by Randall S. Frederick

The first time I saw a vibrator, I knew immediately what it was. I’m not sure how or why. I just knew. Oh. This does this thing. Okay. Hunh. Although I’ve never owned one for myself, I’ve bought them for girlfriends and friends, answered questions and in my circles of friends, I am often the person asked to go shopping with them for the first time and help show them around a local sex shop. Since that first discovery, I have been fascinated with “adult toys” – how they work, what they do, their design (seriously, the engineering and design on some of the toys out there is exceptional!), and their durability.

As the Internet allows for my disclosure, I’ve also noticed a great amount of illiteracy when it comes to self-stimulation. Sex toys are now a Woman’s World, which I lament with the same intensity that I lament men’s fashion. Walk into any convenient shopping chain and you will see thousands of colorful pieces for women and roughly five variations for men. It’s a travesty in Contemporary Americana. C’est la vie, though. As novelties are increasingly targeted toward women, all kinds of interesting information is being divulged, discussed, and reshaping what we talk about when we talk about sex.

Personally, I think some of the truly great advances in sexuality have come about because of sex toys. We are finding out how items are being designed for different bodies and their capabilities, which leads us to talking and fantasies and the role of porn in relationships. Strap-ons lead to pegging, which leads to conversations about heteroflexibility and “whether that’s even a real thing.” Not to sound like a circus barker (or play with words), but I really am excited about new wave of popularity around sex toys. And perhaps that’s why so many of my friends ask me to accompany them – I’m very pro-dildo. I’m very pro-vibrator. I’m very pro-whatever-turns-you-on-and-gets-you-off. (Sidenote: I’m very anti-hyphenation.)

For some reason though, despite the sexual renaissance we are experiencing, there remains a stigma around self-stimulation. When I told my mother about this article, she said “Everybody’s doing it. Most people talk about it. But nobody wants to admit it publicly.” Which is why when I challenged a few friends and colleagues to help me talk about the most talked about toy out there – the vibrator – about half of them responded, and within a few hours, the majority of those who divulged their answers sent me an afterthought asking not to use their answers.

Tell me about the first time you used a vibrator and what was that experience was like?

Amber: I was in my 20s before I bought my first vibrator, and had already been sexually active.  Previously I had used manual stimulation only and really didn’t masturbate that often. My first vibrator was pretty basic, only had one setting, and was more a smooth column, not a realistic sculpt. The first time I used it I was very aware that the orgasm I had from the intense clitoral stimulation was much stronger than the ones I was having from vaginal intercourse or even using my fingers on my clit.  It was absolutely an eye-opening experience.

Jasmine: I wanted to try something new and so I purchased one from an online store. While I appreciated the vibration, I wasn’t too keen on the metal part of it (the one I had anyway). It felt cold and sterile, like a OB Gyn session gone wrong. So, while I no longer use it for penetration, I find that use for clitoral stimulation (especially while using a dildo) works really well.

Brianne: The first time I used a vibrator I was a little nervous. I had purchased a purple  “bunny rabbit” style vibrator on Groupon and didn’t know what to expect. I remember not liking the noise it made. It sounded too mechanical and I thought I wouldn’t enjoy it. I had to play around with the settings until I found a combination I liked and had an intense orgasm. I haven’t gone back to a plain dildo since. Best Groupon purchase I’ve ever made. 

Diving in, what are your general thoughts on vibrators – for example, there’s discussion of vibrators as a more convenient (and consistent) form of stimulation. “A partner without the emotional baggage” or even “the only way I can have an orgasm.” Some women feel vibrators are annoying, some think they are the bees knees.

Amber: I personally love my vibrators.  It is very much a “get the job done” form of stimulation.  I like having control over the intensity, the type of vibration, and where on my body I choose to focus the stimulation.  I have several different sizes and styles of vibrator, including anal vibes, so I can be really specific about the size and the vibration, the type of material, play around with double penetration, whatever I decide I want in that moment. I also enjoy using dildos with no vibration if I just want the pure penetrative experience.

