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August 6, 2021

From a Woman & Mother of Boys: What do Vibrators Have to do with Mindfulness?

I read in a Marianne Williamson book many years ago that we should not use artificial pleasure devices to reach orgasm.

She believes it messes with our connection to the divine. It dulls our pleasure centers and makes the real thing seem less effective. It creates a barrier between us and our partners (if we are partnered) and can make them feel inferior to the plastic or silicone in our secret drawer.

I recently questioned why a magazine (the one you are reading right now) that is focused on mindfulness and being of benefit needed so many vagina stimulators in its ads.

I don’t see penis plumpers or pocket pussies. So why the need for some erotica for women only? Is it sexy in our culture to see women pleasuring themselves, but a little dirtier to see men doing so?

Why aren’t there ads with men pleasuring themselves?

I would honestly prefer to see neither. No, I’m not a prude. I don’t think sex or masturbation are taboo. I believe sex and self-exploration should be discussed and shared with loved ones and friends, but I also think we are being desensitized by the ad industry. The naughtier, the better it sells more fake cocks and clitoris stimulators.

I believe sex is more sacred, more holy. I believe self-pleasure is more intimate.

If I’m looking for a “new toy,” I can easily seek one out. But seeing a few ads a day in my newsfeed, on my favorite periodical, is overdone in my middle-aged opinion.

I want to teach my boys to value women’s bodies. The #Metoo movement is real, so stop sexualizing women’s bodies to sell a product. And if you’re going to continue this way, let’s make it fair.

Where are the shirtless men selling me something that I can’t live without, like a new oven mitt or a frying pan? I do want strong vaginal muscles, but do I need to see a half-naked girl to click the ad?

These ads are for women, but they are using younger, prettier, and sexier models. If I use their vibrator, will I feel like them? Will I be that attractive? Will I stop being insecure around men once this toy works its magic?

Here is one of the ads with a half-naked, sensual woman adorning the caption:

“Don’t be Fake.”

More from this cleverly-written ad:

“See, masturbating—like yoga or meditation—is a practice. You’re not gonna break out Grasshopper Pose, or become a monk after just one session of those, right? Masturbation is the same. You need to work at it to expand your potential.

But what else do yoga, meditation, and masturbation have in common? Props to help you get where you wanna be. Start to—um—train properly with these self-love tools. Like, yesterday.”

I personally feel no shame or weirdness talking about self-pleasure. What I’m checking in with is how are these ads making me feel? Do I feel like an inferior partner if I’m not wielding my sexual prowess like the ladies in the ads? Do I really need this toy to become the partner I always dreamed of becoming? Isn’t that somewhat self-defeating? I want body autonomy as much as my other gal pals, but why do the ads seem like they are geared toward turning on dudes?

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Looking further, they also sell anal beads, feathered handcuffs, cock rings, and nipple tape. This isn’t just about self-pleasure. None of those things appeal to me, and in fact, they don’t give me the body autonomy I crave at all.

Here is another sponsored ad with a big old, wet grapefruit between a woman’s legs:

“You’re not going to achieve the big “O” with a partner when you haven’t mastered your own operator’s manual. Put frankly? Your masturbation game is lacking.”

Really? Can we not do better than this? What are we teaching our young girls? You honestly don’t need a contraption to get to know your lady bits.

Plus, where do these end up? Are they compostable? Recyclable?

They’re definitely not reusable. Landfill?

We are worried about our environment, no?

What does Pema Chödrön say about masturbation?

There are other ads that promise to strengthen our pelvic floor. Maybe that’s more my style.

I’m not mad; I’m just asking important questions. Are these ads being clicked on more by men or women? Are they bringing income to pay the writers, editors, and other staff? Well, then good if that’s working. We are all struggling to keep the lights on, but what I don’t want to do is sell my soul to earn more money. I want to stay authentic.

Do I think writing about vibrators and sex might get me more reads? Yes—yes I do. Let this be the “litmus test” of sorts.

Does sex truly sell? Do women’s bodies help get those clicks? Would men’s bodies do anything to help with clicks? Does sex need to sell or should it be more of a private, intimate discussion between friends and lovers?

If men were holding a vibrator, would it be a turnoff or a turnon to women? How many of us women actually click and buy the toys advertised?

I’m sincerely curious. Who are these ads geared toward? Men or women?

I will let this one go now.

Signed,

A woman ( and a mother of sons) who was once a young girl and is concerned about this sexualized culture.

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