Love, Lust & Laughter’s last show of 2020 concluded on a high note (or should we say buzz?) with guest Hallie Lieberman, author of Buzz: The Stimulating History of the Sex Toy. Hallie’s book provides a fascinating history that tells the story of sex toys from ancient phalluses to 21st century vibrating rabbits. She also discusses the cultural controversies related to sexual pleasure and sexual rights.

Hallie Lieberman began selling sex toys at passion parties, and then got into a graduate program where she studied the history of sex toys. Her book includes profiles of many sex toy pioneers. Betty Dodson (1929-2020) believed that masturbation with a vibrator was liberating for women and essential to knowing their own bodies and responses. (See Dr. Diana’s tribute show to Betty Dodson with Dr. Mark Schoen, November 10, 2020.) Dr. Diana recounted her women’s sexuality groups in the late 80s and early 90s and the journeys women took to understand their sexuality and to reach orgasms after sexual trauma. Many of these women held the overly romantic hope that someday my Prince will come – and so will I!

Hallie and Dr. Diana also talked about Joani Blank (1937-2016) who opened the first Good Vibrations store in San Francisco in 1977, and Dr. Carol Queen who is the staff sexologist, historian, and curator of their Antique Vibrator Museum. (See Dr. Diana’s interview with Dr. Carol Queen, September 15, 2020)  Current trends include the huge increase in sex toys sales during the pandemic, and the recommendation by the New York City Health Department to masturbate as a way to stay safe. The author concludes that sex toys aren’t just about the amazing technology but about the meaning—that sex toys can mean so many things to so many people!


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