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Dear Ronda Rousey, Just Say Yes To Lube!

Dear Ronda Rousey, Just Say Yes To Lube!
credit: getty images/maxim/kara_sutra reviews

If you follow the sex positive community on twitter, you probably saw a thread of angry tweets recently pop up in your feed with the hashtag #tweetyourlube, created by in support of Rachel Kramer BusselsSalon article, where she refuted some terrible sex advice UFC Bantamweight Champion, Ronda Rousey, had to give a male reader.

In the Maxim​ Magazine piece, Ronda Rousey​ was asked, “What should a guy ALWAYS do in bed? What should a guy NEVER do in bed?”, to which she answered…

What should a guy always do? Take his time. In general, a girl takes a minute. He needs to get her ready. You should never need lube in your life. If you need lube, than you’re being lazy…and you’re not taking your time.

While I can appreciate what she’s trying to suggest – that great sex comes when you’re present in the moment, not rushing, and enjoying your partner – her answer was ignorant, disappointing, and very unacceptable.

It’s this kind of uninformed advice that further purports the misguided beliefs that a.) if a person can’t get wet it’s because their partner is doing something wrong and failing them, b.) their partner is responsible for their sexual arousal, and/or c.) lube generally isn’t necessary.

I’m sorry Ronda, but no. Just no. This is just not okay.

Arousal and Desire: Knowing The Difference

According to Ms. Rousey’s answer, all it takes for a person to get wet is time, more time, and a bunch of foreplay.

Unfortunately this isn’t exactly how things work.

What she failed to understand is that there is a difference between the processes of arousal and desire.  Arousal (the cause of lubrication, we’ll get to that below), is an involuntary physiological bodily response to a type of stimulus.  Whereas the desire to have sex is often based a psychological need or want for sexual intimacy. While the two are often deemed as being one in the same, they are two separate experiences.

Furthermore, although arousal and desire often work together, they can also operate independently, for instance; your partner may want to have sex but their body may not respond the way they need/want (i.e. lack of wetness), or in the opposite case, they may not want to have sex but their body could be responding (as is the case with some rape victims who experience orgasm during the attack).

Sure, a lack of foreplay could play a big role in lowered sexual arousal (and subsequent wetness) but there are a variety of other factors that could have an impact as well. Simply suggesting that it comes down to foreplay, time, and more time, is highly ignorant.

But I digress.

You Are Responsible For Your Orgasm, Not Your Partner

come as you are bookSince 2007 I’ve received countless emails from my cis male readers/viewers asking for help when it came to stimulating their cis female partner. In almost every situation the reader felt like he was doing something wrong because his partner couldn’t get wet, wasn’t fully aroused, or couldn’t orgasm no matter how hard he tried.

Unlike Ms. Rouseys advice that he spend more time on stimulation, my first suggestion was often to open the lines of communication; find out what type of touch she preferred, where she liked to be touched, the amount of pressure she needed, and where she was most sensitive to sexual stimulation. Without this information, no amount of help I had to offer would be of any use.

Yes, a person should take their time, but if you’re not doing what your partner likes or needs, it’s pointless. And spending more time doing it certainly isn’t going to help.

Screen Shot 2015-11-06 at 1.21.54 PMIn all honesty, this is the kind of thing that makes me ridiculously angry. Unfortunately societal standards have often dictated that it takes a strong, steadfast, virile man to get a female off. That her orgasm is his responsibility. That she is dependent on him and his skills to ‘get her ready’. That if she doesn’t orgasm it’s his fault because he finished too quickly, or didn’t take his time, or wasn’t focused, or wasn’t a good lover, or didn’t know what he was doing, or didn’t anticipate her needs, or couldn’t read her body language, or was ‘lazy‘, or…

I could go on, but the point I’m trying to make is that if you can’t orgasm or become aroused with your partner it’s your responsibility to learn about your body and communicate what you need.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not suggesting that speaking about sex, or during sex for that matter, is an easy or comfortable thing to do. With all the shame surrounding the subject, our bodies, and sexuality in general, I know how hard and complicated it can be. But if you don’t take ownership of your pleasure and share your needs, you can’t fault your partner when they do try to please you but miss the mark.

