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Sexologist Megan Andelloux, who has come to campus four years running, is a huge proponent of lube, not so much desensitizing cream.
“Lube is great. I repeat, lube is great,” said Megan Andelloux, emphatically kicking off her annual Sex Toys Workshop in Shanklin Hall last Wednesday. Andelloux, a certified sexuality educator, or “sexologist,” according to her business card, has been coming to Wesleyan for the past four years to speak on the fascinating, controversial, and always exciting topic of sex. While the workshop was largely light-hearted and entertaining, it was in fact sponsored by FemNet—Wesleyan’s Feminist Network—and raised interesting questions about the relationship between sex and feminism.
The workshop covered a broad range of topics, from desensitizing cream to handcuff alternatives to new ways to make use of a vacuum. No matter the topic, Andelloux had a witty comment to explain it.
“Desensitizing cream is the devil, like douching,” she said. “Just remember the three D’s: desensitizing cream, devil, douching. It’s like the Energizer Bunny of lube.”
At the front of the room was a table strewn with toys, which she went through and explained one by one. Andelloux also passed around the toys and had the audience participate in such activities as testing out the vibrators by placing them against their nostrils.
“If it makes you sneeze, it’s too strong,” she explained.
Given its provocative, shocking, and hilarious subject matter, students who attended the workshop had a wide range of responses to it, but on the whole their reactions were very positive, the event ending with raucous applause.
“Clearly it was interesting,” said Alec Harris ’14 with a laugh. “It was shocking at first but I found I got used to it very quickly. It was very lube-heavy.”
Despite the fun and light-hearted tone of the lecture, FemNet did have a slightly more serious purpose in hosting the event. Katie DiBona ’11, president of the group, elaborated on FemNet’s intentions in bringing Andelloux to speak.
“It’s really important to FemNet to bring people to campus who believe in sex positivity and think that sex is about having fun and good communication,” DiBona said. “People who believe in celebrating sex instead of making it into a taboo.”
DiBona described what she sees as the broader relationship between the sexual liberation of women and feminism.
“Men are often seen as the ones whose role it is to be sexual,” she said. “Celebrating women as sexual beings and not viewing their sexuality as something negative or that makes them a slut is really important to feminism and women’s rights.”
Students offered different perspectives on the workshop’s relevance to feminism.
“Most of the toys were catered towards women, and she definitely came off as a strong, independent woman,” said Emma Pattiz ’13. “There were also definitely more women in the audience.”
Another student thought that the feminist focus of the workshop was appropriate due to the long history of sexual oppression of women.
“The lecture was feminist in that Megan focused on consent and pleasure, when sex has been used to oppress women and other marginalized groups for a long time,” said Elizabeth Halprin ’14, a member of FemNet. “I also appreciated that she used terms like penis-owner and vagina-owner, because too often our society conflates biological sex and gender.”
Yet other attendees saw less of an emphasis on feminism in Andelloux’s talk.
“I don’t think it was overbearingly feminist; it was just really based on equality,” said Harris. “In the beginning she said that she doesn’t care who you are, or who you’re doing it with—she just wants sex to be fun. Although from a perspective where women aren’t seen as having as much control in the bedroom, it could have been considered feminist just because it was equalizing.”
However, the negative aspects of linking a sex toys lecture with the causes of feminism were also questioned.
“Sexual empowerment can be a very important tool for women, but you have to examine it critically,” Halprin said. “When women use sex to empower themselves it can continue to promote the idea of them as sexual objects or purely sexual beings,”
DiBona shared similar opinions, but saw the dangers as less relevant.
“It’s definitely a valid opinion; it’s just another way of being a feminist, one that’s not my way,” she said. “There is that danger, but for me what I think is important is to get women—female-bodied people—to feel equipped to combat sexism and paternalism and other forms of oppression by feeling empowered themselves.”
While others expressed concern about whether or not advocates of women’s rights should focus their efforts on educating about sex toys when there are such issues as the condition of women in developing countries or the continued existence of sex-trafficking at hand, DiBona defended the importance of the workshop.
“You can’t create hierarchies of issues,” DiBona said. “Who’s to say what is more important or what type of oppression is worse? There is no one way of being a feminist, so when people are participating in feminist activism it’s really about what parts of feminism are most relevant to them and that they think are important to put their time and efforts into. Sex positivity and good communication in sex are really important to me, so that’s why I put my efforts in this direction.”
Students tended to agree that such workshops were an important and essential contribution to feminism.
“I think it’s important to demystify sex, because our society is pretty Puritanical, and so the more opportunities that everyone has to find out about sex the better,” Halprin said.
Pattiz agreed that the sex-toy workshop is part of a continuum of the feminist movement.
“I mean, when you compare it to giving microloans to women in third world countries, it’s like, what the hell are we doing?” Pattiz said. “But women’s sexual liberation has been an important part of the feminist movement for a long time, and sex toys are a relatively new outlet for expressing that liberation. A workshop on sex toys is a light-hearted approach to making people feel comfortable about women’s sexuality.”
Megan Andelloux, who will be landing the magical Sex Education Jet on Wesleyan’s tarmac tomorrow night.
The fabulously intelligent, friendly, open-minded, beautiful Megan Andelloux will be gracing Wesleyan with her fierce presence this Wednesday. It will be more than worth your hour and a half. From her website:
Sex toys. Alone or with a companion, sex toys give the possibility of enhancing and widening your sexual landscape. But where to start?! The choices can be overwhelming and leave a person breathless from the sheer volume of options.
Sassy, and sex-positive Megan Andelloux is a Certified Sexuality Educator. She will be be leading this workshop about the joys of sex toy play, how to incorporate them into your sex life and give you straightforward and honest information about each item’s best use, shelf life, and more… to help YOU figure out what would work best for YOUR playtime, be it with yourself or with others!
Date: Wednesday, November 3rd Time: 8:30 – 10 pm Place: Shanklin 107 Cost: Free Level of Awesomeness: Extremely high
Whatever your awkward questions, if you’re a sex nerd, or if you’re trying educate yourself while avoiding homework… between Megan’s videos and her workshop on sex toys tomorrow night, you should be set. Below is her first video, in which she answers a question about putting starbusts in a vagina (and answers seriously, respectfully, and scientifically, at that).
1. Why is there such a disconnect between the “health” side of sex and the “pleasure” side of sex?
Talking about sexuality in America can be challenging for many folks. The medical “health” world tends to shy away from discussing sex toys, orgasms and sexual pleasure for fear of promoting “smut” or losing their professional nature. The “Pleasure” focused world is often bored discussing or reading about sexual health due to years of sex education that is fear based (you’ll catch a disease! You’ll be labeled a whore!) Due to the lack of early onset holistic sexuality education these two worlds don’t know how to work together and how much they support one another. Times are starting to change however. Sex toys companies, film producers and pleasure activists are starting to work with the medical field, consulting professionals to ensure health, safety and pleasure. The medical world is starting to conduct studies that recognize the importance of pleasure and it’s effects on our health. Sex Educators are gaining more access to discuss pleasure issues in school systems, which is crucial to help alleviate fear about the body, sensation and thoughts.
2. How can a couple that has been mostly sexually inhibited break out of their rut and try new things without being embarrassed or self-conscious?
Breaking out of a rut is challenging! It can be embarrassing, uncomfortable and feel downright weird because it’s a new experience. Sometimes people forget that those sensations are normal reactions to experiencing a new activity. I like to compare it to the first time a person learns how to hold a pencil. It’s uncomfortable and awkward. But that doesn’t mean it’s wrong, it’s just NEW. So keep that in mind. You may find after a few tries that you really enjoy this new behavior or fantasy. You may also find that you won’t. But you’ll never know if you don’t try. So scootch yourself. Take a class on sexuality (many are held at sex toy shops, colleges or community centers). Purchase a book or watch a video on sexual fantasies and see what is arousing for other people. Think about what turns other people on and ask yourself, could this be a turn on for me? Then turn to your partner, tell them what you just saw or read about and say, “I just learned about ________. What do you think about that?” That gives you the opportunity to introduce a topic without disclosing too much information about how you feel. You are merely asking them for their thoughts on a topic. It’s a great way to start a conversation, especially about a behavior you might want to try out.
3. How should a couple go about experiencing with sex toys? Will they really make a difference in the relationship?
Sex toys can be a healthy component to enhancing a sexual relationship with yourself or a partner. The first study examining American’s sex toy use was conducted last year and found that almost half of the American population reports using sexual aids at some point in their life (52% of women and 45% of men) but you shouldn’t expect it to fundamentally change your relationship. Sex toys can make in difference in how you experience pleasure, foster communication, create a special bond between you and your partner, and assist in sexual expression if there are physical limitations. If you choose to experiment with sex toys, I would recommend starting small. Don’t necessarily go with what your best friend or magazines recommend, but rather discuss, what are we looking to get out of buying a sex toy? Is it to explore a fantasy? To cause (or intensify) orgasms? To stimulate a part of the body that may be difficult to reach? Then, start to narrow down your search. There are so many different types of sex toys out there; lubrication, vibrators, blindfolds, butt plugs, strap-ons, cock rings, etc. And each person is going to experience an item differently. So communicate with your partner about the experience and laugh. Sex can be awkward, weird and downright funny-it’s playtime for adults! Approach it that way: a fun expression of your creative sexual side.
4. You suggest that women celebrate menstruation! Why in the world would they want to do that? Explain your thoughts here, please and thank you!
