Monday, June 15, 2015

7 Things I Learned at Homemade-Sex-Toys

Homemade Sex Toys is a site for people who like DIY projects. But what sets these folks apart from regular old Squaresville do-it-yourself-ers is that, instead of thinking, "Can I fix the broken breadmaker?" they think, "Can I have sex with the broken breadmaker?"

Now, I am utterly arts and crafts deficient, so I have a healthy fear having sex with anything I made. And near as I can tell, none of my 6th grade-era macramed plant hangers or bicentennial rug hook projects seem the least bit fuckable.

Still, I admire a can-do attitude, so I wandered around the site awhile instead of doing any number of more productive things. The site wasn't nearly as entertaining as I'd hoped, but I did learn a few things. To wit:

1.  People of both genders can have sexual relations with a cucumber. (New slogan for Association of Cucumber Growers? Send memo.) I think we all know what women can do with a particularly sexy cucumber, but men, if so inclined, can hollow out the insides of a cuke (not one of those long skinny kinds) then make sweet sweet love to it. Important: Do not fall in love with your cucumber because this is a relationship that must remain brief (see also: composting).

2.  Men can also have sex with a whole host of household objects including a heated melon, balloons, a doctored-up toilet paper roll and a bean bag chair. (Note to self: avoid bean bag chair). Women can have sex with a blanket, a cell phone (There is indeed an app for that), and a toothbrush.

3. To my surprise, there's a whole section on fucking toothbrushes. When I got to the heading labeled simply, "Toothbrush in ass," I had to click away because I was too busy running to get my toothbrush--No! NOT to put "in ass"!--but to grab it to make sure it never leaves my side. I am going to insist that my toothbrush take an immediate vow of chastity.

4. The holes on blow-up sex toys are sealed with pull tab-like bits of plastic "for hygienic and safety reasons." (Warning: removed tabs may alert the blow-up doll's strict parents that you two did more than just "hang out at the mall.")

5.  You can make your own solar powered vibrator. I like solar power and *mumbling a bit here* yes, fine, I like vibrators, but when it got to talk of "soldering" and diagrams like this...

...I knew I'd rather just pony up the cash and get a vibrator made by vibrator-making professional. Besides part of the whole "solar" thing is that it uses the sun, meaning, you'd be gettin' down with your jimmy-rigged, questionably-soldered solar vibe out in the damn yard.

6. There are people who enjoy inserting a banana into their loved one's personal sexual orifice, then eating said banana.  I am not one of those people. Again, I like bananas, I like my loved ones, and yet...

7.  And finally, and perhaps most importantly, this information: "Jerking off with Icy Hot or Ben Gay will put you in a world of hurt." Which--although I now strangely intrigued by the idea--I will probably just take their word on.


(photo by Dennis Hopper.  Image source:

Thursday, June 4, 2015

What Was Your Formative Smut?

"Is it okay if the girls watch 'Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt'"? my friend texted pre-kid sleepover.

Considering my 13 year old had just seen the majority of the Louie episode where Louis CK ends up in a sex toy store, yeah, Kimmy was fine. (In my defense, I kept thinking the Louie ep was somehow gonna become more appropriate, like, any second. This, despite the fact that the characters were talking about vibrators and it was Louis CK, for fuck's sake. #MagicalThinking)

"I was reading Harold Robbins, Jackie Collins and Xaviera Hollander at their age," noted my friend. "The basement bookshelf was where my mom kept all the smutty books. The Story of O. Lady Chatterley's Lover. Portnoy's Complaint. I spent entire summers down there. She. Had. No. Idea."

You see, my pretties, back before the Internet, when you wanted sexual information, you had to cobble together what you could. It involved a combination of covert reading sessions in back aisles of book stores, excavations under the beds of pervy neighborhood dads (that is, all dads) and checking out the bookshelves of your parents' more free-thinking friends. My own sex ed was an unwieldy mash-up of:

--Sidney Sheldon novels
--Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex: But Were Afraid to Ask
--Where Did I Come From? in which 1977-era cartoon grown ups offer mildly helpful/icky information such as "The man pushes his penis up and down in the woman's vagina, so that both the tickly parts are being rubbed against each other. It's like scratching an itch but a lot nicer."
 --Fear of Flying
--Playboy, Penthouse and the rare Hustler
--The Sensuous Woman by "J"  (at the time her advice on giving proper head and the like was apparently so scandalous she couldn't even use her whole name.)
 --National Geographics (there is no such thing as a single issue of National Geographic--they travel only in packs) for boobic studies.

And yes, Xaviera Hollander, aka The Happy Hooker How strange to realize I'd gotten a ton of my sexual information from a hooker. A happy one, but still.

