Good Vibrations: Sex Toy Histories and How-To's
According to Debby Herbenick, a researcher at both Indiana University and the Kinsey Institute, most women and nearly half the men in America have used vibrators. More AAA-battery power to them, we say. For those of you for whom a rabbit isn't just a cute furry animal with big ears, we look at the history and, erm, application of sex aids. So lie back, relax, and...oh, right. Books. Got it.
Author and sexpert (she runs the blog MySexProfessor.com), Debby Herbenick has written several guides to female pleasure. Her 2009 book, "Because it Feels Good," has a chapter devoted to sex toys, but looks at the macro issue of making sure that sex is pleasurable above all else (if only that went without saying).
Rachel Maines has written a scholarly account of the development of vibrators, which came out of the "medical" need to stimulate "hysterical" women, a job Victorian doctors especially found distasteful. In "The Technology of Orgasm," Maines dismisses today's phallic model, by the way, arguing for something that has an angle for the correct application, and can be plugged in.
Former Village Voice "Pucker Up" columnist and sex educator Tristan Taormino has created a sex-toy bible, "The Big Book of Sex Toys," including things like the double-ender--perfect for her and her, or him and him, or her and him--and wearable vibrators that don't limit the pleasure to evenings and weekends (if you ever wondered why your co-worker smiles all day, now you know).
In 1993, Rachel Venning and Claire Cavanah founded Toys in Babeland (now just Babeland), and the Seattle-based sex toy store soon expanded to Brooklyn and Manhattan. Their book, "Sex Toys 101," covers everything from butt plugs to strap-ons and, appropriately for a retail chain, shows you how to shop for joy.
A former sex columnist for the San Francisco Chronicle and now a vlogger and writer, Violet Blue has penned a number of sex-related books. "The Adventurous Couple's Guide to Sex Toys" posits that sex aids should be a shared experience, though the "steel cage dining table for captivating dinner parties" sounds like quite a commitment--maybe save it for the second date.
If, after all this pleasure, in your haze you think that maybe there's money to be made, you wouldn't be the first--but maybe you could be the best? Stacey Jewell has written a guide to creating your own sex-toy adult-party business. It's a niche thing--we'll leave it at that.