Brianne:  I have mixed feelings. I really enjoy mine but I prefer the sweet touch of a real man if I can have it. It’s certainly not a replacement for sex with a real live partner. It’s a good option in a pinch. 

Jasmine: I am indifferent. While the vibration is nice, there is something unique about the real thing. The constant vibration may offer “constant pleasure” but it is robotic. It doesn’t catch a rhythm with you in the same way a person would.

Does it replace the experience of partnered sex or even masturbation for you? (ex: there’s an episode of Sex and the City where Charlotte is introduced to a vibrator and basically locks herself away in her apartment for a weekend, wistfully saying saying she no longer needs a partner when she has a vibrator. if I remember correctly, Charlotte was against masturbating throughout the show and this was one notable exception to her prim/proper personality)

Jasmine: I don’t think it can be seen as a replacement for masturbation but a tool or aid. And it would never replace a real life partner!

Amber: Not even a little.  Nothing can replace partnered sex, since there’s so much more to human sexuality than the genitalia.  No toy can replace the kissing and touch and just the pleasure of making someone else happy.  Plus, the beauty of sex toys is that you can use them during partnered sex.  I had a partner use a Hitachi Magic Wand on me during vaginal sex and it led me to a completely different type of orgasm which, at 35, I didn’t think was possible.

Brianne:  It does not replace the experience of partnered sex for me, but it’s the only way I masturbate anymore. I used to be a lot like Charlotte, against masturbating because I was raised in a pretty sexually repressed environment. I thought it was so wrong and I would feel so ashamed if I masturbated. A lot of soul searching and self-exploration has really helped me move past that. My vibrator has been a major part of that. 

What kind of vibrator(s) do you use and, picking one or two, can you compare/contrast them? What “works” and what annoys you?

Brianne: I have a bunny rabbit that works wonders. Like, explosive orgasms. So unbelievable. I also recently bought a bullet for use with a partner. We played around with it a bit. He really likes it, but I have mixed feelings. I think we need to experiment a little more. My issue was one of positioning, not necessarily dissatisfaction with the bullet itself. 

Jasmine: I own a classic metal vibrator and a silicone dildo, no vibration, which I like more than the vibrator.

Amber: I’ve used lots of different vibrators over the years, and I’ve found that I prefer silicone vibrators designed for clitoral stimulation.  The one I have now is about 3 inches, ribbed, and has seven vibration settings, so it works really well for me, since I can focus it on my clitoris, and change the intensity during play sessions.  I’ve had a rabbit, and I honestly didn’t enjoy it that much, since I prefer harder external stimulation and the “rabbit ears” designed to stimulate the clit are far too soft and don’t stay in place.  Vibrators with weak vibrations, or types that are really loud tend to annoy me, as does any design that’s too straight and smooth, they always feel too fake.

Do you use fantasies, porn, or something else while using a vibrator?

Amber: Sometimes I like to read erotica while using my vibrator to enhance the mental stimulation.  I almost always have some sort of fantasy going on while masturbating.  Occasionally, if I’m pressed for time I will just use the vibrator in the way I know works quickest for me physiologically, when I just need the endorphin rush of an orgasm without time to enjoy the buildup.

Jasmine: My first go to would always be fantasies (its been too long to recall memories!) although I have used porn to assist in this process as well. I’m torn with using it because of ethical concerns, and also because of the overuse of women in porn. By this I mean I am not watching to see women, but even most porn for homosexuals focus on the woman.

Brianne:  It depends on my mood. Usually I use fantasies. I have a very active imagination and I can work with that. I also use porn occasionally, but I don’t like to do that very much because I feel conflicted about it. I don’t usually like the way women are treated during porn and then I feel bad about getting off to it. Sometimes I ask a partner to talk me through it but I will only do that with someone I really really trust. I don’t want to feel like a sexual object or a performer solely for his pleasure. 