A Bit About Vaginal Lubrication, Or Lack Thereof

Before I go on, I figured this would be the perfect opportunity to give a quick run down on vaginal lubrication. That way we’ll all be completely clear on how what Ms. Rousey is suggesting isn’t exactly the best advice…

Vaginal Lubrication: The Coles Notes

During sexual arousal the ‘female’ body experiences a variety of physical changes, the vulva and clitoris swell, the nipples become erect, muscular tension pulls the uterus upwards causing the vaginal canal to extend (both in length and width – called ‘tenting‘), and the vaginal walls fill with blood in a process called vasocongestion (also how erections occur). This vasocongestion causes increased pressure which, in turn, causes the fluid within the blood serum to be pushed through the tissues of the vaginal wall… thus, the vagina becomes lubricated.

Vaginal fluid has other functions besides making it easier for a penis, finger, or sex toy to enter; it decreases pressure and reduces the amount of friction that occurs (potentially saving the vaginal walls from tearing), limits any pain that may be associated with intercourse (allowing for a more comfortable experience), while also changing the chemical nature of the vagina, causing it to become more alkaline and less acidic (making it more hospitable to sperm).

The amount of lubrication created varies from person to person, may be different one day from the next, and changes based on any number of factors.

On that note, the addition of a good lube, whether because a person needs or wants to, certainly isn’t anything to feel bad or embarrassed about. When everything is said and done, it’s a fantastic way of helping things along, and there’s nothing wrong with that.

Causes of Vaginal Dryness

Contrary to what Ms. Rousey implied, vaginal dryness is not always caused by a partners lack of time spent engaging in foreplay. Instead, there are many other reasons lack of lubrication could be occurring, including but not limited to;

  • menopause/perimenopause (lowered estrogen levels are often experienced during this time which affect lubrication)
  • health issues (diabetes, hypertension, polycystic ovarian syndrome, heart and kidney disorders, among others)
  • skin irritations/allergic reactions (soaps, dyes, laundry detergents and dryer sheets, body washes, perfumes, etc. can have an irritating and drying effect on the skin/genitals which could affect natural lubrication)
  • Summers Eve Douchepregnancy, having recently given birth, breastfeeding (shifts in estrogen/progesterone levels, possible lack of genital sensitivity requiring, tenderness due to childbirth, lowered estrogen during to lactation/breastfeeding can all have a negative impact on vaginal lubrication)
  • douching (disturbs the normal chemical balance of the vagina, often leading to irritation and vaginal dryness)
  • alcohol abuse/alcohol use (alcohol has a dehydrating affect on the body which could lead to vaginal dryness, it also acts as a depressant on the nervous system affecting sexual arousal and orgasm)
  • smoking cigarettes (cigarettes can affect circulation and destroy estrogen which can affect arousal and vaginal lubrication)
As you can clearly see, there are many reasons a person may not become lubricated enough for comfortable intercourse. To imply that it simply comes down to a lack of foreplay, without acknowledging other causes, is an uninformed thing to suggest. To then take it one level further and also state that a person should “never need lube in their life” is just ignorant, rude, and insensitive. Ronda, you can do better.

Dear Ronda Rousey, Just Say Yes To Lube!

prod-naturalsLook, I get it, when a person reaches the point of popularity that Ronda Rousey has, the general public starts thinking that because they are experts on one thing (in her case, fighting), they must be experts on a variety of topics… and when they’re then made into sex symbols by the media, that usually comes with the added bonus that they’re assumed to be highly educated on all things sex. Before long they’re touting sex advice on widely read publications, and praised for it, even when the advice they’re offering could be detrimental to someones health, sense of self, or relationship.

Everything considered, I can’t help but sympathize with the readers who will take her words at face value, apply the suggestions she made, find they’ve had no difference (because she didn’t properly educate them), and feel bad about themselves, their partners, and the sex they’re having. Especially when all it might have taken is a bottle of good lube to help things along.

Like I said in the start of this post, I appreciate what she was trying to do with her answer, but I think she needs to take a step back, get some insight on how the body works and until she’s learned better, leave sex ed to those who know what they’re actually talking about.