How one feels about menstruation is correlated to their comfort or discomfort around sex, body image and sensations experienced. Menstruation is a taboo in our society. Labeled as “feminine hygiene” this phrase contributes to the fear that the vagina is dirty. In fact, if cared for properly, the vagina is the cleanest part of the body. No douches, sprays or chemicals need to take residence here, as they will only increase the chances of infections occurring. Menstruation is a natural, healthy function. To surround it in shame, dread or not publicly discussed contributes to individuals feeling disgusted or wishing for their periods to be over. For some people, their periods can be very painful, but they are not always that way! My suggestion to celebrate menstruation is an attempt to get people talking about it in a natural, normalizing way. Sexuality educators work hard every day to help make people feel more comfortable in their bodies and feeling comfortable about periods is another way to help people experience that.
5. What are your top sure-fire ways to keep things hot in the bedroom?
Communicate. Masturbate. Touch each other throughout the day (not just when you want to have sex). Laugh. Embrace the awkwardness. Try out new things. But most of all, have fun. Sex is playtime for adults!
Why the G-spot does exist and why every woman should be encouraged to discover more…
In response to the many flawed studies into the female G-spot, we’ll be revealing our expert educators views on all things G-spot, 1 new question and their 5 insightful responses, each day…
In order to provide a balanced, insightful and informed guide to all things G-spot, Je Joue teamed up with North America’s leading authors, sexologists and sex educators.
1. Why are there several studies now that have
declared that the G-spot doesn’t exist?
When you look closely, these studies are all flawed. They are based on self-reporting, which, like Violet Blue was quoted as saying, is like asking a group of men if they have a prostate. The studies also focused solely on heterosexual penis-vagina intercourse, which is not always the best way to stimulate the G-spot and did not take into account non-intercourse based sex at all.
First of all, a woman must be aroused in order to find her G-spot (or for anyone to find it really). Secondly, not all women enjoy G-spot stimulation – some can’t get over the feeling that they have to pee.
First off, I always get a little thrill when researchers come out with new studies focused on sexuality. As a field, human sexuality has long been ignored by the mainstream scientific community. So no matter the findings, more research is always a good thing.
Amongst a certain breed of straight laced, button downed scientists that would like to compare the search for the G-spot to the search for the Lost City of Atlantis. They take as an assumption that the G-Spot is a mythical creature and does not exist. Whether their basis has influenced their research is unclear.
However it may be possible that the G-spot does not exist because it may not a separate structure, but merely a region of the vagina that is highly receptive to pleasure. Take for example the ear. It is a highly erogenous part of the body and many people report that the earlobe in particular is exquisitely sensitive. But if we get a room full of scientists to dissect a hundred ears, they are probably not going to find a special bundle of nerves that we could label the “E-spot”. Does that mean we should stop licking each other’s ears? Heck no! What difference does an extra cluster of nerves or special gland matter if it feels good?
I think it’s hard to study the g-spot because the pleasure itself is subjective, and because it’s hard to find participants who can truly get aroused in a lab environment.
The recent survey of identical twins — and it was a survey, not lab research, where they simply asked women if they had a g-spot or not — found that extroverted, more sex-positive women reported that they had g-spots, while women who were less enthusiastic or more private about sex reported that they did not or weren’t sure. Those responses tell us more about how women perceive sexual pleasure than they do about any particular anatomical function.
Just like some people don’t respond at all to nipple stimulation while others can orgasm from it, not every woman is going to notice or respond to g-spot stimulation.
Don’t forget that the media loves to be able to write about sex sort of sideways, without crossing the line of what you can and can’t say in family newspaper, so even the smallest graduate student experiment can become distorted through the national headlines.
2. What is the G-spot ?
The urethra is surrounded by the urethral sponge. The urethral sponge is also known as the G-spot. The urethral sponge is made of spongy erectile tissue that contains paraurethral glands and ducts. Like the clitoris, the G-spot is not just an isolated spot of sensitivity, but part of a network of nerves, muscles, and tissue.
The G-spot is the female prostate.
The G spot is technically urethral sponge. It’s a “zone” inside a woman, generally 1 to 2 inches inside the vagina, that can do wonders to enhance internal stimulation, or make you feel like you have to pee. Since you’re technically massaging the bottom wall of the urethra (you never want to enter a woman’s urethral opening) by stimulating the top wall of the vagina, you’ll want to use a little pressure. When she’s aroused and ready to get “G” revved up, the area should feel like it does if you run your tongue around the roof of your mouth. Ridgey, right?!
The G spot is an area inside the vagina that can be stimulated to produce heightened sexual pleasure. It is located on the anterior wall of the vagina (towards the tummy) about 2 inches inside the vaginal canal.
Some medical studies suggest the G-spot is composed of clitoral structure while other studies suggest it is an area of tissue anatomically related to the male prostate.
The g-spot is an area in the vagina that can become raised and sensitized when you are aroused, so that anything penetrating you glides over it with each stroke. “Oh dear,” you might be thinking now. “All those other women are having earth-shaking orgasms, and all I have is the urge to pee!”
But that’s actually an excellent sign, because yes, that IS the spot. Now that you’ve found it, all you have to do is let go of the anxiety about wetting the bed, breathe deep, try to relax, and open up to the stimulation. It can feel vulnerable and strange when you first discover your g-spot, because it is a feeling unlike any other. But that need to pee will fade away and intense, deep waves of sensation will begin, spreading outward from your center.
3. Do all women have a G-spot ?
Every woman has a G-spot. What varies is how women like to have their G-spots stimulated and how they experience G-spot stimulation. Some women love it, some like it, and some don’t like it at all.
I can’t say that 100% of women have a G-spot, but most women have spots inside their vagina that feel great when stimulated. Whether you call it the G-spot or not, that’s up for you to decide. If it feels good and makes you go “Oh G” you’ve got it going on. Yes, most women have a G-spot, and of those women some of them like G-spot stimulation.
While nothing in the human body happens every single time (for instance not EVERYONE is born with ears, but most people are), most people have G-spots. For many, the G-spot area can be fantastically fun to stimulate, just the ticket to hurdle the hump to have an orgasm, or be the button to push to “squirt”. Alternatively, like nipples, some people don’t enjoy the stimulation. That’s the beauty of human sexuality, there are no absolutes.
I don’t like to make sweeping statements like “all women” because of course I haven’t met all women so I can’t tell you with 100 percent certainty that this is a universal body part, just like some people never get wisdom teeth and others are born without an appendix. Even if all women do have anatomical g-spots, that doesn’t mean that all women can orgasm from stimulation of the place known as the g-spot, or even find it pleasurable.
But I can tell you this for sure: the quest is worth it for its own sake. The point is not to obsess about one particular area so much as to find your own particular responses. Worst case scenario is you find some other place — perhaps up one inch from the traditional g-spot area — that feels fantastic. Who knows, maybe you will become known as the discoverer of the LMNOP spot!
4. What is the best way to find my G-spot?
Because the G-spot swells during arousal, the more turned on a woman is, the easier it will be to find her G-spot. If you slide one or two fingers inside the vagina, you can feel the sensitive area of the urethral sponge through the front wall. Compared to the smooth tissue of the rest of the vaginal wall, the area has a different texture. It feels wrinkled or like it has ridges.
Lay down, on your back, knees bent. Use your hands of a vibrator on your clitoris. Get warmed up. Feel aroused. Once you do, slide your finger around the entrance to your vagina. Move a finger inside, slowly, curving it as if you were trying to seduce the hottest hottie you’ve ever met. It’s that “come here, baby, I’m talking to you” motion. Use one or two fingers. Hook those curved fingers around the pubic bone, rub the top wall of the vagina. Use your fingers to stroke back or forth, or slide in and out. It’s generally about the size of a coin, and really ridgey.
Masturbate. Privately of course, but masturbate. Do away with those pesky goals, time constraints or expectations other than the pleasure of exploring your own body.
Get turned on. After you have become aroused, place a toy (or one to two fingers) that is curved upwards, inside the vagina towards your tummy. Move your arm to make your fingers (or the toy) go forward and backwards, almost like you are scratching an itch. Some people also recommend stroking techniques like “Come hither” or using your fingers or toys to replicate ringing your friends doorbell “Ding-Dong! Here we are, G-Spot zone!
The G-spot area is located closer to the outside of the vagina (vs. deeper in). Stimulate the clitoris and the G-spot area at the same time. Focus on what your body is feeling, the sensations that are occurring.
Discovering your g-spot through masturbation is a way to claim your sexuality (you’re in control), figure out what type of stimulation you like (faster, slower, come here) and have the luxury to understand what you are experiencing without someone staring at you, which for many, can cause enough stress to reduce the ability to really feel and enjoy the sensations in their body.
Before we get to the physical exploration, let me acknowledge that there is a mental component to finding this pleasure zone. For one thing, there’s that worry about peeing, if you have tried to play with your g-spot before. For another, the media hype around the g-spot can actually feel like pressure, like if you don’t find yours right now and have Richter-scale orgasms, you are somehow defective or behind the times.
We do not want you to feel anxious! Take a deep breath and relax. You don’t have to orgasm on the first try. You don’t even have to like it the first time. Just be willing to open up and explore, and remember that this is about feeling good and having fun. There is no final exam.
On to the physical. You can experiment on your own and with partners, with fingers and toys and harnesses, and even with an erection if you happen to have one handy in the house.
The g-spot is located on the front wall of the vagina, within reach of your fingertips. The g-spot feels rougher and even “ridged” compared to the rest of the vaginal wall. If you press on it, you will likely feel some sensation in your bladder. Once you have located the spot, the fun stuff begins, as you try different types of stroke, speed, and pressure to find out what feels best to you.
5. How is the G-spot linked to female orgasm?
What is a G-spot orgasm?
