Category Archives: Dildographer

Why Don’t We Have More Strip Clubs For Women?

Two weeks ago my friends and I spent 45 dollars to watch semi-naked men clad in firefighter outfits awkwardly gyrate to Bon Jovi songs at the Ho Chunk Casino in Baraboo, Wisconsin. While watching the “blokes” from Thunder From Down Under tear off various pieces of clothing, I was by turns revolted, disturbed, and amused but never aroused. And I thought to myself, Women deserve better strippers than this. 

Envision a theatrical production concocted by a not-particularly imaginative 5-year-old and performed by intoxicated WWE wrestlers, and you’ll get the idea. Each vignette featured a new theme in an attempt to cover a wide variety of stereotypical female fantasies. So we got to see gangsters and Roman soldiers and cowboys, who, after some choreographed combat, stripped down to thongs and showed their sculpted buttocks to the crowd.  The closest we came to seeing a penis was when we glimpsed the side of the bare shaft and testicles of Alex, a mid-30s, steroid-filled Australian stripper.

Then it started to get interesting. They’d bring overweight 40-something women on stage for lap dances, guiding the women’s thick hands inside their thongs. They’d simulate cunnilingus and intercourse on the deliriously happy women. They’d jog into the audience as women grabbed at their crotches with a fierceness usually reserved for plucking bulk condiments from Costco’s shelves. Clearly, the audience loved them. Continue reading

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Ask the Dildographer

While guiltily not working on my dissertation on Labor Day, I decided to traipse down to the bookstore and pick up a few sex advice books and magazines, a few of which contained sex toy history in them. So I ended up technically working on Labor Day, after all, which calmed my bat-shit crazy mind. Some of what I found in these books was enlightening (I learned a new fellatio technique, for example), some was disheartening (no, author of Sex Tips for Straight Women from a Gay Man, your boyfriend or husband isn’t gay if he enjoys being pegged. He’s straighter than Mitt Romney on a ski slope.), and some was essential basic anatomy that I never learned (ie. where the frenulum is).

But what these books made me realize is that people crave very basic information about sexuality and that this information is in short supply (the entire sex advice section would’ve fit on my coffee table).  The recent popularity of 50 Shades of Grey demonstrates that when the market for sex advice literature isn’t satisfied, readers will simply transform their smut into sex-advice manuals. The only problem with employing 50 Shades as a sex manual it is that it encourages the use of dangerous hardware-bought sex toys like zip ties and ropes. I don’t fault E.L. James because she didn’t intend for 50 Shades to be used as an instruction manual. But now that women are using it that way, it’s important that they apply the central message of the story to their lives–that people in love can and should have taboo-busting rough sex and not just make vanilla love to each other while pumpkin-scented candles flicker in the background–without reenacting the sex scenes using the possibly dangerous tools mentioned in the story.

I figured that I’m as good a person as any to offer this type of sex-toy advice, so I’ve decided to start a recurring Ask the Dildographer feature. Ask me anything sex-related (not just sex-toy related), no matter how bizarre or taboo you think that it is. Chances are that I’ve either tried it, thought about trying it, or read about someone who has tried it. All question-writers will remain anonymous. Send all your emails to askthedildographer@gmail.com Continue reading

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How We Should Write About Sex

If only more academics followed Stacia Kane’s advice.
Image from staciakane.com

Most sex writing is terrible. Most scholarly sex writing is even worse. It’s a problem that stems from the unimaginative academic universe, a world that indoctrinates grad students out of creative prose, that Scientologizes away all sense of originality so that all papers sound as if they could have been written by the same chunky, black glasses-wearing, latte-sipping, theorist-name-dropping late 20s humanities Ph.D.  Academic writing is the antithesis of sexy. It’s dry and clinical, jargon-filled and plodding.  Reading it is like decoding a text whose message, when revealed, is frequently not worth the effort. Even if it is worth the effort, it’s still a frustrating endeavor. Writing about sex needs to be wet and messy and passionate and dirty. Academics have even managed to sanitize the word body, to jargonize it, to make it the opposite of what the body is, a flatulent, oozing, prickly thing that brings us sloppy, messy joy.

Sex writing needs to evolve away from a clinical, Kinseyian style. Since he was writing in the late 1940s and early 1950s, Kinsey’s clinical style made sense. It was appropriate. It was a way to give sex studies legitimacy. But we’re over a half a century beyond that. Even though the sex-studies stigma still exists, that doesn’t mean that we have to be overly scientific to the point of impenetrability in response. Stigmas about sexuality will always exist. Scholars shouldn’t respond to criticism by making their work innocuous and boring. Instead, they should fight critics with provocative prose full of stimulating ideas. Here’s a 3-step plan to improve academic sex writing.

