If you’re arrived here from elsewhere, be sure to read Part 1 first.
As “toxic sex toys” are being talked about more and consumers and retailers are slowly being educated more, the idea of the “novelty use only” tagged sex toys is being held up as the poster child for all the is bad and wrong in the sex toy industry. But I learned something when I started talking to companies – some of them just don’t know jack shit. They’re doing it because there are no legalities or formal ways to do things, there is no governing body or regulations of any kind. Some companies are taking tentative steps out on a limb and doing away with the wording of “novelty” in any fashion; some get more creative and legal with their warnings. Some companies still use the term….companies that we have come to trust and respect. One such example is Standard Innovations, the Canadian company responsible for the We-Vibe family of vibrators (and my beloved Salsa/Tango). They are regarded as a company who only produces body-safe sex toys; “luxury” sex toys. Their vibrators are made of silicone or hard ABS plastic. They are clearly not a “joke” vibrator, they are clearly meant to be used for sexual purposes. Below is a disclaimer from Evolved Novelties that comes from a pack of their Vibrator Enhancer add-ons (since those are just a hunk of silicone, it’s clear the disclaimer is their stock one), the one from the We-Vibe Salsa, and the one from the Jopen Intensity. Hover over the thumbnails to read the full disclaimer.
But they’re not exactly denying the sexual part of usage in their disclaimer. They are contradicting themselves, sometimes, by telling you to use it externally only in the disclaimer (after giving explicit directions to insert it in to your body, like Jopen did with the Intensity as seen here). I’ve yet to run across a disclaimer that outright says : “This is not for sexual use”; they’re denying a medical use: “not a medical device, it is designed for pleasure only. No therapeutic benefits are claimed” is one that I’ve seen. I think it’s akin to the warnings on bottles of herbal remedies like taking Turmeric pills for inflammation – “these statements have not been proven by the FDA”. Does this mean that Turmeric is bunk, that it will have no chance of reducing inflammation? Nope. Just that big company pharmaceuticals is where the money is at, and where all the testing goes. The redirect of language to avoid trying to look like a “medical device” is simply to avoid getting in to bed with the FDA when it comes to exporting since, as we’ve learned, a large percentage of vibrating sex toys are produced in China or Japan. After receiving some “blowing smoke up my ass” responses from a few companies, I contacted Jopen. I know that they’re a division of California Exotic Novelties1 but I still see them as a little bit separate since the designs for most of their items come from a company called Swan. However, the blunt response I outright asked, nay, begged for came back from Al Bloom of CalEx:
Actually, it is quite simple. To avoid being classified as a medical device by the FDA, we have to make a clear distinction in our labeling that our products are strictly for pleasure, and not a medical device of any type. Once pleasure products fall under the auspices of the FDA, the thousands of choices that consumers enjoy today, at prices they can afford, would dry up, and they would be left with a handful of very expensive products that weathered the storm of FDA testing, retesting, and multiple fees and costs along the way.
Listen, we support FDA testing and protections on consumables, medications, and actual medical devices, but when it intrudes into the bedroom, the consumers will end up losing choice, affordability, and a whole lot of varied degrees of fun!
Now, please understand that because we are classified as pleasure products, and labeled as novelties, does not mean that we disregard safety issues regarding our products. In fact, we go overboard in this area. We use only body safe materials, and our motors and internal wiring conforms to the strictest testing using European Union guidelines for RoHS and WEEE.
I respect him for this answer. I may hate 99% of the stuff that CalEx puts out and feel that they still produce toxic toys and I may now be feeling that Jopen is a highly overpriced trainwreck, but I still respect Al as a person for telling me this stuff. When I asked for clarification about the tariff rates as I mentioned in my first post, he responded:
Yes, US Customs classifies medical devices at a much higher tariff rate than pleasure products. That is not our main concern, it’s really the hoops you mention…and, it can take years to get a product through FDA testing, a huge stumbling block to get over.
