Edwina started running sex toy parties nearly 30 years ago – and she’s seen a lot of change in the toys and people’s opinions about them. In this week’s Girl Boner Radio episode, she shares some of her wildest and most meaningful memories — basically a fun walk down Sex Toy Memory Lane! Plus tips for choosing the right toy for your needs/desires.
Stream it on Apple Podcasts/iTunes, iHeartRadio, Amazon Music, Spotify or below. Or read on for a lightly edited transcript.
“Adventures in Sex Toys: Edwina’s Story + Tips”
a Girl Boner podcast transcript
Edwina: To me, it’s so everything, you know? It’s all so every day, day to day. I go out to the mailbox and come running in and yell at my daughter, “Look at this butt plug, look at this butt plug I just got sent!” You know, it’s so every day for me. I could not imagine having another career.
Edwina is…awesome, and obviously has quite a zest for all-things-sex toys.
In addition to parenting three kids, she’s a content creator, podcast personality and sex toy reviewer for the company, BedBible. None of which is close to anything she — or her own mother — could have imagined for her early on.
Edwina: I knew absolutely nothing about sex growing up. My mom was raised in a very, I don’t even know how to put it, just a very modest household.
She used to tell me a story of the day she started her period. Her brother brought her home from school and her mother beat her saying that she had had sex.
Her mom mistook the blood to mean the whole “cherry popping thing,” is what Edwina gathered from that. Which reflected a few wonky ideas, including the idea that everyone with a vagina bleeds the first time they have intercourse.
Edwina: I guess my grandfather got really upset about the whole thing went down and even my uncle knew what was going on, and I guess my mom didn’t even really know what was going on, and this was back, I believe, in the 1950s. So, so it was, it was horrible for her and she never felt open enough to talk about sex.
So that is what my mom grew up with so she didn’t really pass anything along to me. Basically I learned in, I think it was fifth or sixth grade, back when we had, sex ed in classes and we were literally watching films from like the 1950s.
(1950s film clip: “She’s beginning to learn about her body, and it’s confusing at times…”)
Edwina eventually learned about sex through experience – starting a few years after that sex ed class. And that’s when she started to teach her mom a few things.
Edwina: After I got past a certain age, I think I was the one that talked to her more about sex and educated my mom. And my mom was a completely different person.
I got pregnant when I was 15 and that’s where the conversations took off.
As Edwina grew older, those conversations became more frequent — especially once she entered the sex toy industry.
[Music: “Wings of Serenity”]
Edwina: I mean I brought her to her first sex toy party and she learned so much. She actually bought her first sex toy and she learned about orgasm, which I don’t think my mom had ever had an orgasm. It was at that point in time, it was like everything shifted. And she was just so much more confident and, spoke about sexuality and she was never embarrassed by the fact that I did what I did for a living.
In fact, her mom “kind of got into it,” Edwina said.
As for how Edwina got into selling sex toys, that’s another story. It started about 30 years ago, when she was in her mid 20s,
At that time, there weren’t really sex toy shops to speak of. There were only spicy bookstores.
Edwina: And you had the old school Adam and Eve catalogs. That was it.
There were plastic vibrators that you could order from a department store catalogue…
Edwina: … which were “massagers for tension.’
I’ll say. One day, a friend told Edwina about a woman who ran sex toy parties for a living. Maybe she’d have her run one at Edwina’s place.
My second child, he was born with a very rare disability and everything. We went through a lot with him and he had had a major operation and this was the first weekend he was going to his dad’s.
And so the first weekend I had been by myself for a long time and I decided to schedule one of these parties and all of my girlfriends came and everything, and this light came on in my head and every single product that she passed to me, I was able to say, wow, you guys, you should do this or that, or this would be great for you, and so-and-so, and, and the woman said, “I give up. You’re doing the sales here. You might as well be doing the party.” And all of my girlfriends were like, “You need to be doing this.” They pitched in and bought my kit.
That’s how much they believed in her for sex toy sales. They purchased the materials she needed to get started. She still remembers what that kit contained — a plastic vibrator, nipple cream, edible powder with a feather applicator, a bottle of Happy Penis. Yeah, I wondered about that, too. Apparently it’s an edible flavored lube that desensitizes a bit, to prevent coming too quickly.
