The Great Texas Dildo Wars of 2008


By Amanda Marcotte, Pandagon. Posted March 7, 2008.

One should never underestimate the lengths to which wingnuts will go to control female sexuality.
Well, I celebrated too soon the new-found legality of female masturbation in Texas (see the classic video to the right about the ongoing sex toy battles in my fine home state). One should never underestimate the lengths to which wingnuts will go to control female sexuality. Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott, who apparently has nothing better to do than to separate women from their dildos, has asked the 5th Circuit Court to rehear the sex toy case.

I’m trying to imagine the mindset of a man who doesn’t realize that when you try to take dildos away from women, basically everyone with a brain and/or a sense of humor is going to assume it’s because you’re afraid you can’t handle the competition.

But I am routinely reminded that we face opposition to sexual liberation, the most prominent face of which is the anti-abortion movement that protests clinics and waves bloody fetus signs from street corners. That movement is made up of people who claim to be in it not because they are misogynists who fear female sexuality, nor because they are control freaks who can’t stand the idea of someone else having fun. They are in it, they say, because they want to save the unborn babies.

Take, for example, their opposition to making emergency contraception available over the counter. For most of us, this one was a no-brainer: Better contraception access means fewer unintended pregnancies, which translates into fewer abortions. Over-the-counter emergency contraception, then, means the abortion rate goes down — and since fewer abortions means more “babies saved” in anti-choice-speak, “pro-life” people should embrace it, right?

Wrong. Over-the-counter emergency contraception was framed by reproductive rights opponents as a matter of saving babies, but not in the sense of preventing abortion. Instead, anti-choicers argued that the microscopic fertilized eggs might be sloughed off if you took the pills — despite the fact that there was no scientific evidence to support this contention, and every bit of research concluded that emergency contraception had no effect on established pregnancies. But no, really, it was all about a “respect for life” instead of a disrespect for female sexuality that manifested itself in an attempt to deprive women of a certain form of contraception. Everything goes back to abortion, we’re told.

I realize it’s hard to see how a woman masturbating with a dildo is a secret form of abortion. But we promise, this is about the babies and life and stuff. You see, dildos are just so big, and if you stick one up yourself and you’ve got a fertilized egg banging around in there and don’t know it, you could just jostle the little fella and knock him right out. Or at least give the little guy quite a scare. There’s no such threat coming from the average wingnut penis, so no need to ban those. Sure, you people with your science and stuff might think that it’s impossible to scare a brainless ball of cells, but you have to understand that the good Lord provides little angels for an embryo so they can have all the feelings of fear and prayerfulness and resentment of women’s liberation that born wingnuts feel — at least until the embryos have developed brains and can be trained in Sunday school to hate women all on their very own.

So this is completely, 100 percent about babies. No misogyny, control issues or wariness of female sexuality has any part to play in this.

If that’s the case, someone needs to send the attorney general the memo, because he didn’t see the need to tie this back to saving babies. But while baby-saving is a killer argument that will obviously convince all cynics that socially conservative anti-choicers have the best of intentions, the attorney general didn’t totally flout wingnut standards — his petition reads like old-fashioned, stodgy slut-shaming. What’s a more crucial component of the anti-choice movement than that?

He argues that because criminal laws are generally based on society’s moral judgments about right and wrong, the panel majority’s decision could invite substantive due process challenges to other, previously uncontroversial criminal prohibitions — suggesting that laws against incest and bigamy would be the next to go if women are permitted to buy masturbatory aids in Texas.

He should have gone with the saving babies argument. It’s all to easy to point to other states that have not seen a complete breakdown of civilization despite large numbers of women hopping on Rabbits in the privacy of their own bedrooms.

Savage Love – February 13, 2008

February 13th, 2008
My boyfriend and I have been dating for four months, and we’re crazy about each other. He’s been slowly introducing me to butt-play. Last night, we were verbally playing out an anal scenario. He asked if I’d be okay using a strap-on with him, to which I replied, “Of course!” Then he said that he had a harness and dildo in the closet. I balked. This brought up two specific issues for me.

1) What is good sex-toy etiquette? Can you use sex toys in one relationship and then in the next one? Also, when I’ve been with women, it was NOT okay to reuse sex toys. They died with the relationship. Is it different with heteros?

2) Can you recycle sex toys with your recycling like you would other plastic products?

He said he’d be happy to buy new sex toys if it bothers me so much. But we’re both ecofriendly and don’t want to cause a lot of waste.

Willing To Bend Over Boyfriend

“Lesbian sex-toy etiquette is pretty clear,” says Claire Cavanah. “Dildos and harnesses don’t survive the breakup.”

Cavanah is the co-founder of Babeland (, a woman-owned, totally righteous, continent-spanning sex-toy colossus, and a lesbian herself, and I typically defer to her on matters of lesbian sex-toy etiquette. But when asked why sex toys have to be discarded after a lesbian breakup, Claire could only offer this dyke-ass mumbo jumbo: “A lesbian couple’s dildos become suffused with the energy of the sex in the relationship, and end up symbolizing the sexual connection the poor doomed couple had. They belong to the relationship.”