Sexologists and researchers classify orgasms in various ways, like the clitoral orgasm, the blended orgasm, or the G-spot orgasm. But it puts us in tricky territory. You can’t simply say ‘this is a G-spot orgasm,’ because G-spot stimulation techniques can vary and the orgasm you have from fingers, a toy, or a penis can all feel different from one another. Some women ejaculate from G-spot stimulation and say that it’s another kind of orgasm for them. I prefer to talk about the many different ways women can experience pleasure that can lead to orgasm. Can women experience orgasm from G-spot stimulation? Absolutely! G-spot stimulation—alone or combined with clitoral stimulation—is one of the many paths toward female orgasm. Many women can also experience indirect G-spot stimulation through anal penetration and have an orgasm that way.
I’m not a doctor, but I believe that the G-spot is connected to the large network of the clitoris and is part of the clitoral cluster. Therefore, the G-spot can be aroused by the same nerve endings as the clitoris and produce orgasms. Men and women have the same amount of erectile tissue, just laid out differently, so the G-spot is female erectile tissue and as we get aroused and engorged we can get off. A G-spot orgasm is an orgasm (orgasm is technically a series of rhythmic contractions) that originates in the area where the G-spot is located.
Orgasm. Gotta love them! So many different types, ways to have one, determination to have one, more, more, more! G-Spot stimulation can help a lady have an orgasm, but not always. You can enjoy some fantastic vibrations on the g-spot and have an orgasm or you may not. Touching the G-spot does not mean you are going to cum.
The G-spot is intimately connected to clitoral structure. This connection can lead to G-spot orgasms, which are also known as vaginal orgasms. (I know, why can’t we just pick one name for female bodied structures and stick with it?) Internal stimulation leads to an entirely different sensation than external stimulation of that tiny locus of pleasure, the clitoris. Touch the outside; get sharp, fast, intense orgasms. Touch the inside: get deep, throbbing, full bodied orgasms.
The g-spot contributes to female orgasm like any other erogenous zone, with its own special sensations and sensitivity. And like other aspects of female sexuality, the sensation can change from day to day, minute to minute, partner to partner. I suppose that can be frustrating but I like to think about it as a delicious variety, an opportunity to try all the different spices of life.
6. What if a woman really can’t find her G-spot?
Is the G-spot easier to find with age or sexual
First, I think that people are often looking for some magic place that when touched will create fireworks or opera music. You have to have realistic expectations and know that some women’s G-spots are more sensitive than others. Some women have stimulated the urethral sponge through the lower front wall of the vagina and just don’t find it that, well, stimulating. That’s okay—not every woman likes G-spot stimulation.
If a woman can’t find her G-spot she can try using a sex toy. There are ones, like the G-ki that make it easier to hit the spot (you can get tired if you are using your fingers). The G-spot is easier to find when you know your own body, that’s the bottom line.
It’s porn’s fault. Heck, everyone else seems to be ‘hating’ on porn so why don’t I just jump on the bandwagon. A careful study of pornography tells us that when a g-spot is stimulated, instantaneous orgasms, exploding rockets, and erupting oil wells will follow. Unfortunately, for millions of vexed women, the reality is a little different. When most people first discover their G-spot, it makes them feel like they have to pee. Because this urge to pee isn’t talked about, when G-spot owners don’t find the Staples “That was easy” button, they assume they are in the wrong spot.
Aging can have benefits! Some people have an easier time discovering their G-spot as they age because they feel more sexually connected to their body. Shame and guilt can interfere with enjoying what G-spot stimulation can bring. As many people age, they grow beyond the inhibitions of their youth. It’s not necessarily easier to locate the G-spot due to age or sexual experience, but more so because we become more comfortable exploring and enjoying our bodies.
I think a lot of things about sex get easier and more fun with time and experience. What’s that saying about youth and energy being no match for age and cunning?
I don’t know if we learn to accept our bodies and appreciate our sexuality more as we get older or if we just get too tired to waste time worrying about things we can’t change.
If you really can’t find your g-spot, or don’t take especial pleasure in having it stimulated, I wouldn’t let it get you down. I certainly would hate to see you get obsessed with any one particular spot or sensation that you think you “should” have but don’t. Certainly there are plenty of other places on your body that can stand in, right? Maybe you can declare one of those places your own personal g-spot.
7. What is the connection between the G-spot and
The G-spot and the prostate are formed from the same embryonic tissue and have lots of similar properties, which is why some people call the G-spot “the female prostate.” Like the prostate, the G-spot swells and fills with fluid during arousal; the fluid, called female ejaculate, is very similar to prostatic fluid from the prostate.
All fetuses are formed from the same genetic material, male and female genitals are homologous. Women don’t have a prostate, although the skene’s glands is being called the female prostate, and a man’s g-spot is his prostate, so it just depends on what you want to call it and how you identify.
This connection is unclear, unknown and remains to be explored. There are wild hypotheses that make some remote embryological connections between the two, but these are speculation at best. But from a strictly functional standpoint, both of these regions are reached in the same manner: insertion in your respective orifice, tilt towards the tummy, and rub.
Both are known to be erogenous zones that produce intense, deep sensations in the body for those who open up to the stimulation. Both are internal and require some exploration to find the best way to stroke, tease, and tantalize them.
8. Why are there so many toys designed for G-spot
stimulation and what makes the G-Ki different
from other toys?
The G-spot has come into popular consciousness and companies have seized on the opportunity to make toys for a subject that seems to be covered in women’s magazines ad nauseum. The problem is that a lot of these toys are made of crappy materials (like soft PVC with phthalates) and don’t work with women’s anatomy or aren’t even tested on women. The G-Ki is well-designed and made of top quality materials; a tremendous amount of thought went into the shape, design, and technology. It will last a long time unlike many cheaper, inferior toys. Everyone’s anatomy is slightly different so the fact that the G-Ki is adjustable is just fantastic. Plus, it works as a toy for masturbation (it’s easy to hold and use) and for partnered sex.
The G-Ki’s creators and makers know where the G-spot is located. Je Joue has created the G-Ki to assist women with finding and feeling their G-spots. There are as many G-spot toys designed for the G-spot as there are incorrect opinions about where the G-spot is located. With some of these toys, it can even feel as though the toy reflects the ambivalence of the maker’s feelings toward the G-spot as fact or fiction.
What I love about the G-Ki is that you can actually program it to fit your body because it’s adjustable! You can move the toy in two spots so that you find the right angle for your pleasure. I love that it’s rechargeable and made of material I can trust for my body and really for everybody.
How does the saying go? So many toys, so little time? Different strokes for different folks… Ah yes, there are so many different sensations because people experience things differently. Do you like gentle or firm or gentle pressure? Do you prefer pin-point accuracy or diffuse stimulation? Would you ride the vibrations or is that just a distraction? Do you need clitoral stimulation at the same time you press inward? All of these questions should be asked (and more importantly explored) to help you decide what type of g-spot loving you want to receive.
The G-Ki offers many of these variations in one compact little unit. Variation of vibration, rounded tip, owner control with the degree of pressure delivered, medically sound materials that are hypoallergenic (and waterproof) and yet, still friendly for our planet. Yes the G-Ki is even green. With variation of colors to boot, the G-Ki gives G- spot enthusiasts a lot to celebrate.
Many toys claim to be designed to stimulate the g-spot that actually aren’t. In those cases, the g-spot is a convenient marketing term for any toy that has a curve or bump in the part of the toy that penetrates the vagina.
However, the G Ki developers actually studied 10,000 women so they could design a toy that is not only lovely but also functional. It is adjustable so you can find the right angle for your own body. And it is designed to stimulate the clitoris at the same time, as most women do not come from g-spot stimulation alone.
9. What positions are easiest to find my G-spot in?
By yourself, I recommend laying on your back since it really helps to relax you. With a partner, I suggest a position I call “Missionary Fold,” where you lay on your back with your legs up either folded back and against your shoulders or your legs up on your partner’s shoulders. Because this position is face to face, it allows for eye contact, verbal and non-verbal communication, and easy access to your vulva.
I love missionary, with my legs high in the air, or on my partner’s shoulders, but a good cowgirl or reverse cowgirl can do the trip too.
Whatever position that works best for you! Really, it’s more about what feels good than what some manual or expert says. So grab a good old game of Twister and take your clothes off. Get in different positions and see what works best for your g-spot, your mind, and you. So while The ‘Backward’s Froggy’ position may be the bee’s knee’s right now, what’s even hotter is watching someone who is having a gut wrenching, spine tingling, full on g-spot orgasm in missionary position!
If you are solo, any position where you can reach inside and press toward the front of your body will help. I did most of my self-exploration in the bath tub, where I could be naked, weightless, and warm.
Sex is stressful. I applaud women who have mastered the art of one-handed bra removal, that certain seductive take-me-now gaze, and who have never once faltered while tearing open a condom wrapper in the heat of the moment. For the rest of us, the girls who don’t really know what to say and the girls who wonder “am I really doing this right?” it’s almost enough to make us swear off sex all together, almost.
Sex provides a laundry-list of anxieties: is my birth control working; is the third date too soon; thong or boy-short? Even having sex with yourself is nerve-wracking between wondering if time would be better spent finishing your term paper and making sure your roommate actually went to her 4:30 class. Then there are the toys—so many different kinds of toys that any sex shop or web-store is bound to make you feel like you’re stuck somewhere in the Wizard of Oz and just cannot find your way back home. Well, tap your fabulous, sequined stilettos together and consider this your yellow brick road. Here’s Her Campus’s guide to sex toys.
With so many options to choose from, it’s easy to become overwhelmed, especially if you are new to the world of sex toys like Chelsea*, a Hofstra University Sophomore. After discussing it with her boyfriend, she decided to take the plunge.