I studied these books like the Quran, looking for clues on how to behave once naked with another--and to figure out what the hell words like "necking" and "petting" meant. (Actually that's probably not what people are studying the Quran for.) My furtive peeks at these books, for better or worse, shaped my sexual worldview and informs my life even today. (Thank you, "J," you little hussy, for the "silken swirl.")

So yeah, was it the same for you? What was your formative smut? Where'd you find it? What did you learn?  Did any salient passages stick with you to guide your later sexual self? 

Here's the contest part

To enter, tell me what your formative smut was. That's it! From among your answers, I'll pick a winner, semi-randomly, depending on the vagaries of my mood. Deadline is Wednesday, May 27. [edit:  contest has ended. To see winner, click here.] You can comment below, use the comment form at right, or email me at

The winner gets a choice of:

-- a $50 gift certificates to Good Vibrations, fine purveyors of sex toys.


--a Pearly Waterproof Rechargeable Silicone Vibrator ($100 value) also donated by Good Vibrations.

"So....wanna fuck?"

Sex Museums!
My story "9 Amazing Sex Museums That'll Blow Your Mind" is running on AlterNet, featuring the highly important information that at NYC's Museum of Sex, there's an G-spot exhibit that's a Hall of Mirrors Maze. If you find your way to the spot, you can move your hands around to play the theremin. Which is genius.


"I had to donate! Otherwise I was just exploiting your blog for sex," Phebie wrote, sending money I plan to blow on household electricity. Thank you, Phebie!

"It's about time I paid a subscription fee for the wonderfulness that is you delivered straight to my inbox!" wrote Ada, who signed up via PayPal to make automatic monthly donations, thus forcing me to change the honorary title for Robert, formerly IBWMW Minister of Being the Blog's Only Patron.

To Phebie, Ada, Robert, all those who've donated before, plus anyone who shares posts (like Juanita, who bravely shares practically every post, even the ones with unseemly words like "VAGINA" in the title) and the tons of people who provide smart/funny/deep comments, you keep me out of the Pit of Despair and more like Pit of Despair Adjacent, which is a much nicer area.

Now go think of your formative smut and write me back.


(Photo source)

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Sex Museums!

Hey, gorgeous. My story on sex museums ran a week ago or so on AlterNet, but if you're too lazy to click over, I'm bringing it here to you--much like a cat brings its half-dead animal victims to your doorstep.

There were no crushingly mean comments this time around, though one commenter complained that there was no mention of the Icelandic Phallogical Museum, even though there, like, was. In the second paragraph. I tried to feel miffed and insecure about it, but it just wasn't up to the level of the chick who yelled at me: "You have Numb Vagina Syndrome!" 

Anyway, here you go. I killed it just for you:

Sure, there are undeniable pleasures to seeing a nicely curated Natural History Museum exhibit on African savanna animals, but sex museums offer a whole different spin on the museum experience.

Risque exhibits like a giant inflatable boob bounce house (the Museum of Sex) or displays of the sex toys our pervy ancestors stuck up their primitive orifices (several museums--our ancestors were a randy lot) mean lots of visitors and sex museums are popping up all over the world. Even Iceland has one—the Icelandic Phallological Museum, featuring more than 215 penises and “penile parts” from mammals, including Homo Sapiens.

Here's a list of some of the world's best, if you happen to be in the area. Just don't call yourself a sex tourist, 'cause that's a whole different thing.

Museum of Sex, New York City

Around since 2002, MoSex puts a cheeky spin on sex ed, sexual history and erotic art. Running now is FUNLAND: Pleasures & Perils of the Erotic Fairground, an art installation by conceptual artist duo Bompas & Parr, featuring carnival attractions so guests can “contemplate the sexual subtext of carnivals.” (“Carnival sexual subtext” being for most people, Still, it's clever, silly and arty with grown-up fun like the boob bounce house (you can really jump in it), Grope Mountain (a body parts climbing wall) and a hall of mirrors maze leading to a “grotto” representing a woman's g-spot. Which is genius. Once inside the grotto, you can manipulate your hands to play the theremin, which is even more genius.

The Sex Machines Museum is small, but has about 200 gadgets showing how humans can't leave well enough alone when it comes to sex. See devices designed to make sex better or at least more interesting, like a racy 1880s chamber pot with a mirror or a chair with strategic holes to facilitate oral sex. There are also contraptions designed to block out sex entirely, like a German chastity belt from 1580 and a really horrible looking electric (!) anti-masturbation device from 1915 (Which, as you know completely wiped out the worldwide scourge of masturbation forever hence. Jk.) If you need to take a breather to balance your humours, step into the theater to screen 1920s porn from Spain, some of world's earliest.