Investing a bottle of good lube probably wouldn’t hurt her either. #dontknockittilyouvetriedit

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Sex Negativity – Just Say NO To Sensationalized Media

Sex Negativity - Just Say NO To Sensationalized MediaIf you follow me on twitter, you probably saw a smattering of angry tweets recently pop up in your feed in response to a Womens Health Mag article (originally posted on Your Tango) that @FemmeReviews shared: “Why I Had To Break Up With My Vibrator: It’s not me, it’s you“.

For those that haven’t read it, the author pens a tale about taking a gig reviewing sex toys for Playboy and getting addicted to her Hitachi Magic Wand in the process.

Um, okay. Sounds simple enough…

Here’s where things get convoluted; the author readily admits to a previous obsession with cocaine and a nine year battle with alcoholism, yet rather than writing about a struggle with addiction that eventually affected her sex life, the article ignorantly became a condescending, fear based piece, filled with generalizations and misinformation, further purporting the stereotype that sex toys are bad and unnecessary if you want to live a healthy happy life.

Spoiler alert: she tosses the Hitachi down the garbage chute and finds herself again. Yay!

Don’t get me wrong, knowing all too well how debilitating a disease addiction can be, I sympathize with the author and her efforts to remain sober. I even respect the experience, we all have our own sexual situations to grow through. However, the apparent inability to accept responsibility for her actions, instead placing blame on a sex toy, is both infuriating and intolerable.

On that note, had this article been about someone ‘breaking up with a sex toy‘ because they learned it was toxic (as pictured above right) – giving Women’s Health Mag the opportunity to teach and empower its readers about making responsible decisions when it comes to choosing a sex toy – I could have supported it. The fact that the mag/author went the sensationalized “sex toys are bad and addictive” route just disappoints me.

Just so I’m perfectly clear: sex toys aren’t bad, THE UNDERLYING MESSAGES IN THE ARTICLE ARE.

Reading Between The Lines: Debunking The Bullshit

I expect that many who read the article won’t give it much thought, let alone notice any of the sex negative insinuations, but as someone who’s devoted much of the last ten years to helping people become comfortable in their sexuality and encouraged self exploration via the use of body safe sex toys, they simply can’t be ignored.

Hitachi Magic WandFor example:

She assuredly writes…

If the Hitachi doesn’t make you orgasm, nothing will.

Not only is this statement a complete load of horse shit, it’s ridiculously discouraging for anyone that has struggled to orgasm, bought a Hitachi, and had lackluster results.

Speaking from personal experience, if I had a dollar for every time I’ve had an orgasm with something that wasn’t a Hitachi, I’d be hella rich by now. Granted, my experiences weren’t all amazing. In fact some were down right shitty. But the point is I did finish… and do you know why? Because I’ve taken the time I needed to explore my body, likes/dislikes, including the type of touch I prefer,  how much pressure is required, which side of my clitoris is the most sensitive, and everything else that’s important when one wants to master the art of cumming.

So, just because the Hitachi won’t make someone orgasm, it doesn’t mean NOTHING ELSE WILL.

Again, this comes back to knowing one’s self: Some people need strong vibrations, others need something muted. Some people need direct stimulation, others need a subtler touch. Some people regularly use vibrators because it’s a far more rewarding experience (not to mention, being necessary), some never do. Regardless of what a person requires, it’s normal, natural, and nothing to be ashamed of. The key is to experiment until you find something that works. And yes, at some point something will work. You just have to keep trying.

And then there’s this:

Vibrator aficionados know better; they also recommend that you put a towel between it and you so that, I assume, you don’t burn your clitoris off—it’s that powerful.

Followed shortly after by,

I was as devoted to my wand as other women are to abusive lovers, and even when I started getting lacerations near my clitoris (those towel recommenders, it turned out, had a point), I covered for my beloved, going so far as to ask my gynecologist if perhaps the little cuts were evidence of a disease.

fear nothing but fear itselfI can see the headline now: WOMAN BURNS CLITORIS OFF WITH ULTRA POWERFUL SHOULDER MASSAGER!

