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Vibrator Nation
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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments ix
Introduction. The Making of a Market 1
1. The Business of Masturbation 15
2. Out of the Therapist's Office, into the Vibrator Shop 43
3. Living the Mission 63
4. Repackaging Sex 88
5. The Politics of Products 113
6. Sexperts and Sex Talk 136
7. Selling Identity 161
8. Profitability and Social Change 188
Conclusion. Grow or Die? 211
Appendix. Studying Sexual Culture and Commerce 229
Notes 235
Selected Bibliography 257
Index 267

About the Author

Lynn Comella is Associate Professor of Gender and Sexuality Studies at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, and coeditor of New Views on Pornography: Sexuality, Politics, and the Law.

Reviews

"We've come a long way, baby, but as Vibrator Nation and Buzz make clear, we still may not be coming enough." -- Peggy Orenstein * New York Times Book Review *
"[A] fascinating survey of the evolving culture of sexuality in America and of a small band of pro-sex feminists who were on the front lines of the sexual revolution." -- Vernon Rosario * Gay & Lesbian Review *
"Vibrator Nation celebrates the cast of audacious women who led the lusty feminist revolution in San Francisco: Blank (who died in 2016), Susie Bright, Carol Queen and other sex-positive pioneers. A crash course in contemporary gender and sexuality studies, Comella's book could be a television series every bit as juicy as Sex in the City or Transparent." -- Laura Frost * Times Higher Education *
"Vibrator Nation is an engaging expedition across more than 30 years of the history of feminist sex stores in the US. Comella provides a multilayered context, detailing the cultural climates, sex education histories and social positioning of female sexuality that the stores operated and flourished under.... An inspiring read, Vibrator Nation will engage those interested in the history of sexual pleasure as well as provide valuable information for those researching feminist activism and the broader field of female sexuality."
-- Caroline West * Screening Sex *
"[A] worthy exploration into how women have orgasmed their way into sexual liberation." * Bitch *
"Vibrator Nation is an essential read for anyone interested in opening an adult boutique, or who already owns one and is looking for inspiration-and for anyone who is interested in the history of adult boutiques and what they might look like in the years to come. It's apparent Comella has a deep respect and admiration for the people she interviewed and for their missions." -- Sherri L. Shaulis * AVN Magazine *
"It's equal parts social history, popular culture, business and psychology and, while amply sourced, reads like a novel populated by memorable true-life characters." -- John Przybys * Las Vegas Review-Journal *
"Vibrator Nation tells one part of our country's feminist story, but it may just as well be a call to action to grab a vibrator - or whatever tool of liberation you choose - and resist." -- Nicole Guappone * Rolling Stone *
"Comella's Vibrator Nation shows how feminist sex-toy shops freed us from the confines of the patriarchy - rather than reinforced our role within it - and gave us the power to feel powerful using 'one conversation, vibrator, and orgasm at a time.'" -- Annamarya Scaccia * Bust *
"An impressive history of feminist sex-toy stores in the US.... Highly recommended. All levels/libraries." -- T.E. Adams * Choice *
"A remarkable work of sex-positive slow scholarship. . . . Equally engaging for those both inside and outside of academia, Vibrator Nation is an important and accessible addition to the sex-positive feminist canon." -- Kristen J. Sollee * Signs *
"A beautifully written and well-researched book. . . . Vibrator Nation is essential reading for anyone interested in contemporary feminism as well as the intersections of gender, sexuality, public space, and consumerism." -- Alison Better * American Journal of Sociology *

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