Jul 222011

This from Gawker, on the successful sales of sex toys in the face of major economic bad juju.

(1) I can’t get enough of that photo.

(2) I don’t quite buy the gas-and-gaiters story that people are using their unemployment, underwater mortgage, or lack of health care as an opportunity to explore sexually. That’s not how humans work, most of the time.

Most of the time, stress slams on the brakes and people lose interest in sex.

How, then, would I explain a boom in vibrator sales?

Well, it’s a common problem I run into that people believe a lack of desire is a lack of STIMULATION. They are searching for just the right thing to turn them on, when what they need is not more stimulation of their sexual gas pedal but LESS stimulation of their sexual brakes. Less stress, less worry and anxiety, less depressed mood, less shit to get in the way of the pleasure.

In which case, the vibrator probably won’t give you what you need.

This is a short post, but it’s an important point: when your sexual interest goes away, look first for what you can get RID of before looking for what you can add. Get rid of stress, worry, exhaustion, and grief. Once you’ve done that, then a vibrator is more likely to brighten your sex life.

(NOTE: to 10-20% of people, this will make no sense, because they use sex as a strategy to cope with negative affect. Those people can ignore this, except as it might apply to their partner(s).)

Emily Nagoski

  6 Responses to “the recession”

Comments (6)
  1. Could it just be that sex toys (and information about them) are more available? For instance, amazon.com now has tons of vibrators available. I imagine competition has brought the price down. And there are now millions of places online to find reviews of sex toys.

  2. The last time I had no libido the thing I needed to get rid of was… that partner. Now I want sex with my husband all the time, whether I’m stressed or not stressed. Weird.

  3. Many women don’t like getting into long term relationships with unemployed men:


    I’m guessing that unemployment is a turnoff in the short term as well. Therefore, since fewer men and women are getting it on with each other, both genders are turning to sex toys instead.

    • I read that article and what it actually said is that many women are reluctant to MARRY an unemployed man (based on their poll), and many of them are reluctant to marry if they themselves are not employed. It even pointed specifically to couples in long term committed relationships who were holding off on marriage due to economic factors like unemployment, going on to hypothesize that people may be taking a more pragmatic view of marriage than during more “robust” economies. So you might want to re-read that. Although, if unemployment IS a turn off in the short term your hypothesis would make sense. I don’t personally find it to be an automatic turn off, but I don’t think a sample size of 1 is very valid. ;)

      • You’re right, that I should’ve said women won’t marry a guy who is unemployed. Here’s some data on dating relationships:


        “The same study shows that for women, however, this situation is not desirable. 80% of women would not date an unemployed man and would feel uncomfortable “maintaining” (paying for) him.”

        The study was commissioned by a Spanish dating site, and I don’t know it’s design–it could be self-selected, etc.

  4. I had a quiet laugh when I read your “note” because I pretty much fall into that 10-20% unless I’m feeling physically ill or am simply exhausted … though even then, I can usually be convinced :). Since my partner is NOT in that demographic, we’ve had to figure out how to communicate around this, since when we’re having a rough day my response is sexytimes! to cheer us up, and that is the furthest thing from her mind. I admit this really confused me at first …

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