Monthly Archives: March 2012

Why can’t we just call a Dildo a “Dildo”?

As I pore over the vice reports of our mutton-chopped 19th century postal censor, Anthony Comstock, I’m continuously surprised that he refused to refer to the dildo as a dildo. “Too gross to be described,” he says in a published vice report from 1882 in reference to “immoral rubber goods,” a sweeping category that included condoms, dildos, French ticklers, and odd things like fake dog poop. He didn’t feel comfortable describing them in detail, but he took pleasure in quantifying the amount of sex products that he confiscated. In 1882 alone it was 64,836 pounds.

It’s as if Comstock believed that the word itself was so dangerous that printing it could have a deleterious effect on all who read it. Sometimes in the confidential arrest reports he has scribbled the word. When he arrested sex goods proprietor Louis Beer, he noted: “The man who brought the dildoe to America.” Of course he was giving Beer too much credit because most likely the man who brought the dildo to America has been dead for 3,000 years. What would be more correct is to call him the man who brought the rubber dildo to America, but my research shows that it definitely wasn’t Beer. The father of American gynaecology, J. Marion Sims, did more to popularize the dildo than anyone else I know. In the mid-1800s, he advocated the use of dilators (now referred to as “medical dildos”) as treatments for vaginismus, a condition where the vagina spasms and tightens so much prior to sexual intercourse that a penis is unable to penetrate the wall of rigid genital tissue.

For some reason the task of avoiding the use of words like dildo, condom, and French tickler caused government officials to wax poetic about rubber sexual devices.  In an 1873 speech to the House of Representatives, New York congressman Clinton L. Merriam, stumping for an obscenity bill, had this to say:

“It is terrible to contemplate that more than six thousand persons are daily employed in a carefully organized business, stimulated to activity by all the incentives that avarice and wickedness can invent, to place in the schools, and homes of our country, books, pictures and immoral appliances, of so low and debasing a nature that it would seem as if the brute creation itself would turn from them in disgust

By avoiding using the word dildo, America’s censors ended up imbuing it with a mystical power, making dildo the word whose name they dared not speak, and whose etymology is a mystery. But the word may be making a comeback. This month postal censors made Vice magazine cover up their picture of a dildo with a DILDO sticker. Progress? Not really. We won’t be truly progressive until neither the word or the device offends.

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Is This What Men Want?

The Newest in Masturbation Technology

When you’re the type of company that churns out male masturbation devices that look like decapitated heads, it’s kind of difficult to top yourself. So, what is Pipedream Products to do?  Create the Mega Fuck Slut Mega Masturbator; that’s what. Weighing twenty-five pounds and constructed with thermo-plastic rubber, The Mega Fuck Slut is a limbless torso with both anal and vaginal orifices, which appears to be more at home in a Saw movie than on your kitchen counter (or wherever one keeps such things). According to Pipedream Products, this sex toy came about through customer demand. Customers wanted both a “front and a back side of a torso” to copulate with.  I’m not sure if they requested that it lack appendages, but I’m assuming that they did because a plethora of fully limbed blow-up dolls already exist. Why would a man want to copulate with a limbless large-breasted plastic woman? If I knew the answer to that, I’d have won a MacArthur Genius Grant by now. It seems like this sex toy would only appeal to heterosexual male serial killers, but I doubt that there are enough around to make this masturbator a profitable enterprise. If these were cheaper, I’d suggest sending one to Rush Limbaugh so that he could learn the true meaning of slut,  but at $1,567.50it’s not worth it.

Even though the Mega Fuck Slut may be abhorrent to 99% of the population, its promotional video can teach us important lessons about what not to do when marketing a giant sex toy. Here are the three biggest marketing mistakes in the Mega Fuck Slut Mega Masturbator video:

1. Inexplicable Censorship of Packaging On the packaging  of the box, the real breasts of  the human model are censored with a fluorescent green bar, yet the plastic breasts, vagina, and anus of the artificial woman are considered acceptable enough to be fully displayed, as is the obscene name of the product.

2. Failure to Demonstrate a Product’s Attributes The demonstrator gets out a measuring tape to measure the mega masturbator’s length and width but doesn’t show anybody the actual measurements.

3. Making Dubious Assumptions About the Target Market He presumes that every man has an “enema hose” in his shower.

When will companies learn that a 27-inch long fuckable headless torso with anal and vaginal openings doesn’t just sell itself?

http://www.pipedreamproducts.com/jwplayer/player.swf

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The Etymology of Dildo

Phallic Mural from Pompeii
Image from GaySpirit

The origins of the word dildo are as mysterious as the object itself.  Recently I’ve begun searching for the etymology of dildo, hoping that in finding it, I will find a key to my existence. I’m like the kid in Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, searching for the lock to the key his father gave him, minus the tambourine and Max Von Sydow (By the way, Max Von Sydow, if you’re reading this blog, I’d love to have you join me on my journey of discovery).  Since I’ve started searching, I’ve become even more confused about its origins, and the mystery of dildo has only grown in my mind. The most common theory is that the word may have come from diletto:  an Italian word for “a woman’s delight.” The same source also says that there’s speculation it came from dally which means “to toy.” Other theories point to its origins in the Old English word “dill-doll,” which comes from “the Norse word ‘dilla,’ meaning ‘to soothe.’”

