What was my inspiration?
I returned home from a sex toy trade show in Las Vegas and was blown away by the mobs of Fuckerware party hosts and sexweb businesses and g-spot hopefuls who are... dazed and confused.
I don't blame them, because there are mountains and mountains of dopey items that are never going to get anyone off.
In Bed with Susie Bright 294: Las Vegas Sex Trip
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My sex-toy-Must-Have's are not simply my own quirks; I'm Your Average Jane, judging by the thousands... hmm, maybe make it millions... of women I've counseled about sex. Even though we really are all different fascinating individuals, a clit is a clit is a clit. And some stuff just feels great to everyone.
(Oh... a caveat here... you don't "NEED" sex toys to have a satisfying sex life, any more than you need triple layer chocolate cake to have a satisfying meal. They're simply fun, sometimes illuminating, and great expression of the pleasure ethic. Without your creative mind, hand, tongues, and soft parts, they're nothing!)
For those of you who know me well, you can forgive me for why I'm such a smartypants on this topic. But for the uninitiated, here is the unclassified background:
I was one of the first employees of one of the first two women's vibrators stores, back when we had like... one customer all day, in a space the size of a doghouse. I wrote our first full-length mail order catalog, and introduced the first women's erotic video library.
Our original motivation was sex education, not particularly money-making. (That changed later... I miss the ole' education-first spirit!)
I introduced the first silicone dildos to the public, the technological revolution of my generation's toy department. They were invented by a Granadan man and healer named Gosnell Duncan, who was an activist for spinal-cord injury survivors. (Gosnell's health didn't permit him to continue, but you can visit his innovative descendants here!)
Perhaps to my regret, I also introduced those silly Vibratex rabbits. The Japanese packaging was a breakthrough for Americans— it was the first product to hit the "cute vein."
But how the rabbits actually work is as mediocre as any other battery-vibe, and even more misleading. Oh well— it was worth it to bring in color and imagination into the novelty's business's dubious aesthetics.
A little note about the Rabbits. Yes, they originally came from Japan, where it was illegal to sell sex toys that looked like genitalia.. their particular government censorship at the time. When the first Vibratex salesman showed up in the States, he was turned down FLAT by the big American novelty distributors, who insisted that people would only but items that looked like big cocks in dead corpse Caucasian flesh tones. I'm serious! They laughed at him.
So Vibratex-Man came to our tiny shop, took out his cute box of rabbits and beavers and I clapped my hands in delight. He finally found a woman who had a real sexual and delighted reaction! I loved the way they looked... their whimsy, to my eyes, was just the shot of humor and color our world needed.
Unfortunately, the "action" of the rabbit-style vibe is somewhat illusory. The "phallic" part twirls, right? It looks like a whirling whisk in the free air. But in your vagina, your walls fit snugly around the totem, and it barely wiggles. After all, it's only two C batteries!
The beads you see in the middle are undetectable by your vaginal walls. Irrelevant. The original ones didn't have those, and they came in day glo colors. I always thought the "beaver" face was the most realistic.
Meanwhile, there's the clit-tip action, the little animal head with its flicking tongue. Again, looks fabulous "in the air." But when you hold it close to your mons, you have to press it against you in the way you like, which you would do with any vibe. Unfortunately, it's not an eager beaver with a mind of its own performing cunnilingus on you. Sorry! This is one of those "coffee-table" items that doesn't quite live up to its appearance.
When Sex and the City incorporated the Rabbit into one of their scripts, its reputation exploded. But it's one of those TV Moments that doesn't live up to reality.
I sold a lot of women their first vibrator, fit them with their first strap-on, and elicited laughs instead of anguish over their first dildo purchase. I waited on nuns and queens and movie stars and high school feminists. My favorite part was listening to people's sex histories. And many of them bought rabbits along with my cautions, 'cause they couldn't resist they way they look.
I've wanted to make this little list for awhile, because I often get asked, "What works?" or "What your personal favorites?" and now I can just spout off this URL.
I have a couple caveats for my essential toys:
1) Electricity is essential. I don't care what sex toy retailers say about battery-operated vibes— the main reason they push them is because they are dirt cheap, (wholesale), and they are lightweight to ship and transport (without the batts, of course!). A Hitachi magic wand is only marked up double its cost to the retailer... so if it's $40, maybe they paid $20.