“We decided to go to Spencer’s Gifts and see what kind of sex toys they had there. When I walked to the back of the store where they keep the sex toys, I was suddenly overwhelmed. There we so many to choose from,” she said. “I was a tad confused on which one I should choose, considering I wasn’t even sure if I was ready to embark on the sex toy journey. At the same time I was kind of intrigued by the whole thing, they really had everything for any kind of pleasure you wanted to experience.”
If you’re like Chelsea and don’t know where to start, here are three of the most popular toys according to a Her Campus survey of college women:
Vibrator A vibrator is a toy designed to stimulate your precious lady parts by vibrating against them, either internally or externally. They come in many different styles, from small, discreet bullet shaped toys to larger phallic models, which are sometimes referred to as dildos, though not all dildos vibrate. They also come in other varieties, like vibrating underwear, for an extra saucy dinner-date.
Strap On A strap on is harness designed to hold a dildo or vibrating dildo in order to facilitate penetration. It can be used by any sex or gender, just like vibrators or anal plugs, which is why it’s super popular.
Anal Plug Anal plugs are sex toys designed to fit snugly into your sexy bottom. Some women say they help them orgasm, for others, it’s just a turn-on.
Erasing your doubts.
Did you know 57% of college aged guys and girls surveyed in an exclusive Her Campus poll said that they’ve used sex toys? Out of those who haven’t, 80% said that they know someone who has. That adds up to most of us, yet walking into a sex shop can still make anyone bashful. This is why lots of us have the tendency to blindly pick out a toy like it’s a used vinyl record in the discount bin, and run. Just like when you’re record shopping, cool album art and a snappy band name don’t mean the songs are any good.
Whether you’re a virgin who’s never seen a sex toy, already have an enormous collection hidden in your underwear drawer, or someone who’d consider their sex life pretty vanilla (hey, vanilla is a good flavor too!), it’s still important to know what you want. There are three crucial elements to any sex toy purchase: use, look, and material. If you’ve considered these three things, then that’s half the battle.
“I have to say,” says Chelsea, “I never thought I would be using sex toys with myself, or with my significant other, but I am for sure a fan now. Ever since that one day, I have gone back and bought several more toys to test out.”
Like Chelsea, once you’ve broken free from the shackles of shyness, and can proudly proclaim that you do in fact want to buy a sex toy (or at least shop for one online in the confines of your bedroom), you must ask yourself one simple question: what exactly do I want to do with this thing?
“You want to think about if you want to be using it as an external toy or an internal toy,” says Megan Andelloux, certified Sexologist and Sexuality Educator. “Vibration tends to work best externally, even though some people like to use it internally.”
If you want a toy specifically for internal use, you need to decide which kind of stimulation you want—G-Spot or anal stimulation.
The G-Spot, located on the inside of the front vaginal wall, is a mystery to many women, so it’s no wonder that 40% of readers surveyed prefer toys for external stimulation. Let it be a mystery no more; purchasing a toy with a curvature will help you reach that sweet spot that’s easy to miss with your hands.
If you’re looking for anal stimulation, you have to be a little more careful.
“If [the toy is] used for anal it has to have a flange,” she says.
A flange is the flared ending on toys designed to be used anally which prevents them from getting lost inside of you.
In the same way that rock hard abs and deep blue eyes made you fall for that Campus Cutie, the right looks can lead you to the perfect sex toy.
“It’s important to keep in mind what turns you on, what type of stimulation you want, what looks appealing to you,” says Andelloux. “Does it look like something you want to play with? Some people really like abstract art-type sex toys, whereas other people feel more comfortable with animal themes like The Rabbit.”
So what turns you on? Do you like neon colors or prefer things to be a bit more anatomically correct? 28% of readers said they like their toys to be fun and colorful, while a whopping 48% agreed that toys should be discreet.
If you’re looking for something ultra-cute to impress your beaux, Andelloux recommends the Pyrex Mint Plug by Crystal Delights. “[It’s] bling for your butt. How could someone not want to play with a sparkly butt?”
For someone who’s a bit more demure she also recommends the Fingo by Screaming-O, a small bullet type vibrator used for external stimulation. “It’s small so it doesn’t scare people,” she says. “It’s fabulous to use during oral sex and it’s less than $20.”
A sex toy is like your favorite t-shirt. You want it to look good on you and be versatile, but most of all, you want it to be comfortable. This is why material matters. Would you settle for a cheap poly-blend when you could have 100% cotton? Of course not.
“You want to think about the type of materials,” says Andelloux, “hard and firm will carry more vibration, or do you want it to be soft and feel more lifelike?”
It’s also imperative to make sure that the material is safe. Plastic toys or toys that contain jelly may contain Phalates, which are linked to cancer, reproductive failure, and intersex conditions, and can leak out of poorly made toys.
“If the sex toy salesman recommends you use a condom over [the toy], that’s a sign it has Phalates,” Andelloux explains.
If your toy might have Phalates, it’s best to use a condom or skip it all together. There are plenty of other options that are effective, inexpensive, and safe.
Do what feels right.
With sex toys, it’s important to remember that it’s all about what makes you feel good. While most of our minds default to the small, discreet vibrator we saw in that infamous episode of “Sex and the City” when we think about it, that doesn’t mean it’s the only option. There are many different kinds of sex toys for every woman’s unique needs. Your best friend might love to use a strap-on or fool around with anal-beads, but you might like things slightly more traditional.
When surveyed, an overwhelming number of Her Campus readers admitted to strictly using vibrators, and one even divulged us in her secret—she uses an electric tooth brush, but if that’s too vanilla for your tastes, there are some options that are a little more risqué. Not all toys are created for the bedroom—some allow us to get our freak on when we are walking to class or dancing in the club.
Club Vibe by OhMiBod is a small vibrator that slips into a special pair of panties. “You wear it to a club,” Andelloux says, “and it vibrates to the base of the music the DJ is playing.”
Luna Ball, a small plastic ball designed to tone Kegel muscles, is another sex toy that you can wear out like your favorite pair of blue jeans.
“You can wear them around campus all day long, and they provide a fun party in your pants while toning your Kegel muscles to give you stronger orgasms,” says Adelloux, “They are not designed to give you orgasms, but they are designed to make you feel fun like you have a special secret inside.”
Whether you are looking for something discreet, loud, for the bedroom, or for the world outside, sex toys can add an element of surprise to spice up your relationship, or provide the excitement of a steamy hook-up when you’re flying solo. Once you pick out a sex toy that fits your needs, there is only one more rule—have fun.
Sexologist Megan Andelloux with plush vulva puppet.
Voice Vixen here, reporting on the Female Orgasm Seminar which took place this past Friday night. Content warning, the following does acknowledge the existence of sex and is textually NSFW.
6:45 So this thing hasn’t started yet and already Science Center C is a writing mass of hot bodies, packed front to back with Harvard Students who apparently want to know the ins and outs of the female orgasm. There is a table up front arrayed with various sex toys ranging from purple to pink to… pinker. I’ve picked up a raffle ticket, wish me luck!
6:46: A group of guys sitting behind me can’t seem to say the word clitoris without whispering. One of them says he hopes to hear about some “serious technique.”I suppress judgement, it seems clear that boys of Harvard could really use the help.
6:55 It IS SO LOUD IN HERE. It’s almost like every person in the room is having a really intelligibly vocal orgasm. Rabble rabble rabble!
A capture of Lingford’s stop motion animation.
6:00 Ruth Lingford (VES Professor, Department Head) has started talking about her videos interviewing people to describe their orgasms. Her film is a minimalist stop motion animation with voiceover’s of said descriptions. It is notably replete with phrases like “chocolate mousse”, “volcanic”, “like icing”, “I thought of broccoli”. All this food talk really makes me want a cupcake. Everyone laughs at a software update popup, but the video is otherwise really interesting and captivatingly animated.
7:05 I begin to tally the number of times people say “orgasm.”
7:08 I don’t know whether to be encouraged by the number of people in the room or really, really saddened by the balls-to-the-wall, people-standing-in-the-aisles attendance.
7:16 To describe the scene, on the table in the front is a VAST array of sex toys, apparently $1000 worth of swag. Apparently the Voice’s good blogging sista, Lena Chen of Sex and The Ivy, graciously supplied the sex toys to be given away. We love you Lena!
Note: The men here are definitely, the loudest, brashest people in the audience. Voice Vixen does not like. The sex educator/sexologist however, is extremely cool and sexy. Just sayin’. High waisted skirt, white blouse, librarian glasses. A Harvard gal might steal this look.
7:21 Surprisingly, the “orgasm” iteration count is only at 8 – I think we can do better than this.
7:22 So cute/gross, everyone in the audience just said ‘Pap Smears’ altogether, like a three-year old says “Good Morning Mr. Rogers!”
FML Celebrity Sighting! Gov20 Italian guy.
7:23: Highlight of the event: women referred to as “vaginal owners”, because not everyone who has a vagina identifies as female. Thank you! This is a vast improvement upon the utterly heteronormative seminars of yesteryear.
The sexologist lays it down for us, figuratively. Some great quotes:
“Everyone has an asshole, everyone has a mouth. Those are the great equalizers.”
In reference to always using lube for anal sex: “My job is to make sure you don’t rip your butthole.”
“This is one of my vulva puppets.”
“For the love of god masturbation is good for you.”
“There are no absolutes in human sexuality.”
HOLY CRAP COOL FACT: Greatest number of orgasms had by a woman in a sexual study: 134 in one hour. Everyone feels inadequate.
7:30 There is way too much hooting and hollering from the men in here. You dogs you.
MORE TECHNIQUE/HELPFUL FACTS:
The average female orgasm takes: 10-20 min
Imbibing anything over an ounce of alcohol decreases the ability to orgasm, but less than an ounce makes one a little more receptive.
