Tag Archives: vibrator

Why You Should Buy Your Family Sex Toys for Christmas

Don Wands Candy Cane Glass Pleasure Wand. Image from http://www.shevibe.com

If you’re planning on giving vibrators to your relatives as Christmas presents, you might think that you’re a daring individual who is bucking tradition and upending the spirit of such a sacred holiday. I should know: When I was sixteen, I gave my cousin a vibrator for Christmas. I felt like such a rebel because I made my family so uncomfortable. But gifting vibrators for Christmas is not a new phenomenon. In fact, you could even call it an American tradition. One hundred years ago, vibrator companies promoted their products as suitable holiday gifts for brothers to buy for their sisters. And they suggested that grandchildren should buy their grandfathers violet ray machines, electrical devices that emitted purple light and came with rectal and vaginal attachments. You can still buy violet rays today, but only at sex toy stores.

So purchase that We-Vibe II for your parents without shame. Improve their sex lives. If they say that a dual-purpose g-spot vibrator and clitoral stimulator designed to be worn during intercourse is an inappropriate gift for them, direct them to my website. Blame it on me. They may be secretly contemplating divorce, and this is the one product that could save their marriage. In fact, if you don’t buy this present for your parents they will surely divorce, and you’ll only have yourself to blame.

Is your sister cranky? It’s definitely because she is having too few orgasms. You must remedy this problem. It’s your job as a brother. Buy her the I Rub My Duckie Santa Vibe. It doubles as a Christmas ornament, and it looks like a children’s toy, so nobody will think you’re creepy for purchasing it for her.

Is your brother getting on your nerves? It’s most likely because he’s sick of masturbating with his hand. Buy him the Tenga 3D Masturbation Sleeve. Not only is it one of the most highly rated masturbation sleeves, but also it looks like it was designed by Frank Gehry, so he can set it on his shelf and claim that he bought it at MoMa.

If you don’t buy your family sex toys for Christmas, this will be the result:

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If Only Foreplay Were Like a Video Game

The Remote-Controlled Lyla Vibrator. Image from Lelo.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Few women could resist a product that is designed to make foreplay more enjoyable for their partners. And there’s no better way to get a man or woman interested in foreplay than to turn your vagina into a video game. So I was very excited when I first heard about the $139 Lyla vibrator that is controlled through a wireless Wii-like motion-sensitive remote. In theory, the idea seems great. You hand the tiny remote to your partner, and they artfully maneuver the hot pink egg-shaped vibrator around your vagina while you become increasingly aroused. I imagined it to be like a vaginal Roomba, minus the cleaning ability. I visualized it zipping around, sensually grasping the genital walls with a charming robotic glee.  Then I discovered that the remote only allows the user to control the speed of vibration, not the direction the vibrator moves in.  But that can still be sexy, I told myself, in a spirit of optimism that is fueled by my daily ingestion of 200 mg of Zoloft and 150 mg of Wellbutrin.

Well, it’s not sexy. In fact, it’s the opposite of sexy (see video below). If the thought of your boyfriend operating your vibrator as if he were barreling down the Rainbow Road track of Mario Kart in a recently unlocked Bullet Bike turns you on, then the Lyla is for you. I could see this vibrator being popular if you could actually play your girlfriend’s vagina like a video game, and the results were uploaded to the internet. The scoring would go something like this:

50 points for every orgasm produced in under 10 minutes

25 points for every other orgasm produced

5 points for every time you play for at least three minutes

When you’ve accumulated 1,000 points, the Lyla would magically sprout wings and fly into your lover’s vagina.

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The World’s First Alarm Clock For Your Genitals

Photo by Gyuri Szabo at finfoto.com.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Have you ever showed up late to a meeting and thought, “If only I had had an alarm clock wedged against my vagina, I would’ve been on time?” I know I have. That’s why I’m certain that this Little Rooster alarm clock is destined to be a best seller.

To use this vibrating alarm clock, you place it on “your pubic mound,” while “the vibrating leg rests against your clitoris and labia.” I’m not sure how you are supposed to ignore this as you’re falling asleep, but Little Rooster’s website assures you that “most women become completely unaware of the Little Rooster within a minute of slipping it into their knickers.”