Ugh. Can we please just stop the fear mongering already?

First things first, the Hitachi WILL NOT burn your clitoris off. It is not that powerful. If it was the case, mine would have burned at the stake years ago.

Yes, many will advise placing a towel or layer of clothes between you and it, but that isn’t because it’s going to set your genitals ablaze. Instead, we know that for the inexperienced user the 600rpms offered by the Hitachi may be too much. Rather than overwhelming you from the get go, we suggest dampening the vibrations so that you’re able to ease into the experience, allowing the necessary time to get accustomed to something so strong. Admittedly, there are days when I’m extra sensitive and have to use it over pajamas or jogging pants. There’s nothing wrong with that. It’s just the way my body works.

As for the lacerations, clearly that’s a sign of overuse and not indicative of the Hitachi itself. And comparing ones devotion to a sexy toy to an abusive relationship, I refuse to even allow this to be a thing. No. Just fucking no.

But I digress…

Regarding introducing the Hitachi to her partners, she had this to say:

And with an audience, the wand and I couldn’t seem to get into our groove, anyway. During these threesomes, my orgasms, when they happened, were wholly unsatisfying.

She comes first

I don’t think I should have to say this but… sex toys are not people.

They aren’t meant to be replacements for partners. Using one with a partner is not the same as having a threesome. And there is no point in time when they should be referred to as such.  It’s this type of off the cuff statement that creates insecurities within relationships and often leaves partners feeling inadequate. Not to mention feeding the stereo-type that if a woman has a sex toy she doesn’t need a man/partner, and vice versa. But we’ll get to that in a moment.

As for the admission that her orgasms were “wholly unsatisfying”, our lovers are not mind readers, we cannot expect them to know what we need to get off. If you can’t orgasm with your partner it’s your responsibility to teach them how to get you there. It’s not an excuse or reason to ditch them for a vibe. Well, you could, but that’s on you. Not your partner. Or your sex toy for that matter. And to be honest, it’s kinda lazy and shitty.

She then goes on to quote relationship expert, Gilda Carle:

Vibrators are great fun for the short term, when a woman is between loves.

Sex Negativity: Just Say NO To Sensationalized MediaWhen we speak of the gendered cultural ideals around female sexuality, there’s the ever present notion that a woman in a heterosexual relationship shouldn’t need a vibrator, and if she does, there’s something wrong with her, her partner, or the relationship.  There’s also the idea that if a woman has to use a sex toy during intercourse she mustn’t know how to experience pleasure with another person. Thankfully, both of these concepts are often completely false.

Like sensual massage, a playful smack on the ass, or some good foreplay, sex toys can be used as tools to help encourage intimacy, open the doors for honest communication, and enhance orgasms for both partners, among other things.

Aside from all that, whether it’s learning to orgasm, relieving aches and pains, releasing stress and tension, or rebuilding clitoral nerve endings (so that orgasms are possible), this statement completely ignores and downplays the therapeutic use of vibrators before, during, and after a relationship ends.

And don’t even get me started on the use of the word “loves”. Look, I know she’s just using it for effect, but we’re living in a time where sex often happens without ‘love’. So long as people are being responsible and respectful, there’s nothing wrong with that.

As far as I’m concerned Dr. Gilda Carle can take the entire sentence and stuff it up her ass. #sorrynotsorry

Sex Negativity – Just Say NO To Sensationalized Media

After reading Trust Me, I’m Lying I can look online content for what it is – a sensationalized piece/title designed around click-baiting, fear mongering, and/or a crappy attempt at entertainment – however that doesn’t mean I’m not highly offended when content like this, who’s seeming intent is to fill readers heads with the type of unnecessary nonsense many of us within the sex positive community have fought to destigmatize, pops up in my news feed.

My suggestion, forget crap like this even exists, and read Rachel Kramer BusslesIs My Vibrator Ruining My Relationship?” or the informative “Are Vibrators Addictive or Numbing?” instead. While both articles cover similar elements found here, the underlying tone is one of acceptance, understanding, and sex positivity. You’ll thank yourself for it later.