Working out helps you have better orgasms, as it improves the circulatory system.
Direct clitoral stimulation is needed for most vaginal owners to get off. “Trying to orgasm without clitoral stimulation is like a man trying to orgasm without touching his penis.”
Orgasm isn’t the goal, there’s other fun stuff (aka goal-focused sex, a no-no).
Super Helpful Relaxation Tip: try to make the jaw muscles slack.
Politics do not belong in the bedroom.
7:47 “Orgasm” count now way up to 49.
7:57 We’re about to watch a clip from “Viva La Vulva.” Oh, yes, you really should have come to this. So. many. vulvas. Everyone is rapt with attention though; half the guys in the room have their hands near their mouth or their chins. A woman with really, really strong PC muscles is displaying herself COMPLETELY. I can’t help but wonder how many Harvard boys have even seen this before, let alone projected 6 feet tall in a on a screen. Vaginal show and tell.
The sexologist mentioned genital shaving and every girl groaned.
8:12 We’ve moved onto the clitoris!
Tip: If you “split the clitoris into four quadrants” the upper left is the most sensitive. Who knew?
Fact: You cannot stretch out the vagina lips.
Facts: If someone is physically responding to sex their outer lips will open up. the The clitoris is actually 4-6 inches long, the exposed part being just a tiny tip of it. Is it sad that this comes as incredible information to everyone in the audience?
8:22 We’re onto vibrators and toys:
Fact: vibrators were created for the medical community, as a treatment for hysteria.
Fact: You can’t “break” your vagina by using your vibrator too much.
Butt lessons: make sure your anal toy has a flange (a wide part at the base of the toy that prevents it from being sucked up into your body). The image that accompanies this advice is horrifying.
8:41: final “orgasm” word count at 67.
Final Thoughts: While Voice Vixen did not snag a cupcake, she assumes they could only have been magnificent. In any case the talk was incredibly informative. It’s amazing how mis/uneducated individuals can be about their own bodies. Voice Vixen came away cringingly refreshed as did many of the others in attendance. If anything can be surmised from the incredibly participatory, enraptured, and VOCAL student responses, it’s that the event was an incredible success. Alas, we did not win a sex toy (there was a Hello Kitty vibrator… NOOOO!) but we definitely give kudos to The Radcliffe Union of Students for their work putting this together. Look forward to it next year, and get there EARLY because there wasn’t an empty seat in the house! Harvard kids might be sexually frustrated, but sh*t if they aren’t willing to educate themselves. The main advice of the night: Relax, be safe , learn more, read more, masturbate more, and remember to relax that jaw!
Megan Andelloux sits in row three of the Pawtucket City Council Chambers, awaiting a verdict. Beautifully poised in a navy blue, tailored vintage dress, her red hair lovely and tidy, her hands in her lap, her pumps set squarely on the floor, she looks like a young real estate professional requesting a zoning variance.
In my mind, she transforms into the heroine of her own comic book series. Her pumps become stacked spike-heeled boots, her demure fifties dress evaporates into a corset blazing with the colors of the American flag. Her red hair let loose and wild, she leaps from her chair, a rolled up copy of the Bill of Rights in one hand, a vibrator in the other.
This is about sex, she admonishes the cowering panel. You know it is! My center will open! People will come! Men and women will have, finally, a safe place to talk about orgasms and erectile dysfunction, safe lubricants and spanking. And it will be in downtown Pawtucket!
But tonight is not the night for super heroine triumphs. Tonight is just another night for battling the grinding bureaucratic machine that Andelloux, thirty-three, encountered last fall when she attempted to open her nonprofit Center for Sexual Pleasure & Health in Pawtucket’s Grant Building. It turns out that educational organizations may not do business in this building, and so the city’s zoning office shut her down. Her appeal of that decision, tonight, will be denied. This is not about sex, the panel will assert. This is about zoning.
She will not transform into an erotic, pen-and-ink protagonist. She’ll nod, knowingly, at the denial she suspected was coming her way. She’ll sit through the rest of the evening’s decisions, then powwow with her lawyer Michael Horan in the cold, clattery hallway outside the Chambers. They’ll plan her next attack, not with sex toys, but with paperwork. She’ll tell local press that she’ll continue to assert her right to do business in Pawtucket. She’ll assure friends that she’s not ready to give up. Not by a long shot. It’s not comic book behavior, but it’s a fight all right.
“Two things,” Andelloux says, tucked into the circa-1960s black vinyl sectional sofa in her CSPH offices, the 500-square-foot Ground Zero of her battle. The center is for counseling and classes, as well as distribution of literature ranging from safe sex to pleasure-related practices between (she constantly emphasizes) consenting adults. No sex takes place here and nothing is for sale. It’s Planned Parenthood with a little Lady Gaga thrown in; shame gets checked at the threshold while candor and humor make any question reasonable, any aspect of sex fair game. Andelloux says she loves the space because it’s an interior storefront. Patrons of any of the Grant Building’s tenants, from Flying Shuttles Studio and Blackstone Chess Academy to graphic design studios and Kafe Lila, enter through a central outer doorway to find individual businesses lining an interior gallery. From Andelloux’s point of view, this brightly lit, friendly vestibule provides privacy for anyone who might feel uncomfortable entering an organization dealing with sex, from the street. “Plus,” she says, “the building has its own cat. How homey is that?”
Andelloux embraces homey. She’s painted the center’s walls a cheery yellow and robin’s egg blue, colors more at home in a farmhouse kitchen than an office, and hung ephemera that reveal her collector’s mentality as well as her saucy take on sex. A vintage magazine ad for Lysol douches on one wall plays ironically against an oversized, pillow-like vulva puppet she uses for teaching, on a shelf below. On a nearby coffee table, four chunky pieces of stainless steel sit on a mirrored pedestal cake plate. They resemble oversize punctuation marks (they’re G-spot and prostate toys). She settles in to talk about the center with the warmth of a girlfriend dishing last night’s “Project Runway” over coffee.
She considers those “two things” — the two mistakes that brought her into the spotlight of the city of Pawtucket and onto the wrong side of narrowly interpreted zoning. She purses her lips, sighs. “I shouldn’t have testified about sex workers’ rights,” she says. “That got a lot of people angry. And I probably shouldn’t have put the word ‘pleasure’ in the title of the Center.”
She may be right. After signing a lease for her fledgling nonprofit in May, Andelloux, a proponent of sex workers’ rights, decided to testify at a June State Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on eliminating Rhode Island’s statewide law allowing indoor prostitution. “I was terrified to testify,” she says. “But I felt some advocates were confusing trafficking with sex work, so I went.” Andelloux signed up to speak, lost her nerve and scratched off her name. “Then this woman stood up and said, ‘We need to stop sex…no…we need to stop sex trafficking.’ I thought this is a complete fear of sexuality. So I put my name back on. I thought, even if my voice shakes, I can go up.”
So up she went, but was dumbfounded when Donna M. Hughes, a professor of women’s studies at the University of Rhode Island well known for her activism on sex trafficking issues (and a proponent of eliminating indoor prostitution), took her to task afterward in a series of public forums. First, on June 24, Hughes described (but did not name) Andelloux in a Providence Journal editorial as a “tattooed woman calling herself a ‘sexologist and sex educator.’” Hughes also wrote that Andelloux was “a reporter for a prostitutes’ magazine called $pread,” adding, “I couldn’t make this stuff up!”
The next day, Andelloux penned her own letter to the Journal. “Let me introduce myself,” she wrote. “I’m the nationally certified sex-educator and derogatorily labeled ‘tattooed lady’ mentioned by Donna Hughes in her June 24 opinion piece.
“Putting quotation marks around my profession was insulting,” Andelloux continued, “and yes, I am a contributor to the sex-workers magazine $pread. Is it so shocking that sex workers can read?”
The heroine, suddenly, had a nemesis. “As an alum of URI (’97),” Andelloux wrote, “I would have expected faculty to develop a reputation for science and truth. Instead, it seems that Ms. Hughes would rather resort to right-wing scare tactics. Perhaps if ‘the Professor’ really cared about women, she wouldn’t attack us for the way that we look.”
Things got nastier. In a September 23 issue of Citizens Against Trafficking, an online newsletter published by Hughes and Melanie Shapiro, a student at Roger Williams University School of Law, an unsigned article titled “Sex Radicals’ Vision for Rhode Island” said:
“But the advocates for prostitution are still active in Rhode Island. In fact, a new center to campaign for sexual rights is trying to open in Pawtucket. The Center for Sexual Pleasure and Health calls itself the ‘Dormitory for Armatory.’ The proprietor, Megan Andelloux, is a member of the Woodhull Freedom Foundation, which is a subsidiary of COYOTE, the group that originally sued for decriminalization of prostitution in the 1970s. It too advocates for the decriminalization of prostitution. To date, the city of Pawtucket has prevented the center from opening, saying it violates their zoning ordinances.
“The sex radicals are entitled to free speech, but citizens of Rhode Island are entitled to resist their advocacy of prostitution and violence. The proprietor of the proposed center is a prostitute (she calls herself a ‘foot fetish model’) and a dominatrix. She is also on the ‘faculty’ of the Kink Academy in Boston, which holds ‘classes’ to demonstrate sexual sadism, masochism and torture. The classes often include live models. (The images are too obscene to include here.) One of the students at the Academy claims she became a ‘sex slave’ to one of the instructors and was ordered to prepare to be a prostitute. Andelloux claims to be a speaker on college campuses where she demonstrates whipping and has the students try on sex gear.”
Is this a fair portrait of Andelloux, or someone else’s comic book rendering?