When it’s time to get up, the alarm clock starts vibrating slowly at first, and then its two motors begin to vibrate more intensely. If you become so aroused that you don’t feel like getting up, you just hit “snorgasm” mode and it pleasures you for 10 minutes. Since most people fall asleep after their orgasms, the idea that an orgasm would awaken you from a deep slumber is a little counterintuitive to me. And it seems like The Little Rooster doesn’t have a back-up alarm for those who naturally fall into a post-masturbatory slumber. Maybe there needs to be a separate Little Rooster alarm for your anus that zaps you if you don’t get up within five minutes of your snorgasm.

Design flaws aside, I have to credit the company for their hyperbolic ad copy. The only thing better than inventing and marketing a genital alarm clock is coming up with claims like this: “The Little Rooster is the most considerate alarm clock in the world.  If only altruism were always this much joy.”

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If We Can Send A Vibrator Into Space…And Other Sex Toy News

This Saturday, just in time for Yom Kippur, Dave Levine, aka Sex Toy Dave, is going to be the first person to launch a vibrator into outer space. Propelling a Mini Multi-Speed Vibrating Bullet into interstellar space may, on its surface, seem unnecessary. Logically, there’s no reason that a vibrator should be sent soaring into the heavens. But logic plays no part in space travel, and the symbolism alone is inspiring. We are reaching out into other worlds, offering up one of our most treasured artifacts to distant beings. I only wish they had chosen to send the Retro Pocket Rocket or an alien-themed Flesh Light into orbit instead of that boring bullet. If aliens stumble upon this sex toy, they will definitely attack us. They’ll assume that this is the best sexual technology the human race is capable of creating, which will lead them to believe that our military technology must also be extraordinarily bad. The future of humanity is at stake. Please, somebody, send another vibrator into the ether immediately.

Why Are the British Upset About This Tame Sex Toy Ad?

This is supposedly the first sex-toy advertisement to ever be shown on TV in the U.K. It was initially intended to be aired this week during prime time, but TV executives nixed that idea because they thought the name of the company’s website was inappropriate. For God’s sake the name is lovehoney.com, not discountgiantwoodenanalbeads.org, but nevertheless, that was the reason they claimed for its unsuitability.

Not only were they upset about the name of the website, but they were also upset with the idea of advertising a sex toy in the first place: “Sex is an intimate expression of lifelong commitment between a man and a woman, not a commodity to be advertised and sold like washing powder or a mobile phone,” said ITV Director Norman Wells in an interview for the Bath Chronicle.

Well, if sex is such a sacred act, then why were ads like this run on British TV without any complaint (as far as I know)?

This double standard is ridiculous. What is so threatening about sex toys that they can’t be openly advertised but ads for erectile dysfunction drugs can? I can only assume it’s because women’s sexuality is more threatening than male sexuality.

In an  interview for Ad Age, Nick Ellis, the creative director for this Love Honey advertisement explained the constraints of advertising vibrators: “You can use sex to sell most products, but as a sex-toy retailer, no hint of anything overtly sexy is allowed,” Mr. Ellis said.

Strangely, American sex toy advertisements from 100 years ago were more risqué than the controversial Love Honey ad.

Hamilton Beach New Life Vibrator Ad in The Des Moines News, November 25, 1912

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Does Yahweh Like Sex Toys?

Moses demonstrates the proper size for a holy dildo.

In honor of the Jewish New Year, I thought I’d try to answer this timeless question by researching Jewish views on dildos, vibrators, and other sundry pleasure devices. To begin with, though, we’re going to examine Yahweh himself, to see what type of a God He is. If George Ryley Scott, author of Phallic Worship, is to be believed, then the Jewish God is an enthusiast of the penis. “Yahweh, the God of the Hebrews, was himself a phallic deity, the rite of circumcision in itself indicating his real nature,” he says. The Hebrews, according to Scott, represented Yahweh in images that showed him having an enormous “symbolic” penis, frequently depicted as a pillar.

