In Which I Attend a Sex Toy Party and Experience a Sharp Pain in my Feminism
Apparently something women do in the US is have parties in their homes in which merchants sell stuff to all their friends. Sometimes these merchants are selling sex toys. I was invited to one such party by a coworker.
For an event claiming to entertain, empower, and educate women (and sell stuff) this was a shockingly non-feminist presentation. Most of the salespitch time was dedicated to lingerie that we were assured would hide the areas of our bodies we were ashamed about. Progressing to sexual health, we were offered Like a Virgin (TM-did they have to pay Madonna for that TM?) vaginal tightener, which is just offensive in concept. The lube section was even worse, in that we were assured that one product could be applied ahead of time (can’t all lube?), so that our male partners would feel like they were doing a great job and we wouldn’t have to worry about painful intercourse. I would think painful or just unsatisfying intercourse is a problem one should discuss with one’s partner, but consumerism is greater than communication here.
Incidentally, all discussed sexual partners at this party were male. Homosexuality is apparently not a thing that exists in this shopping experience.
The sex toys available for purchase were introduced with many assurances that there was no need for men to feel threatened by toys, and most of the toys shown were to be used with a (male) partner. One of the few toys marketed for solo use had 24k gold plating. We were told that we would have no need to feel ashamed or guilty about having a vibrator if it looked that pretty and gold-plated. No. Just no. The solution to feeling guilty about masturbating is probably not going to be through gold plated consumer goods. I mean, if that actually does it, great, but most of the time, a lifetime of societally induced feelings is not going to be banished with just the right consumer good. More importantly, if we wish to combat guilt over masturbation, we should not do it with the classist sales pitch of “you should feel guilty unless you have the right vibrator, which just happens to be very expensive.”
I will continue to patronize feminist-recommended (by which I mean recommended to me by feminist friends) websites like babeland.com or thesmittenkitten.com for my sex toys, rather than parties like this. Any other good and feminist sites to recommend, darlings?
To a shame free masturbatory future, friends.
Featured image from University of Hawaii at Manoa Library via Flickr