Sex Toys You Wish Existed

Over a year ago when a committee of Good Vibrations workers got together to plan for our 20th Anniversary, we came up with an idea that would celebrate not only the sex toys of today — the best of which we already sell — but the fabulous toys of tomorrow. Our “Sex Toys You Wish Existed” contest, which we publicized to all our customers, allowed our sexually creative customers to tell us what they’d like to see on our shelves and in their toy chests. We asked several of our toy suppliers to serve as judges, and Vixen Creations (www.vixencreations.com) and California Exotic Novelties, both women-run companies, accepted. We also called in our favorite toy expert from the adult industry, Nina Hartley. She uses toys “off the job” and in her videos and stage shows, and we’re proud to have her as one of our most high-profile customers. Besides, she’s a registered nurse, so she ought to be able to differentiate an idea that will work from one that has too many parts fantasy and not enough basis in anatomical reality.

We closed the submissions process in September so we could prepare to display the entries and get them ready to be judged. Each of our stores featured the drawings, blueprints, and models our customers sent, and late in November we had a special after hours event to show them to the judges.

The more than 60 entries ran the gamut of toy types and included a few things that already exist — maybe the inventors have been too busy fantasizing about their ideal toys to go shopping in real life? We received ideas for toys for men as well as toys for women, though more of the latter; some were far-fetched while others were ideas whose time has come (or will as soon as adequate construction materials are developed). For a peek at the winning entries, see the Sex Toy Contest Winners page.

The winners: the $500 first prize went to the inventor of the Wonder Pants (Yes, they look like bike shorts, but…). These are bike shorts with a difference: “Wonder Pants provide a gel-like, two-lipped cradle for the clit; and a teasing little lump for the vagina.” Extra incentive to pedal, indeed! These could make me buy a bicycle in the first place.

A second prize of $250 was awarded for the Whipping Harness, a thoughtful get-up to protect the vulva and anus of a woman from painful stray whip strokes (but naturally leaving the buttocks free of obstruction for those who don’t experience a spanking or whipping on the rear as “pain” at all!). Much like the Leather Butterfly, which we already sell, it positions a vibrator over the clit, and it holds a small butt plug in place as well. Ingeniously thought out!

Third place, and a $100 prize, went to the inventor of the Pinwheel Tongue Vibe, which lets a woman hold a shaft with several spinning “tongues” — lubricated, yet! — right where they can do the most good. If someone actually manufactures this one, I predict they’ll sail out the door. Toys that attempt to reproduce the feelings of cunnilingus don’t usually succeed very well, but six tongues are bound to be better than one.

The judges also awarded two honorable mentions of $50 each. My Fantasy Vibe is designed to stimulate the G-spot and the clitoris simultaneously, and would fit into a harness, to boot. And Fully Packed is a design for a retractable strap-on dildo that would allow the wearer to telescope her toy down to a size not too uncomfortable or unnatural-looking while clothed, then extend it to full size for play.

The contest has received some attention from the media, so we can only hope we’re helping to fuel a new inventive period within the sex toy industry as well as among creative consumers. As Hoag Levins documents in his book American Sex Machines, gizmos to improve or accessorize sex are nothing new. The US Patent Office has dozens of examples dating back to the era of the office’s opening, since — as many have noted — as soon as a new technology is developed, entrepreneurial or simply erotically adventurous folk typically find a way to use it for sex. Read the book and wonder what sexy doohickey your great-grandparents may have kept hidden under the bed, and whether the things we carry at Good Vibrations right now might have been your parents’ or grandparents’ ideas of “Sex Toys They Wished Existed.”

Dr. Carol Queen

Carol Queen has a PhD in sexology; she calls herself a "cultural sexologist" because her earlier academic degree is in sociology: while she addresses individual issues and couple's sexual concerns, her overarching interest is in cultural issues (gender, shame, access to education, etc.). Queen has worked at Good Vibrations, the woman-founded sexuality company based in San Francisco that turned 35 years old in 2012, since 1990. Her current position is Staff Sexologist and Good Vibrations Historian; her roles include representing the company to the press and the public; overseeing educational programming for staff and others; and scripting/hosting a line of sex education videos, the Pleasure-Ed series, for GV’s sister company Good Releasing. She also curates the company's Antique Vibrator Museum. She is also the founding director of the Center for Sex & Culture, a non-profit sex ed and arts center San Francisco, and is a frequent lecturer at colleges, universities, and community-based organizations. Her dozen books include a Lambda Literary Award winner, PoMoSexuals, and Real Live Nude Girl: Chronicles of Sex-Positive Culture, which are used as texts in some college classes. She blogs at the Good Vibes Magazine and at SFGate's City Brights bloggers page and contributes to the Boston Dig. For more about her at carolqueen.com.

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