He’s not exaggerating – a friend told me about the piles of paperwork, the fees and the hoops and the time that someone had to go to to get a sexual lubricant FDA-approved. Now, they can still use FDA-Approved materials, and make that claim. That doesn’t necessarily mean that, for example, Lelo went to the trouble of getting their silicone FDA approved. It means that their material supplier did, and they can carry that certificate on themselves to inform their customers (to the best of my knowledge, and practice assumptions are gleaned based on facts derived from a company I’ve done work for that does work for medical companies – they have to use medically-approved supplies but they don’t have to get the FDA approval, the supplier of those materials does). Interested in what Lelo had to say? I’ve annotated it with comments from my anonymous friend to decipher the smoke-blowing:
As all LELO products are made of 100% body-safe, FDA-approved2 materials3, we have never used the word “novelty” on any of our packaging, so this part of your inquiry does not really apply to us. It is good you are bringing this issue to attention on your blog though, as consumers should realize that the word “novelty” on sex toy packaging can sometimes serve as a legal loophole4, since the materials may not necessarily be body-safe certified5. It is best for consumers to always research a company’s reputation online, ask questions to in-store sales representatives, seek advice from bloggers like yourself, etc.
Yes LELO is manufactured in China, but the thing that sets us apart from any company worldwide, is that LELO manufactures all of its products fully in-house6. When we say that we believe in and stand behind our products, it’s not based solely on faith. All of our products are put through a rigorous pre-testing and post-testing regimen to ensure that LELO’s high standards of quality are met. Being the only company in the industry to manufacture products fully in-house7, we are able to keep a close eye on these testing processes. And even after our products have passed our in-house tests, they also go through independent testing agencies like Intertek and SGS to receive official product certification, and to ensure all health and safety requirements have been met8.
Alright so let’s hear from SI/We-Vibe who produce sex toys that I (mostly9) like (even if some don’t work for me) and who do use a disclaimer:
We-Vibe products are labeled, “Sold as an adult novelty. Not for medical use.” Although our products are often found in pharmacies, OB/GYN and therapists offices they are not classified as medical devices and we want to ensure there is no confusion with consumers. Medical devices must meet a host of defined regulatory standards unique to specific jurisdictions. We-Vibe products are designed for pleasure purposes with safety as a top priority. Our products meet or exceed many international standards for consumer electronic products10.
The silicone used in We-Vibe products is sourced from a medical manufacturer and undergoes a series of inspections and quality control processes before it makes its way to our production facilities11. We-Vibe regularly, as often as once a week, conducts manufacturing inspections to ensure our high standards are being met. In addition, our products are routinely inspected by an independent lab to ensure they meet or exceed REACH (the European Community Regulation on chemicals and their safe use), RoHS (an electronics standard to reduce hazardous materials found in electric components) and other international consumer electronic standards12. Body-safe and eco-friendly is not just a stamp on the box – We-Vibe’s primary concern is quality products and consumer safety.
You’ll also want to let your readers know about counterfeit products that are showing up more often and being produced without concern for the health or safety of consumers. Beware of highly discounted product, if a deal seems too good to be true, it’s likely the product may be counterfeit and the safety claims may be questionable. Authentic We-Vibe products are available from authorized distributors and retailers. Consumers should purchase our products from reputable, established and trusted businesses13.
All in all, I’m disappointed with their answer….but yet there are other ways to look at it. First, that they don’t take me seriously. Second, that perhaps they’re shutting the door on a trade secret. Third, that perhaps they just don’t know why they label it that way, but everybody else does/did and they will too. There was not an ounce of facts there that came even close to answering my question. At least Al Bloom answered me without a crap ton of marketing fluffy bullshit. On the other side of the coin, at least they answered. The contact I have couldn’t answer it so they passed it along to someone else internally. Half of the companies I contacted wouldn’t even respond to me.
Okay so what about companies who produce mostly in the US, like Tantus? I know that a few items need to be outsourced. I don’t know which items. Do those items have a more strict disclaimer? Tantus, though, isn’t using “novelty”. In fact their disclaimer on the suction cup is kind of intimidating. I’ve shown the disclaimers below for one of the Secret Vibrators and the Suction Cup. Mouse over the photo to get the text of the disclaimer to pop up if you don’t feel like clicking.
