Six Sex Toys That Will Evolve Your Sex Life
She's currently based in Detroit. Due to our time difference, I interviewed her exclusively for POV in my evening time, her morning. She was armed with morning coffee and assured me that she was almost awake, which would probably serve for the most candid answers. I left out all the [laughs] in this transcript, just because we were laughing most of the time.
Paulita: Do you remember your first sex toy encounter?
Zoë: Yes! I got a vibrator on the Internet. It turned out being way too gentle for me - what I really wanted in the end was a wand, so it was a learning curve where I wondered, do I not like vibration or is this just way too weak for me? It was interesting how I intuitively knew what to pick. Even if it wasn't exactly the right thing it was going in the right direction.
I have so much apprehension with new things. Even if it's something I know I really want or want to do, often there's this learning curve of incorporating a new thing into your life. I still experience that all the time when I get a new thing I know I need to try out. So I feel I still very much understand what it feels like to approach toys for the first time for that reason.
Paulita: Do you try all the sex toys that you sell?
Zoë: No. But sometimes if there's something new and I want to do a personal feature of it or I'm promoting it in some way or there just isn't a single review of it online, then I want to try it or have somebody who works for me try it.
Paulita: What have been the biggest challenges of owning a sex toy company?
Zoë: God, just the fact that it is business and business is inherently difficult, especially as an entrepreneur and small business. There is no end to the random shit that happens, I guess. I'm three years in and it's pretty rare that I go into panic mode anymore these days, because I know that things always get resolved one way or another.
In the early days if I just had one customer who wrote “I didn't received my package but it says delivered” I'd be like Oh my God what do we do? It's a lot about staying calm when high pressure situations arise. I'm generally not good at that, so I've been learning really quickly.
Basically I'm a highly emotional person who is in charge of getting dildos out to people but also taking care of her employees and just making sure everybody is happy - it comes with a lot of pressure, but it's pressure that I willingly accept at this point.
Paulita: Can you give us your current top three favorite sex toys.
Zoë: Well, are we talking objectively or personally?
Paulita: Can you give me both?
Zoë: Ok, I'll start with everybody, just generally what everybody should have in their toy box. I'm also trying to pick oddly innovative things...
1) Pure Wand by Enjoy - it can be used anally or vaginally. It's essentially a g spot wand which can also be used on the prostate and has two ends. It's one of those sex toys where you might not figure out right away how to use it but after a couple of experimentation sessions you'll find the perfect movements that work for your body.
2) Waterslyde – a bath tub water diverter. If you grew up putting your crotch under the faucet, this slyde diverts the tub water stream a foot away from where it comes out because most people can't fit their adult body under the faucet of a bathtub. It's inexpensive and it's been popular because it's such a simple concept but nobody's made anything like it before.
3) Sex Positioning Pillow - a foam wedge that is angled to be put under the hips during sex. A lot of people use regular bed pillows for positioning, these ones have more angling, support and firmness than any regular sleeping bed pillow could give you, making certain positions more feasible and comfortable.
So, my favorite things... God it's so hard to choose... Let's see.
1) Doxy Wand - an internationally voltage-compatible magic wand, I like the doxy wand better because it has more speeds to it and more rumble. I just love how deep and study this wand is. I've had mine for three years and it honestly only gets better because I feel it gets deeper into its vibrations.
2) Maverick Dildo - I like big dildos and this one isn't the biggest one but I'd say it's a more commonly used big dildo. I like it because it's a manageable size for me where I don't need to do any warm up to get to that size and it's squishy, it's dual density...
3) Foria awaken cbd infused coconut-oil – this lube is oil based so you can't use it on condoms and you can use it on some toys but not all toys. I love this lube because it's infused with CBD and other botanicals and, whilst everybody's body reacts to CBD differently, for me it heightens sensation, I feel it really helps penetrative sex feel more pleasurable and makes me feel more acutely aware of sensations inside of my body. It also smells amazing!
Paulita: Thank you! I can't wait to try it all. Next question, do you watch porn?
Zoë: I do.
Paulita: What kind of porn do you like to watch?
Zoë: It's funny because I watch stereotypical male-gaze porn, even though I know that there is more stuff available. Yeah. So, I watch mainstream porn and I like specifically gang bangs and double and triple penetration. But I don't like the ones that are excessively feeling coercive or as if the performer who is bottoming is feeling uncomfortable, it's pretty frequently a thing where I'm looking at a clip and I'm like oh yeah this person is hating that. And I think that is a more common thing in mainstream porn than indie porn, which is what is part of the appeal for me of indie porn.
I just know it's more ethically done over all, or I feel there is less of a quality control in mainstream porn. But that's not to say that there aren't performers who have done mainstream things that are also in that boat. For example Sasha Grey – although she's now not making porn anymore – she was a really big person for me because she's a power bottom and she's having things that other people might think are degrading and humiliating happened to her in porn but she's basically manipulating and bossing around the people doing it to her. The concept of somebody who is enthusiastically into the very intense sex they're receiving - that is what I like in porn that I watch.
Paulita: So, topping from the bottom.
Zoë: Yes. Yes. I think that's my personal taste, which surely is influenced by many different factors, I grew up seeing dynamics between men and women and sex in a certain way. And I don't know, maybe if I had been born 10 years later I wouldn't be into more hardcore mainstream porn at all because I wouldn't have the same amount of lingering internalized misogyny, who knows. Anyway.
Paulita: Yes, I actually often wonder exactly the same thing. So, from the perspective of a sex educator, what would you say is more detrimental to people's sexual liberties; Warner or Disney?
