I find the texture of a hard tool extremely pleasurable. All puns intended.
This taste developed when I was making sugar glass vibrators for a sci-fi theatre production six years ago. For obvious health reasons, the cock-candy (as it was dubbed) had no life outside the theatre but experimentation left me with a penchant for more. I began to shop for hard toys (glass, ceramic, steel etc.) online and in stores. It became impossible to ignore that sex toy shopping is a completely polarised experience.
On the one hand, there’s the familiar seedy sex-shops full of slutty sailor costumes. I recall one of my first encounters in a shop of this sort in my early twenties with my boyfriend at the time. The shop stank of rubber and cherry-lube which I quite liked. Then the man behind the counter decided to offer us lost lambs his recommendation:
“What you want, is Feed-her-Fuck-her porn” he said to my boyfriend, throwing a glance in my direction, as a third party. He then pointed to a blow up sex doll called “Big Bertha” with a greedy smirk. Being pretty unapologetic about my buxom physique, I burst out laughing and we left empty handed.
At the other end of the market there’s designer sex boutiques. These mostly stock lingerie which isn't made larger than a C cup and costs a month’s salary. They might have a bijou collection of choice sensual l’objet hidden somewhere near the till. Having already rung the doorbell to enter the shop, one must approach slowly and look a member of staff in the eye unwaveringly in order to get near the sex toys.
I’m not denying that there is a high street interim between these two extremes but sadly, that space doesn’t stock the hard textures I covet. What is notable across the spectrum is reoccurring imagery of models draped in french lace and black satin. Even the “fifty shades” phenomena is guilty of this parody. Boxes adorned with aloof young ladies on the verge of ecstasy, in grayscale with cursive text scrolling over their bodies - is almost unanimous. It begs the question… Is this what sex looks like?
Female sexuality is always marketed by brands as an illusive, mysterious thing but I think it’s far more visceral than that. In real life watching the way someone laughs can be the most attractive thing about them. Confidence is sexy and this goes for any age, gender and sexual-preference.
In the fashion sector there are plenty of “real women” campaigns and plus-sized models hitting the mainstream. Clearly society is challenging how the female form is being represented. The branding of sex toys severely lags behind in its representation of desire. My overwhelming feeling about this is that pleasure is being mis-sold. Sex is fun, pleasurable and empowering but nothing about these products tells us that.
Pursuing the glossy sensation of lubricant on a glazed surface, was well worth the chase. So I continued my search but decided to tackle it on my own terms. Over the next five years, I set about designing a ceramic sex toy under the basic criteria of being accessible, ethical and affordable. This was a totally trial and error procedure with a pack of air dry clay and some condoms. When I had a few shapes that felt right for me, I sought out some professional opinions. Really slowly, one prototype at a time, a product developed. My favourite prototype is hand-turned on a lathe. It has a curvaceous body and a chunky handle that’s great for getting your fingers around. I located some manufacturers in the U.K. who I felt happy could produce the product in a way I agreed with. Now I’m launching a Kickstarter for the next stage of the journey.
She’s called Prudence and she’s not interested in judging nor intimidating you. She just feels good.