Andelloux went to Mitchell College, a two-year institution in New London, Connecticut, for kids needing a creative approach. She quickly realized that “sucking at math” was not part of a career in marine biology. Meanwhile, she happened to take a quiz on facts about sex, reading that 80 percent of Americans failed it. She got one question wrong. A human sexuality course she took fit her passions. She changed majors and planned a dinner out with her parents to give them the news.
“Right before my mother put the hamburger in her mouth,” Andelloux recalls, “I said, ‘I’m going to be a sex educator.’ ” She cracks up at the memory. “My mother said, ‘Megan, girls can’t do that.’ My father shook his head. But I told them that’s what I decided I was going to do.”
Andelloux got herself into URI from Mitchell, graduating in 1997 with a major in Human Development and Family Studies and a minor in Human Sexuality. She moved to northern New Jersey and worked for Planned Parenthood as a sex educator. Developing a reputation as a “spitfire,” in her words, Andelloux got herself in occasional trouble for a little too much candor. “I had a mouth on me,” she says. Once, after finishing a Planned Parenthood presentation at a high school, Andelloux was approached by a student. “She told me she’d been having sex with her partner with no birth control. She was freaked out. We had this long conversation and then I told her I’d send her some condoms. I told her I’d address the package as [though] for a school project.” But when the girl’s moth-er opened the package, freaked out herself, and called Planned Parenthood, Andelloux was in trouble. “Oh yeah. I got in trouble. I kept my job, but I was in trouble.”
Andelloux continued to butt heads with Planned Parenthood, so she leapt at the chance in 2001 to work at Miko, a well-known sex-toy shop in Providence, where she ran educational workshops full-time and worked the sales floor. When Miko closed in 2008, Andelloux reached her crossroads. “People kept telling me I should open a new store,” she says, “but I knew I didn’t have business sense. I know how to teach, how to make people feel comfortable, and I know how to talk about difficult concepts. [But] I knew my name, at this point, was too risque even for liberal organizations, so I started doing my own workshops.” One day last spring, as Andelloux was hanging posters for The Vagina Monologues, a passerby recognized her from Miko, and told her about a great place in Pawtucket that was looking for tenants.
On September 14, twelve days before the scheduled grand opening of the Center for Sexual Pleasure and Health, Donna Hughes sent an email from her Blackberry to the nine members of Pawtucket’s City Council:
A center for “sexual rights” and “sexual pleasure” is opening in Pawtucket.
Twenty-six hours later, Andelloux got a call from the Pawtucket Police Department. Her opening needed permits, Major Bruce Moreau told her, and there were concerns based on activities advertised on her website (including burlesque dancing and a raffle of sex toys) that required special permitting. He shared the contents of Hughes’ email with her. Andelloux picked up her husband, Derek, a family medicine resident at Brown, and the couple walked up the squat, broad steps of Pawtucket City Hall into a confusing gauntlet of special event permits that led, ultimately, to having to describe the Center’s primary purpose to secure overall zoning approval — something Andelloux had never been informed by her landlords that she needed to obtain. She rushed through meetings in hallways and offices; she called city councilors to explain her mission.
Mostly, though, Andelloux worried that the words “sexual” and “pleasure,” pitched by an adversary directly to a council representing a famously Catholic city, might ignite further opposition beyond the inertia her paperwork seemed to be generating. She settled on stating the Center’s primary purpose as “education.” What she didn’t realize is that within the minutiae of the Pawtucket zoning codes lies the fact that a special use permit obtained by the developers of the Grant Building does not support educational facilities like schools. Andelloux never said she ran a school.
But it was that sole word, education, that prompted zoning official Ronald Travers to rule against the Center, and gave the Zoning Board reason to uphold his verdict.
Andelloux was caught in a knot of nomenclature, as binding as a corset, but nowhere near as fun. She prepared a new motion with Horan, this one to request a special use permit for her space, much like a yoga studio in downtown Pawtucket had obtained. They returned to the council chambers in late January, filing their motion and hastening to point out that she will engage in education, but on a scale that is consistent with the overall mixed use espoused by the city’s downtown plan. No one argued. No one challenged. Only one member asked one thing:
“So, you won’t be selling any sexual paraphernalia?”
No. No. Andelloux said, shaking her head.
Meanwhile, she rejected ongoing counsel from well-wishers to leave Pawtucket for more liberal and accepting (not to mention properly zoned) locations. She paid rent on her unoccupied space. She paid heat. She paid legal fees. She turned away paying clients. And waited for one more fight. The next step was going to be court.
Then, finally, it’s decision time again. Andelloux perches in her chair, her bright pink dress shifting under her nervously clenched hands. Her husband pats her knee from time to time. The zoning board rolls through decision announcements like a boss spins a Rolodex; it’s easy to lose track. Then Andelloux’s name pops through the bureaucratic fog. And, in a series of comments as mild and conciliatory as her previous hearing had been spiky and adversarial, the men who control her zoning destiny say yes.
Yes, they say, to Megan Andelloux, and several lean forward to their microphones to say, for the record, that they regret that things got off to a bad start. They mouth words of support, absolving their municipality of anything other than administrative vigor. They regret the tangle. They grant her permit. It’s almost, if you imagine an erotic comic book, like a bit of sex play. Yes? Yes? No, No… Yes!
It was just that easy?
Megan Andelloux nods and smiles.
She looks unthreatening enough, perched on the edge of a table in a large classroom at Wesleyan University, in Middletown, Connecticut. Andelloux is indeed speaking on a college campus and receiving $500 for the two hours she’ll spend with 100 young men and women packing this room on a chilly fall evening. She has, indeed, allowed her feet to be looked at, photographed, and massaged by paying clients as a foot fetish model — although this never has involved genital exposure or contact, much less touching above her knee, she says. Yes, she has been paid to create educational videos for “Kink Academy,” a website that celebrates every aspect of consensual sex. And right now, yes, she’s tugging a strap-on harness up over her clothing to demonstrate for her audience what she describes as one of her favorite lube tricks.
“This one is great,” she says as she yanks the harness, complete with large synthetic phallus, into place around her hips. She grabs a plunger-bottle of lubricant; it looks like a hand soap dispenser that sits near a powder room sink. She tucks it into the harness — where a gun would sit in a holster.
“Okay!” she calls out, her rigging complete. Her voice reminds me of a home ec teacher’s — both perky and bossy. If it weren’t for the subject matter, she could just as easily be demonstrating how to sew a wrap-around skirt.
“So when you’re having sex with a strap-on, and your partner is getting really hot, here’s an amazing finish,” she says, and gives the bottle a couple of swift plunges that release spurts of viscous liquid. The audience knows exactly what this simulates and loves it. The kids cheer. Andelloux opens her eyes wide, nodding at their response. “See? See? Isn’t that cool?”
In these two hours, Andelloux’s workshop will range from this kind of taboo-busting demonstration to ardent discussion of safe ingredients in lubricants and sex toys (“If that dildo has a smell, it’s made overseas with dangerous synthetics. Don’t buy it.”) She’ll take dozens of questions penned on index cards, some of them endearingly naïve. She’ll give advice that is bumper-sticker outrageous, but gets to serious healthy practice. “Don’t put anything smaller than six inches up your butt,” she orders, reminding her audience that the anatomy of this part of the body is not equipped to expel items. “Once something gets lost up there,” she continues, “the only way you’re gonna get it out is at the emergency room.” As the kids hoot, she eyes them. “And trust me, you don’t want to be that patient.” Her mix of medical terminology and slang, sometimes folksy, sometimes colorfully current, makes her advice easy to embrace. It’s a remarkable marriage of tone and content. If Rachael Ray and the Marquis de Sade had a lovechild, it’d be Megan Andelloux.
After she finishes up by — yes — taking volunteers for a fully clothed spanking demonstration that raises the roof, students surround her and linger for nearly an hour, asking questions and inspecting the few vibrators and lubricants for sale. The fun and safety of sex takes her on the road like this nearly weekly, speaking to groups large and small, running sex toy parties for private clients, doing events at sex toy shops, attending and presenting at conferences. She creates “Tearin’ It Off,” a weekly podcast with WBRU at Brown University, and writes numerous columns for online sexual and feminist health and advocacy sites. She will appear, unpaid, in an annual production of The Vagina Monologues in Providence. For a sexologist, this cobbled-together assortment of education and entertainment keeps rent money coming in, and for Andelloux it is also, she admits, a bit of a calling.
“My parents were 1950s WASPs,” she says, describing her traditional upbringing in East Longmeadow, Massachusetts. “I was totally raised in that environment.” The youngest of three kids (but fourteen and eighteen years younger than her sister and brother, respectively), Andelloux watered her activist seed with an issue embraced by many girls: animal rights. She became a vegetarian at fifteen.
A year later, Andelloux developed a quirky obsession. “I had a thing for memorizing sex facts,” she says, “you know, statistics. When people masturbate, average breast sizes…I would spout these off to my friends during supper.” Still passionate about animals (and specifically about orcas), Andelloux planned to study marine biology at the University of Rhode Island. Then she was date-raped. “I had a series of sexual assaults take place in the summer before my senior year, including the very first date I ever went on,” she says. “I was seventeen. I’d gotten good grades up to that point. After that summer, my grades plummeted, I had nightmares, I reverted to wearing baggy clothes, and I hung out with the ‘bad girls.’ My grades were nowhere good enough to get into URI.”
A sexologist in Rhode Island is trying to open an adult-ed center focused in part on the female pleasure principle. Her battle has been complicated by the recent passage of a ban on indoor prostitution, which she opposed.
PAWTUCKET, R. I. (WOMENSENEWS)–Megan Andelloux’s clash with authorities in this heavily Catholic city of about 73,000 began two months ago.