Whether or not you believe Scott’s view of Yahweh, it is undeniable that Jews have had a special connection to the commercial sex industry for about the last century. The founder of Doc Johnson was a Jew, as is the designer of a line of popular sex toys. Dr. Ruth is a Holocaust survivor. Some of the most famous porn stars are Jewish, including such luminaries as Ron Jeremy, Annie Sprinkle and Harry Reems (who later converted to Christianity and became a real-estate agent). Both Screw and Eros magazines were founded by Jews. Historically, one of the reasons that Jews have entered these businesses is that they were excluded from more respectable fields. That’s also why most of the founders of the field sexological studies in Germany in the early 20th century were Jews; and it’s why these institutes were destroyed in the mid-20th century.

In my search to discover Semites’ views on anal beads and bondage kits, I stumbled upon Rabbi Shmuley Boteach who wrote a book called The Kosher Sutra: Eight Sacred Secrets for Reigniting Desire and Restoring Passion for Life. In the book, he instructs wives to “bring your husband some new sex toy and ask him to use it on you.” Also, he says spouses should “use sex to mend a heated argument.” So far, so good.

But another Jew has taken his love to sex toys to an even more amazing level. And that Jew is Gavriel, founder of koshersextoys.net a website that sells lubricants and sex toys to married Jews only. He believes that sex toys enhance marriage, and “It is the moral obligation of each partner in a marriage to do whatever is possible to satisfy their partner, and the only way for a marriage to be happy and fulfilling is for it to have a healthy and exciting sex life.” That logic makes sense, but why do Jews need to obtain their Diving Dolphin clitoral stimulators from a Jewish website? According to Gavriel, secular websites are dangerous. They showcase sex toys with offensive names and even more offensive packaging, and the sites are full of sexually charged images that inevitably lead to marital problems. “We believe that only two people belong in the bedroom – and bringing pictures of others in can only harm a marriage,” Gavriel says. I guess in theory that sentiment is a good one (spoiler alert: I’m lying), but there’s no way to avoid bringing pictures of others into the bedroom, because married people are always bringing mental pictures of others into their bedrooms. Whether they’re imagining having intercourse with a local she-male prostitute or being gang-banged by the Princeton English Department, married people in the act of coitus are always exercising their pornographic imaginations. They need to fantasize about someone, anyone, else. That doesn’t necessarily mean that they don’t love each other, just that they no longer get tingly genitals for the person who they’ve shared a bed with for the past few decades.

But I can’t be too hard on a highly religious man who supports bringing eight-inch purple beaded vibrators into the bedroom. It’s an honorable goal. Unfortunately koshersextoys.net looks like it was designed using a free template circa 1993. And, the descriptions of the sex toys tell you nothing about where you are supposed to insert them, and what they are supposed to do. For example, instead of calling a Rabbit vibrator’s clitoral stimulator a clitoral stimulator, Gavriel refers to it as, “an extension for stimulation of body parts not reached by penetration of its main shaft.” But these are minor quibbles.

So, where does that leave us? Does Yahweh like sex toys?  Although I can’t be entirely certain, I’m pretty sure that the answer is yes. And, it’s not because Rabbi Shmuley or Gavriel say so, but because God gave us imperfect genitals. And, if we’re made in His image, He’s aware of that fact. If our main goal on this earth is to have lots of sex, it follows that God would heartily endorse humans’ use of the Fetish Fantasy Inflatable Bondage Chair.

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Hysteria

I was so happy to be quoted in Friday’s article in the Toronto Globe and Mail about the history of the vibrator. Any time something like this happens, my parents’ embarrassment about my profession drops significantly, and even sometimes turns to pride that their daughter has become a full-time dildographer.

Here’s an excerpt from the article:

And while women of the time didn’t necessarily know what masturbation was, Dr. Hall believes “doctors did.” For this reason and the threat of professional liability, she and other scholars suggest the treatment was performed on the fringes – the lineups of women in the filmic adaptation are sheer poetic licence.

“It’s making these people look like idiots and I don’t believe that was the case. Medical literature shows that doctors knew the role of the clitoris. And it makes light of women’s sexuality,” says Hallie Lieberman, a self-proclaimed “dildographer” and PhD student at the University of Wisconsin-Madison studying the marketing of sex toys throughout history.

