Now here’s something you might not expect me to feel ambivalent about: it’s the New York Times reporting about vibrators being sold in drugstores.
Ya’ll know I am, like, ALL ABOUT women’s sexual pleasure. Totally. And vibrators are outstanding because they provide an intensity of stimulation that organic contact just CAN’T. I advise women women who have trouble with orgasm to buy a vibrator.
1. There’s the issue confronted in the article about “discrete” packaging. How far have we come if a woman can buy a vibrator but doesn’t want it to LOOK like it’s associated with sex? “We want pleasure,” women say with their wallets, “But we don’t want anyone to know about it and we don’t want it to be, you know, dirty.” It’s already not dirty, friends, and it’s nothing to hide.
2. I want women to touch their own genitals. I can’t help but wonder how much of women’s acceptance of vibrators is their relief at having a way to create orgasms for themselves without having to put their hands on their pussies. I want to live in a world where women get pleasure from touching their bodies. I’m not convinced that vibrators are helping to create that world – I mean maybe they are but I’m not seeing it.
3. As the article notes, there’s no profit in manual masturbation, and I know that profit is an important part of this process – indeed, I believe it’s the engine of change here. It’s a thing I’ve been wondering about for a year now, since I first saw Orgasm, Inc: where is the profit it helping women to feel healthy just as they are?
I’m all about women’s sexual pleasure. I’m all about helping women to enjoy living in their bodies and experiencing sensation through their bodies. I’m all about releasing women from cultural shackles of shame and self-hatred, which are themselves driven by profit motive. And all it takes is some information, just a splash of knowledge.
But I know that that message doesn’t sell products – can’t sell products, SHOULDN’T sell products. And therefore its place in the media will be minimal, and therefore it will always be an alternative to the mainstream, not the mainstream itself.
I want women to love their bodies and the glorious things their bodies do. Proctor & Gamble want women to feel broken, to motivate them to buy things to make them feel repaired. Who wins?
Urgh, I didn’t intend for this post to be so bleak, but I have been struggling lately to feel satisfied with the tiny pockets of change I can create, the handful of lives I can touch. I know I ought to feel good about what I *can* do, but oy, there is so much more to do, so much pain people are living in just because of plain old lack of knowledge.
In 10 minutes, I can change a woman’s understanding of her sexuality, but she has to give me to the 10 minutes.
Maybe I’ll get a stall at the farmer’s market and, like Lucy in Peanuts, for 10 cents give out advice. There’s a plan.