I keep using this word, “vibrator.” That feels very limiting to me, but titles and labels also help us explain our sexual interests and desires. For example, calling them “sex toys” or “adult toys”, “novelties” and “marital aids” all come with loaded meaning. What’s your preferred label and why?

Brianne:  I tend to agree with you but or these purposes vibrator works. It’s specific enough to know what we’re talking about. Toys and marital aids, to me, cover a whole host of other things. 

Amber: I tend to be pretty specific – vibrator, dildo, butt plug. If I’m going to cover the wide range I’ll use the term sex toy, I see no need to hide what I’m doing behind some sort of sanitized word. I understand some states have to use these terms in order to sell the products without legal trouble, but “adult toys” and “novelties” just sound ridiculous to me.  And “marital aids” implies that they’re only for married people having bedroom problems, and that’s just sad.

Jasmine: Vibrators are a very distinct form of sex toys. They are very different from a dildo (which as I understand it is a more “life like” form of the penis and does not vibrate). Because there are so many different types of “toys” I am usually pretty specific about the terms I use (vibrator, dildo, wand, etc).

Randall: Oh my god, I just remembered this! One time, I was visiting my dad after my parents divorced and found a vibrator, one of those old ones with changeable heads I guess, next to his bed and he said it was a “back massager.” I remember saying he didn’t have to call it that because I knew what it really was, and he kept insisting, No, grownups used it to massage themselves and there was nothing wrong with it – as he proceeded to put it away and tell me not to touch it! (laughing) Oh god! I just remembered that!

Getting personal, how often do you use a vibrator or sex toy? Do you have a “special” or favorite toy? What is it and why? Have you named it?

Jasmine: It depends on the week. Generally I use it around once a month although I masturbate much more often (at least once a week). I don’t have any special ones or any special names for them. I’m not trying to get too attached. I’d much rather have the real thing.

Brianne:  I just call mine “my friend” or “my toy”. I prefer my purple bunny rabbit. Dude really knows how to get the job done.

Amber: I use a sex toy about two or three times a week, which is less than half the times I masturbate.  Currently my favorite toy is actually a glass toy that is shaped like a stack of balls that increase in size.  I love that I can change the temperature, use it vaginally or anally, and, depending on which end I use, I can vary the width.  It’s name is Seamus.

Should sexual education include more information about vibrators?

Amber: YES!!! Sex education should absolutely cover sex toys, or pleasure of any kind, especially for woman.  I grew up in a Catholic house and went to Catholic school, and while my parents were really good about explaining the mechanics and repercussions of having sex, no one ever talked to me about pleasure.  The end goal of sex was always presented as getting the man to ejaculate, in order to make a baby.  This is ridiculous, sex is about so much more than that, and the vast majority of sex isn’t had for procreation. I had NO IDEA that women could have orgasms until I was older.  Thankfully the Village Voice ran Savage Love when I was in college, it was revelatory.   I think as soon as it’s age appropriate everyone should learn about self-pleasure, and the tools available to help you orgasm.  (I could go on about this one, it pisses me off.)

Jasmine: I think sexual education should include more about masturbation in general. It can talk about the use of “sex toys” but I am not sure we talk enough about what it means to explore your bodies sexually to even begin to talk about the tools we use to do so.

Randall: I absolutely believe we need to begin talking about sex toys in sex ed classes. In 2011, I know vibrators were a billion dollar industry, and people – even teens, kids – know more about vibrators than some adults do. It’s not something to be afraid of or hide.

Brianne: Yes. They shouldn’t be so taboo and dirty. And I think it’s important to empower women with regard to their sexuality. Go out and get your orgasm, girl!

What (if any) information was given to you about toys growing up?

Amber: The scene from the movie Parenthood where the kid finds the vibrator was it until I went to college.  I wish I had known sooner.  Or gave myself permission to explore at a younger age.

