“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all (wo)men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness (in bed).” — Sex Toy Declaration of Independence
OK, so there isn’t really a Sex Toy Declaration of Independence, but there should be. And anyone offended by my somewhat blasphemous appropriation of this Founding Document of America should know that I throw a Martini Luther King Party every January. Blasphemy is how I roll.
In the real Declaration of Independence, America’s 13 colonies declared independence from British rule and established the right to govern themselves. Well, the right of slave-owning, landed white men to govern themselves, but that’s another conversation.
I propose that in the Sex Toy Declaration of Independence, we women declare independence from all of the things that keep us from openly celebrating our sexuality: shame, religious teachings, or the inane but pervasive notions that owning a vibrator means you’re a) desperate, b) depraved or c) a witch.
We will establish our right to govern our bodies and our orgasms. Yes, I said orgasms. Out loud.
I got the idea for this declaration after the magazine’s recent PleasureWare Party at Early to Bed. It wasn’t just fun, it was empowering to be surrounded by women so open about their sexuality. We chatted about everything from erotica to vibrator speeds and, yeah, a bunch of us stuck our fingers in the toys intended for boys just to see what they felt like. The verdict: squishy.
Women and even girls (don’t get me started) are sexualized for pretty much everything these days: to sell products, to justify restrictive legislation, and to make men feel better about themselves.
But here was a group of women claiming their sexuality for themselves. Some of the shoppers had partners, but many didn’t, and it’s liberating to remember that sexual pleasure isn’t tied to the presence of another person.
The image above isn’t actually true.
Many of you reading will think this is all obvious, the stuff of Women’s Studies 101. But I had friends who were mortified by the idea of shopping for sex toys with other people. For them, (sex) and anything related to their own sexuality is still something that’s whispered about when it’s talked about at all.
But increasingly for me, public discussion of private things is what being Rebellious is all about.
The more we talk about private matters in public, the less alone we feel and the harder it is to shame us about them. The more we normalize conversations that are outside of our comfort zones, the less uncomfortable they make us and everyone else.
If you missed the PleasureWare Party, don’t worry, we’re planning to have more of them. If you can’t wait that long, I encourage you to check out Early to Bed, in the store or online. Fantabulous owner Searah Deysach opened the store in 2001, and it was the first feminist sex toy shop in Illinois and the second in the Midwest.
I hope we all continue to support these stores that give women a chance to shop in a safe, non-skeevy, non-Bachelorette Party environment. In addition to toys and erotica (for women and men), E2B carries feminist porn and products you’ll just have to see to believe.
In closing, I echo the words of our Founding (white, landed, slave-owning) Fathers:
“And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor (in bed).”
In X-rated Rebellion,