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Sisters Doing it For Themselves

Women Sex Toy Designers

by Alicia Guinn

Have you ever wondered who designs sex toys? Or found yourselffrustrated at the lack of high-quality toys on the market?Increasingly, women are at the forefront of revolutionary changes inthe sex toy industry.

In celebration of Women?s History Month, we?re bringing you shortprofiles of some of today's female toy designers andmanufacturers. They haveintroduced safer materials to the market, created attractive designsthat are both women-friendly and practical, and improved manufacturingstandards by insistingon durable, quality workmanship.

More importantly, they all share a passionate commitment to improving women?s lives through quality sex toys.

the Nexusby Marilyn Bishara of Vixen Creations

Marilyn Bishara

Owner of Vixen Creations

For those who consider silicone  "the new black" (i.e. you gotta have it and it goes with everything), you have MarilynBishara of Vixen Creations to thank. After working in the adultindustry for a few years in the eighties, Bishara discovered that the growing demand forhand-crafted silicone dildos was not being met by early suppliers.

Because silicone is resilient, warms quickly to body temperature,and is easy to clean, Bishara quickly realized that it was a naturalmaterial for dildos and anal toys. In 1992 she launched her businesswith a few models, but has since come to be known for her largeselection, her elegant colors (including swirl and glitter!) and herlifetime guarantee. Says Bishara, "I wanted to create something I feltwas ?heirloom quality??a beautiful, handmade toy you could proudlydisplay in your bedroom or give as a gift."

Bishara?s toys have since earned her a legion of loyal followers,who seek out unique designs like the bestselling double dildo theNexus, a G-spot cap for the Hitachi known as the G Whiz, and theperennial favorite, the Leo.

Bishara's latest invention is a new generation of silicone she callesVixSkin, which has the same great features of silicone, but has a morelifelike look and feel (think Cyberskin but easier to clean). Check outTex, Bandit, Lonestar, Rodeo Rick, Buck, and last but not least, the Spur.

The Rabbit HabitRabbit Habitby Shay Martin of Vibratex

Shay Martin

Co-owner of Vibratex Products

Vibratex, one of the leading importers of quality Japanesevibrators, has managed to make the Rabbit Vibrator a household word.Vibratex imports the original Rabbit Habit,  the toy made famousby its star turn on Sex and the City (and touted by DesperateHousewives star Eva Longoria). The Vibratex toy, a newly minted star,has made thousands of woman orgasmically happy.

Shay inherited the business from her dad, who opened some of thefirst adult stores in northern California to feature quality toys.Vibratex has always prided itself on verifying the safety of thematerials used in their toys, of ensuring the motors are of the highestquality, and that the craftsmanship on each toy reflects the care andimagination of the Japanese artisans who design them. You?ll recognizetheir toys by the whimsical designs, which often depict animals; this style was born out of an older Japanese law which forbadetoys from resembling genitalia. The law may now be defunct, but thelook has endured. You?ll find a whole line of Shay?s toys in ourshop, including the  Elastomer Rabbit Habit, the Rabbit Pearl, and the Pandora.

The Buzz 1by women-owned Tantus Silicone

Metis Black

Co-owner of Tantus Silicone

Faced with a range of toys on the market that she found unattractiveand badly designed, Metis Black took matters into her own hands andfounded Tantus Silicone with business partner Kris Victor in1998. It has quickly grown to become one of the leading manufacturers of silicone sex toys.

When Black and Victor started the company, they were concerned aboutthe potentially harmful chemicals found in many mainstream sextoys. They chose to specialize in silicone dildos and anal toysbecause silicone is a hypoallergenic, medical-grade material that canbe disinfected.

"We chose silicone because it is hands down the safest softmaterial...the more you research the issue of safety and sexuality, themoreyou will resolve that silicone is the best product in the marketplaceright now," Black says.

Tantus also focuses on creating new designs like the Buzz 1 and theProTouch Plug, both of which feature a removable mini vibrator, as well as the sexy, vibrating double dildo, the Divining Rod.  Tantus also offers a unique dildo called the Rascal with textured ribs and nice girth and the Electra dildo with just the right angle.  "Thesex toy industry is radically changing," says Black, "Women are thereason for the changes."

The Rabbit HabitBlueberry Buzzby Susan Colvin of California Exotic Novelties

Susan Colvin

Owner, California Exotic Novelties

You've no doubt noticed the women we've profiled here are smallbusiness owners or entrepreneurs who've found a niche in the sexbusiness. Susan Colvin is the exception: she's the owner of CaliforniaExotics, one of the leading adult toy manufacturers  in thecountry. Founded in 1994, Susan broke the mold (literally) of toysdesigned with male consumers in mind. By paying attention to what womenwanted, Susan raised the bar quality-wise in the adult industry, makingmore reliable toys and packaging them in more attractive boxes. Shepioneered some of the first remote-controlled and rechargeablevibrators. The Nubby G remains one of Babeland's all-time bestselling G-spot vibrators, while the Blueberry Buzz, tops our charts as a waterproof vibe.  The Power G  also holds its own in the G-spot department.

Lately Susan's been partnering with sex experts, helping themfashion sex toys that reflect their work with women's sexuality. Checkout Dr. Laura Berman's Athena vibe.

JaguarJaguarby women-owned Aslan Leather

Carrie

Owner, Aslan Leather

In the fine tradition of "find a need and fill it," Carrie startedAslan Leather in 1992 because she was frustrated by the lack of sturdy,realistic strap-ons. Tired of loose-fitting rings and floppy dildos, sheset to work developing a line of high quality multifunctional dildoharnesses and bondage gear that fit body typesof all sizes so your pleasure dollar goes further.

Some of Babeland's most popular Aslan models are the sexy Jaguar, the fashionable Black Cat, and the streamlined Commando. The Undercover Harness gets rave reviews, especially from the trans community.  Aslan's Panther Collar and Cuffs are incredibly soft and make tying up your lover a real treat.

Carrie offers women this helpful advice when shopping for a harness,"Choose a style that appeals to your needs. The jock style or two strapsits lower on the hips and allows for greater access while the G styleor one strap can sit above thehip bone and the butt strap can double as a butt plug holder."

Betty's Bar Bellby Betty Dodson

Betty Dodson

Author, Toy Designer, and Masturbation Guru

As one of the pioneering sex-positive feminists, Betty Dodsonstarted her career as an artist, but quickly became well-known forteaching masturbation workshops for women. With the publicationof her book Sex for One (originally entitled Liberating Masturbation),she became a nationally recognized advocate for masturbation and anexpert in the field of women?s orgasms. We call her "TheGrandmother of Masturbation."

Stud HuntersProduced by Candida Royalle'sFemme Productions

Candida Royalle

Filmmaker and Owner of Natural Contours Toys

Candida Royalle first made a name for herself as a successfulactress in adult films, but when she recognized the need for eroticmovies that appeal to both women and couples, she quit her work as anactress in order to found Femme Productions in 1984.  Incomparison to mainstream porn, her films are known for their dedicationto plot, romance, and authentic portrayals of women?s sexualpleasure.  Eyes of Desire 2 is one of her most popular films, andStud Hunters is her latest release. Her film My Surrender is a rare treat of good acting and sweet sexual connection between partners.

"My inspiration is about giving permission to women," Royallesays, "and helping them really achieve sexual empowerment andfulfillment.  And I wanted to get to all of those women that areafraid to go into erotic stores or adult stores,  those who areafraid to step out of mainstream sanctioned areas.  I want them tohave access to toys or movies that are great for them."

Royalle also recently released a popular sex advice called How to Tell a Naked Man What to Do.