MusEros, St. Petersburg, Russia

“Know everything about what others are silent!” says MusEros' (translated) site, referring to the Soviet penchant for secrecy in, well, pretty much everything. In the History Room (“You will know at first hand that there was sex in the Soviet Union!”), there is a special sex chair reportedly used by Catherine the Great. The Modern Room showcases human ingenuity via a seesaw festooned with strategically placed dildos, a chair rigged up with a naughtily-situated feather-covered spinning wheel, and a glass case of blow-up dolls including men, women, and sheep, waiting with mouths permanently agape ready for your love. The Erotic Culture room has sex artifacts from all over the world and fun facts like “For a long time Koreans believed that the best way to turn a man on was to prick his root of penis with a needle.”

The newly reopened Erotic Heritage Museum makes good on any expected Vegas showiness with exhibits like props from a “Star Wars” porn parody, a Ron Jeremy fortune telling machine and an extensive chart on all Game of Thrones sex acts. They have historical artifacts like Chinese figurines from the 1700s doing “it” and vintage porn posters plus pieces of more dubious educational value like a penis made of pennies. You can also get tickets to Puppetry of the Penis, which you will have to look up yourself—though be forewarned that is sometimes referred to as “genital origami.”

The World Erotic Art Museum was started by the late Naomi Wilzig, a spunky erotic art collector/grandmother and features of 4000 works, from 300 BC to the present. It's a lowbrow/highbrow jumble with Chinese shunga books (erotic art offered as gifts to new brides on their wedding night) and erotic drawings by acclaimed artists workin' blue including Rembrandt, Picasso and Klimt happily coexisting with more kitschy stuff like a four-poster bed with, naturally, penis posts. Guests also dig WEAMs gift shop fare like 1970s/80s Mexican sex-themed comic books for $5 and an especially good collection of postcards.

Amsterdam's Sexmuseum, may not be the most comprehensive museum of its kind, but it's the longest operating sex museum, first opening its doors in 1985 with a small display of 19th century erotic objects. It's since expanded to three floors (albeit narrow Netherlands-size floors) of sexy detritus including fetish gear, a flashing mannequin showing his mannequin naughty bits and historical artifacts like a 16th century chastity belt. Admission is cheap and you'll know the place by the giant bronze penis/seemingly irresistible photo op spot out front.

This wide and varied collection is based on the huge erotic art collection Alain Plumey and Jo Khalifa amassed over 30 years. Their devotion resulted in 7 floors of over 2000 pieces including Aztec fertility idols, Nepalese temple carvings and some Japanese wooden dildo/shoe combo which seems unfit for either purpose. Currently running is an exhibit devoted to the history of brothels from the late 19th century until 1946, including “Polisson et Galipettes,” a collection of freshly-restored erotic silent film shorts made in France between 1905 and 1930 used to 'warm up' the patrons of Paris's famous brothels.

Jeju Loveland, South Korea

Jeju Loveland bills itself as a sexual theme park, but it's more like an erotic sculpture garden with over 140 naked statues going far beyond typical “statue mode” of standing around looking dignified. Loveland is located on popular honeymoon destination Jeju Island and was created to help newlyweds lose their inhibitions by wandering among statues in various states of fuckery and a lovely penis garden. (No figures on how many newlyweds leave with even more inhibitions.)

There's also a Museum of Sex and Health on site, with a mashup of sex education films, novelties like a hands-on "masturbation cycle” and sciencey human body part models alongside less anatomically-correct pieces like a penis with wings and a penis tail and, for good measure, a regular penis in the usual place.

Antique Vibrator Museum, San Francisco

“Your great-great-grandmother might have owned a vibrator” notes Antique Vibrator Museum's web site, in probably not their most alluring enticement. Still, the Antique Vibrator Museum, located at the Polk location of seminal (er...) sex toy store Good Vibrations, offers a fascinating history of hysteria, the vibrators designed to help relieve this rampant “problem” and vintage ads that hedged around the benefits of the vibe without saying exactly where women could put it. ("American Vibrator ... can be used by yourself in the privacy of dressing room or boudoir, and furnish every woman with the essence of perpetual youth.")

Highlights include a 1906 Detwiller pneumatic vibrator that ran on (ack!) compressed gas and a Magic Rotating Disc with its box showing its tasteful use on non-crotchal areas like the feet, back and oddly, the upper arm. There's also Dr. Macaura's Pulsocon Blood Circulator, a turn-of-the-century hand crank number that never caught on, perhaps due to hand crank twisting motions meeting voluminous bushes of 1800s-era ladies. The Good Vibes site also offers a virtual tour of vibrators, starting with the extra scary ones from 1869-1920

(Photo: Salvador Dali, Paris, 1938.)