As a kid, I was the only girl in my family. I was tomboyish and nerdy. I was often mocked by my peers for my red hair, and for always getting the highest score on tests. I was sensitive, too — the type of kid who rescued drowning worms from puddles after it rained.
I frequently turned to books for refuge and for new experiences to enliven my world. My family was (and still is) very religious, so there were many things I might never have learned about but for my insatiable appetite for reading anything and everything that looked interesting. One day, when I was probably 13, I pulled a book down from a high shelf at my grandparents’ house, and opened it to a shocking photo of two naked people demonstrating a sex position. I quickly snapped the book shut, my heart pounding. After a moment, my curiosity got the better of me and I opened it again, flipped through it, read the captions. I snuck it home with me.
Another day, around age 14, I found a book in my parents’ garage. About a month prior, they had come home with two beautiful hardcovers, one for me and one for my older brother. The book I found in the garage was my brother’s. I took it into my bedroom and began reading. Before long, I found out the likely reason it had wound up out in the garage: beautifully explicit sex scenes. The book was The Valley of Horses by Jean Auel. Some of the scenes Auel wrote gave me my first taste of how arousal felt.
I went on to become the most informed of my friends on the topic of sex. In my freshman year, I explained to my curious friend what “going down” meant. At 16, I moved out of my family’s home to room with a female friend who was a couple of years older, 450 miles away. At 17, I had hetero sex for the first time, after experiencing oral sex both ways, and later we experimented with light bondage.
I became a bondage model at 27 with the encouragement of my then-fiance. I continued doing that periodically for years, even after I realized at 30 that I was gay and left him. I dated women, I modeled. I got into a relationship with a very charming woman, and got a job in jewelry sales. The charming woman turned out to be abusive. After extricating myself, I finally decided to go back to modeling and use the free time and my income tax return to start taking classes at the local community college.
College has changed me in ways for which I am extremely grateful. Neither of my parents had graduated from college. I had never wanted a degree, thinking they were empty pieces of paper that didn’t portray a person’s intelligence or skills. I thought it would be like high school.
I never expected to have some of my most strongly-held beliefs completely flipped around. I grew up reading Ayn Rand and calling myself an Objectivist, an individualist, and a capitalist. But with fuller context and a greater knowledge of the world, I now call myself an intersectional feminist and a supporter of equality for all social minorities: racial, sexual, gender, size, disability.
At 34, I came across a blog post about phthalates. I was incensed. I’d experienced a terrible stinging/burning one day when starting to use a soft vibrator I’d had awhile, and now I knew what it was from. How could these manufacturers put this stuff in sex toys, knowing they were going into women’s vaginas?? I began talking to all my friends about it, and buying only silicone dildos.
At 35, I discovered a semi-local bird rescue group, and began volunteering with them. Yep, still a sensitive animal lover.
At 36, I met a genderqueer woman through a social group for lesbians. We were both pretty fresh from serious heartbreak, so we dated, then I broke things off thinking I wasn’t ready, then we dated, then she broke it off, then we dated. After about nine months, we finally made our relationship official. We now have three cockatiels, eight budgies (plus six to eight foster budgies at any given time), and a sweet, loving, funny pitbull-type rescue dog.
It’s been rocky at times, as we have different communication styles and some bad habits from past relationships to work through, but we’ve also been each other’s rock. I did a lot of work to help her get into her dream career field, and now she is supporting me in getting my degree in journalism. She is also very supportive of my sex toy reviewing and sex blogging. And of course, she gets the perk of helping me test things out, and then the enjoyment of reading what I write about our experiences.
I discovered EdenFantasys and their toy review program in 2012, and enthusiastically dived into learning and reviewing and earning lots of sex toys. Then things became very strange there, and I learned a lot about why this was not a company I wanted to be associated with. I created a Google Group — ExitFromEden — for the other reviewers who were leaving, got everyone in touch with each other, and then got to attend a Tristan Taormino workshop for sex educators.
And then I dropped of the face of sex toy writing for a couple of years. I was worn out and depressed and needed to try to get through some more classes. In 2014, I took a fall class in magazine writing that changed my life, and I knew that, despite my interest in psychology and teaching and biology and geology and anthropology and and and, THIS — writing — was where I belonged.
I promptly saddled myself with four journalism courses and a required math course for the spring semester. And I got through it successfully, even managing A’s in all of the journalism classes.
And then my closest friend gave me a gift certificate for my 40th birthday. I used it to buy a couple of new dildos from SheVibe. And then my obsession returned full force. And I read loads and loads of blog posts, some for the second or third time, particularly those of Epiphora and Dangerous Lilly. And my partner said, “Maybe this is your thing. Maybe you should just write about sex and sex toys. You should start your own blog!”
I know the word is over-used, but I’m passionate about my beliefs – sometimes to my own detriment. I’m passionate about destigmatizing sexual pleasure of all consensual kinds. I’m passionate about access to safe sex toys and information on the harmful materials out there. About changing the toy industry paradigm that seems to say a given toy doesn’t need to actually be any good, it just needs to be marketable, since most retailers don’t allow returns and most people don’t talk to their friends about the crappy toys they’ve purchased. When all of a person’s info on a product comes from a highly biased source like marketing, there’s no need for genuine quality.
LET’S TALK ABOUT SEX TOYS, baby.
So, welcome to my blog. I hope to become a reliable source of info on sex toys for lesbian couples and other relationships involving two vulvas, for people with vulvas who want to have great sex with themselves, for people with penises who want to give their partners even more pleasure (or themselves — I know a thing or two about penises and plan to reacquaint myself with butt play), and for all others who just want to know more about a given toy. And I’ll be writing about other things, too, when the urge comes upon me.
I do hope you’ll enjoy reading my thoughts. I will definitely enjoy sharing them with you.