“We bought sex toys, isn’t that cool?”: Self Exploration and Education on Buying and Using Sex Toys

I originally wrote this my senior year in college, in the midst of working on finals and writing research papers, I was writing about sex toys even then.

I have always enjoyed this piece and decided to share it here. I feel like it is a great kick off to Pride month with it’s points of bisexual empowerment, and of course it fits right in with my blog content.

It’s interesting to see how far I’ve come in my sex toy journey so far from when I wrote this – the first time I ever wrote about sex toys.

It was written, submitted, and originally published in the Summer 2015 issue of Bi Women Quarterly, a publication run by and for queer women, and headed by the Bisexual Legend herself, Robyn Ochs.

I hope you enjoy!

vibe

I remember the first time I bought a sex toy, it was a few years ago…my friend and I attended a sex toy party at a mutual acquaintance’s house, one of those cheesy, stereotypical events where guests play funny games and win prizes like penis erasers and whistles, and everyone sits around in front of a young woman touting jelly rabbits, funky flavored lubes, books on how to “tickle his pickle”, and cheap, somewhat trashy lingerie that is “sure to get him going”. It was also an interesting affair due to the fact that the majority of guests were queer women, and yet the language was heteronormative and to be honest, a bit trite. All of the toys ant other various products at the party were extremely overpriced for their quality, and as young college students we didn’t have a lot of expendable cash, nor were we yet all that comfortable with the idea of purchasing a sex toy. My friend and I made an agreement to go to the mall the next day and look at Spencer’s where they had similar toys for less than half the price.

We each bought a different kind of vibrator and were enthralled, saying to our friends “isn’t this funny? We bought sex toys, isn’t that cool?” It was still taboo and I remember hiding the purchase from my roommate when I got home, tucking it away in a dark corner at the top of the closet. I only used the toy a few times that year, mostly because I lived in a dorm and shared a room, but also partly because I was embarrassed and worried about what she would think of me if she knew I had it (I’m pretty sure she never had a clue).

Over the next couple years, I started talking about sex and masturbation more openly as I got closer with my friends at college, and I was becoming more educated on sex toys though research, talking with friends, and a whole lot of self-exploration. I now own more than a few toys and have become expertly comfortable talking about sex toys with anyone who will listen or wants to know more. Though it only cost ten dollars, and in all honesty was pretty shitty, my first neon purple vibrator helped teach me a lot about myself, masturbation, pleasure, and my own sexuality and body. It opened me up to learning about sex toys, gaining more knowledge about quality toys and safety, and that there are more women using them than people tend to think, and that they aren’t just for straight women, but their queer counterparts as well.

I talk about sex toys, comfortably and openly, on a nearly daily basis…whether with friends, educators, people I’m educating, colleagues, or even my mom. Yet I still am constantly learning new things and changing/adapting my views and opinions on toys, and sex positivity in general. My friends and I talk about sex all the time, in my education of my community we constantly talk about sex, even my parents and I talk about sex. It is something that is always coming up, yet even in those situations where I am most comfortable, the subject of toys is still sometimes taboo or avoided, or at the very least fairly controversial…and I wonder why.

Within the queer community, particularly as a woman who identifies in the middle sexualities, there are a lot of stereotypes placed on my identity and my sexuality. Bisexuals are often labeled and stereotyped as promiscuous, slutty, and therefore our sexualities are often the subject of stricter scrutiny than that of others. This is an interesting issue to combat, especially as a bisexual woman – women’s sexuality being constantly under review and seen as lesser – while also remaining adamantly sex-positive. It can be extremely important to focus on sexual empowerment in the bisexual community and use sexual liberation as a form of self-care, specifically when having to deal with the common myths/stereotypes/discrimination that ae specific to the bi community. I attempt to use sex toys to promote sex positivity and empowerment within my communities, using them as a form of self-love expression, and it is difficult to navigate the line between my sex positivity and the stereotypes I face due to my identity as a queer woman. I believe that it is important for everyone, but queer women in particular, to feel empowered to embrace their sexualities and express themselves through their sexuality, chiefly to combat the fetishization of our identities, telling the public that we are here and we are whole people, and that our sexualities do not exist for the pleasure or prejudice of others.

I have taken quite the journey from buying my first sex toy in Spencer’s with my friend, with little to no knowledge of sex toys, to getting to a point of educating friends and peers on the subject of sex toys and writing for a company that sells toys and promotes feminist, sex positive exploration of one’s own sexuality. It may not be an easy journey for everyone to take, and becoming comfortable with discussing these topics may not be a simple feat, but I whole-heartedly believe that everyone can reach their own sex toy epiphany. As bi women, we can rise above the stereotypes and labels placed on us and come to embrace and love who we are, and not be afraid of sharing that with the world.

 

Bi Women Quarterly is a really cool publication and tied to an awesome organization – Bi Women Boston. Check them out here!

If you know of an organization looking for a speaker, check out Robyn

 

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