Aneros is also a little concerning, especially (in my opinion) since the item is meant to do prostate stimulation. The butt seems to be just a little bit more ….. sensitive, or maybe that’s just mine. “Disclaimer: Use of Aneros products is at your own risk. Neither the manufacturer nor retailer assumes any responsibility or liability for use of Aneros products” Again, I don’t know if this negates any legal claims if you get hurt. As Davis told us before, they can’t prevent a lawsuit. But it sure will deter the consumer.
I attempted to contact Vibratex, to ask them why they’ve never had to use a disclaimer, but they wouldn’t respond to me even with repeated attempts. I put out an email to Evolved Novelties, but received no reply there, either. I’ll wrap this up with a little bit of industry history courtesy of Metis Black of Tantus:
When the industry was a baby Ted Marche made toys in his garage and he sold them very prolifically. This was the first US large manufacturer. He made a toy that had a wire inside the soft latex which rotated, much like the modern rabbits do. On one toy the interior wire was not capped, the edge of the wire as it was being used inside a man’s rectum chewed through the toy and did severe internal damage to his body. I think this was the mid 70’s. He (Marche) was sued and lost. The judge gave the victim a $14 mil settlement- which of course Mr. Marche couldn’t pay. That is how Ruben Sturman, and later Ron Braverman, got Doc Johnson. He took it off Mr. Marche’s hands.
I don’t know, but I suspect that was the turning point for having a disclaimer on the box. And that is why legal liability is so important in the industry. We are an industry that pays through its teeth for our liability insurance. You never ever have to see a claim and still, because of what we make as an industry, we are charged an arm and a leg and we are told we are lucky to even get it since 99% of insurance companies won’t issue insurance on our products.
I honestly don’t think it has anything to do with the quality, or lack thereof, of a sex toy. I think it has to do with history. Small manufacturers are less likely to use this terminology. Large one’s are more likely.
I’m going to continue to work on this list, with the help of others – if I have something listed incorrectly, let me know and if there’s a brand not listed, let me know how to categorize it. If you see a brand we trust with a disclaimer of any type, can you photograph it and send it to me? It’s going to be a given that the larger and older companies will continue to use the disclaimers.
Companies that do not use a “novelty” “not medical” or anti-liability disclaimer: LELO, Je Joue, Vixen, Fun Factory, Vibratex, Vamp, BS is Nice, OhMiBod
Companies that do include a “novelty” “not medical” or other anti-liability disclaimer: Jopen, We-Vibe, Tantus, Aneros, CalEx Novelties, Doc Johnson, Pipedream, Topco, BSwish
- which I am vocally not a fan of ↩
- “‘FDA approved materials’ is nothing more than a clever marketing ploy to confuse consumers into thinking their products are FDA approved” ↩
- “The fact that they use FDA approved materials has nothing to do with anything. The FDA is concerned with the final product, not the individual materials used, so it has no bearing on importing, costs or otherwise.” ↩
- “There is no “legal-loophole” and they are perpetuating the spread of misinformation for their own gain.” ↩
- “Who is the certifying agency of their “body-safe certified” products? I have never heard of such a thing.” ↩
- “I am assuming this means they have their own factory?” Me: Maybe yes? See this ↩
- “This is a false statement. They are far from the “only” company manufacturing their own toys. Doc Johnson, Blush Novelties, Odeco (which is also the factory for NS Novelties), IMToy and Maia Toys are also producing their own lines, along with many, many other factories.” ↩
- “While this is true, what she is not saying is that they HAVE to perform these tests if they want to sell in the EU. There is NO WAY around this and every single toy that has vibration goes through the same testing procedures, no matter what the company (unless they don’t want to sell in Europe). These are the RoHS and CE certification tests. The only question in regards to testing that would be worth asking is WHO does the testing and Intertek and SGS are in fact, the most reputable testing facilities.” ↩
- Still hate that Thrill ↩
- NONE of this is an answer, it’s marketing ↩
- Yep this is what I was talking about up above with Lelo’s claims ↩
- Once more WITH FEELING! They do these tests because they HAVE TO ↩
- What on earth did THIS have to do with my question?? Nothing ↩
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The sex toy industry is rife with half-truths, flat-out lies, confusing names for materials and more. When information is put out there that seems to make sense and seems credible, it gets passed on and shared until it’s viewed as fact. A prime example is that, for awhile, we all believed that a sex toy had to contain at least 10% silicone in order to be labeled as just merely “silicone” by the manufacturer (as if 10% silicone mixed with 90% PVC somehow makes it better….hint: it doesn’t) but I found out at CatalystCon’s Toxic Toys session in March that that isn’t true at all. In fact, they can claim whatever they want if they’re unethical. And some are.