“[Maines’ book] really plays on this idea that the doctors didn’t know what the clitoris did, which I think is wrong,” said Sarah Rodriguez, a research assistant professor in medical humanities and bioethics at Northwestern University in Chicago.

Ms. Lieberman and others point to a number of sexual anatomy textbooks spanning from the 1820s into the 1900s that describe the clitoris as a primary sexual organ, one capable of erection. In 1890, physician Leonard Rau called it the “principal seat of sexual orgasm in the female.” An “electric bell” is how one gynecology professor put it in 1900. More accessible was Marie Stopes’ popular 1918 sex manual Married Love, which makes explicit reference to the clitoris and its role in orgasm. The book sold nearly 750,000 copies by 1931.

Ms. Lieberman suggests hysteria continues to enthrall modern audiences because with “women, it’s always a mystery, whether they’re aroused. … It’s hard to reliably give women a clitoral orgasm. There’s still a search for the Holy Grail of that.”

Indeed, in some sense the female orgasm remains elusive, as evidenced by pharmaceuticals’ failed hunt for a “pink Viagra” to treat the equally contentious FSD or “female sexual dysfunction,” a diagnosis in the current DSM, the go-to handbook for psychiatrists.

While Ms. Lieberman doesn’t go as far as to label the controversial FSD and its sister malady, hypoactive desire disorder, as today’s hysteria, she suggests the cure may be vibrators, of all things.

“I believe we should be having great sex throughout the life cycle,” she said. “Vibrators need to be promoted by physicians because they do give a lot of anorgasmic women orgasms.”

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Double-Duty Vibrators

Duet USB Vibrator, set to hit the market in October.

The upside to using your pen to masturbate? Nobody will ever borrow your pen again.

The upcoming introduction of the Duet, a USB-powered vibrator, got me thinking about other multipurpose sex toys on the market. Right now most vibrators that serve dual purposes seem to be impractical and lacking in adventurousness. There’s L’intimate, a vibrator that comes in a lint-roller container. There’s another that inexplicably doubles as a soccer-ball key chain. A few companies make “discreet” vibrator necklaces, but I’m not sure why that would ever be necessary. How often  have you been sitting at a boring dinner party wishing that you had a vibrator handy so you could run off into the host’s bathroom to masturbate?  Actually, that’s usually all I’m thinking about at dinner parties, so I may purchase one.  Other companies make make-up brush and hairbrush vibes, which just seem kind of gross, considering how disgusting hair is, or maybe that’s just my hair which frequently has twigs and other debris in it. The pen vibrator sounds somewhat useful, except I don’t want my writing implements  to smell like vagina. Vibrator Christmas ornaments are charming, but I’d prefer a vibrating Menorah. If I were rich, I can see myself purchasing  high-end hand job jewelry like Angelina Jolie and Christina Aguilera wisely do because the cheap vibrating rings are tacky. Overall, no currently available device stands out as being especially beneficial or innovative.

Although today our dual-purpose vibrators are pretty much impractical novelty items, 100-years-ago, vibrators doubled as useful home appliances. Companies sold home motors that, with separate attachments, could be transformed into fans, knife sharpeners, blenders, silverware polishers, and vibrators. On a sultry day you could mix yourself a chocolate malt, fan yourself on the porch, and then masturbate in your bathroom, all using the same device, which begs the question: Why have dual-purpose vibrators regressed over the past century? If the theory of technological convergence were true, then we should be riding our dildos to the moon by now. In the early 20th century, vibrators were advertised more openly than they are today, they were more powerful, and they served more functions for the household. Let’s bring back this spirit to the sex toy industry. I’m sick of cheap plastic butt plugs that disintegrate in your anus after two uses.

Apple, we need an iDildo ASAP.