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An Open Letter to Sex Toy Manufacturers, Retailers, and Consumers

When I started working in a ‘sex toy shop’ 9 years ago I really didn’t expect I’d be sitting here writing another entry for this blog. In all honesty, I don’t think I expected much but a regular paycheck (at minimum wage), a small commission, and the opportunity to do something I was very passionate about; talk about sex and sexuality in a carefree environment that frowned on censorship and allowed its staff to be who they were, no matter what that meant.

That position far surpassed my expectations, becoming the first that made me feel I was making a real contribution to the happiness and well being of others. When my time at the shop came to an end (due to my personal unwillingness to sell people crap – something the company almost forced us to do) I began creating videos on the topics I was continually asked by customers. After a couple months, I started doing sex toy reviews. Fortunately, what I had (and have) to offer has been well received and allowed me to continue doing something I love.

Of course this road hasn’t been easy. I’ve fought through censorship, horrible stereo-typing, criticism, false flagging, labeling, trolling, and bullying. I’ve worked with power hungry companies that wanted to ‘buy’ my opinion and take complete control of my work (I didn’t give in). I’ve had manipulative people say they ‘just wanted to help’, only to turn around and try and take ownership of the rights to my material as a form of payment. I’ve had online accounts suspended, shut down and/or been penalized for the type of topics I cover. I’ve even lost some friends and the support of those that I love. But no matter the struggles I faced or the hell I’ve had to raise, all of the experiences taught me one thing; at the end of the day someone some where will be benefit from what I do, and that’s what matters.

Luckily my experiences haven’t been all bad. I’ve witnessed positive changes within the industry that came in leaps and bounds. What was once a market predominantly filled with harmful jelly dildos, chemical filled lubes, and dangerous toys has quickly become one where customer input, reviewer feedback, company accountability, safety, and environmental friendliness are major players in the ‘sex toy’ game.

Having said that, there are still many things I see wrong within the industry and rather than staying quiet, I’m writing an open letter to sex toy manufacturers, retailers, and consumers, with the hopes it will force a change. Although I know much of this article will go unheard or acknowledged by the very people it’s meant to reach and impact, it’s something I feel I have to do.

With that in mind, I genuinely hope that this brings a new level of awareness to you – the consumer and/or reviewer – and in the process, makes the manufacturers of some of the worst made, horribly packaged, cheapest, and faulty products step up their game and take responsibility for what they create and contribute, whether it be a product, stereo type, negative image or otherwise.

Sex Toy Packaging: The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly

I don’t know how many times I’ve seen it, but the image of near naked men (pic is NSFW) and women followed by cheesy slogans, sexist and sexually explicit wording, dangerous suggestions, and cheaply made cardboard boxes never fails to make me wonder just what the hell a company was thinking when they designed it. Not only is this tacky and unprofessional, it’s also ignorant  and rude. Maybe it’s just me but I’d like to think that you wouldn’t need to dumb down your audience to sell them something.

Actually, it should be the opposite; by packaging your product in a way that makes the item look visually appealing, informational and classy, consumers would be more willing to shell out their hard earned cash. I’m not just talking luxury items here, I’m talking everything from little bullets to traditional vibes and beyond.

Don’t think it’s a big deal? That’s fine, I’ll elaborate…

Kinky Kim Love DollIf there was one thing that was a constant within the store where I worked it was the look of embarrassment, guilt, and shame found on the customers faces when they came to the register ready to make a purchase. For as shy as they may have already been, the vast majority of the time it was those that had picked the poorly packaged products that couldn’t look us in the eye. On many occasions I was asked to either remove the packaging and/or provide a double bag to hide it. For an industry filled with such crass and verbally suggestive writing you’d think someone somewhere would have caught on to the fact that it was embarrassing and cut that shit out.

Maybe it’s just me, but wording like “tear that ass a new one”, “pump her p*ssy with your thick meat“, “plunge deep into her tight cherry hole“ and “breed him like a good pig“ aren’t the most arousing sentences I’ve had the pleasure of reading. Truthfully, they sound like something I’d hear from a 12 year old that’s recently found his Dad’s stash of porn and thinks doing what he sees and using wording found within the pages will make him sound cool to his friends. Of course that’s before he matures and realizes that it’s mostly sexist, rude, potentially damaging, and ignorant (stereotype intended – bashing of most pornography not intended).

