By Raye Weigel
Editor’s Note: This article contains a mention of rape
For some, the word “dildo” calls to mind viral videos such as the penis-shaped dildo circulating alone around at the airport baggage claim to the tune of “How Could This Happen to Me” by Simple Plan.
But it’s more than that.
A junior history major who asked to remain anonymous said she owns six vibrators. “I’ve got small ones, I’ve got submersible ones, wands, G-spot. I’ve got all the stuff,” she said.
The wand is her favorite. She bought it off of LoveHoney, a website that sells sex toys with a 20 percent student discount.
She said she ordered her first vibrators as soon as she got to college and hasn’t looked back since. At first, it seemed illicit. She would quietly show her friends, who were in awe of the thing.
“I don’t think the people I was friends with freshman year had ever seen one in person before,” she said.
Another student, a junior English major, said she thinks talking about the vibrator is taboo.
Seeing it appear in popular culture, however, makes it easier to talk about.
“After watching the Sex and the City episode [about masturbation], I would like to use the rabbit,” she said.
She has a vibrator, but wants something that’s less penis-shaped. She said she didn’t really masturbate until she got a vibrator and recommends it for anyone who is interested in exploring their own body more and becoming comfortable with it.
There are positives and negatives about buying online. It would be easier and more secretive to online shop, but with all the information there is on the internet and depending on personal preference, it could be more beneficial to have a face-to-face conversation with an expert about what’s best for you.
At a sex shop like Comfort Zone on Rt. 1, for example, you can ask the staff about G-spot vibrators that will give you the orgasm of a lifetime.
The awkwardness of talking openly about pleasure is clear through the understandable unwillingness of students to go on record and talk about vibrators. It shows the squeamish feelings around sex and pleasure for people with vagines, and can feel like there is no middle ground: either people talk about pleasure in whispers or display it widely for all to see.
Avid Antonelli, a senior studio art major pursuing a certificate in LGBT studies, exemplifies this — making sex toys of their own with a 3D printer for a company they want to name Feminasty. They have a website where they blog about their products and sex-related art.
They go to sex-related events, such as masturbation workshops on campus. They said they started masturbating around age 15 and that there is a misconception where some people assume sexual abuse or trauma happened if a person is interested in masturbating at a young age. They specified this is not true: “I was interested in making sure I could make myself happy. That’s all.”
The junior history major said she would recommend buying a vibrator for anyone with a vagina who is interested in trying it, whether they are inexperienced “or if you’re already a masturbating fiend, as 18-year-old me was.”
As a long-winded and true quote from Eve Ensler’s The Vagina Monologues says:
“To love women, to love our vaginas, to know them and touch them and be familiar with who we are and what we need. To satisfy ourselves, to teach our lovers to satisfy us, to be present in our vaginas, to speak of them out loud, to speak of their hunger and pain and loneliness and humor, to make them visible so they cannot be ravaged in the dark without consequence, so that our center, our point, our motor, our dream, is no longer detached, mutilated, numb, broken, invisible, or ashamed.”
People with vaginas deserve pleasure, but more than that, they deserve to have their vaginas talked about without disgust or discomfort. As Ensler suggests, breaking this fear can have enormous repercussions such as allowing more conversation about injustices such as rape.
And it all started, honestly, with a dildo.
Featured Photo Credit: Feature photo credit courtesy of Dave H on Flickr.
Raye Weigel is a junior multiplatform journalism and English major and may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.