After 12 years of teaching sex education at colleges, nonprofits, churches, schools and the Providence sex store Miko Exoticwear, Andelloux, a certified sexologist who frequently speaks at Brown University, wanted to create a “safe space for adults to be able to come in and access information about sexuality.”
Andelloux’s classes cover everything from female orgasms to fellatio and expound on an intimate connection between health and pleasure.
A few days before the planned Sept. 26 opening of the Center for Sexual Pleasure and Health in downtown Pawtucket, a policeman called to say she couldn’t hold her event. He cited her lack of zoning approval and objected to plans for a sex toy raffle.
A zoning official then informed Andelloux that she couldn’t teach classes either because the area was zoned for residential and commercial use. Since Andelloux’s battle began, a chess center and a weaving workshop have also come under scrutiny by the city.
Andelloux moved the opening event to a club in Providence, while she geared up to fight for the right to provide education and other resources in the building.
“This is really a straightforward zoning issue,” said Ronald Travers, Pawtucket’s zoning director. Travers said the owners of a downtown karate studio faced a similar battle a few years ago and were eventually granted permission to open.
Andelloux appealed Travers’s decision, appearing before the zoning appeals board with 20 of her supporters on Nov. 30. The board will vote Dec. 7 on whether she can operate her center.
Andelloux’s efforts to open the center coincided with the run-up to the state legislature’s decision to ban indoor prostitution.
Before the ban was signed into law by Gov. Don Carcieri in early November, Rhode Island was the only state–besides parts of Nevada–where indoor prostitution was legal.
Andelloux voiced opposition to an indoor prostitution ban at a state legislative hearing in June, saying it would hurt victims of sexual trafficking by criminalizing their behavior, making it harder for them to get jobs and traumatizing them through interactions with police.
Her stance may have been what led local professor and renowned anti-trafficking activist Donna M. Hughes to denounce Andelloux on the radio, calling her a “prostitute” and a “sex radical.” Hughes admitted on the same radio program that she wrote an email tipping off city officials about Andelloux’s plans to open the center. Andelloux was told she could not hold her opening event days after the email was sent.
Harvey E. Goulet, Jr., director of administration for the city, said he and some other city officials take special exception to Andelloux’s plans. “I would prefer that it not be in Pawtucket. That’s my opinion and that’s the mayor’s opinion . . . I think some of these things would be better off in an office somewhere than a storefront,” he told Women’s eNews.
If the zoning appeals board votes against her, Andelloux will have 20 days to appeal her case in Rhode Island Superior Court.
“They’re trying to discredit me because I’m talking about pleasure,” said Andelloux. “I was very deliberate in putting the (word) pleasure in there and I think it’s very important that we talk about (health and pleasure) together, because they’re connected.”
“The title freaked everybody out,” said City Councilor-At-Large Albert J. Vitali, Jr., who supports Andelloux. “The ‘sexual pleasure’ end of the title flipped a few people on their heads. They didn’t know what she was talking about. They assumed it was a strip club or something.”
“It would be neat to have a Dr. Ruth in the city of Pawtucket,” said Vitali, who added that he would want his 20-year-old daughter to be able to access such resources if she needed them.
Andelloux cited a recent Indiana University study that showed women who feel positively about female genitalia not only find it easier to experience orgasm, but are more likely to seek gynecological exams and engage in other health-promoting behaviors.
Her opponents, however, are uneasy about the self-pleasuring aids–dildos, vibrators, and lubricants–that she keeps as learning tools.
Andelloux said a city official recently asked her if she would be “inserting” the teaching devices or using them on students during class.
“People don’t often frame sex education in terms of sexual pleasure,” said Lynn Comella, assistant professor of women’s studies at University of Nevada, Las Vegas. “I really think that you end up with some confused people who don’t understand what that might really be about.”
Comella sees the center as a continuation of over three decades of “feminist work around creating cultural spaces where the issue of women’s sexual pleasure and empowerment could be taken seriously.”
Supporters Rally Behind Andelloux
Sex educators, activists and local supporters have rallied behind Andelloux by sending petitions to the City Council and speaking out about the connection between her work and the larger struggle for open discussion about female sexuality.
“If what she did was called the Center for Health and Education, no one would have blinked,” said Brian Flaherty, director of development for the Boston-based nonprofit sex education group Partners in Sex Education. He added that some people become upset over the issue of women taking control of their sexuality.
If the zoning board approves Andelloux’s right to operate, she will also need the City Council’s blessing.
The all-male, nine-member council is about evenly split over whether to issue a license to Andelloux’s center.
“It’s not a sex shop, it’s a place to go to talk about problems,” said City Councilor James F. Chadwick, Jr., who supports Andelloux. Chadwick said “untruths” were circulating about Andelloux’s intentions to open a sex shop instead of a teaching center that offers classes on female sexual pleasure, safety and achieving sexual satisfaction.
As Andelloux waits for the council’s decision, books with titles such as “Women’s Orgasm” and “America’s War on Sex” pack two bookshelves in the Center for Sexual Pleasure and Health. A stand near the entrance has pamphlets called “Correct Use of the Male Condom” and “Love.”
A few couches circle a coffee table and colorful dildos and other teaching aids litter the shelves. In the corner is a glass cabinet covered with a heavy blue curtain. If you pull back the curtain, you find a display of sex toys.
Andelloux has covered the case to tamp down on the public controversy, which has focused on the toys themselves. One day, she hopes to remove it. But for now the curtain is drawn and the Center for Sexual Pleasure and Health stays closed.
Amy Littlefield is a freelance reporter who lives in Providence, R.I.
1. I kept hearing people ask the same questions about sexuality but it always seemed like there was shame behind the questions. I couldn’t understand how a culture could create an entire population to be ignorant and feel bad about the same things. I wanted to change that.
2. It was a way for me to challenge the gender roles I was taught. “Good girls” were not supposed to talk openly about this subject.
3. I had a knack for memorizing sexual statistics. I don’t know where it came from, but it’s a gift.
How did you start giving sex advice?
When I was 16, I had a conversation with my high school girlfriends about masturbation and orgasms. I remember being shocked that they said they hadn’t ever fondled themselves. That was the first time I remember talking openly about sexuality.
I love being able to model that it’s ok to talk about sexuality openly. That is by far the thing I love most about the work I do. That’s it’s ok to talk about this subject, even if makes you a little uncomfortable.
What is your most common question?
“Is it normal…..” People want to find out if what they are experiencing is something that happens to other people a lot. There is comfort in knowing you aren’t alone.
What is your favorite sex toy and why?
Fingers! 10 free sex toys that are always accessible and clandestine yet remain exhibitionistic at the same time. How could you not love this perfect gift?
Where do you teach? If you travel, what is it like? Where was your favorite place to teach? Most unusual panel or experience?
I teach all over the country; at colleges, high schools, churches, conferences and medical organizations.
The thing I’ve learned most about traveling is that it doesn’t matter where you go, people still have the same questions about sexuality. Be it liberal San Francisco or in the deep woods of Maine, people just don’t know how/why there body works.
My favorite place to teach is at college campuses, the students have such amazing energy and they are there because they want to be. Mix thought provoking questions with enthusiasm and the desire to learn and you have one heck of a good time!
I think the most unusual experience that I have had is how to quickly adapt into the environment I am teaching for. In the morning I could be conducting a workshop in a very clinical setting with medical providers and later that afternoon I could be hearing the newest sexual slang terms fly out of a youth’s mouth. The different atmospheres in which I am employed by is challenging because it is always something new.
What was the most interesting thing you learned in your exploration of sex?
Sexuality is a journey, not a destination. When I was starting out I was much more clinical about it, very fact based, less emotion. As I’ve grown into the field, and myself, I realize that sexuality has so many different components to it and while that can be terrifying it can be quite exhilarating too.
How has what you’ve done or found at Good Vibrations helped you?
Good Vibrations offers adults a safe place to learn about sexuality. Through the books they carry, the materials for sell or the staff they hire to put people at ease, Good Vibrations works hard every single day to help people feel good.
What would be your number one piece of advice for someone interested in a career of sex education?
Get a mentor. Find someone in the field with whom you can shadow and work with. It’s a small field and once you know one person, you will quickly meet more and more people who believe in the work we are doing.
What’s the best thing you’ve learned or best advice you’ve received?
Know what your “trigger” points are and don’t provide workshops on topics you haven’t wrapped your brain around yet.
What do you think is the biggest misconception about sex?
That sex is something to be fearful of. Be it your sexual desires, your fantasies or behaviors, people tend to be very afraid of “what it all means”.
Which is your favorite project that you’ve worked on?
Learning how to advocate for Sex Workers Rights through Speak Up!
What is your best piece of sex advice for women?
Masturbate. For the love of God, masturbate. It gets you in touch with your body, your feelings, and your desires. It helps you have orgasms, better health in general and it’s a great stress relief. As George Carlin once said, “God wouldn’t want our hands to fall where they do if s(he) didn’t want us to touch ourselves.”
What projects are you working on now?
I’m fighting to open an adult sex education center in RI (The CSPH), speaking at colleges and creating a sexuality curriculum for medical students at Boston University’s Medical School.
Megan Andelloux, a professionally certified sex educator with 8 years experience working as a sex educator for Planned Parenthood affiliates, was looking forward to the grand opening of her not-for-profit Center for Sexual Pleasure and Health in Pawtucket when she suddenly found herself in the middle of a firestorm. On the morning of September 15 she received a phone call from the Pawtucket Police Department telling her that a “concerned citizen” had emailed members of the Pawtucket City Council, alerting them that a “sex center” was coming to Pawtucket, a city of 72,000 located just outside of Providence.
