the marketing that would give validation to people of size from an industry that largely ignores us? 

The only Womanizer + Size marketing image so far on social media shows a thin femme person

 It’s still early so epi24 can still decide to embrace a marginalized portion of the population that is grossly under-served in the sex toy market by respectfully portraying and marketing to plus-sized people AND disabled folks. I would love to feel like a legitimate person with a legitimate set of particular needs in this market rather than invisible or fetishized.  I’ve long wished for sex toy manufacturers to acknowledge the not-insignificant portion of the population that is considered “plus size” and create more ergonomic sex toys with that in mind – but like any wish you have to be specific and I didn’t think I had to specify that said sex toy would also be marketed to and portray images of the target market. I do, so I am: Epi24, please let the Womanizer Plus Size be a truly Plus Size sex toy.

To be clear, this isn’t my review of the Womanizer Plus Size and I don’t even have one quite yet. I plan to review it in the near future; this issue is something I wanted to talk about outside of the review space because this isn’t just about the Womanizer Plus Size or epi24 – it’s about the fact that 99% of the sex toys on the market ignore plus-size folks as a specific niche of end-user AND the fact that sex toy marketing is mostly devoid of larger bodies.

Update: A representative for Womanizer contacted me and had this to say:

I realize that our European site has not been updated with the new naming convention, but we have launched this product with being all inclusive in mind, so it is actually called Womanizer Plus (+) not Womanizer +Size as it appears online currently. 

Our intention is to offer a product with the ease of use that customers get from a wand styled item. We realize that our customers come in all shapes and sizes and want to be all inclusive with all of our products, and with all of our marketing, we use all shapes and sizes. We also want to market a product and not ignore the fact that the size and shape of Womanizer Plus(+) offers an ease of use for bigger bodied people, just like many wand style items. 

My response includes a re-iteration of my point here:

It seems that many retailers and early reviewers have been calling it +Size or Plus Size, so I imagine there will be confusion on the name for quite some time now.
 
And while I can understand that you intend for this to be for all people it’s a great marketing opportunity to be unique and gain favor by specifically creating marketing that speaks to the Plus being particularly well suited for larger bodies and disabled people.  I don’t feel that embracing niche users will alienate anyone else, especially if you have marketing that covers everything. As a plus-sized woman I’ve never seen manufacturers use images of someone my size and haven’t seen anything made with us in mind – I’ve seen a photo or two of a very slightly plump person, as on the Womanizer Plus site, but so far that seems to be it. 
  1. Please do correct me if I’ve missed any
 Posted by at 9:19 am
  • R J

    I actually get where you are coming from as a black person it is kind of disappointing that a lot of the market ignores us. I mean we do get flesh toned-like toys but not a lot of the marketing shows us and as a gay man it’s pretty much the same, I do see most of the time when we are marketed at it’s just the popular pornstar that has a dildo made from him.

    Hopefully you do enjoy the toy I would hate for them to have made one and it doesn’t actually do things for the target audience.

  • Yep we were noticing that today, too. The lack of POC, disabled folks and fat folks in sex toy marketing is….really bad.

  • Mary Q. Contrary

    Thank you for saying this! Their marketing has bothered me, too.

  • PopperExpress

    i agree with you.

  • FieryRed

    This is perfectly stated. <3