Imagine my surprise when an industry friend, who knows how much I love to write about things like this, tells me that the “Novelty” term is used mainly because of export and tariffs….NOT to create a legal loophole relieving them of responsibility if you get injured, or because they don’t care. True, I’m sure some companies don’t care. But the “Novelty” disclaimer isn’t 100% indicative of that. It does absolutely nothing to relieve the company of legal liability.
I’ve seen a shit ton of blame being laid on China and companies who use the “Novelty” disclaimer as to why there are so many “bad” sex toys. You’ll find many articles online that talk about toxic toys and they will also usually fall back on the “blame the novelty tag”. I did too, because when I first wrote my posts, I was calling on what I’d found. This is how it happens; I couldn’t find anything to the contrary, so I figured it must be true! It’s a confusing subject. The subject of this post is something I’ve been researching for literally months. I wanted to get as many ducks in a row as possible before writing, and see if I could really nail down facts and get back-up information to everything my friend below told me. And I couldn’t. I couldn’t get straight answers from many of the manufacturers. I’ll be sharing all of that in Part 2 but for now I’m working on the basic debunking.
My friend needs to remain anonymous because they have worked for a few manufacturers and by extension, retailers, in their time in the industry. This is what they had to say on the subject:
From a stand point of importing into the US, it has more to do with the cost of customs fees and duties and possible certifications that may be required depending on how it’s classified. In regards to exporting products to other countries, each country has their own regulation in what they will accept on packaging or product descriptions. Some companies have started omitting the words “for novelty use only” on the packaging, but my understanding is in those cases they are registered (not approved) with the FDA.
Everything is imported or exported under what’s called a Harmonized Tariff Schedule Code (Harmonized Code). This code determines the customs fees and duties that will be paid on every shipment coming in to this country and are based in part on 1) materials and 2) intended use.
So basically, the bottom line is the wording that is chosen can effect the cost of the product when importing to the US and exporting to other countries. In addition, if certain wording is used (ie. “toys” without the word “novelty”), manufacturers face the possibility of needing additional certifications for the US & EU and the possibility of certain non-US countries denying shipment altogether. The only reason anyone tries to “skirt” the FDA is for customs fees, duties and taxes. It has nothing to do with the quality of the product, but rather cost of importing. When importing to the US (and possibly exporting, depending on the country), if any products are labeled as “toys” (or NOT labeled as “For novelty use only/not intended as a medical device”) then they may be subject to Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008“.
What about the legal loophole theory? I talked with K.M. Davis, a lawyer who has worked with numerous adult industry companies. I asked: “DOES the disclaimer make any lawsuit null and void? What if a company claims their product is phthalates-free, but a customer gets a chemical burn from using it, sends it off to be lab-tested and finds a bunch of toxic chemicals. Can they sue?”
I can say, having worked with manufacturers in a number of industries, not just sex toys, that there is often a “what is everyone else doing, I better do that too” mentality among lawyers, insurance folks and manufacturers related to disclaimers. So, often one company ends up putting something on their packaging for no better reason than “everyone else was doing it.”
I have heard speculation among industry folks that the “novelty use” disclaimer is an attempt to avoid lawsuits if a consumer somehow injures themselves using the product (either because it is toxic or a bad design) and have heard others speculate that it is used to avoid potential prosecution if the products are sold somewhere where sex toys are banned or regulated. However, nothing can make a lawsuit null and void, as a judge is always free to say that despite a disclaimer, the manufacturer could reasonably have known what the consumer would use it for.
As to saying your product is free of something but not actually being free of that, because sex toys are completely unregulated, there’s really not much a consumer can do. One could sue if they tested something and found the claim untrue, but you’d have to prove what your personal damages were1. It’s unlikely anyone would want to pursue that claim either, which is what manufacturers rely on….