Jasmine: No information whatsoever!

Brianne:  None. Like, none. No one even gave me “the talk.” We drove by a sex toy shop when I was a teenager once. We just sat in the car and gawked at the people going in. They were obviously perverts. 

Randall: Oh, I’m in the same boat there. For me, I thought anyone who used sex toys were freaks. There were these little rubber… rings. With studs or something. And they were always sold for a quarter or 50 cents from a machine in gas stations. I remember once looking at the vending machine in a bathroom, and my grandfather was washing his hands, saw me, and said “That’s for nasty people who don’t have anything better to do.” The next memory I have is finding one in a family member’s home and I felt relief more than anything else. I was relieved that someone I knew was sane and rational and a good person used sex toys. But, growing up? Nothing. My mother and I were talking about sex toys a few months ago and she told me she wished she had used them more and had a better sex life when she was younger, but that they were “scary” for so long – loud, steel things that reminded her of power tools. “It wasn’t something I really wanted to try because it scared me, to be honest.” That might explain why there wasn’t really a discussion about adults and toys – really, ever.

What’s something no one talks about when it comes to vibrators?

Amber: That you have to really explore the different types and figure out what works best for you.  I felt like a failure as a woman since the Rabbit didn’t work for me.  It’s okay to try different things and figure out what makes you happy.  Luckily, I bought my first one at Toys in Babeland, so they went over cleaning and care and lube, and they answered all my questions.  I’ve had friends who’ve given themselves infections due to improper cleaning.  Plus, I was unaware how dangerous phalate based plastics were, used a toy made of bad materials and made myself sick.  Information like that should be more sidespread.

Jasmine: No one talks about them. Period.

Amber: You know, I might add that I kind of hate this whole “preparing the mood” idea when it comes to talking about sex toys. Seriously – I have to be in love with my vibrator to have sex with it?! I have to treat it like a romantic date? What the hell, can’t I even enjoy sexual gratification with a piece of silicone without involving rose petals and mood music? It’s such bullshit.  Women can enjoy all kinds of sexual experiences without it being about love and romance.

As you know, I’m interested in religion and politics as well. Late last week, Ted Cruz said that Americans did not have a Constitutional Right to stimulate their genitals. In context, As per Mother Jones, Cruz’s legal team, charged with defending the law, wrote up a 76-page brief asserting that “any alleged right” associated with “dildos, artificial vaginas, and other obscene devices” was not “deeply rooted in the Nation’s history and traditions.” Further, it said the government had a vested interest in “discouraging… autonomous sex” and considered the use of sex toys as similar to “hiring a willing prostitute or engaging in consensual bigamy.” Therefore, selling such toys was akin to promoting prostitution. The brief states “There is no substantive-due-process right to stimulate one’s genitals for non-medical purposes unrelated to procreation or outside of an interpersonal relationship.” I know that’s a long addition there, but I offer it to ask what is your reaction to this?

Jasmine: Our world is falling apart and you are worried how people are getting off? This is what our politics have come to?! Sad.

Amber: This makes me so angry I want to punch someone.  Me using a vibrator has absolutely no impact on anyone else in the world.  Sex toys have been used throughout recorded history and it hasn’t turned the world evil, or affected population growth or destroyed lives.  I feel like if the sex toy industry wasn’t 80% devoted to female sexual pleasure I don’t think he’d have such a problem with it.  This screams of a man who isn’t getting his dick sucked as much as he’d like, or who’s realized that his wife gets more enjoyment from a vibe than him. (I’m guessing he’s not a generous lover.)  How any woman could vote for this misogynistic, sex-phobic, sanctimonious moron is beyond me.  And frankly, I feel like it’s time to go Lysistrata on the entire Republican Party.  If they want to condemn every single minute aspect of my sexual and reproductive life than they don’t get to be a part of any of it, including the five sexual activities they approve of.  (I can legitimately feel my blood pressure going up just thinking about this.  I could rant on for the length of a bible at this point.)

