In my three and a half years as a sex blogger, I frequently see new online retailers come on the scene, often to leave just a few months later. The sex toy industry can feel simultaneously vast and small—and the pool of ethical retailers and manufacturers even smaller. It always brings me joy to see an ethical sex shop thriving… which is why I couldn’t be more thrilled to write this post in celebration of Vibrant’s second birthday!
As a company, they embody what being an ethical sex shop is all about.
I first connected with Vibrant in fall 2016. I was immediately drawn to their body-safe sex toy selection, gender-inclusive approach to marketing and product categorization, and financial support of Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains. As a queer woman and abortion funder, Vibrant instantly ticked all of my boxes and then some!
Over the past two years, I’ve developed a close relationship with the Vibrant team. We’ve partnered together on product reviews, blog content, and conference sponsorships. They’ve also wholeheartedly supported my reproductive rights work, frequently sending items for raffles or giveaways to support abortion funds’ fundraising efforts.
Most importantly, though, as our relationship has grown, I’ve found that Vibrant continually commits to upholding crucial ethical values—values I believe every sex toy company should prioritize.
Vibrant categorizes their products by use.
You could have knocked me over with a feather the first time I visited Vibrant’s website. From the very start, they organized products into the following categories: “For Me,” “For Us,” “For Health,” “For the Vibe,” and “For the Mind.” Here was a brand-new retailer actually practicing what sex educators have been saying for years. That categorizing sex toys by gender, sexual orientation, or relationship structure (like couples’ toys or marketing products with the expectation they’ll be used in a monogamous relationship) shows a radical misunderstanding of sex toys and queerness. Instead of alienating consumers, Vibrant created a welcoming, safer shopping environment from the beginning.
Any ethical sex shop should be aware that inclusivity is created through language.
An ethical sex shop puts their money where their ethics are and speaks out about injustice.
“Feminist” and “ethical” aren’t labels sex toy companies can just adopt and then ignore—they require active commitment each and every day.
Vibrant does this in a number of ways: they help fund their local Planned Parenthood affiliate and root their company in abortion-positive values. They are outspoken about the Trump administration and oppressive power structures on social media. And on top of all that, they refuse to stock toys from unsafe, misogynistic companies like LELO.
Vibrant equitably pays the bloggers and educators they work with.
This one is pretty self-explanatory! The Vibrant team has never once pushed back on my rates—something I can say for very few companies in this industry. Their commitment to elevating bloggers and educators, ensuring we are paid what we are worth is evident in all of our conversations and negotiations about new projects, partnerships, and sponsorships.
Equitable pay is a bottom-line essential quality for any ethical sex shop.
I’m pleased that from the start, Vibrant has taken that to heart.
An ethical sex shop owns up to their mistakes.
Adopting ethical practices includes allowing yourself to try and fail.
We all make mistakes. What’s important is how we respond to them and the voices we center, listen to, and prioritize when we do.
I have deeply appreciated Vibrant’s approach to correcting course and adamantly wish that other companies would follow their lead! This is one of the most impactful things that an ethical sex shop can do to demonstrate integrity in the sex industry.
Vibrant is dedicated to building community within the sex toy industry.
Deep partnerships aren’t built overnight. Vibrant has spent two years building trust within the sex toy industry to establish themselves as a reliable and trustworthy retailer.
With a focus on education and ethics, they’ve carved out a unique and supportive space in what can feel like an overwhelming industry.
Given the many, many grave missteps of numerous retailers and manufacturers, Vibrant’s commitment to relationships is refreshing. I know they’ll continue to cultivate those partnerships for years to come.
This is by no means an exhaustive list of the values and ethics Vibrant upholds or of commitments sex toy companies and retailers should make to consumers and their community, but it’s a great place to start. I’m so eager to see how Vibrant continues to shape their own unique story in the next year… and beyond!
When you support Vibrant, you’re supporting an ethical sex shop.
Vibrant has a wide range of products for every body. Chat with the Vibrant team, and they can help recommend the products that are right for you. They’re available 9am-9pm EST daily on the website chat (just push the purple button at the bottom right!) or call us at 866-316-VIBE (8423).