By 1889, dildo was out of favor, according to a slang dictionary of the time, and the more popular term was “broom handle.” This dictionary defines dildo with such beautiful specificity that I’ve excerpted the whole thing here. (And wth all this anti-contraception legislation being bandied about, I wouldn’t be surprised if this definition comes back into favor):

“An instrument made of various soft, pliable substances, and resembling the male pudendum, used by women, who possessing strong amatory passions, and forced to live celibate lives, are afraid of pregnancy following natural copulation. “

I also learned that historically, dildo hasn’t always been used as s a sexual term. A dictionary from the early 1900s defined it as “A term of obscure cant or slang origin, used in old ballads and plays as a mere refrain or nonsense word; also used, from its vagueness, as a substitute for various obscene terms, and in various obscene meanings.” The Online Etymology Dictionary claims that its first use was in the late 1500s, in a Thomas Nash poem, called The Choice of ValentinesNashe’s Dildo or The Merrie Ballad of Nashe his Dildo. Wikipedia says that a theory exists that  “it originally referred to the phallus-shaped peg used to lock an oar in position on a dory (small boat). It would be inserted into a hole on the side of the boat, and is very similar in shape to the modern toy.”

Prior to the 20th century, it was also used as a  verb meaning “to play wantonly with a woman.”  The synonym listed is firkytoodle  which is one of the best words I’ve come across since borborygmus.

I’ve concluded that the etymology of dildo will not be found in reference books. Dildo continues to be an enigma, which seems appropriate given that the word and the object itself are both muses to me. But that won’t stop me from searching. Because I know that once I find the origin of dildo I will have unlocked one of the keys to the sexual universe.

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Every Fetish Deserves Its Own Sex Toy

The My First Pregnant “Knocked Up” Masturbator.

Being a pregnancy fetishist must not be easy. Although the media frequently promotes the image of the sexy pregnant woman, it directs this message to other women to imply that they too can be sexy while with child. There is a vast gulf between a beaming Snooki on the cover of this week’s Us Weekly and a porn video of Snooki’s fiance Jionni having sex with her while she’s with child. Most people are extremely creeped out by the latter. For some reason, it’s socially acceptable for a pregnant woman to be portrayed as sexy, but not as an object of male sexual desire. I sympathize with those cyesolagniasts (the scientific term for pregnancy fetishists) out there, because they have to hide their fetish and risk rejection by their girlfriends if it’s revealed. So when I stumbled upon the newly released My 1st Pregnant Knocked Up Pussy, I was pleased to see that a sex toy company was taking this fetish seriously. Until now, the only sex toy for cyesolagniasts was the Pregnant Fantasies Love Doll,a $20, inflatable PVC doll whose package features a circa 1973 image of a thong-clad Laura Dern-type woman holding a rose to her belly with long strings of pearls wrapped around her neck. The only Amazon review of it (from guilty pleasure) is a work of beauty:

This is a cheap doll (and you get a decent pregnant DVD in the deal) if you don’t expect too much you won’t be disappointed. The shape is correct, not a fatty doll, the head is ghastly (I put a pair of panties over it) and a small leak sprung the second time it was blown up (patch repaired it). That said, it is the ONLY pregnant sex doll I know of and for the price, I would buy it again.

The Venus of Willendorf: An ancient prototype for the pregnancy masturbation sleeve.

Guilty pleasure’s review demonstrates that maiesiophiliasts (yes, this fetish is so common that two terms for it exist ) are so desperate for sex toys that they’ll repeatedly purchase defective blow-up dolls to satisfy their fetish. But I doubt the My 1st Pregnant Knocked Up Pussy will satisfy them, unless their particular fetish involves fucking a headless Venus of Willendorf. The My 1st Pregnant Knocked Up Pussy masturbator sleeve is only six inches long and it features a torso of a spread-legged miniature pregnant woman with a tiny vagina and tiny anus that the user is supposed to stick his dick into. On the plus side, the sleeve vibrates and Nasstoys brags that the masturbator is RoHS (The Restriction of Hazardous Substances Directive) complaint, a standard developed in the European Union to certify that a device is free of six harmful substances.

In an overly ambitious press release, the Nasstoys company is optimistic that their masturbator could not only satisfy cyesolagniasts’ demands, but also manufacture this fetish in the rest of the male population:

We can also create a new fantasy for men to explore, who hadn’t previously thought about it. Fertility reminds men of virility and when men feel virile they get better erections. This is an erotic fantasy that goes deep into our mammal psyches. We’re already hearing a big buzz about these and expect them to be big sellers for retailers.

Unfortunately for Nasstoys, a male masturbation sleeve in the shape of a homunculus torso is unlikely to captivate the male sexual imagination, let alone create previously unknown desires.

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