In the vein of Mary Roach's Stiff, a brilliant microhistory of the sex toy that ultimately tells the story of our changing sexual mores and evolving cultural values.
Once only whispered about in clandestine corners, vibrators have become just another accessory for the suburban soccer mom. But how did these once-taboo toys become so socially acceptable? The journey of the devices to the cultural mainstream is a surprisingly stimulating one.
In Buzz, Hallie Lieberman provides a riveting history that tells the story of sex toys from ancient phalluses to 21st century vibrating rabbits. She focuses on the period from the 1950s through the present, when sex toys evolved from symbols of female emancipation to tools in the fight against HIV/AIDS to consumerist marital aids and finally to mainstays of today's pop culture. Lieberman's history is populated by vivid and fascinating characters, including Ted Marche, an entrepreneurial ventriloquist and dildo maker; Duane Coleglazier, the gay ice cream truck driver who founded the first boutique sex-toy store; Dell Williams, ex-communist advertising maven who created the feminist sex toy store; Betty Dodson, whose workshops helped 1960s women discover vibrators; Gosnell Duncan, a paraplegic engineer who invented the silicone dildo; and Joani Blank, a pioneering sex educator who founded female sex-toy mecca Good Vibrations. And these personal dramas are all set against a backdrop of changing American attitudes toward sexuality, feminism, LGBTQ issues, and more.
Both educational and titillating, Buzz will make readers think quite differently about those secret items hiding in bedside drawers across the nation.