Here’s the tl;dr for Part 1:
1. They’re likely doing it because it’s just always been done, and the company lawyers are sticking with tradition.
2. You can still sue
3. It’s likely more for exporting reasons than anything else, for most companies – if it’s not “novelty”, then the FDA thinks it is medical and they will require formal approval, photos, and a 3-page paper written on the subject. In blood2.
So should you avoid all companies who use such disclaimers? What about the companies who don’t use the warning words? Come back for Part 2 next week!
- Meaning: If you suffered chemical burns, you’d have to hope that your doctor knows it’s a chemical burn and not try to treat it as an infection. You have to be upfront with your doctor. Then you’d have to get the funds for testing the sex toy from an accredited lab. Then find a lawyer, like Davis. It’ll be a years-long event, I’m sure ↩
- I might be exaggerating a little… ↩
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Backstory: I like to flame test my silicone sex toys, and pretty much do it to every item. When the JimmyJane Hello Touch failed my flame test, I first showed it to some other industry professionals and peers at CatalystCon who agreed with my thoughts that it didn’t appear to be pure silicone. I then contacted JimmyJane. Due to their response filled with PR fluff-n-stuff, I publicly mused that I wished I could get a real lab test done to see who was right. When a few of my followers responded that they would contribute, I asked a few peers to confirm/deny my sanity and was told to go for it. I very crudely rounded up enough funding to get a basic test done, “FTIR”, which would tell me if the polymers were just silicone, or silicone plus something else. This action spurred on something a lot bigger….To those who donated to fund this test, I thank you from the bottom of my heart. Without that initial support I don’t think this would have gotten off the ground so smoothly.
The lab test results for the JimmyJane Hello Touch came in on Friday, April 26th. I really didn’t think that the test results would show that it is pure silicone, since there were 4 cases of the product being subjected to the flame test with 2 different results. As I mentioned before, I even showed the torched product to a few others at CatalystCon and they also agreed that in their dildo-torching experience, it didn’t appear to be *pure* silicone. However, the FTIR test told us that the product contained no other polymers than Polydimethylsiloxane (silicone) with “No evidence of additives or plasticizers”. In other words, the flame test failed us – what we had previously believed to be true, which was that a pure silicone item would not go up in flames, is clearly not always true. The flame test is not quite as accurate as we’ve thought – while I knew that the flame test was never 100% accurate and that it could not serve as the one true answer, the results I received on the Hello Touch really seemed to indicate to the contrary of the purported material listed. I still don’t believe that the flame test is completely worthless; I believe it can still weed out the items that some places like to call “silicone” but are clear and jelly-like in appearance. However, in some cases, you won’t be able to tell if your item is pure silicone and the only way to truly tell would be to obtain a lab test result. The FTIR told us about the polymers and that there were no additives, but a more expensive test (similar to what CATT ordered) using a GC-MS would tell us better perhaps *why* our flame tests gave varied results.
So in the absence of a truly accurate Home Dildo Test, what is a sex toy geek to do? Call the Dildologists, of course.
I’m not the first person in this industry who has wished for access to a lab to test for material purity, phthalates, etc. I’m just the first sex toy reviewer who actually said “I’m doing this, NOW”. My dear, darling Crista has been part of this industry longer than I have, and she even worked in a sex toy store years ago, from clerk to Buyer, so she’s seen it all. She knows first-hand, much more than me, the horrid crap that is out there. Around that time is when CATT came together and did their test, and Crista thought how much she, too, would love to do that. TEST ALL THE TOYS! But the time wasn’t right.
The time is now right.
The universe said “Do it now” and Crista’s partner, Val Orenda, heard it. He saw “PinkSexGeek” in her prime when they went to CatalystCon together this year, and wanted to help her realize her dreams, and be a part of this world of hers. So before I even knew what was happening, as I was asking Val more questions since he is far more intelligent than I could ever hope to be, it all started coming together. Quickly. A name. A site. Registering as a business. A freakin’ Wiki. A forum. etc and so on. Val made Crista’s dream come true, and their plan will hopefully change the sex toy industry in time.
