Vibrator Nation

In the 1970s a group of pioneering feminist entrepreneurs launched a movement that ultimately changed the way sex was talked about, had, and enjoyed. Boldly reimagining who sex shops were for and the kinds of spaces they could be, these entrepreneurs opened sex-toy stores like Eve’s Garden, Good Vibrations, and Babeland not just as commercial enterprises, but to provide educational and community resources as well. In Vibrator Nation Lynn Comella tells the fascinating history of how these stores raised sexual consciousness, redefined the adult industry, and changed women's lives. Comella describes a world where sex-positive retailers double as social activists, where products are framed as tools of liberation, and where consumers are willing to pay for the promise of better living—one conversation, vibrator, and orgasm at a time.


"Sex shops were my entry into a brazen new world of gender and sexuality, eventually channeling my career in adult film. Lynn Comella's masterful book documents the 'sex-positive' ethos of gender and sexual progress and its complex junctures within capitalism, feminism, and education. Recounting a pivotal moment, Vibrator Nation is a fascinating history lesson for the uninitiated, a gift to all who were there, and a love letter to those who call these sex shops home." –Jiz Lee, editor of Coming Out Like a Porn Star: Essays on Pornography, Protection, and Privacy

"No one is better placed than Lynn Comella to take us on a journey through the evolution of feminist-owned sex-toy stores. Through years of interviews and participant-observation, she brilliantly traces how the difficult conversations about race, class, and gender among feminist sex-toy owners, their workers, and customers created a new kind of sexual public sphere. Vibrator Nation will brilliantly inform all future efforts to address the difficulties of blending progressive politics and capitalism, social change and profit making." –Constance Penley, coeditor of The Feminist Porn Book: The Politics of Producing Pleasure

New Views on Pornography

New Views on Pornography brings together current scholarship that addresses a range of issues regarding pornography’s relationship to cultural, political, and legal debates. Drawing on work from history, media studies, sociology, gender studies, criminology and more, chapters examine pornography’s historical foundations and controversies, consumers’ experiences using it, and what the research actually says about pornography’s effects. Contributors include Carolyn Bronstein, Kevin Heffernan, Mireille Miller-Young, Carol Queen, Shar Rednour and Jackie Strano, Andy Ruddock, Whitney Strub, Ron Weitzer, and others.


“A usefully wide-ranging, up-to-the-moment, and often daring collection. This is recent porn scholarship at its best.” –Laura Kipnis, Northwestern University, Author of Bound and Gagged: Pornography and the Politics of Fantasy in America

“Significantly advancing the field of Porn Studies, New Views on Pornography gathers some of the most exciting scholars, practitioner-theorists, and legal minds to explore the vast complexities of porn. Bold, innovative, and rich in scope,
this collection will keep us productively thinking about sex for some time to come.” –Bobby Noble, Sexuality Studies, York University (Canada)

“An outstanding contribution to the contemporary debate on pornography. With a strong interdisciplinary and unbiased approach, New Views on Pornography provides scholars and the general public with fundamental tools for understanding the controversial relationships between sexual representations, politics, society, and sexual identities.” –Giovanna Maina, Marie Curie Research Fellow, University of Sunderland (UK)

“Tackling the topic of pornography from cultural, legal, and political standpoints, this book is an indispensable addition to the dynamic field of pornography studies. Whether breathing fresh air into old debates or pioneering new ones, the diverse chapters in this collection represent voices from academia and the industry to profoundly shape our understanding of pornography.” –Ariane Cruz, Pennsylvania State University

Other select publications