Brianne: I have considered sending my dildos to Ted Cruz and telling him to get fucked but, I mean, the thought of Ted Cruz doing anything sexual is horrifying and I can’t do that to myself. Really, I think it’s my right as an American to touch myself and I’d love to see anyone try to enforce anti-masturbation laws. How’s that going to work?


Vibrators were originally invented to cure “hysteria” in women, a medical condition where the sufferer exhibited familiar symptoms like “anxiety, sleeplessness, irritability, nervousness, erotic fantasies, feelings of heaviness in the lower abdomen, and wetness between the leg.” Before vibrators, doctors cured such afflictions by putting vegetable oil on their hands and massaging women’s genitals until climax. As delightful as this might sound, as Chris Wild writes,

Providing pelvic massages was a routine part of most Victorian doctors work, as it had been for centuries before. But, as accounts in contemporary medical journals attest, it was tedious, boring and physically demanding work.

Vibrators, masquerading under the more conventional label “personal massager” saw tremendous sales immediately. The first electric vibrator was patented by home products company Hamilton Beach in 1902. It was the first domestic appliance electrified after the sewing machine, tea kettle, toaster, and fan – all products marketed toward women at the time – and, to be discreet (or, more likely, to keep the details away from their husbands and relations), it was sold as a “personal massager.” Shortly thereafter, because of the booming success the “massager” was experiencing, they began appearing in pornographic films and nickelodeons. The device was immediately pulled, then restricted, from advertisements. Their existence did not reappear until the 1970s when, ironically, their appearance in films created a new market. Doc Johnson, a sex toy company located in North Hollywood, was one of those companies that capitalized on the boom. In a recent interview with LA Weekly, the company’s COO sat down to discuss their role in the revival of the industry.

The company’s first mail-order catalog, an amazing piece of mid-’70s graphic design in the style of post-hippie bible the Whole Earth Catalog, was targeted toward both peepshow dwellers and suburban swinger types looking to spice things up. Within its pages were devices called things like the Night Finger, the Hot Dog and the Desperado, along with multiple cartoon images of the fictional Doc Johnson, hawking his “marital aids.”

“Back then that’s what they called the product — ‘marital aids,’” says Chad Braverman, Doc Johnson’s current COO and designated heir to the sexual-devices empire built by his father, legendary adult-industry elder statesman Ron Braverman.

“The term ‘sex toys’ came later, probably in the ’80s,” Chad continues, “and I’m fully aware that that’s what most people still call them. I myself prefer the term ‘pleasure products.’ I usually tell people I’m in ‘the pleasure industry.’”

These saleable titles for sex toys, I think, say a great deal about sexuality in America. A “personal massager” is something that could be sold at your local drugstore and quietly explained to a partner, or in my case, by a parent who is not ready to tell their child “I know your mother and I are not officially divorced yet, but I’m seeing a couple of women and accidentally left this out where you could find it. So, for now, let’s just call it a ‘personal massager.’” But these unspeakable anxieties take strange and exceptionally revealing turns. In Texas, for instance, it is illegal to own more than six dildos. Sex toys in general, not just vibrators or dildos, are banned from shops in Alabama because, according to the assistant attorney general in 1999, “there is no fundamental right for a person to buy a device to produce orgasm.” Until 2004, Virginia, Mississippi, Alabama and Texas each had laws that prohibited the sale or transport of sex toys. Under the laws of those states, someone found in possession of a “marital aid” faced up to two years in prison. And these weren’t just old laws that had been forgotten and grandfathered into court proceedings over the years. Law enforcement in each of these states actively sought to bust offenders. In 2003, a Texas mother who was a sales rep for Passion Parties was arrested by two undercover cops for selling vibrators and other sex-related goods at a small, private gathering akin to a Tupperware party for sex toys. It was this case that was overseen – and argued afresh when questioned about it – by Presidential candidate Ted Cruz who was solicitor general for the State of Texas at the time. David Corn, writing for Mother Jones, notes that

Cruz’s legal team asserted that “obscene devices do not implicate any liberty interest.” And its brief added that “any alleged right associated with obscene devices” is not “deeply rooted in the Nation’s history and traditions.” In other words, Texans were free to use sex toys at home, but they did not have the right to buy them.

