I live in San Antonio, and I do sex toy parties, workshops, and seeing private sex coaching clients here and in Austin. Everyone and their brother has invited me to the Campus (DILDO) Carry Facebook event. I’ve kept VERY quiet, not interacting with the event at all, but I am watching, and thinking, and I have a few things to say. I don’t say them in the event because the trolls have come out to play and are frothing at the mouth to pounce on every new comment and post. I can’t stay completely silent, though.
I’m not about to say anything about my views on firearms. Mostly, I’m frustrated by the ignorance about sex toys in our culture. I’m not surprised by it, but I’m frustrated nonetheless. So, let’s clear up some of the myths and ignorance.
Toxic Toy Ignorance
My very first thought when I heard about #cocksnotglocks was worry that a lot of broke college kids were going to run out and buy the cheapest dildos they could find. That’s a problem, because as many sex toy shop workers and anonymous jelly toy users will tell you, it’s the cheap toys that smell like shower curtains that cause chemical burns. While phthalates don’t seem to be anywhere anymore, and even supposedly sex positive educators are buying that lie, it is legal for sex toy manufacturers to lie on the side of the box about what the product is made from. Phthalates aren’t the only harmful chemicals to worry about, anyway. There’s a myriad of organic solvents and plasticizers involved in making squishy plastic.
TPR and TPE are less of a worry, if they’re just going to wave them around, but I do worry students will end up using them. These break down over time, harbor bacteria, viruses, and fungi, and cannot be sterilized. One valiant poster suggested students use condoms and clean toys thoroughly. Unfortunately, as TPR and TPE toys break down, they release mineral oils that are not compatible with latex condoms. Research shows porous toys are more likely to spread disease, since STI DNA remains on them even after cleaning.
It is worthy to note, however, that Metis Black of Tantus has stepped up to offer free non-toxic dildos! There’s also a sex positive Superhero shop in Austin proper to buy quality dildos from: Q Toys.
Sex Negativity Ignorance
Penis Size Insults
Of course, the folks who are hosting the event equate guns with the penis. It inevitably turns into penis size insults. That’s a problem, because it assumes there’s a wrong way to have a penis, and that a man’s value solely exists in his genitalia. It assumes a cisgender heterosexuality, implies penis size is linked to virility, and some comments imply that female pleasure is derived from penile penetration, which I’ll get more into in a minute. This is toxic masculinity 101, body shaming, cissexism, and homophobia rolled all into one lazy insult.
I see pinked-out #StandWithPP profile pictures posting these insults. You don’t get to say a woman has a human right to body autonomy, but bodies with small penises are bad. It doesn’t work like that. You either believe bodies belong to the individual or you don’t, and you don’t go insulting someone else’s body for being different if you do, as though that body is one on which you’re free to comment, thus control, even if it’s just a somatic shame response.
“I got a man/you need a man!”
This argument goes like this: sex toys are bad because they are not penises, and the only way you should have sex is to put a penis in a vagina. Let’s dispel this myth with some facts, shall we?
- Humans are tool-using primates.
- Vulva-owning humans experience relatively little pleasure in the vagina, and only about 20% of vulvas can have an orgasm from vaginal penetration alone. The clitoris is the orgasm powerhouse, and it responds best to vibration.
- 78% of women who use sex toys are in relationships (meaning, they most likely use them WITH their partner).
- Humans have sex and masturbate for pleasure. Shocking, I know.
- Humans masturbate even when they’re in relationships. Self pleasure serves some awesome benefits!
- Not all people are straight or have PiV sex. Sorry to burst your cissexist, ableist, judgy bubble, but gay folks exist, trans folks exist, BDSM practitioners exist, and disabled people also have sex. And as we’ve already established, you don’t get to tell others what to do with bodies that don’t belong to you.
If you’re a straight ciswoman in the 20% who can have an orgasm from vaginal penetration alone and never experiences the urge to masturbate, congratulations! You’re certainly not average by any means, though, so try not to yuck up other people’s yum, ok?
There are a LOT of posts that are just plain misogynistic. They use the vulva as an insult, being gay as an insult, use being trans as an insult…you get the point. I do see this from the event’s supporters, which really doesn’t make the group look good at all. It’s more prevalent on their detractors’ side, though. Those folks have gotten much more troll-ish and violent in their speech. The organizer of the event has been doxxed and threatened, and there have been death and rape threats in various comments.
Ignorant Sex Toy Laws
As the event coordinator points out in the event description, one can be ticketed for displaying a dildo in public, but not a weapon. Further, it is still technically illegal to own more than 6 sex toys in Texas. That means people like me risk being arrested daily because guess what – I show more than 6 toys at a sex toy party! However, it’s no longer illegal to sell sex toys for sexual use, or to describe in detail how to use a product. That was struck down in 2008, when oral and anal sex also became legal in Texas.
Think of the Children Ignorance
Several posts use the pearl-clutching “think of the children” line when it comes to displaying objects that bring pleasure and joy. Children are not harmed by seeing a dildo, I promise you. Go to Europe. There are plenty of kids who’ve seen a rogue dildo discarded on the street, giggled, and walked on. When you treat it as wrong, bad, shameful, or a big deal, it tends to have more of an effect, but that’s on you as a parent, not the people around you.
No, we shouldn’t sexualize children, but that’s happening anyway in America. 84% of girls are sexually harassed, propositioned, groped or otherwise sexually assaulted for the first time before age 17. These are children! Straight cismen in public are far more dangerous to children than an exposed dildo in a backpack on a college campus.
You Can’t Hurt Someone with a Dildo Ignorance
The Njoy Eleven is 11″ of solid medical grade steel and weighs almost 3 lbs. The Fucking Sculptures Double Trouble is 10″ long and weighs nearly 2 lbs, made of soda lime glass – the kind that’s really, really hard to break. You could definitely crack a skull with these instruments. I can see the Njoy Pure Wand making a deadly boomerang, too, and there’s a myriad of BDSM gear that could be used as weaponry. There are more dangerous dildos, though.
Sex toy injuries happen all the time with low quality sex toys. They’re not often publicized or reported, because people are ashamed to talk about it. When we do hear about it, it’s bad. One famous case in 2011, a couple sued Pipedream Products when their toy caused a gory, life-threatening injury. Don’t click the link if you have a weak stomach! There have also been cases of DIY sex toys gone horribly wrong. One person in the event posted a link to an article of a man who died with a sex toy in his rectum, but that’s because the man was too ashamed to go to the doctor and got an infection – the toy didn’t kill him. Shame and sepsis did.
That gory stuff goes above & beyond vaginal or anal chemical burns, but I’m going to mention them again because it’s an issue I care about.
The ignorance and shame we face regarding sex can only be overcome with medically accurate education. That’s exactly why I do what I do. It looks like I have my work cut out for me.