Writing for the sex industry

A few months ago if someone had told me that I would be spending an unthinkable number of hours actively googling all the names of the sex toys on the market, I wouldn’t have believed a single word. And I would have been outraged by what that could possibly imply about me. Yet here I am, googling away as I write!
I am working on a cool project with an online sex toy retailer who is keen to review and change all the product descriptions on the site. There are only 1,500+ of them so you can imagine that I’m a busy content writer!

Below are the 5 things I have learnt in the process:

  1. I know absolutely nothing about sex toys. This is ridiculous: I have to research almost every single one of them. I say almost; I didn’t need to go in any deep level of research to describe anything that can be eaten. Edible salted caramel ink and nipple-shaped chocolate are fine with me, I can really relate to food. This is key to everything one writes about: Research comes first. Without understanding your topic, there’s no point sitting at the keyboard. While this may sound a little patronizing, believe me, I have read countless reports and blog articles written by someone who didn’t even care enough about their topic to check its correct spelling, let alone its social, economic, and cultural impacts.
  2. Any feeling of shame or awkwardness disappeared quite fast. That’s normal. I was too focused on understanding the purpose of each toy to have enough energy left to feel ashamed at the idea of seeing their image on my screen. That’s what happens when you research your work: It becomes factual information and you can be more focused on transmitting the message than holding feelings about it.
  3. I discovered that most product descriptions are written in one voice only, which remains pretty much the same across the entire website. That voice, for some reason, seems to have decided that pretty much everyone who wants a toy has to be treated like a complete idiot. Every single item promises mind-blowing orgasms that will leave you begging for more as you quiver with pleasure, etc., etc. In short the sex industry has its own clichéd language that is so used that it has lost its meaning and yet still maintains a mandatory position in every text you write. That reminds me a lot of my time in marketing agencies, where everything had to be caveated against benchmark data and yet still delivered the expected ROI. So I am back to learning the right language to write the right content, easy!
  4. I have developed four different personality styles, from gay men to straight women, to address in the best possible way I could the needs and situations of different genders and sexualities. While I am not too keen on the subject per se, I love digging into new mindsets and expectations. This means for me reverting to serious user research to produce the right voice for the right audience.
  5. I am very glad to be in a relationship where feelings are all it takes to want each other. If there had ever been some envious naughty thoughts about dildos and other toys, I think the thorough and clinical research of every single one of them has left me cold to their climaxtastic features. But whatever floats your boat, I am here to judge no one. Respect and love above all, and for all. In a world where homosexuality is still criticized, I am happy to be in a position where I can respectfully deliver the same attention and care to the needs of gay and lesbian sexuality than I do for hetero sexuality. It is not life changing but this is for now my contribution to LGBT rights. I hope to be able to do much more about it outside of this industry too.


Yours respectfully,


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