First, academics need to stop pretending that they don’t have sex. Why is there an insistence that to be an intellectual means that you have risen above the corporeal? In the words of Us Weekly: Academics are just like us! They watch porn, masturbate, and have sex just like the rest of the rabble. They don’t copulate while wearing a monocle and a top hat. They don’t bring test tubes and statistical software to their assignations. They fuck. But for some reason intellectuals like to write about sex as if it’s something that happens to other people. Continue reading

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Why Monogamy Should Be Classified as a Paraphilia

Married Couple

Do these people have a paraphilia?

Imagine this scenario: a friend (we’ll call her Rene) says to you that she plans on spending the rest of her life having sex with the same person (we’ll call him Tom). Rene claims that for the next fifty or so years she will flirt only with Tom, fantasize only about sex with Tom, stay with Tom even when he gets fat and sick and old. This will make her happy, she thinks. It will make her so deliriously happy that Rene must celebrate by inviting all their friends to an expensive, drunken party where she declares these intentions while her friends and family cry, not out of sadness for her misplaced ideas about happiness, but with joy, with the hope that unlike the majority of married couples, she will continue to have a great sex life with Tom. But in all probability this will not happen. There’s about a 50% chance that there will be cheating in the relationship and a 15% chance that they will stop having sex altogether. And most likely even if Rene and Tom are still having sex, it will be of the routine, robotic variety. Yet our society continues to perpetuate the myth that lifetime monogamy is a normal state for most human beings and that it leads to happiness.

It’s such an ingrained societal belief that deigning to question it is seen as heresy, which has created a situation where people who question monogamy are too scared to openly discuss it because they fear social reprisal. They then assume that most people are happy practicing monogamy, since few people are saying otherwise. Communication theorist Elisabeth Noelle-Neumann called this phenomena the Spiral of Silence, which is succinctly described by Wikipedia as “the process by which one opinion becomes dominant as those who perceive their opinion to be in the minority do not speak up because they fear isolation from society.”

Side note: The Spiral of Silence is controversial among some because of Noelle-Neumann’s connection to Nazism. Having tea with Hitler and writing for Das Reich, a newspaper founded by Joseph Goebbels, isn’t the best way to endear yourself to the academic community. Some scholars believe that her theory is “riddled with totalitarian ideology gleaned from working as “Germany’s leading pollster.” Continue reading

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One Nation Under Sex Toys

Rejected Newsweek Cover with American Flag Vibrator

Rejected Newsweek Cover with American Flag Vibrator for the February 14, 2012 issue. Image from http://newsweek.tumblr.com/

This Fourth of July, as I reside in the nation’s capital, studying the history of our regulations against sex toys and the various ways that sex toy manufacturers have attempted to evade these laws, I should have a pessimistic view of the nation. After all, my raison d’être, the motivation that keeps me going, is the belief that sex toys are objects that are symbols of American ingenuity, that dildos are proof of American Exceptionalism. In fact, as I like to imagine it, masturbators all across the country are now sublimely bringing themselves to orgasm while contemplating how lucky they are to be Americans, or simply to be humans, a part of the tool-making species that has contrived such wonderful motorized devices to speed up and intensify “the little death,” that thirty-second moment of ecstasy that has driven invention and innovation since the beginning of time.

But America has been attempting to frustrate the nation’s masturbators for the past 150 years. They’ve incinerated sex toys in fires in the mid-1800s, arrested people for selling them, shamed people for using them. Unlike the burned book, few take up the torch for the sex toy, feeling, incorrectly as it happens, that sex toys are not full of ideas and ideals, are not, in fact, objects worthy of intellectual contemplation. But all objects, however reviled, especially the reviled ones, posses the ability to become muses, to expand minds, to launch dreams. We have an idea that great literature is full of lofty intellectual ideas, that it ignores the bodily processes, that nobody farts in Shakespeare. But  literature embraces the body. James Joyce revelled in defecation, Marcel Proust lovingly described gay sex, and Geoffrey Chaucer’s characters buggered each other with plow blades. That’s not to say that sex toys are books’ intellectual equals, just that we mischaracterize classic literature. We consciously create a divide between the body and the mind, a divide that allows people to believe that they are above animals. Instead, we need to admit that we are animals with the accompanying animal instincts, but that we differentiate ourselves in our ability to think deeply about these instincts, to make choices about them, to improve upon our genitals.

