Dr Judith Glover’s PHD thesis Taboo to Mainstream: an industrial design solution to sex toy production (2013) focused on the sex toy industry and its potential relationship to Industrial Design practice and professional culture.

The thesis not only explored the technical capabilities that industrial design process and methods offers in improving user experience, manufacture and design quality but the relationship between industry practice and socio-cultural sexual ethos.

The thesis explores how gender and sexuality notions are embedded within mass production to explain the historic lack of suitability of products for contemporary women. The thesis argues that sex toys should be designed and manufactured with the same safety, reliability and innovation standards as all other product design genres.


Dr Judith Glover and Dr Areli Avendano co-supervise a range of PHD, Masters and Honours students across Product Innovation, Social Innovation and Service Design topics and capabilities.

PHD candidate Victoria Cullen is investigating Sexual Intimacy Recovery for Prostate Cancer Patients using a Participatory Design approach. Sexuality and intimacy recovery after prostate cancer treatment is an unmet need and major survivorship issue. This research frames the problem as ‘how might we deliver helpful, timely strategies for sexual/intimacy recovery’. This problem is investigated through Service Design research methods to identify moments for delivery innovation within existing services or developing new service delivery models.

Supervisors: Dr Areli Avendano and Dr Judith Glover

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