Zoë: It's interesting that you ask that because Warner owned Super Deluxe which was the company that I made sex stuff on, they allowed me to literally douche on screen. So it's hard to say because Warner owns so many different media channels and some of them are very regressive, and so does Disney of course, I guess Warner is just a bit more edgy and Disney for me has always been equated with fundamental Christianity deep down.
Disney has more to do with this very manicured celebrity perfection ideal, creating child celebrities and influencers and then of course the Disney princesses, I think they're terrible. But I guess my question for you is do you just mean Warner as in the media conglomerate in general vs. Disney the media conglomerate in general?
Paulita: That's a great counter question. I'm afraid I didn't meant it that seriously. I personally grew up with Disney and I think that has shaped my sexuality in so many ways that I still possibly haven't even figured out yet.
I would have to dig and go back to the sleeping beauty and all the non- consent, rape culture. Disney was very popular in Spain, whereas Warner wasn't, I was wondering if there are any differences.
Zoë: Yeah. I guess I'm going to Google about it. It's so hard to even categorize. I guess I would pick Warner over Disney for that reason, because they have hosted some edgy content with sexuality compared to the rest of mainstream media whereas I don't think Disney would go anywhere near that.
But I know most people grew up with Disney and actually it was just never available for me to watch. I watched Sesame Street and Mr. Rogers, educational television. And that was my upbringing. I've definitely seen some Disney movies as a teenager and adult and they haven't really drawn me in. But I also don't have that childhood nostalgia element with it.
Paulita: Good, you're lucky. I'm happy we elaborated on that question, thank you! What are your favorite moments in teaching people about sex?
Zoë: Well, of course, I love praise and hearing positive feedback from people who've seen my videos. But when there is an issue presented to me and I'm able to commiserate and talk through it with somebody, that feels more like what I was put on this earth to do. To work something through when someone is in a difficult space, I feel that's what I've been doing with myself. Trying to make life even more enjoyable and pleasurable or just having my eyes open on the larger lands. At this point I've heard so many things, nothing seems weird or shocking to me.
It's just so second nature that I almost like to work with the most basic and simple problems – sometimes they can be the most difficult ones. I guess I really enjoy working with taboos and taboos are actually quite mundane because they affect all of us. It could be shame around having an STI or some type of sex act they enjoy or maybe just even trying to feel sexual when they aren't - things that are so basic on the one hand but actually quite difficult and complex problems when it's personally affecting you. Realities that are so widely experienced yet under discussed are the things I like to talk about the most because it's the biggest challenge.
Paulita: What role does social media play in your work?
Zoë: It's everything, really. I have used it to create a culture around sex toys and talking about sex. To date I have not done any traditional advertising for my sex toy store which is three years old just because organically talking about sex online really gets people excited. There is a way for me to monetize this where I'm not begging people for money or asking them to go fund me, not that there's anything wrong with that.
It's just that I'm running a business not a charity. And what's amazing is that I am able to support myself and talk about all of this online and it is free and accessible for people, but for those people who do want a sex aid or tool in their life they are helping fund sex education for other people.
It does feel like a very holistic business for me in that way that I can just exist on the Internet and somebody out there is inspired to try something in their life that directly benefits me in a way so I can keep going and keep doing it. It has such a large reach that I just I can't imagine a better way of broadcasting my message to the world.
Paulita: That's inspiring and it makes a lot of sense. What's your take on the ban on adult content on social media platforms?
Zoë: Well, there's nothing to compare it to. We've only had this type of media around for a few years and each platform has its own rules and limits on what you can and can't show. It's difficult because there are people like me who are just trying to educate who are being censored. And there's obviously people who make their livings whether that be through being creative directors of adult content or they're performers in adult content.
And it makes it infinitely more harder for all of these people to make a living. Obviously that also includes sex workers just acknowledging the fact that other websites that are devoted to being resources for sex workers are taken down at this point at least in the US after SESTA/FOSTA. What's interesting to me is that the “dark net” has been around for ever. And you know they're known for the salacious illegal content just because it exists outside of the law. It's interesting to watch cryptocurrency become a bit more mainstream while the encrypted internet is still not mainstream.
And I don't think that is a solution to our problem. But I think that it's so interesting to watch people try to regulate something that is infinite and unlimited and it's like a sandbox for creations. But you know just like Mars and the Moon everybody has to capitalize and monetize on the thing for it to be worth exploring.
Paulita: It's a bit scary.
Zoë: Yeah. I'm excited to be an old person and see what the fuck it looks like. Also, I've been personally censored for so long that it's like nothing new to me and that doesn't mean that it isn't upsetting when it happens for other people. But I guess I'm never surprised when my content is taken down. It's humans regulating and moderating community standards, which means that it is a direct reflection of society's interpretations of what is and isn't appropriate.
Paulita: Right. So we need to change society. But social media has such an impact on society.
Zoë: Exactly. It's this revolving wheel. Which is also why I like this idea of trying to slide in and appear to be playing by the rules while seeing what I can get away with.
Paulita: So what's next? Or anything else that you want to share with us?
Zoë: I guess I just want to encourage people to move past their hesitations in life. Usually when we're about to do something vulnerable that can be life changing we have a lot of hesitation and working to acknowledge when we're feeling hesitant to move into a new opportunity, whether that be trying a new sex act or taking your entire life in a new direction, just try to feel confident and comfortable in acknowledging that you're feeling that way. You don't have to force yourself to do stuff. But just be like, I'm having a hard time doing this thing because it's unfamiliar and scary. But I'm going to push myself to move through it. I think that's what I'm really about right now.