Sex! As we all know, it’s the most natural thing in the world. Some of us do it for pleasure, and many of us do it with the intent to procreate. Sometimes, it’s both at the same time. Looking for ways to make sex feel even better is also a very natural thing, and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with using sex toys to enhance pleasure.
So, why do some people still get embarrassed talking about sex and sex toys? Why does it sometimes feel like we’re breaking an unspoken taboo when and if we do? It probably won’t shock you to learn that ‘polite society’, religious and political factors play a big hand in why some of us don’t regularly talk (or feel comfortable talking) about sex. Fortunately, times have changed - and are continuing to change - in regard to what's acceptable to discuss, and that includes what you’ve got going on in the bedroom! Let’s look at some of the ways and means in which society has evolved, sexually speaking.
We can thank the media for removing some of the taboos surrounding sexuality. How? By constantly pushing the boundaries of what we’re used to seeing and hearing about into more sexually accepting territory. Think about it. Grabbing (and holding) your attention is all part of the game for film studios, television production companies, and record labels. They make money off your viewership, after all. Generally, the more shocking, ie: the more sexualized the content, the higher the ratings and the more downloads.
It’s the year 2011, and you’re on your way to work. Everywhere you look, women (and a few men) are holding a black book adorned with a silver tie. That’s right! “Fifty Shades of Grey” is officially taking the world (and our bedrooms) by storm. Normally, erotica and romance novels aren’t something you see people reading in public, but you would see a full range of people getting lost in the pages because this series became so mainstream. Though much of the content and writing techniques have been critiqued over the years, the series had surpassed 125 million copies sold by 2015. Love her or hate her, we can thank E L James for making it okay to discuss (and try) bondage.
When we think of movies that changed the way the world views sex and sex toys, we can’t help but think about the opening scene from Not Another Teen Movie (2001). If you haven’t seen it, a girl begins to masturbate with a large rotating vibrator. She’s interrupted by her family barging into her room to wish her a happy birthday. The crude humour ends with the vibrator landing in a cake held by none other than Grandma. American Pie 2 (2001) also that made a big deal out of a dildo and a lesbian couple. By 2020, our culture has shifted from making fun of sex to embracing it (see movies like Hustlers, Rocket Man, Fifty Shades of Grey).
When you examine television, you have to consider scripted shows and reality TV series. Historically, “The Brady Bunch” was the first show to feature a couple sleeping in the same bed. We have come so far from there. Just a few months ago, Starz network featured steamy sex scenes between Lil’ Murda and Uncle Clifford, a non-binary strip club owner, in the hit show “P-Valley.” If you wanted to know about a reality TV show that talks openly about sex, look no further than the Jersey Shore series. The show was full of raunchy escapades among the cast members (regardless of gender) and their notorious hookups. Many of the houses they occupied for filming featured a “smush room” to give each other privacy for their romps in the hay.
2020 brought us some hit jams that talked about S-E-X. Thank you Cardi B for giving women a song that confidently talks about our bodies and sexual urges in a way like never before. Though the song has been controversial, it brought up conversations about gender roles and the need to end slut-shaming.
It’s no surprise that religious organizations have always been vocal on their stances over sexuality. While gay marriage is legal in many places around the globe, we still see lagging support from some religious organizations as a whole or individual churches within them. Luckily, the tides may slowly be changing. In January of 2020, the United Methodist Church in the US discussed a split due to disagreements on whether to support or denounce same-sex marriage and other sexual orientation issues. So, you probably shouldn’t go talk to your pastor about your favorite sex toy just yet, but you are likely to find a church and religion that supports you, regardless of your sexuality and/or gender identity.
The last 50 years or so has seen a shift in how sexual topics are perceived. We can attribute progress with laws regarding healthcare and pregnancy prevention as well as those serving the LGBTQ community to making it okay to discuss certain aspects of your sexual health.
With much of society becoming more accepting toward various expressions of sexuality, there is more knowledge available regarding STIs. Unfortunately, this doesn’t mean the stigma surrounding HIV, herpes, gonorrhea, etc has disappeared. While we could say that generally, many people are more open to talking about sex and sex toys, we still have a long way to go when it comes to discussing and de-stigmatizing STI’s.
While it’s not always the case, age and religion can be barriers in social acceptance to casual conversations regarding sex. You’re probably at a point where you can talk to your besties about that new butt plug, but you probably shouldn’t expect to be able to call up your relatives to discuss the year’s hottest rabbit vibrator just yet.
While dildos have been around since the times of Ancient Greece, adult stores as we know them today didn’t come about until around 1962 in Germany. We didn’t get our first one here in Canada until almost a decade later in 1971. When you do the math, that means we’ve been able to go pick up a new penis pump or vibrator relatively easily for around fifty years. Anyone who came of age in this era probably grew up without much thought to what life was like without these conveniences. Obviously, the dawn of internet shopping, discreet shipping and easy customer service has made these amenities even more accessible.
We’ve also seen a shift in the way sex is approached from a clinical standard. Reproductive health and pregnancy prevention have seen improvement through progressive law reform. The use of birth control was fully legalized in 1972, and abortion rates as well as teen pregnancy rates lowered around the mid-2000s. We still need to figure out a way to normalize discussion on STIs, as those experiencing them still face stigma.
Sex Worker Industry
Over the years, we’ve noticed a shift in societal support of sex workers. No matter the role, many working in the adult entertainment industry have been able to find support through social media and political pressures around the globe.
Porn Stars as Celebrities
Jenna Jameson is a celebrity you’ve probably heard of. In fact, she is almost a household name. She was once a famed porn star but has since moved on to other career roles, including penning two books. She has advocated for the acceptance of sexuality and paved the way for other adult stars, like Sasha Gray, to move into mainstream television and film.
Social Media Influence
Many sex workers have found a platform to talk about their work on the social media network, TikTok. Many shared tips and tricks on ways to earn more from stripping and selling content online through websites, like OnlyFans and other webcam hosting platforms. Others have shared what their days are like, how much they’ve earned, and other topics regarding society’s view of their profession. You can find similar (and more in-depth) content on YouTube. The current pandemic has also forced more people to get creative with how they earn money, so more are turning to the sex worker industry than ever before.
Over the last 50 years, there has been a major shift in the way the world views sex. What once was something kept private can now be a part of a normal conversation with the right group of people. It’s beneficial to find someone you can talk to about sex as it pertains to health. If you don’t have a friend or family member who fits into this role, be sure to consult your doctor when needed. You can also always ask Dr. Sunny!
Talking about sex and sex toys shouldn’t make you feel ashamed. You can openly discuss these topics in appropriate settings. Still, some people will always be embarrassed to talk about these kinds of things, but it’s on them to speak up to let you know what’s off limits. No matter how much progress the world makes, there will always be those that view the subjects to be taboo. Accept that you can’t change their mind and resolve to discuss other things that don’t make them uneasy or upset.
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Maybe you’re wanting to talk to someone about sex toys, but you don’t have a person like that in your life. Luckily, PinkCherry has info about every product to make shopping easy. If you’re still on the fence about being open regarding your sex life, you won’t have to worry when ordering from PinkCherry. All billing and deliveries are discreet for your needs. We promise we won’t tell!