To be clear, this means that individuals who lived in states prohibiting the sale of sex toys could face criminal charges for buying and selling sex toys in their state, transporting or trafficking them through those states, and – while perhaps allowed to use them in their own home – were restricted and limited to how many they could own in their home. To put this in perspective, I interviewed Elizabeth Morris, the Head of Content at Carvaka Sex Toys in the United Kingdom. In her role, Elizabeth has been developing several informative articles to help discuss like sexual interest and how to use the company’s products – sex toys.

One of the issues we’re seeing in the U.S. is whether an individual has a “legal right” to masturbate or use sex toys. As you may be aware, there are some states that have made the sale of sex toys illegal. Based out of the U.K., how do you see this and what is your take on legal restrictions to sex toys in general?

At Carvaka, our philosophy is based on the thinking that humans get one life and so should enjoy it to the absolute fullest. We purchase products with our customers’ enjoyment in mind because we feel everyone is entitled to enjoy sex – be that masturbation or couples play or whatever. If a ‘toy’ in the form of something like a vibrator can assist someone in the goal of achieving a climax, we see that as a good thing and something that should be celebrated. We find it ironic that some U.S. states allow for the sale of guns and ammunition widely yet the likes of sex toys are banished and defined as illegal when they are totally harmless and only make people happier. A healthy sex life is something that all adults should enjoy and research shows that those who have healthy sex lives are imminently more satisfied and happy people due to the release of endorphins in the body.

What is your most requested product, and what does that tell you (if anything) about the average customer? Who is your primary target market, and maybe help me by elaborating on that a bit?

Our wand massager is our best selling product currently, which I think shows how much women adore clitoral (external) stimulation. I believe many women only orgasm from this type of stimulation.

Our target market (at the moment) is predominantly women but we do find that a substantial minority of men order products, perhaps as part of couples play although our massager products are suited for all over the body so men might be using them themselves. We certainly don’t consider vibrators to be solely for self-love or masturbation. From feedback and reviews, we have found that men are sometimes turned on by watching their partner use a vibrator so it becomes an important foreplay tool too and we all know the importance of foreplay to a healthy sex life. I guess vibrators also play a part in today’s world where some couples don’t live together all of the time perhaps due to work commitments or whatever. Sex toys allow for one partner living alone to be sexually satisfied while their mate is away so they certainly have a role there also.

I see that your site has several informative articles and I’m wondering if your company feels a need to educate the customer or maybe help change ideas about a particular issue? Personally, I love companies that invest in cultural research AND sell a product so I’m wondering what kind of “issues” Carvaka takes on and why.

Yes we think it is important that people understand and appreciate the many complexities of sex. That is why we have our Better Sex Center which we are concentrated on filling with content that people are searching for; we want to be a provider of all their sex related answers. We will be working on this continuously in order to make sure that people i.e. our customers, understand their bodies and as a result have really healthy and happy sex lives – in conjunction with our products too of course!

At Carvaka we have an ethos of hard work and learning. Again that feeds into our desire to fill our Better Sex Center with great sex related content. We are really passionate about our products too of course and we are all big fans of vibrators. Currently, we are quite a new entrant to this market but we have one person full time on content marketing and four employees in the warehouse who also work on buying and administration. We want to have the best collection of vibrators at the best prices for our customers and we believe that we are well on our way to achieving that.

