Dakota Johnson wants you to stop referring to vibrators as ‘toys’

Sexual wellness is finally becoming mainstream, with celebrities like Lily Allen throwing their names behind vibrators. Just don’t call them sex toys, says 50 Shades actor Dakota Johnson.

If you said the word ‘vibrator’ to anyone five years ago, chances are they’d blush. If you said ‘sex shop’, you’d likely conjure up images of tacky red streamers, sexually explicit and at times aggressive images. You might be feeling a little uncomfortable, too.

But a recent swell in sexual health as wellness–not as something that should be hidden away or is just for men–means that the industry is becoming a lot more inclusive and that includes how we talk about pleasure tools.

“For too long sexual health has been poorly marketed, hyper-aggressive, and highly gendered,” Dakota Johnson, the 50 Shades of Grey actor who’s just become co-creative director of sexual wellness start-up Maude, told InStyle.

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The US-based company not only makes vibrators, but condoms, personal massage devices, lubricants, body oils, and bath soaks.

“With our ‘This Is Not A Toy campaign, we aim to activate hearts and minds in an effort to destigmatise sexual and intimate tools. Often the use of language surrounding sexual products is antiquated, gender-specific, and belittling.”

Indeed, the brand wants you to stop referring to things like vibrators as ‘toys’, as it believes, as does Johnson, it’s a word that trivialises their basic benefit: to produce stimulation that improves sexual and overall wellness.

A recent study showed that regular masturbation, through a release of endorphins, can help relieve period pain in the immediate and long term; orgasm has also been shown to relieve stress; even improve your self-esteem and body image.

“A vibe is not a toy, it’s an essential,” as Maude founder Éva Goicochea told the magazine.

Johnson says, “Sexual wellness is a fundamental human right.” And we could not agree more.