It also contained Coochie personal shaving cream and a card game called Get Screwed. Or as Edwina put it, “like Go Fish, the adult version,” with cards that said things like “hairy beaver” and “morning wood.” The cards were waterproof, she said, for bath time fun.
As Edwina dove in to running the parties herself, lugging her kit of spicy gear to folks’ living rooms, she knew she’d made the right choice.
Edwina: I did it because number one, it was fun. Number two, I was learning a great deal. And number three, it was something that I could do around my kids. And I went home with cash in my pocket that night.
Considering I was at home taking care of this child, I was able to schedule things around when I could have a sitter or when he was gone to his dad. So it worked out beautifully.
August: Do you remember your first official party you led?
Edwina: I do, actually, and I am still friends with this woman on Facebook to this day. [party music]
That friend turned it into a great big bash – with fun foods and drinks – and women of many ages. Edwina immediately found the experience freeing.
Just being able to connect with women on this type of a level.
Quickly attendees started asking her questions, which she loved answering. She remembers one woman saying,
Edwina: “I didn’t know that. I mean, I can actually use this for masturbation? Or my husband and I can use this and he’ll last longer?” it was just so much fun. Of course there was a lot of alcohol being passed around and it was amazing. I made a lot of money that night, needless to say, and she was one of my best customers over the years.
And Edwina has done a lot of parties. She often compares them to container parties, where you gather at someone’s house and pass around and purchase the latest kitchenware.
I used to say it’s like a Tupperware party. Lots of plastic, no burping lids.
And the toys themselves have changed dramatically since she started. Although, still no burping lids — well, that I know of.
Edwina: Back then, I think the most uh, unique and advanced things we had were of course the jackrabbit, but it had a cord and a battery pack and everything, and then that was when they just started coming out with cyber skin.
Meaning material that looks and feels a lot like actual skin. The first cyberskin toys were made with oily or gummy materials, which we now know contain risky ingredients. Today, body-safe silicone is a norm.
And while those industry changes have unfolded before Edwina’s eyes, so too have people’s opinions about them.
Edwina: I have literally watched the sex toy industry go from this, um, “Shh, I have a vibrator in my drawer” to, “Hey, let’s go down and, and get something new.”
And people have collections of sex toys and it’s phenomenal how far they’ve come and how much it’s changed over the years.
Edwina has learned a ton through those years and countless parties, too – partly thanks to some…unique surprises. Take, for example, the mom who played out a kink before Edwina’s eyes.
Edwina: Oh my gosh. I had no clue that this was gonna happen. I had gone to a woman’s house. She was having a party for her daughter who was turning 21. And so I was there setting up and all of a sudden there was a boom, boom, boom, knock at the front door, and, and she went to the front door and opened it.
I heard a man’s voice and I heard her completely go off. “Did I give you permission to park there? I told you you need to park here. You are to come to the back door and then we will discuss this.” And I’m thinking, okay. So, I heard her in the back of the house. I heard the door shut and everything, and she called me in and there was this very large man. I would say he was probably a good 6′ 3″, 6′ 4,” very well built, very well dressed, tied to a chair in her kitchen.
And she said, “This is Edwina and you will be addressing her as Mistress from this moment on.” And he said, “Yes, Mistress.” And she says, now she said, “You can go in the bathroom, you can get changed and you come back out and await further instructions.”
Edwina had no idea what was going on — what was with the Mistress lingo? And ordering him around? But being the dedicated toy saleswoman she was, Edwina’s own show would go on.
Edwina: Okay. I said, I’m gonna go back in here and finish setting up.
So the ladies started coming in and everything and the next thing I know, I hear thump, thump and I’m thinking, what? Cuz she had wood floors in this house. I look and here is this mountain of a man on all fours wearing a dog collar and little black bikini underwear on all fours crawling toward me. Boom, boom, boom, boom, boom, boom.
Remember the Dominant/Pup play episode from December? Yeah, he looked like that. Only more scantily clad. And there was a lot less advance communication.
And throughout the evening he sat by her feet. Occasionally she would instruct him to crawl around and everybody hit him with various things, flyswatters or whatever, and he thanked them. He kissed a lot of feet, licked boots, did exactly what he was told.