Again, coming back to these issues of culture and education, what are some of the challenges you see in the world today regarding sex, sex education, sexuality, etc?

For many, the whole topic of sex is a whispered subject and sex toys can be seen as totally taboo. This is disappointing and needless as both sex and sex toys only bring joy to individuals so they should be widely used and celebrated. I also believe that poor sex education can end up leading to a lack of understanding in terms of STDs and unwanted pregnancies etc. so it should be revisited in high schools.

Furthermore, sexuality and openness to that needs to be addressed as the world has changed a great deal in recent decades so we need to be more mindful and accepting of this; this can only happen through education at a young age but I am not sure that would be widely accepted or implemented in the short term. 

To me, sexual education in America signals a deep and abiding fear of not just sex, but the much-hypothesized “liberated and empowered sexual female.” Let’s face it, many of these toys are made for women and have been for years. Again, the vibrator was used to treat women for hysteria (a gendered “malady” by virtue of its very title and description) and it has been the vibrator that has been the target of many criminal investigations. You don’t see, for example, the same resistance to “pocket pussies” like the Fleshlight. These have historically been justified when violators are brought to trial, because “artificial vaginas” are often used in animal husbandry (livestock breeding), for “medical research”, and because – let’s face it – males have been the ones who write laws and loopholes since laws and commandments were first memorialized in stone. Women have faced the harsher side of these state restrictions, even when they hold “parties” as third-party agents in their own home and claim that they do not “own” the items but instead that the toys were delivered by out-of-state companies and that they act as agents, not owners, of the toys (which are presumably never sold in excess of six items lest the buyer then face legal consequences of their own). In other words, vibrators provide a true disentanglement from male sexuality. A woman does not need a partner to satisfy her. She can, as the song goes, “do bad all by myself.” And for this reason, women must be restrained, submit to male authority, and be held accountable for their illegal activity – failure to rely on a man, or more accurately, failure to supply sexual favors to a male upon demand and give him the satisfaction of her satisfaction.

Phrased in this way, the vibrator is a symbol of Feminism. It is also a symbol of reclaimed authority and autonomy. Which is, I suppose, why Constitutional “scholars” like Ted Cruz and the governors, senators, legislators, representatives, and presiding judges of certain states take issue with vibrators, restricting their supply, sale, and use. Vibrators are a threat to the perceived “order” of the world, namely reproduction. As a Feminist myself, I am disgusted with individuals like Ted Cruz who hold such a wickedly misguided understanding of the extent of their authority, the law itself, and individual autonomy. However, I rarely digress on such issues because they are so offensive to me. It’s like comedian Dave Chapelle says of racism – sometimes there are things that are so offensive, so deeply imbedded in systemic injustice, that when they occur in front of you, you barely comment on it. It fails to anger or upset you because, “Goddamn, that’s racist.” It’s just wrong. Inherently wrong.

Instead, I prefer to focus on the lighter side of vibrators and other sex toys because they are inherently fun even when they are a political tool. They are a vehicle to pleasure, a “toy” for us to enjoy ourselves and help create a satisfying fantasy, something to pick up and move around with as we mentally separate from the real world for a few minutes or even a few hours. That’s the attitude I try to bring with me when I go to sex shops with friends – this isn’t an experience of which we should be afraid or from which we should shy away. We should reclaim the joy and wonder of our relieved self in pursuit of a satisfied self. Sometimes, yes, we bring our partners along with us into that experience – “if I wore this or used that, is that something you would be on board with?” – and sometimes, yes, we double down with a good toy, some good porn, and a hearty amount of humor, but the goal is almost always the same. We want to be happy. We want to feel good. Sometimes, we’re just bored and want to do something fun to fill the time. And there’s nothing wrong with that. Whether alone or partnered, sex toys are a fun addition to your sex life and, despite what we might have learned growing up, there is nothing wrong with that.

Further Reading


Graphic used with permission and without consideration by Carvaka Sex Toys.



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