Pipedreams "Young Tight Snatch"Whether manufactures or consumers realize, it’s this irresponsible and thoughtless packaging that’s part of the reason intimate accessories are treated like ‘toys’ to giggle at rather than the sexual wellness products they are.

Let me be clearer: every time sexist, immature, or tacky slogans are used they work toward maintaining the stereotype that intimate accessories aren’t meant to be treated legitimately, and instead support the idea that they are ‘gag’ gifts only meant for bachelorette parties, stags, and birthdays – instead of tools to help a person learn about their body, develop a healthy level of confidence, and become comfortable in their own skin.

I realize that because of international shipping laws, along with differing governmental standards, products must be called ‘novelties’ in order for production and distribution to exist. However, that doesn’t mean that words and sayings like “ram his tight little a**hole“ also need to be used. In fact, many of the high end products being created by companies like Lelo, Tantus, Fun Factory and JimmyJane (to name a few) contain the word ‘novelty’, yet also refrain from being tacky and cheesy. If you ask me, more companies need to follow their lead.

*Yes, I do know that there is a market for these items. Yes, I also know that those who are into that sort of thing should be allowed to buy the products without repercussion or judgement. Let me make myself clear, so long as it’s consenting adults I don’t give a rats ass what anyone does. My issue is with the packaging, not the consumers or their use of said items.

Misinformation & Potential Harm

Jelly dong filled with phthalates made by California ExoticsWhether it’s harmful jelly materials, chemical  filled lube, Nonoxynel-9, or unsafely made and mislabeled products, when it comes to the marketing and manufacturing of intimate accessories there are many problems that exist with the industry. Unfortunately this is still a  ‘taboo’ subject for many people and as such, very little information is offered regarding the safety issues of these items, leaving consumers to make their purchases completely unaware of the damage they may be doing to their body and the horrible cycle they’re allowing to continue.

In an attempt to help raise your level of awareness I’m going to offer a little info on a few of the above issues, maybe after reading them you’ll think twice before you make your next purchase.

Jelly Toys – Just Say No

Although they are one of the top selling items, “jelly” products are also some of the worst, and since manufacturers won’t provide the exact ingredients of their various mixes, it’s hard to know what they’re really made of. One thing is for sure, they do contain phthalates, a harmful chemical that has been identified as a potential health concern. Aside from that they’re porous, very porous, absorbing bodily fluids, lube, and bacteria rather easily. Unfortunately they also can’t be disinfected, so whatever you use with them, stays with them. As if all that wasn’t bad enough, they’re the least durable of the soft rubber products on the market and often have an uneven surface that will fall apart (flaking and tearing are common). The noxious fumes they emit will also potentially cause headaches and/or respiratory problems.

Does this really sound like something you want to not only spend your money on, but also put in your body? Think about it. Seriously

Spermicide – When Safe Sex Isn’t Good For You

Nonoxynel-9, commonly known as spermicide or N9, is in my opinion one of the more misunderstood chemicals out there. Originally it was thought that the chemical could kill sperm and thus reduce the possibility of transmitting an STD or an unplanned pregnancy. However, about 10 years ago it was discovered that it actually INCREASES the chances of contracting infections like HIV by creating lesions on the layers of skin cells in the vagina or rectum walls, potentially facilitating infection.

There are other downfalls or potential dangers to using N9: it offers no protection against sexually transmitted infections such as gonorrhea or chlamydia, if used regularly N9 can increase a womans chances of contracting Bacterial Vaginosis as well as yeast infections, there have been reports of vaginal bleeding after intercourse, as well as increased chances of vaginal dryness or itching due to misuse.

Again I ask, do you really want to put that in your body?

A Few Extras

Harmful chemicals aside, there’s a few other things you should look out for; if it doesn’t have a flared base don’t put it in your butt (that includes random objects, fruit and vegetables), if it looks like it’s unsafe trust your gut (it probably is), if it looks like it’s cheap and might hurt/fall apart it probably will, if it has a bunch of chemicals in it that you can’t pronounce and sound bad don’t use it (unless you’re willing to look them up and learn what you’re getting into).

