by Brendon McCullin
always a surprise as a man to find out the things you’re
out of the loop on. About a month ago, my pregnant wife
returned home from an OB/GYN visit carrying a stack of
pregnancy magazines. Ever curious, I picked a few up to
glance through and was met with an unexpected shock. There
in big bold letters on one of the covers was a tease for
a story about using sex toys while pregnant.
Shortly after that, I was talking to a friend in my small
midwestern hometown – a place with no stoplights
but three churches – and was equally shocked to
hear that this quaint little burg had been the site of
a number of in-home sex toy parties. The idea that women
in a tiny town where everyone knows everyone were getting
together to peruse the latest in vibrators and dildos
sent my head spinning.
As recently as six or seven years ago I remember being
in a roomful of writers in Hollywood and when the subject
of vibrator use came up almost every female comedy writer
present became embarrassed. I figured that any topic that
makes comedy writers blush would take a while to reach
the rest of America. Apparently, as with a lot of things,
I was wrong.
Now, I’m a fairly in touch guy. I have a number
of female friends. I’m married. I lived in Los Angeles,
where sex shops aren’t only on lonely side streets
but are high-end stores on Sunset and Melrose. I haven’t
been living under a rock – if anything I was living
at the heart of the decadence. So, why is it that I had
no idea that talking about and using sex toys had become
big reason is rooted in popular culture. Even during the
early days of the show's run, I knew that more than just
women in major metropolitan areas were watching Sex
and the City. I saw the show enough to know the topics
and tone of the show. Silly me, though, I thought that
it was influencing women to seek out Manolo Blahnik’s
and Jimmy Choo’s – not the Rabbit and Pocket
media has done a lot to normalize open discussions about
sexual pleasure among friends with shows like the
Seinfeld masturbation episode,” according to
Erica Neuman, a sexual wellness expert for MyPleasure.com.
like Sex and the City and Desperate Housewives
have given women permission to accept and explore their
own sexuality without waiting for consent from their partner,”
added Genine Drozd, Director of Public Relations for Pure
Romance, which runs in-home parties for sex products.
According to the Kinsey Institute, websites that sell
adult products have been able to trace spikes in their
sales of vibrators to mentions in magazines like Maxim
sex toys have become a huge business. There aren’t
hard numbers specific to the sales of sex toys, but the
best estimates put the figure at around $1 billion. Pure
Romance has seen sales from their parties increase from
$1.7 million in 2000 to a projected $46.2 million this
year. That’s nearly a 3,000 percent increase in
four years, for those of you keeping score. All of which
must also be good news for the battery industry.
course, the Internet has also had a lot to do with the
growth of sex toys among the middle class. Sites like
GoodVibes.com, ToysInBabeland.com and the aforementioned
MyPleasure.com sell a wide range of sex products, mostly
to women, all available from the safety of the home. Those
sites also include a lot of information in general about
women’s sexual health, which seems to be every bit
as important to the people involved as sales.
an old joke that women are more willing to share intimate
details with one another, but it’s also all too
true. Debby Herbenick, a sex educator from the Kinsey
Institute, assured me that there really is nothing new
about it. “Women have always compared notes,”
she pointed out. “They have always shared notes
about sexual and reproductive health with each other.
We’ve seen this with contraception, fertility tips
and with sexual techniques. So it makes sense that women
pass information on to each other and that more women
have become interested in vibrators now.”
finally starting to listen to each other instead of listening
to a man that doesn’t understand or have a vulva,”
added Drozd. “Men used to feel inadequate if their
partner could not climax through intercourse. Luckily
for us, society has changed its view. Every woman is different.
Some women have clitoral orgasms, some have G-spot orgasms
and others have both.”
doesn’t mean that as a man you have to be completely
left out. “Most recently women are normalizing sex
toy use with their husbands, boyfriends or partners as
a way to enhance their intimacy and keep the spice –
or bring it back – in their relationships,”
Neuman pointed out.
basically, don’t stop to wonder too much about the
buzzing noise coming from your visiting mother-in-law’s
room. It’s all a part of the greater good and better
left out of the thought process of most guys.
this Christmas, if you’ve got a wife or girlfriend
that seems as though she’s gotten a little bored
with all three of your moves, it might be time to do a
little shopping. Maybe she’d like the Dolphin (if
she doesn’t already have one) or one of the other
hundreds of varieties. One good thing about the people
that sell sex toys is that they’re more than willing
to help – if you want a suggestion of what might
be a good gift for your partner all you have to do is
don’t forget those batteries, and openness aside,
you still might want to make sure that it’s not
a present that gets opened in front of either set of parents.
Otherwise, nothing says Christmas like the gift of multiple
all, it’s always better to give than to receive.
(Brendon McCullin is a volunteer staff writer for 2