Toys for Grown-Ups
I beg you, don’t lie, dear Corrioto: who was the man who stitched for you this bright red dildo?”
For almost as long as there has been people and society, there have been dildos and sex toys, the above quotation comes from a comedy written in the 3rd Century BC, and there are even references from the great bard, Shakespeare himself!!
Look out at the end of this article for a brilliant competition, with the chance to win a fabulous prize courtesy of www.StrawberryBlushes.co.uk
Society through the ages has had a varied response to sex toys, and their use; from total acceptance through to absolute denial, and strangely it is the very uptight Victorians that we have to thank for the invention of the vibrator! Female hysteria was at one time thought to effect anywhere up to 25% of us poor easily susceptible unable to cope with anything women and one of the treatments was to use ‘pelvic massage’ to bring the woman to a ‘hysterical paroxysm’ (in other words an orgasm), and almost unbelievably the Victorians thought this practice had nothing to do with sex! It was for doctors a chore that was time consuming and hard work, which was often passed onto midwives! So when in about 1883 a doctor by the name of Joseph Mortimer Granville filed the first patent for an electromechanical vibrator named Granville’s Hammer, initially for the treatment of muscular disorders, it was soon put to use to treat hysteria, different models were soon available, including ones for home use! The rest as we might say is history, but there is certainly a chequered past with our acceptance of the use by both men, women and couples of sex toys.
The internet has of course paid a huge part in bringing sex toys more into the mainstream, the ease and privacy of buying what for some people are still private and taboo items has meant that the online sales of sex toys has become a huge industry. I spoke to Beverley Peck who in late 2011 set up online retailer StrawberryBlushes.co.uk. Beverley, having previously worked in the sex toys industry, has built a company that focuses on the positives of her previous experience, with a greater focus on being a company that is customer friendly, accessible and inoffensive.
From my own experience and recollection, it was the US TV show, Sex in the City, which in the 90’s openly featured conversations about “the rabbit” which brought the use of vibrators into the open, and talk of “your rabbit” became acceptable amongst many women.
“Carrie: I’m not going to replace a man with some battery-operated device.
Miranda: You say that, but you haven’t met The Rabbit.
Samantha: Oh come on, if you’re going to get a vibrator, at least get one called The Horse.
Charlotte: A vibrator does not call you on your birthday. A vibrator doesn’t send you flowers the next day. And you cannot take a vibrator home to meet your mother.
Miranda: Well. I know where my next orgasm is coming from. Who here can say as much?”
Sex shops have become less like seedy joints where men gather to look at sticky porn mags and are now mainstream, well lit and full of smiley young people trained to within an inch of their lives to be totally cool about the sex toy they are flogging, questioning you about your planned usage without a flicker of amusement.
I am though, I admit, too old to discuss my sex toy needs with a nineteen year old with a grin as fake as her tan, and whether I need it to be waterproof, and thus useable in the bath is just one question too many! And so like many the internet is employed, sex and the internet seem to go hand in hand, the sex industry and all its associated industries have bloomed and blossomed since the internet swept its way in, and changed our lives and habits forever. I asked Beverley if she thought people still preferred to go online to buy their sex aids and toys?
“I do think people (especially men) buy more online. Lots of obvious reasons but I don’t think men are comfortable walking into Ann Summers and buying their partners a toy. We get more orders from men than women actually. Also, online is still cheaper and with all the various discounts that are available to them why wouldn’t you? For instance, we have affiliates where we offer voucher codes for certain products at certain times, we are also members of Quidco which gives the customer buying online cash back and we run regular promotions to our newsletter subscribers. We also have live chat and we get a lot of people asking for advice before buying on there.
I think over the years and I have been in the industry on and off for 10 years, it has become more and more popular. For instance, when I first came into the industry there were only about 2 or 3 reputable online sex toy companies out there. The competition was not as strong as it is now. However, there are still only about 5 major players in the industry and because of my experience and knowing what people want we are lucky to be one of them, we know this due to our recent nomination for Best Online Retailer at the Erotic Trade Only Awards in June (fingers crossed)! There is no doubt though that Fifty Shades has all but broken the stigma, we have a new generation out there happy to read this book on a train and not be embarrassed about it. I would shake EL James hand if I could!”
So what sells? Its been a while since I have browsed an adult retailer, after the flurry and necessary purchase of a Rabbit and a few other bits and pieces, I have become very boring! So I asked Beverley what men and women were buying the most of at the moment!
I was pleased to see a Rabbit still on the list for women, perhaps I am not too far behind.
“Are you looking for something that really hits your g-spot? Well the LELO Gigi could be your sort of sex toy. It’s beautifully curvaceous design and rechargeable function will not leave you hanging, but instead give you endless pleasure.”
“The Jessica Rabbit MK 2 vibrator is just like the original Jessica Rabbit but has even more stimulation functions for your pleasure.
The soft bunny ears have 6 functions to stimulate your clitoris whilst the shaft has 6 speeds of rotation. All in all that’s 36 combinations of hair raising stimulation!”
“The Rocks Off 80mm Ammunition for Love bullet women’s vibrator provides precision pleasure that really packs a punch! The Rocks Off 80mm vibrator is also waterproof so take your pleasure to the bath or shower.”
And for men….