Simply put, think about what you’re really buying and don’t just fall into the trap the label wants to you believe. You’re smarter than that.

I want change by BanksyYou Have The Power: Effecting a Change

As I said in the beginning of this post I left my job due to the inability and unwillingness to sell people crap. No matter how hard I tried to justify it, or  the commission I stood to make, I couldn’t bring myself to suggest something that may do someone harm. Fortunately I’m still of that mindset and work hard to avoid lower quality products when possible, instead opting to offer an item that gives you more bang for your buck. It’s not about money to me, it’s about your sexual exploration, enjoyment and safety.

Of course this choice has another benefit that many don’t realize; in offering the best of the best I’m doing my part to raise the level of standards within the industry and teaching people what to look for, the companies to support, and things they need to avoid.

If you’d like to continue to see changes within the industry, ones that will hopefully impact both retailers and manufacturers, forcing them to be accountable for their packaging, products, and the message they send, I have a few suggestions to help you make your voice heard:

  • Vote with your dollar. Sure it sounds cheesy, but being that they all want your money you have a bigger say in what they continue to create than you probably think. If you see something that has offensive, tacky or unappealing packaging, don’t buy it. If you see a jelly toy, don’t buy it. If you see a misleading label, don’t buy it. If you have money to spend and are looking for somewhere to shop, pick the retailers that are in line with what you believe in like Babeland, Early To Bed, Good For Her,  and my fave – SheVibe – to name a few.
  • Learn all you can about the sex toy industry. Whether it’s what products are made of or the different options available, being educated gives you the power to make well informed decisions. If you read the ingredients in something before you eat it/buy it, take the same time to be aware of what your sticking in your other orifices too.
  • Be a voice of change. While it may sound overwhelming, you can to write big name manufacturers and ask what they’re doing to improve their products, make the company sustainable, what their overseas factory standards are like for workers, and if they’re treating the environment the way it deserves. Ask your local sex toy shops the same questions.  Raise some eye brows and force the issues.  Voice your opinion and don’t be afraid to offer your input. Changes have happened because people made them happen.  Not from staying silent.
  • Teach others and spread your message. Whether it’s starting a blog, doing reviews, making videos, talking to friends about what you know, speaking up in social media (be it twitter, facebook or otherwise), there are a lot of options available for you to reach a larger audience. Sure it’s sex related which may be awkward and weird (depending on your lifestyle, level of involvement) but if you’ve read this you likely have something many don’t – knowledge about intimate accessories that could make things better.
  • If you are a retailer/reseller, be it an online shop or brick and mortar store, pay attention to what you’re buying and only stock those you know are safe (both in regard to design and materials). Provide an area in the store that offers educational material for your customers or better yet, offer seminars for those that want to learn more.  Teach your staff about materials and help them learn how to sell, it’s not only good for them and the customers, it’s just good business. Sponsor events that are in line with what you do and get your name out there. Write to your local papers and let them know your mission, for all you know this might be news to them and provide you with a interview opportunity. Offer affiliate or review programs so that people like me can get their hands on products from companies they want to support and make a small living at it.

As for the issue of not wanting to help big business; if there was another way to offer these goods (like them being made by other sources) I’d gladly do so, but unfortunately that’s just not the case in the industry right now. I’d much rather help consumers recognize what’s good and bad, have them spend their money on those items, and force the manufacturers to discontinue the shit products simply because they realize they’re not making the money they used to.  I’m pretty sure many of you (within the industry) will know which companies I’m talking about. If you’re still not sure, check out this Open Letter To The Sex Toy Industry written by the fantastic Dangerous Lilly.

I hope my open letter helped some of you to see the industry for what it is, and allowed the information needed to make responsible and informed decisions. At the end of the day this isn’t just about me or you; this is about change as a whole. It’s about telling the big name corporations that we just won’t take it anymore. That we know better and expect better from them. Because that’s what we deserve.



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