Even when we took a little break for hors d’oeuvres and a drink, his were served to him in a bowl on the floor. And I just concentrated on what I was doing because like I said, I had never been exposed to something like this before.
It didn’t take long for Edwina to gather that this was some kind of kink scenario, but Dominant/submissive pup play was not on her radar. Pet play isn’t talked about all that much today either. Was this a sex thing?
Edwina: And, toward the end of the night after I’d taken orders and everything and, and started to pack up, she explained to me that he would be staying and he would be doing all the cleaning and that he would write her a check and he would leave.
And I said, “there’s no sex involved? And she said no. She goes, “let’s just say he has a very important role in the company at which he works, and he is the decision maker, and he likes to unwind by having somebody make all the decisions for him.” And that’s when it clicked with me, and I realized that BDSM, in many cases was a lot more than kinky sex, that it was about this control and more so about him being able to relinquish that control. And so it was, it was an interesting night for me to say .
August: That is so fascinating. I was just trying to imagine because I also, grew up fairly sheltered around sexuality, so I, I can imagine being just very stunned and surprised and not sure what to do, and you’re in autopilot.
The show must go on. It was an 18th birthday party, right? Was that typical then, or is it now to do parties for people who are 18, 19, or that are put on by a parent?
Edwina: It was back then. I loved the fact that this mother was doing this for her daughter because I brought my daughters up around this, they knew about sex toys growing up.
You know, seeing mothers do this or having, a woman throw a party and invite her grandmother, her aunts, her mom, and made it a family affair. I, I loved that because I was able to educate so many women, especially older women, who were so much like my mom. Not realizing that there were things to help if, you know, sex wasn’t what it used to be.
August: That’s beautiful. Ah, that’s like a full circle moment over and over again.
Edwina: Well, especially when you have a grandmother.
One sweet grandmother story stands out most in her memory.
Edwina: All of my orders were done in private. I always requested that I have a separate room, so nobody knew what anybody ordered.
And she had come to me and sat down and she wanted to make sure the door was shut and she leaned over. She goes, “That big fleshy guy that you showed us.” I said, “yeah, the one that I call Henry?” And she said, “yeah.” She said, “I lost my husband a couple years ago, and that big guy reminds me a lot of him and well, I miss him, so I want him.”
And I was like, “absolutely.” She goes, “so my granddaughter’s not gonna know.” I said, “no, absolutely not. She will not know.” And she said, “good, because this is my little secret.” But it just, it was so emotional for me to be able to educate her and to let her know, Hey, it is okay. It’s more than okay to be able to give yourself pleasure if you are not to the point where you’re out dating.
And, and like she said, she goes, “I’m a widow.” She goes, “I don’t sleep ground.” And it was just very matter of fact, but she had to have this toy and it just felt so good to be able to do that for her.
August: Oh, that is so precious. I think when people hear sex toy party, I think it has kind of a kicks and giggles energy. Like they think, oh, it’s gonna be all. And it is fun and it is really exciting. but I love that example because it really shows how much more this means. Like still
Edwina: It does. Yeah. It really does.
As Edwina mentioned, her kids grew up aware that sex toys exist, no shame or stigma attached. That really shows in their childhood memories — even those Edwina didn’t even know about until recently.
Edwina: One of the first podcasts I actually did for Bedbible was with my daughter, my youngest daughter, my oldest daughter, and one of her friends because all of my daughter’s friends came to me as they were growing up. I’ve had kids come out to me because they could trust me.
The friend who joined them for that podcast was a woman named Melissa.
Edwina: And my daughter says to Melissa, “do you remember the vibrator races?” she started laughing. She’s like, “oh my God!” I said, “girls, mom doesn’t know anything about this. Fill me in.” And Charlotte’s like, well, we used to go and get into your kit, and we would get all the vibrators and we’d turn ’em on and let ’em go across the kitchen floor and to see who would win.
And I was like, oh my God, . And I just laughed. Of course I can see her doing this. My youngest. Never, but my oldest, absolutely. She’s my freak. She goes, “I’ll try it once. If I like it, I’ll do it again.” But she’s like that. But my youngest is the one that is a lot more modest about things.
