Treat yourself this Valentine’s Day with a shiny new sex toy
By Alexis Zygan, Staff Writer
“I would really love if the sex-ed curriculum included a component on self-love and self-esteem—which is incredibly important in teaching us to have body autonomy.” – Airial Clatney
The application of sex toys has shifted significantly since physicians during the 1880s administered electronic medical-grade vibrators for hysteria symptoms in women. Initially a medical device, in the 1970s vibrators became associated with eroticism. Tantamount to female liberation, Betty Dodson, also known as “The Mother of Masturbation,” popularized the bulky magic wand in her Bodysex Workshops in New York City. In the late ’90s, the television show Sex and the City normalized unashamedly conversing about vibrators amongst friends. Despite the show’s limitations, the charismatic cast encouraged women to purchase a vibrator from a local adult store. Nowadays, many folks choose to shop online for the convenience, discreteness, and online resources that assist in decision making. Sex toys are an integral part of wellness rituals as they enable the exploration of erotic desire and bring novelty to stale sex lives.
The Other Press had a chance to interview Airial Clatney, a dedicated sex educator and co-founder of Intamo Pleasurables. A wellness and sex store located in Victoria, BC, features primarily to queer, BIPOC, and women customers, people who Clatney think “are incredibly underrepresented in the sex and adult industry,” she explains. Their brick-and-mortar shop presents an inviting and warm atmosphere to curious onlookers. Through education, Clatney aims to eliminate shame and encourage an open dialogue around sex and masturbation. Her journey towards wellness commenced when she got sober. Clatney says, “[sobriety helped] realize the importance of feeding my soul and being emotionally and physically supported so that I could process trauma safely.” As someone who started my sobriety journey at the start of quarantine, I have had my realizations about honouring my true essence.
The current sex education system fails to teach youth about pleasure. Instead, it concentrates on sexually transmitted diseases and recognizing abusive relationship dynamics, which are two crucial topics. However, there is still a lot of information missing, namely an intersectional approach that encompasses the perspectives of bisexual, lesbian, gay, straight, asexual, and transgender folks. The goal should be that any student exiting a sex education class has the knowledge to engage in safe, consensual, and pleasurable sex.
The current system is in desperate need of reform. Clatney says that she would “really love if the sex-ed curriculum included a component on self-love and self-esteem—which is incredibly important in teaching us to have body autonomy.”
In the boutique section of their website, Intamo Pleasurables sells a variety of sex toys and kinky accessories for those interested in dipping their toes into BDSM culture. Intamo Plesaurables is currently offering online customers 15 percent of their long-lasting lube with purchases of a sex toy. Their boutique also features bikinis made by X9, a local slow-fashion Vancouver brand whose mission is to destigmatize all shapes and sizes of bodies and oppose censorship.
Along with vibrators and dildos, Intamo Plesaurables manufactures ointments and aphrodisiacs. Their plant-based lubricant, “Wild Thing,” is guaranteed to gratify one’s hedonistic pursuits and have sex with polycystic ovary syndrome less painful thanks to a formula that promotes arousal and healing. Clatney says, “our lubricants are formulated with ingredients that promote more pleasurable sex. That means we use ingredients that reduce inflammation, relieve pain, and offer hydration, like CBD, hemp-seed oil, and hyaluronic acid.”
Intamo Pleasurables also sells “Moondance,” an oil created to aid in menstrual cramps that I swear by whenever my monthly bleeding arrives. Their shop also carries essential oil blends ideal for stimulating a naughty and luscious aroma.
For those who are curious about sexual exploration but have yet to explore without a partner, Clatney shares words of encouragement: “Take your time, be gentle with yourself, and commit to a regular self-pleasure practice. Worship your body and be kind to yourself. Be patient, and don’t force yourself to be sexual if you aren’t feeling it. Remember that your sexuality and desire ebbs and flows, so don’t be too hard on yourself. You’re not alone, and you ARE normal. Honestly, shame won’t ever serve you, so let that shit go! We’re always here to support you if you need anything along the way. We’re all love here at Intamo.”