1918  Sears Roebuck Catalog. Vibrator attachment for home motor is in the middle column, second from bottom.  Image from  Rachel Maines' "Technology of Orgasm"

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Review: Foreplay Ice Frost Vibrator

Foreplay Ice Frost Vibrator

When the heat index was over 100 degrees in Madison, Wisconsin, I decided that nothing would be more appealing than a vibrator with a built-in cooling mechanism. I really wanted to like this adorable genital Popsicle for a number of reasons:

1. I pin my hopes on new vibrators, while dreaming of the day when men evolve to develop clitoral stimulators on their pubic bones.

2. I thought it was adorable.

3. None of my friends had it, so I thought that I could be an early adopter and start a trend that would spread through the University, showering happiness on all who laid hands on the magical vibrating ice device.

Alas, I was disappointed. Just as it burns to place ice on a sprain,  placing a piece of vibrating ice burns the clitoris.  There’s a reason nobody masturbates with Del Monte Fruit Chillers. I’m not going to discount the fact that I didn’t like the Ice Frost because  I have an especially sensitive clitoris, but I’m also not completely convinced that I do, considering I wore my clitoris out on this when I was 19 years old. Maybe if I’d used the vibrator during Bikram Yoga, I would have been transported to absolute bliss. Although it doesn’t bring me sexual pleasure, the vibrator is not entirely worthless. It is a beautiful object. The ice looks like a miniature studded globe and it secures to its silicone base perfectly. The detachable vibrating bullet doesn’t provide enough vibration because the silicone base is so thick, so its more of a muffled pulsation, but maybe a rapidly vibrating ice cube would be even more unpleasant.

Overall Score: Three clitorises. The only reason to purchase this vibrator is so you can tell your friends that you masturbated with an ice vibrator. Actually, that’s a pretty good reason. 

Scale:

1-3 clitorises: Ineffective for sexual stimulation, but it may have some aesthetic value.

4-5 clitorises: It may bring you orgasms, but its design is ugly, and you might have to hold it at a weird angle to get pleasure.

6-7 clitorises: Reliably produces orgasms, moderately attractive and effective design, definitely bedside-table worthy.

8-9 clitorises: Innovative yet practical design, easy to grasp/insert, clean lines.

10 clitorises: It will bring you sexual bliss like no other device, and it is so beautiful that you could unabashedly display it in your foyer.

What My Clitoris Felt Like After Using the Ice Frost Vibrator

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When I tell people that I’m a dildographer, most of them laugh.

Hallie Lieberman, dildographer and penis historian

I’m not asking for sympathy here. You don’t choose the profession of dildography if you want to be taken seriously. In fact, dildography chose me,  or more precisely, I stole the title of dildographer from the 1971 movie Is There Sex After Death? One of the characters in the film is a professor of dildography who spends his days luxuriating in a penis-filled office, brushing giant feathers over nubile, half-naked young women. When I saw this movie at age 17, I decided that this was my calling. Some people are called to the priesthood, but I was called to be a sex toy scholar. Like a child who watches a Disney movie and decides that she wants to become a princess, I was disheartened to learn that there is no direct path to dildo studies, no degree program, no support group, nothing. So, logically, I  majored in English in my undergraduate years at the University of Florida and wrote a paper on the marketing of sex toys, all the while dreaming of my life as a dildographer.  I then went to the University of Texas-Austin to get a master’s in advertising and began a side job selling sex toys for in-home sales company Passion Parties. To this day, I feel guilt for convincing a bride to buy a butt plug to bring on her honeymoon, by claiming that “Most men think butt plugs are normal. All men would be happy to use one on their honeymoon.”

Side note: Selling sex toys was illegal in Texas in 2005 when I worked for Passion Parties. My mother was terrified that I would be arrested. As long as you claimed you were selling “massagers” that were “for novelty use only,” you could get away with selling vibrators. It was the Comstock Act all over again.

I wrote my master’s thesis on the marketing of sex toys, but it wasn’t until I went to the University of Wisconsin that I realized I wanted to study their history .  No comprehensive history of sex toys exists, so that’s the topic of my dissertation. For the next nine months, I’m on a fellowship with the sole goal of uncovering this understudied layer of American history. This blog is going to be dedicated to my most interesting historical findings, as well as sex toy reviews of contemporary products.  I’m also developing a timeline of sex toys in American popular culture, which I’m hoping readers can help me cobble together.

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