But they both were brought up in the same atmosphere and I swore to myself I would never allow my daughters to not be educated, to not know about their bodies. I bought them both their first sexual experience, I bought them vibrators. I said, “I would much rather you have this than going out and getting yourself pregnant.”
Although I did tell my daughters, “when you’re ready, you come to me, no questions asked.” I said, “The more you know about your own body, the better your relationships will be in the future because you know what turns you on, you know what gets you off. And that is something you can share with a partner.” So they’re not stumbling around blind trying to learn for themselves.
Edwina wants more parents to make similar efforts – especially for girls and kids with a vulva, who continue to learn less about their own personal pleasure.
Edwina: Teach them more than the birds and the bees, the birds and the bees, and the mees, because they need to really learn about themselves, their own bodies. Self-care and self-pleasure is part of that. Then that way, when they’re ready for that relationship, they already know what they need to do.
And they can let their partners knows, too — what to stop doing, what to do more of, how to move. Saying things like,
Edwina: “No. And hey, to the left. Down, down, hard, softer, got it.” So they already know all that. They’re not really having to learn it together.
Edwina believes that folks of all genders can benefit from learning early on that pleasure is for everyone — and communication is key.
I just really encourage young people to talk to their partners and share what you want.
People approach Edwina often, asking her how to talk about sex — they’re not sure how to bring it up. To make that easier, she said, you may want to turn to sex toys.
Edwina: I tell people, you know, you don’t, don’t have to approach it, you know, with pen and paper and say, um, honey, I’d like to talk about sexual fantasies. It’s, it’s something that you just kind of roll into and say, you know, I had a thought the other night and you talk about these things. I said, and it should turn you on.
I said, it should arouse you. I said, pull up a sex toy website. and go through it with your partner and go, “Ooh, that, or I wanna try that.” I said, or go to a shop, a brick and mortar store, and try it. I said, you would be really surprised at what fantasies will come out of the two of you as you are discussing things and, and looking at things. It’s kind of like window shopping.
Given her close to three decades in the sex toy business, Edwina has a lot of advice to consider if you’re thinking of getting a new toy — or your first toy.
My first tip would be, don’t be afraid. You wanna try something new, go for it. the worst case scenario, you don’t like it. Best case scenario, you find out you can orgasm in ways you never thought you could.
That is what I like to say to couples. It goes both ways. And, um, you know, you can share little bullet vibes that especially that fit in between two bodies.
Also, she said? It’s completely okay – and often a GREAT idea – to use a toy on a partner and vice versa.
[sounds: buzz…female/male moans…ah…]
If you’re looking for a toy to fulfill a particular need or desire, Edwina has tips for those, too. I asked her about specific scenarios.
So for somebody who really lovesexternal clitoris stimulation, and maybe they’ve tried an internal vibe and they’re like, uh, doesn’t really do much for me. What kind of toy would you recommend to them?
Edwina: I would say try a bullet type vibrator or they call ’em small personal vibrators. Um, cuz they have those in lovely, very silky, silicone. They’re so soft against the skin.
And if you tend to like the feeling of oral sex, the pulse air stimulators, they call ’em clit suckers, and they don’t actually suck.There’s puffs of air that make it feel like suction.
If you have a vulva and want more internal pleasure — maybe you want to explore some G-spot fun or you really like the sensation of being filled up — Edwina recommends silicone dildos, with or without vibration.
Edwina: There are a lot of creators I’ve seen on Twitter, on Etsy, who have small shops who hand pour beautiful silicone dildos. You can virtually get them in any size, any shape, any color, any design. Some of them are very fantasy driven.
The fantasy dildos are modeled after things like aliens, monsters, or even food items. Edwina reviewed one for BedBible called Big Shocked Alien I, giving it 5 stars. [ethereal tones]
“The thick shaft,” she wrote, “is laced with teasing textures from another dimension culminating in a petal-shaped glans.
In any case, these types of dildos, she said,
Edwina: …are the best when it comes to wanting something that really gives you that full feeling.
And as far as internal vibes go…
Edwina: My goodness, there are just so many different incredible brands on the market for g-spot stimulation. And they’re even making them now for A-spot stimulation that are longer. So that way you can get in there back behind that cervix and get those really deep, incredible orgasms that make you go, what the hell had just happened to me. . .
