Can a Better Vibrator Inspire an Age of Great American Sex?

FORM vibratorsAndy Isaacson investigates the possibility that technology could end sexual repression in The Atlantic:

The offices of Jimmyjane are above a boarded-up dive bar in San Francisco’s Mission district. There used to be a sign on a now-unmarked side door, until employees grew weary of men showing up in a panic on Valentine’s Day thinking they could buy last-minute gifts there. (They can’t.) The only legacy that remains of the space’s original occupant, an underground lesbian club, is a large fireplace set into the back wall. Porcelain massage candles and ceramic stones, neatly displayed on sleek white shelves alongside the brightly colored vibrators that the company designs, give the space the serene air of a day spa.

Ethan Imboden, the company’s founder, is 40 and holds an electrical engineering degree from Johns Hopkins and a master’s in industrial design from Pratt Institute. He has a thin face and blue eyes, and wears a pair of small hoop earrings beneath brown hair that is often tousled in some fashion. The first time I visited, one April morning, Imboden had on a V-neck sweater, designer jeans and Converse sneakers with the tongues splayed out — an aesthetic leaning that masks a highly programmatic interior. “I think if you asked my mother she’d probably say I lined up my teddy bears at right angles,” he told me.

Imboden was seated next to a white conference table, reviewing a marketing graphic that Jimmyjane was preparing to email customers before the summer season. Projected onto a wall was an image that promoted three of Jimmyjane’s vibrators, superimposed over postcards of iconic destinations — Paris, the Taj Mahal, a Mexican surf beach — with the title: “Meet Jimmyjane’s Mile High Club: The perfect traveling companions for your summer adventures.” The postcard for the Form 2, a vibrator Imboden created with the industrial designer Yves Behar, was pictured alongside the Eiffel Tower with the note: ” Bonjour! Thanks to my handy button lock I breezed through my flight without making noise or causing an international incident. See you soon, FORM 2.”

Jimmyjane’s conceit is to presuppose a world in which there is no hesitation around sex toys. Placing its products on familiar cultural ground has a normalizing effect, Imboden believes, and comparing a vibrator to a lifestyle accessory someone might pack into their carry-on luggage next to an iPad shifts people’s perceptions about where these objects fit into their lives. Jimmyjane products have been sold in places like C.O. Bigelow, the New York apothecary, Sephora, W Hotels, and even Drugstore.com. Insinuating beautifully designed and thoughtfully engineered sex toys into the mainstream consumer landscape could push Americans into more comfortable territory around sex in general…

[continues in The Atlantic]

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  • Pocket_pussy

    two words: Pocket Pussy!

  • http://twitter.com/jasonpaulhayes jasonpaulhayes

    Short answer is NO. This article perfectly illustrates my observations that sex is over complicated by the fact that the majority of people don’t have a healthy separation between love and lust.

    • http://hormeticminds.blogspot.com/ Chaorder Gradient

      i would say they may paradoxically also lack a healthy connection between love and lust

  • Ricky Jazzercise

    Best sex I’ve ever had: on LSD. Second best: on ecstasy. Sex when you’re high is about a hundred times better than sober. These are the things that no one talks about regarding sexuality or even weed for that matter. You’ve got to love the drug war. What I’ve read about sexual hypnosis is also very compelling. When they say the mind is the most powerful sex organ, they’re not kidding.

  • DeepCough

    Believe it or not, vibrators have been around for about a century now, and it’s because of sexual repression that these little toys are profitable in the first place.