Sunday, August 3, 2008

For that tingly fresh feeling!

I never thought I would hear myself say this, but:

Why does everything vibrate these days? Seriously.
The vibrating razor business really just strikes me as dangerous. I far prefer a steady sharp blade against my skin. Doesn’t a sharp thing that moves on its own seem more likely to cause cuts than one that does not.

Once a trend like that hits the market it will of course spread like wildfire:

The Neutrogena vibrating face scrubber
It even looks like a vibrator! I realize that young people – I’m sure the target market here is young women, will do damn near anything and try any crazy thing that’s thrown at them to get rid of acne. I’ve been there. This however I’m sure is little more than a thiny veiled way for a skin-care company to sell discreet vibrators to teenage girls. Even if it isn’t there plan, I guarantee you that the Wave is being used to stimulate just as many clitori as it is skin cells. I knew more than one girl at boarding school who was especially attached to her electric toothbrush.

Given that, I need to say that I’m entirely in favor of younger women being able to access sex toys. Masturbation after is, as they say, the safest sex there is. In a world where sex is getting scarier and more dangerous and an understanding of it is being increasingly limited by the powers that soon will not be, teenage girls being told not to have sex should have a little help getting off. I think it’s a little stupid and short sited that one needs to be 18 in order to enter a sex store or purchase sex toys. There’s no age floor to purchasing safer sex aids and such in pharmacies and grocery stores, nor should there be.

They have conventional intercourse, which we have been told is the only kind of sex there is. They engage in other activities that contain the word sex. They do things that I certainly think qualify as sex that aren’t generally labeled as such. Most of them also masturbate, and giving them a little encouragement and assistance in doing so might do wonders for them and society at large.* I don’t think that selling younger people sex toys is going to stop them from having sex, but I do think that it just might increase sexual control and personal agency for them, and could be part of a larger project of safer and informed sexuality for young people.

I’m reminded of the ‘Relaxeciser’ on Mad Men.** A young secretary discovers that a weight-loss belt that her firm is marketing to women has the effect of being rather “stimulating in a certain area.” Those marketing the product are never clear whether or not this side effect is intended, but take it as a point in the product’s favor and try subtly to integrate it into the campaign.

Good on you Neutrogena. The wave retails for about $14.00. Not bad for a vibrator. For the time being I’ll ignore the fact that the disposable pads that are used to clean the skin are incredibly wasteful and make the gadget a costly and environmentally unsound way to refresh one’s ‘skin’. Heck maybe my ‘skin’ needs some refreshing – the wave even comes in my favorite color.

*I’m picturing malls and streets without roving hoards of teenagers, because they’re all at home jerking off.

** A truly brilliant show