August: Yes. I love it. I love it. And what about a penis toy? Is there a certain kind? I know there’s like sleeves and rings.
Edwina: Fleshlight makes the most incredible selection of masturbators for men. They even have where you can hook them in and it is programmed and all they do is hold on and it’s strokes. You can choose your stroke setting and things like that.
There are other brands that even have virtual reality that you can connect to it. You can watch pornography and the stroker moves with it.
Another company that I freaking love is Hot Octopus. They have the most incredible toys, one of which I really like because it curves up and the penis slides in.
It has a button inside that vibrates against the head of the penis. Plus you have vibration around. And the wonderful thing about this is you can use it with a partner. And these are so phenomenal that you can literally use these if you have erectile dysfunction and cannot maintain an erection, but can still orgasm. They’re also great for people with disabilities.
August: And who would you recommend a cock ring for?
Edwina: Oh my gosh. Cock rings are great for couples.A cock ring does give you a harder, firmer erection, but it makes you more sensitive. And if you can last longer while you’re that sensitive.
They started out as a medical device to help ED because what it does is it, once the erectile blood goes through the cock ring keeps it from coming out.So you’re able to maintain the erection for much longer, but then it has the added benefits of sensitivity, so it makes sex feel better.
Better for everyone involved, which is very cool.
Beyond the pleasure perks of working in this field, and getting to try and learn about so many different toys, Edwina’s life in general has benefited from her work.
To me, it’s so everything, you know, it’s, it’s just all so every day, day to day, you know, I go out to the mailbox and come running in and yell at my daughter, “Look at this butt plug, look at this butt plug I just got sent!” You know, it’s so every day for me.
I could not imagine having another career. I’ve always wanted to be a writer. And then, like I said, when the sex soy thing fell into my lap, literally, and I started doing that, I realized it was something I was good at and it was something I wasn’t embarrassed by. When BedBible approached me three years ago and said, we, you know, have sites. In other parts of the world, we wanna do a USA site and we want you to write for us. I was like, this is a job I’ve waited for my whole life.
And to me, if you pull the whole sex part out of it and realize that this is very much about self care and self-pleasure and the fact that orgasms are good for our bodies. I like to approach it that way with a lot of people who just don’t realize it’s not as much about sex all the time as it’s about, you know, if you’ve had a stressful day at work, or you’re feeling rundown, or you’re not sleeping well, take that bubble bath, take your waterproof toy with you. Give yourself that extra relaxation because it’s going to help you sleep better at night.
It amps your immune system, it lowers your chances of heart related problems, heart disease. It lowers the instance of prostate cancer. There are just so many reasons why having an orgasm is good.
Here here. I was only a little bit familiar with BedBible before speaking with Edwina, so I loved learning more about it.
Edwina: We are the only sexual-based website of its kind. A lot of people think, oh, well, they just talk about sex. They talk about sex toys, but we actually have a dedicated team of people that are our testing panel, and these are people from all ages.
We’re talking, I think our youngest is 19 and our oldest is 80. And these are people of all races, of all genders, including non-gendered.
What we do is we send our testers something to test they get to keep that for free. And then all they do is give us the review, which we put on our website. And the whole idea behind this is user generated reviews.
We don’t want anybody going, Ooh, I got a free thing, so I better say it’s good. No, we want the bad and the good. So when you’re looking for a review or a certain type of sex toy, you are gonna find somebody that’s just like you, and that is what we pride ourself on, is having this diverse group of people, not just 20 something year olds that are testing this or that. We test everything.
They also RoundupReviews where they compare the positives, negatives and costs of various toys.
You could go down and say, well, I think this one’s for me. Well, boom, boom, boom. You’ve got four or five places where you can buy it.
I loved seeing that. BedBible’s site also features educational blog posts.
Like right now, I’m doing one on how to give a blow job. You know, believe it or not, there’s a lot more to it than just telling somebody, this is how you do it. You know, you want them to know techniques and you know how to make yourself feel more comfortable.
What do you do if you don’t feel comfortable doing this or that?
So we have just a little bit of everything on BedBible, and I love the site. . I am proud to be working for them and I work with a great group of people. I could not imagine having another career.
Learn much more at bedbible.com or the show notes wherever you’re listening. There you can also find a link to Edwina’s How to Give a Blog Job article.
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