I proudly introduce to you, Dildology.org.
From their Mission Statement:
The sex toy industry is on the rise, yet it remains largely unregulated. Dildology.org intends to provide material verification services and maintain a public database of the results, adding transparency and oversight to the industry while educating the public about the science behind pleasure products. We stand on our own, unaffiliated and uninfluenced, and we are dedicated to protecting the health and well-being of the dildo-loving population at large through education (and maybe a little entertainment).
- accept monetary donations.
- accept product donations from third-party retail stores.
- purchase products from third-party retail stores.
- choose products to test based on community feedback.
- send products to accredited labs for testing.
- compare the material composition of products to the manufacturers’ claims.
- share the results of lab tests with manufacturers.
- record the results of the lab tests in our wiki.
- make our wiki available to the public.
- provide other educational resources to the public.
We will not:
- accept product donations directly from manufacturers.
- test second-hand products – only those acquired randomly from retail stores.
- test any product manufactured more than one year ago.
- publish opinions about products or manufacturers – only facts.
- falsify data, for any reason.
- suppress or fail to publish the results of any test.
Read the whole thing here
Dildology.org is a non-profit organization run by broke-ass people who care, and they need the help of lots of other people who care. So they will run by donation. If you want to help make a difference in this industry, then please donate what you can. Since this will be a years-long endeavor, you can donate a little now and a little later. They don’t have any plans to stop. Ideally, they’d like to get 25 toys tested this year, and have a pretty good idea on what most of the 25 will be. You can see the list in the Product Directory section on the Wiki. As you can see, they’re not focusing on any one sector or company. They’re even going to have a Tantus item tested. They’re not always going to be testing things that are suspect. Rather, they are going to be testing a wide variety of materials and manufacturers to amass a directory that will give consumers a pretty good idea on which companies to trust. If you see that more often than not a manufacturer has lied about their material, then you can make an informed decision not to trust their products, if you want. They’re not in this to persecute any certain company. They’re in this to provide a much-needed service for consumers and the hope is that they will help a few misguided companies as well (in case the results are a surprise to them and they choose to take action at their plant to correct it).
What can you expect from Dildology.org? Everything they do at Dildology will be in the name of science, and science cannot have a bias. All personal affiliations, opinions, etc will be tossed out the window. We will simply acquire the data and present the data, nothing more. The data will be available for sex-positive boutique stores to eventually use to help their customers feel safe in choosing reputable toys, and help the retailers feel safe in recommending a great dildo. The data will also be there for bloggers and reviewers to refer to, as well as the average consumer.
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We can cry out for the industry to be regulated by our government, but really what will that get us? A higher priced dildo. A “luxury sex toy” that costs double what they do now, and their current costs are already prohibitive to many. Sex toys that take twice as long in development resulting in fewer, quality new sex toys being introduced to the market every year. When you bring the FDA to the party, you get mountains of paperwork, costly fees and annual 3-4 week-long audits to retain your FDA classifications. The better solution just might be to let the industry self-regulate, but with a little help from a neutral party.
I encourage you to share this post, write about Dildology.org on your own blog, link to it, follow them on Facebook and Twitter and just in general spread the word to as many people as you can. The bigger the media attention is from bloggers, the better chance they have of being written up in larger online mags, which betters the chances of raising the money needed to get started on testing toys for you.
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Want to make a difference? Dildology.org could really use your help:
~ Donate money* – without it, they won’t be able to test much
~ Spread the word – the more media attention they can get, the more donations they can get
~ Incentives for donations – these can be “limited quantity” but please, no sex toys
~ A lab – the current lab is small without the ability to cut a price break. Currently an FTIR costs $200, while a GC-MS costs at least $400
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I mean “aftermath” in the best possible way, but yet my brain is a freaking mess. “Overstimulated” is the best way to describe my current state. I go from leading a fairly boring life to a jam-packed weekend full of sex geek fun, feminist conversations, sex-positive atmospheres and 50-some hours with “my people”. It’s funny to me how different Mcon 2012 was from Mcon 2011 – a lot of the same people were present (but yet a lot of new faces) and a lot of similar sessions/discussions but my experience was very different. This year I co-presented a session on Blogging (the only session not to focus on anything sex-related, I think), I found slightly fewer sessions that interested me and/or applied to me personally, I hung out with different people. Last year I think I really only spoke with 1 of the vendors but this year many hours of conversation was had whether it was in the vendors rooms or over drinks in the hotel bar. It was enlightening, empowering and validating. I think I have a better idea of what road I’m going to be taking now that my time in the sex bloggosphere has hit a multi-path fork in the road.
