Sexy Mama: An Interview with Suki Dunham, Founder of OhMiBod

When most folks think of the sex toy industry, they don’t realize just how many women are working in it, designing, producing, and selling toys. Plenty of them are mothers, giving them a unique perspective on the topic of sex and motherhood. This is the first in a series of interviews with moms who work in this industry, and you’ll see that Sexy Mamas are everywhere.

Suki Dunham is the founder of OhMiBod, the company that makes the Club Vibe, which picks up on the ambient sound to turn music into vibrations, the Naughtibod (plug it into your music player), and the Freestyle Wireless Vibrator, which connects wirelessly to your music player.

1) Tell us a little about your career in the sex toy industry. How did you get started?

Brian and I got started in the sex toy industry, unknowingly, almost 8 years ago after he bought my two favorite stocking stuffers of all time…my first iPod and my first ever vibrator – from Good Vibrations!  I started using the two together, getting lost in my music which helped me escape all of the to-do lists in my mind.

Using the two together was exhilarating for me since I am a huge music fan and I really “Love” my favorite musicians.  So Brian and I talked about it and came up with the concept of putting the two together.  After a couple of years of development and seeing how the iPod market was growing, we decided to pull the trigger on the idea and showed our prototypes to folks at the ANE show in LA (July 2006).  The rest as they say, is history.

2) How much do your kid(s) know about your being a sex toy maker?

We get that question quite often and it’s a good one.  We feel that its very much like an actor who does R rated movies.  Your children would know that you are an “actor” but it wouldn’t be appropriate for them to see the movie that you starred in which contained inappropriate material for a child.

Right now our kids don’t know what (exactly) we do but they do know that we work with massagers and that they groove to the music. They also know that we are inventors and entrepreneurs.  Beyond that, they know very little about our activities in the “personal pleasure industry”.  Our older child will be ready to understand and comprehend the idea of self pleasure pretty soon and we’ll clue them in when they are interested/able to get their arms around the concept.

3) What did you tell your kids about sex? (or what do you plan to tell them, if you haven’t yet)

We don’t shy away from discussions around sex or love in general.  We frame the discussions as something that is healthy and natural.  We had a long conversation with our son recently over some pizza, kind of the birds and bees discussion.  Brian and I both participated and brought him through the ins and outs if you will.  At the end of the “talk” we asked him if he had any questions at all for us. His reply, “Papa, where do mushrooms come from?”.  So, sometimes its a timing thing.  Kids develop emotionally and sexually at dramatically different rates and like most things in life, timing is everything!

4) What about other parents? Like your kids’ friends’ parents? Or teachers? What do you tell them about your work?

We are very open with our friends about what we do.  There is absolutely nothing about what we do that is to be ashamed of.  We live in a very small seacoast town in the Northeast and well, people talk…so I’m pretty sure most people know what we do.  One teacher asked me to participate in career day after our 4th grade son told her that we were entrepreneurs.  I agreed and prepared a “Corporate” quality presentation about entrepreneurship that flew over all their heads.  The teacher loved the discussion and later asked me in private what “exactly” it was that we produced.  After I told her, she wanted one. 🙂

5) How has being a mom influenced your career? How has your career in the sex toy industry affected your being a mom?

I used to work at Apple Computer, as most people know.  I worked hard back in the day when Apple wasn’t as “cool” as it is today.  The long hours and grueling commute were tough when I started making babies, so I throttled back to a 3 day work week and found a better balance.  Brian and I ultimately decided to move back east so that I could focus on being a full time Mom during their most impressionable years.  Now that I’m back in the work force, I remember that balance is everything and my children come first.

As for the sex toy industry affecting me being a mother?  Well, it’s opened my mind up to a lot of different perspectives.  Being in this industry can be both liberating and overwhelming but one thing that has impacted my parenting is that I feel comfortable discussing the importance of sex and love with my children. As a recovering Catholic, that might not have been the case.

6) For parents who are busy with jobs, taking care of the kids, housework, etc., what’s your #1 tip for creating and maintaining a happy sex life? How can sex toys be part of that?

Brian and I have been together since we were 19 years old.  So we’ve officially spent more than half our lives together.   Its an incredible relationship and takes an enormous amount of work sometimes but its ultimately all worth it.  Personally, we find that toys add a dimension and excitement to our sex life that otherwise wouldn’t be possible.  Toys are fun, healthy and can be a key ingredient to any successful relationship!  Brian always says to me “Happy Wife, Happy Life” and I agree with him…and toys make me happy.

Good Vibrations

Good Vibrations is the premiere sex-positive, women-principled adult toy retailer in the US. An iconic brand and one of the world's first sex toy shops to focus specifically on women's pleasure and sexual education, Good Vibrations was founded by Joani Blank in 1977 to provide women with a safe, welcoming and non-judgmental place to shop for erotic toys. Good Vibrations has always included all people across the gender spectrum, and is a place where customers can come for education, high quality products, and information promoting sexual health, pleasure and empowerment. Customers can shop Good Vibrations' expertly curated product selection across any of its nine retail locations or on the website, where they can also find a wealth of information pertaining to sexual pleasure, exploration and education.

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