Things Are Happening: Vibrator Nation Edition


It’s been exactly two months since the publication of Vibrator Nation, and the past eight weeks have been a busy, exhilarating whirlwind of travel and book events. I’ve clocked more than 6,700 miles, made nine book tour stops in four different states, and taken part in more than 20 interviews with writers and journalists whose thoughtful engagement with my book, and its colorful cast of characters, has warmed my feminist heart.

The book’s rollout and reception exceeded my wildest expectations. The Atlantic profiled Vibrator Nation in its business section and Rolling Stone ran a story about feminist sex-toy stores as sites of resistance. It was reviewed enthusiastically by BUST and the Gay & Lesbian Review, the latter of which fittingly emphasized the role that lesbians and queer-identified entrepreneurs have played in igniting the feminist sex-toy revolution. Excerpts ran in Cosmo and Huffington Post, and Times Higher Education featured Vibrator Nation as its “Book of the Week,” with a lively review by Laura Frost who described it as a “crash course in contemporary gender and sexuality studies,” claiming that it “could be a television series every bit as juicy as Sex and the City or Transparent.”

It's been especially gratifying to have people describe the book as “page turner” that “reads like a novel populated by memorable true-life characters,” and to see it embraced so positively by unlikely media outlets. The Las Vegas Review-Journal, for example, which is owned by Republican mega-donor Sheldon Aldelson and is well known for its conservative slant, ran a feature about the book on the front page of its Sunday Lifestyle section, with a sidebar about women-friendly adult businesses in Las Vegas. (Kudos to the editor who gave this story the green light.)

Some of the best exchanges I’ve had about the book have been with male journalists in their sixties who have witnessed first-hand the cultural changes that I detail in Vibrator Nation and who have been able to connect the feminist dots and then some.

One of my favorite conversations was with radio host Mark Lynch. Not only was it evident that he had read the book closely, but it was clear that he really got the role that feminist sex-toy stores have played as agents of cultural change that pushed the sexual discourse forward.

“You really have to be of a certain age, and I am,” he told me, “to realize just how little information there was for women [in the 1970s] about their sexuality.”  

As Feelmore founder Nenna Joiner recently noted, “You kilt the game with this press. I like it.”

Me too, Nenna. Me too.