Did you know you can buy vibrators at Duane Reade now? Well, you can. No longer are the illicit devices confined to the vague, grimy territory of sex shops, hidden in brown paper bags or unmarked boxes, purchased late at night on furtive shopping missions to “video stores” with blacked-out windows. As the New York Times explains in today’s holy-shit-vibrators-really-are-everywhere-now piece, “They were rarely discussed, other than perhaps during a late-night girl-talk session fueled by many glasses of Pinot Grigio. But now you can find them advertised on MTV and boldly displayed at Duane Reade, Walgreens, and other mainstream drugstores, mere steps from the Bengay and Dr. Scholl’s.” Welcome to the world, vibrators! No longer must we be ashamed to see you! We can even discuss you without being drunk! (If you insist.)
Or, so it would seem, because anything purchased in Duane Reade is something to hold your head high about, no?
Reading the New York Times about vibrators is something akin to reading the insert in the KY lube box for sex tips. Even so, we are proud of them for going there, in quite a lengthy piece, with lots of cocktail party tidbits. Apparently Trojan’s Tri-Phoria, which costs $39.99, was created with the Center for Sexual Health Promotion at Indiana University after a study revealed that more than half of American women had used vibrators and that nearly 80 percent of those had shared them with partners. At first, the VP of marketing laughed when he heard consumers wanted vibrators. Then “we realized they were serious.” To his credit, the Trojan vibrators are not shaped like penguins or other adorable animals. The Trojan vibrators look like…neck massagers! Yes, something to hold one’s head high about.
With one corporate entity capitalizing on the drugstore vibrator come many, or so it goes. For a while now, there have also been a LifeStyles vibrator and a Durex vibrator, and they are selling well. Separately, there’s a Babeland in Park Slope! There is even a line of vibrators called OhMiBod, which synchronize rhythmically with iPods, iPads, iPhones, and other smartphones. This marks a new sexual openness, or perhaps a lack of wanting to have to travel to separate stores to buy all of ones’ various sundries. This marks the turning of a vibrator into a sundry, which is…sexual freedom of a sort, right?
Men are apparently okay with this.
Jeremy, 31, a content strategist in the entertainment business who lives in New York and wanted his last name omitted for privacy, said, “From my perspective, a woman who has thoroughly explored her own body, both alone and with or without whichever toys she finds interesting, makes for a significantly better lover.”
You hear that, everyone? Vibrators. Don’t be shy! (If you are, you can order them online. Better than wimping out and leaving with lens cleaner that you didn’t need in the first place. Right?)
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on April 20, 2011