Like I said, I’m going to defer to Claire. But it’s interesting that lesbian dildos become fatally suffused with the energy of failed lesbian relationships, and therefore must be discarded, but lesbian hairstyles do not. Moving on…

“In the straight world,” Claire continues, “there’s a whole lot less attachment to specific toys, so reusing a dildo and harness is probably more common and acceptable.”

So should you suck it up and use your boyfriend’s dirty ol’ sex toys? Of course not—says the owner of a sex-toy shop.

“WTBOB, trained in the lesbian tradition, needs to speak up and get new toys,” says Claire. “You love this guy, and you want to give him every inch of YOUR love,” not the love someone else banged his ass with, “so go get a new rig.”

How best to dispose of the old rig?

“ says that silicone and latex are recyclable,” says Claire, “but that doesn’t mean you can toss your old dildos into your plastics bin and expect them to live again in the form of a park bench. You’d have to summon all your courage and take them to a special facility.” Most people won’t do that, says Claire, “so most toys end up as landfill.”

If you can’t bring yourself to hand over those old dildos at a special silicone-and-latex recycling facility, WTBOB, and the thought of your boyfriend’s used sex toys clogging your local landfill upsets you, perhaps you should mail them to Kandiss Crone at WLBT 3 News in Jackson, Mississippi.

Crone is a teeveenewz reporter in a state where it’s agin the law to sell sex toys. Twice last year, the Jackson Police Department busted a local sex shop, Adult Video And Books, for the crime of selling “three-dimensional devices.” But those busts didn’t put a stop to Jackson’s three-dimensional-device crime wave, it seems, because recently Ms. Crone got a hot tip: Adult Video And Books was back in the three-dimensional-device business!

To protect the citizens of Jackson from the imminent threat of three-dimensional devices (we wouldn’t want the smoking gun to take the form of a mushroom-headed dildo), Crone went undercover for a very special “3 On Your Side” investigative report. Crone slipped into Adult Video And Books—in disguise, lest she be recognized—and purchased a purple vibrator. Then Crone went back in with a camera crew and confronted the store’s owner. And since no teeveenewz report about crime is complete without a statement from the authorities, Crone asked the Jackson Police Department for a comment. “The adult store is not a priority for our vice and narcotics officers,” the Jackson Police Department said in a statement. “Citizens would rather see us using our resources to get drugs and prostitutes off our streets and work to decrease violent crime.” (No word from the JPD on why it used to be a priority.)

Police negligence! The books are full of deeply silly, sex-phobic laws that are rarely enforced, of course, because cops have better things to do than bust people for the “crime” of selling vibrators to teeveenewz reporters. But when an enterprising teeveenewz reporter goes to all the trouble of conducting an undercover operation to get a dangerous purple vibrator off the streets, why, the least the police can do is arrest the culprits! And provide that enterprising teeveenewz reporter with some B-roll footage of the cops hauling the store’s owner away in handcuffs!

Now cynical readers might assume that Ms. Crone, like so many other teeveenewz reporters, was using sex to attract viewers and then exonerating herself and her viewers for their salaciousness by persecuting the owner of the sex-toy shop. And some cynical readers might argue that Ms. Crone is only pretending to be scandalized because she’s a sophisticated, professional, modern woman, and like many sophisticated, professional, modern women, Ms. Crone is likely to have owned and operated a sex toy or two. And if Ms. Crone hasn’t, then certainly other folks at WLBT—management, anchors, other reporters, editors, cameramen, sound techs—have used three-dimensional devices. They’re all grown-ups, right?

Some will want to believe all that about Ms. Crone and WLBT, because that would prove that Ms. Crone and everyone else at WLBT are hypocrites for going on the teevee and playing to the prejudices of small-minded, sex-negative assholes while at the same time making folks who do use sex toys—or sell them, or work in places that do—feel ashamed of themselves.

But I don’t like to think ill of people. I’m certain Ms. Crone and the whole gang at WLBT in Jackson, Mississippi, sincerely believe that sex toys are a threat to the health, safety, and morals of the general public. As that’s the case, I’m certain Ms. Crone would only be too delighted to receive your boyfriend’s old sex toys in the mail, WTBOB, as well as used sex toys belonging to other Savage Love readers. Ms. Crone would, no doubt, take great satisfaction in personally disposing of all the dangerous three-dimensional devices she could get her hands on. So ship those old sex toys to: Kandiss Crone, c/o WLBT 3 News, 715 South Jefferson Street, Jackson, Mississippi, 39201. Don’t have a sex toy to dispose of? E-mail Kandiss at and let her know what a great job she’s doing for the community.

Where’s the web extra you promised in your January 10 column? I’m dying to find out more about tranny scrotums, female pastors, selective semen allergies, clit Tabasco, lesbian tongue size, and gay boobs!


Oh, it’s coming. And so is that web extra I promised of definitions of virginity. And so are those Huckabee definitions.

The problem is… there are so many of you, dear readers, and so few of me. And the response is utterly overwhelming when I invite you to weigh in on something. But I promise to slog through the 5,000-plus e-mails I got about tranny sacks, lady priests, and gay boobs by next week.

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