I will continue to remain “Lilly” and mostly anonymous. I will not be telling my family anything, unless it gets to a point where I simply have no choice. It’s not easy lying about my whereabouts but it’s been done so far. All that matters is that my husband is incredibly supportive of me and loves what I’m doing, loves that I care. That’s really all I need. He had a supremely shitty work week and was just depressed and exhausted; I felt guilty, a bit, for having fun at Mcon when I felt the pull to be a supportive partner to him but he wouldn’t let me go there. He insisted numerous times that I deserved this fun weekend and that I needed it, that he was proud of me and wanted me to soak it all up. And I did.
I was still my same socially awkward self, but less so. I started up more conversations. I put myself into conversations. Yes, I panicked when I realized that the “oh hey meet us at the bar for drinks” turned into “Oh, we’re sharing a table with Dr. Carol Queen, Dr. Joycelyn Elders, Lynn Comella and Metis Black” but hey, I didn’t speak. I let the grown-ups talk while I sat on the edges in awe with the lovely Jenna of Tantus. Crista (my amazing partner in crime for the weekend, and roommate) and I hung out with Ducky Doolittle, Jenna and Metis; had conversations and intelligent discourse on the ethics and practices of the sex toy industry. It was a dream. I got enough hugs from friends to last me weeks. I felt pretty in my big Victorian skirt. Nobessence is no longer an entity, a luxury company – I know them now to be a spectacularly amazing couple leading a fairly normal but wonderfully sex-positive life committed to making excellent sex toys. I’m trying so hard to keep all the memories and words said in all these amazing conversations fresh in my memory but my cursed brain is leaking out things. I hate that. I wish I could have just been wired all weekend, recording everything like a spy. For my own personal use, of course, nothing else!
You all know I’ve never thought much of the Big 5 companies of the sex toy industry, but I know think even less of them if possible. While I can’t repeat some of what was said, suffice to say you should just take my word for it. Support the smaller companies whenever possible, you’ll never regret it. But I also learned that I’m wrong sometimes and while I still say JimmyJane is overpriced, Jacq from Sugar in Baltimore told me things that changed my opinion a bit. I finally held a fully-charged Form 2 in my hands and noticed it only once had that wonky motor issue other reviewers had mentioned but I also noticed that it was perhaps a little more powerful than I expected and it certainly surpassed the (still hate it) Form 3.
I think I’d like to consider the possibility of hanging up my shingle as an official consultant. Now to narrow down who I can help and what I can do and how to go about making this a reality. But there are a number of smaller sex toy companies/manufacturers/adult industry people that need a better SEO presence and need more information on social media but don’t know how to get it. I think I have something to offer. I have the experience of being on both sides of the coin.
Not everyone will be walking away from MomentumCon with the glowingly positive experience that I had. Some people are hard to please, some are argumentative, some are just simply looking for absolute perfection from everyone and every word said. It won’t happen. Nobody is perfect and people don’t always do/say the right thing – but we tried. We all had good hearts. But the first person to gripe about my “privilege” and “checking it” just because I was able to go to Mcon? Will be told where to go. I was not handed my trip to to Mcon on a silver freaking platter, I worked MY ASS OFF to make the money to get there. I made sacrifices and I worked hard.
So read everything with a grain of salt.
I can only hope and pray that there will be a Momentum 2013 because we all need more – more instruction, more discussion, more debates, more affirmations – and we’re not done learning. If you are reading this and read my posts about last year’s event and say “I wish I could have gone”, here is my advice to you: Do whatever you have to do to start saving up now and get yourself there next year. You have no idea how it will change you. It changes you. It’s amazing. Thank you, everyone, for making this weekend the best weekend I’ll have all year, hands down.Read More