“Hello,” the email began, “A center for “sexual rights” and “sexual pleasure” is opening in Pawtucket.” Included in the email was a link to the center’s website. Short, sweet, and intentionally vague, the email was enough to set off alarms among the city’s elected officials.
The police officer who called Andelloux that morning informed her that without proper zoning approval, the grand opening event, which included noted experts on human sexuality and a short burlesque performance, could not take place and the center itself could not legally operate in the city of Pawtucket.
As soon as Andelloux saw a copy of the email, which was forwarded to her at her request, she knew that the issue at hand was much bigger than her small, not-for-profit health and education center. Andelloux’s center, it seemed, was caught in a broader political maelstrom surrounding the regulation of prostitution and commercialized sexuality in Rhode Island.
The “concerned citizen” behind the email to city councilors was Donna M. Hughes, a professor of women’s studies at the University of Rhode Island and a leading anti-prostitution and anti-sex trafficking advocate. Over the spring and summer months, Hughes was at the forefront of efforts to convince Rhode Island legislators to enact harsher laws aimed at combating sex trafficking and outlawing prostitution, including indoor prostitution, which was decriminalized in Rhode Island in 1980.
Andelloux testified in front of the Rhode Island Legislature in June to speak out against efforts to criminalize prostitution, which many opponents feared would lead to more arrests of women yet do little to address the issue of trafficking. In an op-ed piece published in the Providence Journal following the hearing, Hughes openly disparaged those who had shown up to oppose the legislation. Describing the hearing as a “sordid circus” and a “carnival,” she attacked speakers based on their appearance, the smell of cigarette smoke, and “other odors” allegedly emanating from their bodies, successfully invoking a specter of disgust. She also deployed her penchant for using quotation marks to discredit those whom she perceives as her adversaries, referring to Andelloux as “a tattooed woman, calling herself a ‘sexologist and sex educator.’”
Perhaps it felt like political payback to Hughes when she fired off the email to members of the Pawtucket City Council. Whatever her motivation—genuine concern or something more nefarious—she is an experienced enough political player (by her own account she has testified at hearings in the State House on a number of occasions) to realize that her email would likely result in an alarmist response sure to cause a headache, if not larger problems, for Andelloux and her center.
For those who lived through, or who are familiar with, the feminist sex wars of the 1970s and 80s, Hughes’ strategy of throwing the “enemy” under the bus will ring eerily familiar. Indeed, there are elements of this story that resemble the unsavory tactics employed by anti-pornography feminists at the infamous Barnard Conference on female sexuality in 1982, where ideological divisions resulted in personal attacks on individual women whose positions on pornography, sex work, and other forms of so-called “deviant” sexuality were at odds with the anti-pornography feminist platform, resulting in sharp divisions between supposedly “good” and “bad” feminists.
For Andelloux, the immediate issue was zoning. Zoning ordinances have become an effective strategy for regulating the location of adult businesses and policing public expressions of commercialized sexuality. In New York City, zoning was the lynchpin in the city’s efforts to “clean up” the “seedier” elements of Times Square in preparation for family-friendly Disney’s commercial occupation in the mid-1990s. Zoning ordinances typically require that adult arcades, bookstores, and video stores, for example, cannot be located within several hundred feet of schools, places of worship, or other adult businesses. In many locales, this means that adult businesses are exiled to the most desolate, and very often the most dangerous, fringes of cities and towns.
Unlike typical adult businesses, however, Andelloux’s center is not a retail venture; it is a not-for-profit sexuality education center that she describes as a cross between Planned Parenthood and a feminist sex toy store, a place where she plans to hold educational workshops and maintain a library of sexuality resources. But in contrast to feminist sex toy businesses, such as Good Vibrations and Babeland, which have longstanding missions of sexual education combined with a commercial imperative, Andelloux is not planning on selling any products. As a result, her center falls into a nebulous, gray area when it comes to zoning. If it is not an “adult business,” what is it?
It was precisely this gray area that Andelloux found herself navigating in the days following the phone call from the Pawtucket Police Department. She met with zoning officials and city council members, several of whom toured her space, and she clarified for them that she would not be selling any adult products; she also cancelled the burlesque performance that was to be part of the grand opening, hoping that in doing so she might allay some of the city councilors’ concerns about the kind of establishment she was opening. Despite this, it was unclear to both Andelloux and those working in the zoning office what legal code her enterprise should be zoned under. Many visits to City Hall and many phone calls later, Andelloux was told she should apply for zoning as an “individual educator.” She did. On September 18 she was informed by an official letter from the City of Pawtucket’s Zoning Department that her application had been denied because the building in downtown Pawtucket where she had leased her space was not zoned for “education.”
It remains unclear what will happen next. In a meeting that took place in late September with Mayor James E. Doyle, which was also attended by the head of the Pawtucket’s Zoning Department, Ronald Travers, the Mayor made it clear that he did not think the city of Pawtucket would accept Andelloux’s center. But it is precisely because Andelloux has received so many requests from people in the community for a sexual education and resource center that she moved forward with her plans for the center in the first place.
Andelloux held her grand opening fete on September 26 as planned – albeit at an alternative location. According to her, the event was a success: it was attended by approximately 200 people and there were no protesters. The event also raised $1,000, which will go toward offsetting her legal expenses. Andelloux has retained a lawyer who plans to challenge the city’s zoning decision. It is also highly probable that a public hearing will take place where members of the community can weigh in on how they feel about the center’s presence in their neighborhood.
The irony of all of this is that if Andelloux was in fact opening a feminist sex toy business, or even a more traditional adult business, this brouhaha may have been avoided. For it would have been clear from the outset what kind of zoning she would have needed to move forward with her venture and the city could have responded accordingly. There are few models, however, for what she is attempting to do: a not-for-profit enterprise dedicated to adult sexuality education and health. According to Andelloux, “The city has said to me that they don’t know what to do with me. If I was a retail store, they could zone me or not zone me, but because there is nothing on the books [that reflects the kind of business I am proposing], they don’t know what to do.”
In an era overwhelmingly defined by abstinence-only education, which has created a generation of sexually illiterate adults, there is more need than ever for places like Andelloux’s Center for Sexual Pleasure and Health. But sex education, especially when it addresses questions of sexual pleasure, clearly remains an embattled issue, a cause for concern, and a source of moral panic for many – even, in this case, when the target population is adults.
My hope is that once the powers that be in Pawtucket, and “concerned citizens” such as Professor Hughes, realize that Andelloux’s center is exactly what she says it is – a not-for-profit sexuality resource center with an educational mission – and not a haven for child prostitutes and pimps, this ruckus will be put to rest and Andelloux can get on with the business of educating adults about how to get off in safe, consensual, and pleasurable ways.
Megan Andelloux’s Center for Sexual Pleasure and Health, which would offer classes on sexuality and the latest from the nation’s medical journals, was slated to hold its grand opening in the Bucket last weekend.
But Andelloux was forced to move the long-planned celebration to the Spot, an arts space on Thayer Street in Providence, her plans delayed by zoning snafus and — perhaps — a little prudishness in Pawtucket City Hall.
“All these rumors got started that I was going to be selling porn and that [the Center] would be a brothel,” said Andelloux, a certified sex educator.
The trouble started with an e-mail sent a couple of weeks back by University of Rhode Island professor Donna Hughes, best known for her crusade to close the state’s prostitution loophole, to members of the city council.
Utilizing the suggestive power of well-placed quotation marks, the missive read, simply: “Hello, A center for ‘sexual rights’ and ‘sexual pleasure’ is opening in Pawtucket,” and included the web site for the center.
Deputy City Clerk Michelle Hardy said Hughes’ e-mail was the first time any of the council members had heard of the center.
“Most of the time people call us first to register their business,” Hardy said. “I’m not really the license police. But when something is brought to our attention, we do need to act on it.”
Andelloux had signed a lease, in May, for approximately 500 square feet on the ground floor of the Grant Building, which bills itself as a creative collective for a variety of services. She says the building’s owner, who knew of her plans to rent the space for sex education purposes, never told her she needed to apply for a license — for her business or the grand opening.
But the city, since it learned of the center, has erected some barriers. Zoning Director Ron Travers raised concerns about plans for a raffle for various sexual products at the grand opening, saying approval would have to come from state police. And noting that the Grant Building is zoned for “tenant” space, and not “educational” uses, he denied a zoning permit for the Center itself.
Andelloux, though, would not be deterred. Her “grand opening” went forward in Providence. There was a panel discussion with representatives of Planned Parenthood, National Coalition for Sexual Freedom, and the National Organization for Women. Various organizations and businesses, including Wolf Princess, the Providence Pussy Posse, and Kink Academy, mounted booths. Nothing for sale, mind you — even in Providence, permitting matters — but plenty to see.
At the OhMiBod stand, where a cheerful arrangement of vibrating dildos matched all the colors of the new iPod, New Hampshire-based entrepreneur Brian Vatter (who, unsurprisingly, used to work for Apple) and his business partner and wife Suki Dunham, said they were disappointed at the move from Pawtucket. “We’re promoting positive sexuality,” Dunham said. “We treat our business like any other owner would.”
PRINCESS OF PLEASURE Andelloux at her grand opening.
Last week, Andelloux met with Mayor James Doyle in an effort to clear up some misunderstandings about her business. The mayor’s Director of Administration Harvey Goulet, also present at the meeting, allowed that the center was less-than-desirable for officials. But he said the project would go forward if it passed legal muster.
“Even if it’s not a place we feel we would like in Pawtucket, we will go by the law,” he said. The next step for Andelloux is to appeal the zoning ruling.
As to why she chose Pawtucket, which is more conservative than Providence, Andelloux said it doesn’t matter where she is. “People have the same questions over and over again,” she said. “It’s really scary that people don’t have an understanding of their body.