The other day, I was watching Everything I Know About Love, the great comedy series that weirdly no one is talking about! (Have you seen it?) In episode three, the character Amara is sleeping with a guy for the first time. “Slow down,” she says during sex, then confidently asks him to hand her the vibrator under her pillow. His reply? “That’s hot.”
It was a quick moment, but I loved the scene and felt like applauding. A woman knows what she wants and her partner celebrates that, versus getting offended — the exchange felt quietly revolutionary? Growing up, I watched female characters on TV endlessly trying to please men (the male gaze is real) and flipped through soooooo many magazine articles about what men want/are thinking/crave in bed. It’s hard not to internalize the message that your mission on earth is to satisfy guys. But what about women’s pleasure?
Thankfully, TV creators these days are spotlighting female desire more and more. “We’re telling the show through the female lens, the female gaze,” said Issa Rae about Insecure. “There’s this male gaze we’ve always been subjected to, and this is an opportunity to reverse that.” Vibrators make cameos in Insecure, as well as other great series, including Broad City, Grace & Frankie, and Mad Men (go, Peggy). Shows and movies also highlight more female orgasms, foreplay, consent, contraception, and a balance between male and female desire (think: Normal People and Bridgerton).
My college best friend first told me what a vibrator was — a magical little toy that feels amazing and helps you orgasm — and I’ve used them happily ever since. Because have you heard of the pleasure gap? In studies, 91% of cis-men say they “usually” or “always” orgasm during sex, compared with only 29% of cis-women. Vibrators can help close this gap! You can use one on your own, of course; and during partnered sex, you can hold the vibrator, or your partner can hold it, or you can wear one on your fingertip, or go hands-free with this little guy.
For finding a good vibrator, we’re long-time fans of Dame, the company founded by two women who want to revolutionize sex toys through ingenious design and plenty of empathy. We love their mission and highly recommend them — especially their silky-not-sticky lube and this simple vibrator with five intensities. These days, I’m also into their suction toy with thrilling pulses of air — which would make an a-maaa-zing first vibrator or very sexy upgrade.
Finally, maybe the most compelling part of seeing female pleasure in media is that it gives you permission to own yours. At 43, I still (still!) get in my head when the focus is on me in bed. But this is changing. One vibrator, one sex scene at a time.
Thoughts? Do you have a vibrator? Are you curious to try one?
(This post is sponsored by Dame, a women-owned company we love and trust. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Cup of Jo.)