“For superb stimulation and incredible
results, the Bathmate Hydromax X30 is a truly sensational penis pump.”
Treat and train yourself to become an amazing lover.
Give yourself the most amazing hand tailor made pleasure with the REV1000 male masturbator from Loving Joy.
And Beverley reminded me that of course there are adult toys designed especially for use by couples, and this is Strawberry Blushes best seller…
“The Tiani 2 Design Edition takes the amazing LELO Tiani and gives it even more mind blowing pleasure modes and increased versatility, making it even more sensational than the original.”
In history there are defined moments, and I have touched upon two – the crafty Victorian women who managed to wangle the odd moment of ahhhh by being ‘hysterical’, and the lazy men who invented a machine to help them (no change there then), and then right up to modern times when a US TV series full of women with too white teeth and more hair than a Palomino pony, really did change the way women viewed going and buying and then admitting to using a vibrator! So, if we are going to continue with this theme, we have to of course finish with the recent phenomena that is Fifty Shades of Gray! When EL James published Fifty Shades of Grey, and the subsequent sequels it seemed as though Britain suddenly become a country of secret fetishists, tales of retiree’s tying each other up in the potting shed, rather than chitting this season’s potatoes, and fluffy handcuffs selling faster than crème eggs seem to have not gone away.
And despite the content of EL James’ offering there is no stigma or embarrassment involved in reading the books, go anywhere and you will still see Fifty Shades being read, in coffee shops, restaurants even libraries without a hint of “what…..its for research purposes”. So are we a nation of closet BDSM’ers are the housewives of Great Britain (and further afield) really yearning to be trussed up like the Christmas turkey and whipped into a delighted frenzy?
There are those people who, I am sure, tut and sigh and say they have been doing it all along, and there are of course well established shops and establishments, selling a variety of hard core restraints, but what for those of us who have a little bit of desire to push the odd boundary just a bit in the bedroom?
StrawberryBlushes.co.uk is selling the official Fifty Shades of Gray collection, so Beverley seemed the perfect person to pose this question to! Are we really buying more adventurous adult toys, since the publication of Fifty Shades of Gray?
“ABSOLUTEY YES! This is more apparent in the Fetish and Bondage industry. These products have always had a certain demand but for the more experienced shopper. The explosion of Fifty Shades saw a huge increase in sales of love balls, blindfolds, hand cuffs, whips etc that we hadn’t seen before. The new collection is stunning, good quality, reasonable prices and we only had it on the site for a few hours before people started buying it. I do still think this will be well and truly alive this Christmas where the man who bought their partner the book last year, now wants to add to the collection so to speak!
EL James wrote the books and nothing else really. Everyone else decided that an official collection is what the industry wanted and they were right. It has obviously been inspired by the book and the author has worked closely with the merchandiser. All the toys are featured in the books one way or another. The price range is excellent, between £10 and £40 and if you haven’t read the books (living under a rock or just couldn’t get through them like you and me Clare!) then they all come with instructions and suggestions on how to use. I also think that on the back of this book it has made way for companies such as Boots and Superdrug to start selling sex toys on the High Street.”
All of which leads me to the best bit – we have a fabulous give-away, hopefully this article has whet your appetite a little to re-explore or perhaps try for the first time bringing a little zing back into the bedroom; and Beverley, and the lovely folks at StrawberryBlushes.co.uk are giving one lucky RazberryJuice reader a Fifty Shades of Grey Submit to Me Beginners Bondage Kit.
Beverley says..”We have chosen this one as it is for beginners and we do still think there are a few of them out there!”
Open a new door into your love life taking dominant and submissive bedroom roles to enhance your sexual adventures.
The fantastic Submit To Me Beginners Bondage kit really does have everything you need to begin the dominant submissive relations with the lover in your life. This Fantastic Fifty Shades of Grey inspired bondage set, from the Official E L James Pleasure Collection, gives you everything you need to start off with bondage bedroom play, allowing you to take control, or submit and enjoy the explosive adventures in between.
Included in the Fifty Shaade of Grey Submit To Me Kit is:
4x Easy Tie Bondage Restraints (52.5 Inches each)
1x No Peeking Black Satin Blindfold
1xTwitchy Palm satin and faux leather spanking paddle
1x Gift Box 1x Satin Storage Pouch
This kit is sensationally designed to give you varied and exciting adventures, so that can use as much or as little of this sensational bondage kit, in whichever combinations you desire.”
Entering the competition couldn’t be simpler:
Simply answer the following question.
What was the name of Joseph Mortimer Granville electromechanical vibrator (hint – the answer is in the article)
A: Joe’s Jitterer;
B. Granville’s Hammer; or
C. Mortimer’s Marvellous Machine?
Send your answers by email to
– please include your name, and confirm your preferred contact email address (we will NEVER share your email address, or publish your entry to the competition).
You have until 20 June 2013 to enter.
Click HERE for the full terms and conditions of the competition.
Strawberry Blushes aims are to provide high quality, top brand sex toys, as well as bringing innovative and new products onto the market. As well as the sex toys, Strawberry Blushes really pride themselves on top quality customer service, offering a blog for advice and reviews, as well as customer online chat services, a freephone telephone number and emails that allow you to contact us directly at any time. As their motto states, we strive to give you products and service that is sure to please.
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