But what gives me hope isn’t that most of our anti-sex-toy regulations have been lifted; it’s that Americans have always ignored them. No matter how much our government has done to stop us from using sex toys, we have continued to manufacture and market them. Even in the face of imminent arrest, American entrepreneurs have always produced and sold sex toys because they’ve believed, correctly, that deep within the soul of the red-blooded, pragmatic American consumer lies the indefatigable hope that the newest dildo or butt plug or tube of clitoral stimulation gel will change the face of orgasm forever.

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Wooden Dildos Don’t Leave Splinters

Mary Thury, German Dildo Maker

Mary Thury, wife of Elmar, who specializes in applying lacquer to the dildos.
Image from http://www.waldmichlsholdi.com/

Few dildos could be called charming. Silicone and plastic versions just seem cheap and disposable. Futuristic looking steel dildos are intimidating. But wooden dildos have character. They’re the type of dildo that Henry David Thoreau would have taken with him to Walden Pond, a dildo that you’d find while foraging for wild berries in the forest, where you’d stumble upon Keebler Elves whittling phalluses with tiny knives while ensconced in their Hollow Tree®.

Given the charisma inherent in wooden sex toys, it makes sense that the most charming ones on the market are produced by a family. The fact that they’re practicing Catholics might be off-putting to some, but it’s inspiring to me. Dildo entrepreneurs Elmar Thüry and his wife and children are true iconoclasts. Although it takes moxie to be a dildographer, it takes much more courage to carry on religious traditions while also promoting sexual devices.

The Thüry family designs, hand-carves, and markets 72 varieties of sustainable wooden dildos, butt plugs, g-spot stimulators, and vibrators. Thüry says that the most common question he gets is about splinters, which he says aren’t a problem because the dildos are made from spruce wood, and treated to prevent splinters.  The road to Thüry’s dildo business was paved with ornamental wooden mushrooms, which are in far less demand than sex toys. After his son pointed out the mushrooms’ likeness to the male genitals, he began manufacturing dildos. But some of the spirit of the wild mushroom lingers in their design, providing them with an old-world ethos. Continue reading

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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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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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Teledildonics: Is it Cheating?

The RealTouch Interactive Experience (image from RealTouch)

Within the next forty years, we’ll all be in polygamous relationships with sex robots. But until then we’ll have to settle for sexual partnerships with other humans, who usually expect monogamy, unconditional love, and a host of other unrealistic things. Like Dan Savage, I believe that non-monogamy can work, provided the partners are open and honest about it, and there aren’t hundreds of affairs throughout the relationship. But monogamish relationships aren’t socially acceptable, so about half of people end up cheating in their “monogamous” relationships, exposing their partners to STDs, and becoming emotionally attached to their lovers.

But what if you could still get sexual variety, yet avoid all these thorny problems? Enter RealTouch’s new product: the RealTouch Interactive Experience, an experience that involves penis-shaped joysticks, masturbation sleeves, and female models. First, let me describe the RealTouch penis sleeve. It isn’t just any penis sleeve. It’s the most technologically advanced male masturbation device in the world. It’s a motor-driven sleeve that heats up, dispenses lubricant, and syncs with adult videos. So if you’re watching a movie of Sasha Grey fellating a lucky gentlemen, the RealTouch’s four DC motors will squeeze and stroke your penis, giving you the best robotic blow job in the world. But the Interactive Experience takes this one step further. It allows the RealTouch to be operated via the internet by hot models using joysticks equipped with the same type of “captive sensing technology” found in iPad screens. Envision a nubile Eastern European teenager lightly stroking a phallic joystick, as your penis is firmly ensconced in a moist 98.6 degree cocoon that’s whirring with mechanical enthusiasm and you’ll get the idea.

The Real Touch Male Masturbator (image from Real Touch)

This type of technology isn’t brand new. In fact, it’s been around so long that it’s got its own name: teledildonics.  However, RealTouch was the first company to bring this technology to the consumer market and provide the option of paying a model to remotely bring you to orgasm. It seems like a win-win. You get your sexual variety without the thorny complications. If they had a version of the RealTouch for females, I would be the first in line, provided the “hot” models operating it were balding Jewish men who wore yarmulkes and sang Yiddish songs.

I know that not all men and women would be willing to allow their partners to have the RealTouch Interactive Experience, but I don’t know why, which leads me to this question:  Is it cheating if the person lives 1,000 miles away and is manipulating your penis via a joystick?

Of course I would answer no, but I’m not the typical woman. So I’m asking you.

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