But a battery vibe might be a dollar to them and they'll sell it for $10 or $20.
This reasoning has nothing to do with how it feels, or if women can get off on it. And the "sound" of batteries vibrating against plastic doesn't mean it's powerful. They can make an awful racket and not deliver any appreciable sensation.
Can women get off on battery-vibes? YES, some can, some are their mother's darlings— I'm not on a crusade to get rid of them. But the reason they are hyped the way they are is because of money, not because of universal sexual satisfaction.
The vibrators that are produced by the mainstream appliance manufacturers like Hitachi and Wahl, were originally introduced as "massagers." They're quality appliances that will last years and years. I still have the first ones I ever bought in 1981. They have warranties. They have a following that's been going for decades, based on technology that's over a century old now.
I always hated selling a woman a battery-operated model for her first vibrator because there was a 50% chance she'd find the whole thing a hoax. However, if I sold her a motor-driven or coil-operated electric model, she'd come out of the 'try-out' room with this amazed look on her face, and say, 'OH! I GET IT NOW!"
2. The other big item on my list is lubricant. I'd say half the problems I've heard regarding a woman's arousal were related to dry, uncomfortable, even painful vaginal penetration. Yuck. And when it comes to anal sex without lube? There should be a law!
Sex educators are famous for a particular cliche: "communication and lubrication" are what make people happy in bed. But truer words were never spoken.
So, given that essential fact, what lube do you get? My Amazon list is a little truncated because of what I could list on their site.
Vegetable oil is fantastic. Pre-AIDS, it was my lube of choice. If you're aren't using condoms, get your favorite oil— almond is really nice, maybe add a little coconut to make it creamy— and go at it. Or just grab the olive oil off the kitchen counter if time is of the essence. It feels great, it won't hurt you, it's sexy.... who could ask for more?
For water-soluble lubes, I always liked Probe because it has no taste! The biggest hassle with commercial lubes is that they usually taste AWFUL and make oral sex completely undesirable.
Are there other taste and scent-free lubes? Yes, Probe is my old tried-and-true. Works great with condoms, doesn't make you ill, doesn't cause cancer... what a treasure!
However, sometimes you need a lube that goes BEYOND. Sometimes the drugs you're on, or menopause, can turn you into a prune. How do you get that high-flying crazy slippery feeling that goes on and on and on?
That's why I recommended Liquid Silk for my desert island. It also is the first lube that makes hot tub and shower sex possible and even fun. It's not water soluble— you'll have that slippery feeling in your vagina or ass for several hours. But the slickness is so intoxicating. Just don't use it with other silicone products or they gum each other up! Get that spatula out of your hot tub!
My big "BUT" to the lube discussion is this: natural lubrication happens when you're aroused and not compromised by health issues.
If you use lube, and you're STILL not aroused, you can certainly fuck comfortably, but it won't be fun or orgasmic. That's fine if you're working a job, but put the pleasure part at the top of your self-interest, and and it will make all the difference.
3. Amazon has a piss-poor dildo selection. Call Jeff Bezos and tell him it's an emergency!
Really, I put a dildo-looking object in my list, as a symbol— but for actual shopping, I'd go one of two ways:
If you're trying to save money and just want to have a good time, pick the best-looking phallic vegetable out of your garden, and have a ball! One of my fondest memories as a vibrator clerk was the time I got a letter from a customer in Georgia who was growing zucchinis to get around the prohibitive laws there. She sent me photos! They were beautiful! And as she pointed out, completely healthy.
The other way to go is to lavish some money on an objet d'art that you'll treasure the rest of your life. I love the silicon dildos by Tantus, the glass one-of-a-kinds, the special woods. They're gorgeous. Check out the selection at Blowfish, Babeland, or Good Vibes— you know, one of the feminist sex radical stores that go the extra mile— and start your collection!
4. I'm not completely serious about a vibrating Rubber Ducky being an essential— but the duck represents something I am serious about: water flow. I've moved out of apartments because the bathtub tap was in the wrong position, or the water pressure was hopeless.
Orgasms from streaming water on your clit are just... so special. Everyone's a spouting mermaid when it comes right down to it. Rubber Ducky is my little reminder of a waterfall's pleasures, and plus, I like to squeeze him and make him squeak!