Why X-rated sex toy review went viral
"I feel sorry for you. Why can't you get a real man?"
If I had a dollar for every time a guy left that comment on one of my social media platforms, I'd be retired by now.
See, I review sex toys for a living. Sorry, "personal massagers" - that's the preferred term when I talk about what I do, because sex makes people very uncomfortable. Or, more accurately, women who like sex, make people very uncomfortable.
There seems to be a general perception - mainly among men - that women who use these products are desperate nymphomaniacs waiting to be put out of their misery by a willing bloke. If only we could find one.
It's almost unconscionable to imagine a happily married mum devoting half an hour a week to getting off without the aid of her husband.
Except that, that's what women do, every day.
An anonymous woman's Amazon review has gone viral this week for how astutely and hilariously it highlights just that.
The unnamed reviewer left a shining appraisal of her experience with one of the online retailer's adult products in April. Describing it as providing an "unending orgasm" that left her feeling as though "my soul left me" and "I'm pretty sure I levitated", it was quickly picked up by a Twitter user who took a screenshot and tweeted it out.
After a couple of months of prolific retweeting, it went viral, sending the retailer's traffic through the roof, as thousands of other women sought after the "seizure-like orgasms", comedically depicted in the review.
So convincing was the anonymous reviewer's detailed description of feeling so overwhelmed with pleasure she, "stared at the ceiling, dazed, trying to remember who I am and what year is this", the site boosted the product's price from $43.99 to $52.99, as sales soared.
(For anyone interested in owning one, it's currently sold out, so you'll have to get on the waiting list.)
Anecdotes like, "I'm still hobbling four hours later. I did not stretch enough," make for an entertaining and less conventional bit of pre-purchase research, but what arguably made this review hit viral status, was its candid discussion of female sexuality and motherhood.
"I don't have time to screw around waiting to get into 'the mood'. I have to get the kids in a few hours and I need to be ready to go when this thing is done charging," writes the reviewer.
"Tik tok, welcome to motherhood."
While I'm not a mum myself, I have a big problem with the way society labels women, once we embark on the motherhood journey.
For the most part, we still battle with the Madonna/whore dichotomy - the idea that a woman can't be both a nurturing caretaker of children, and a sexual being.
It's one of the chief complaints I hear from the women who so often come to me for sex advice. "Since we had kids, my husband isn't as interested in sex with me anymore," one of my female followers recently DM'd me.
While the popular stereotype may be the image of the pleading husband, desperately trying to convince his prudish wife to have sex with him, I know the reality is often very different. It's not just my own anecdotal experience discussing these topics with other women, either.
A 2015 survey by fertility awareness app, Kindara, revealed 89 per cent of women consider sex "very" important to them in a relationship, and at least 53 per cent were dissatisfied with the amount of sex they were currently having.
One also only needs to look at the explosive growth of the female sex toy market over the past decade to see getting off alone isn't an act reserved for desperate, unhappily single women. Online sex toy retailer Lovehoney forecast the market to be worth $50 billion annually by 2020. That's on par with smartphones.
In fact, according to a 2009 study into vibrator use conducted by Michael Reece and Debra Herbenick, alongside associates at Indiana University, the demographic most likely to use a personal massager, are women in relationships. That includes happily married mothers.
When the inevitable "I feel sorry for you" comment pops up on one of my vibrator review posts, I'm not going to lie, I do feel compelled to bite back. To explain that, actually, I'm in a happy long-term relationship with someone I love and have great sex with. But doing so would skip over the point entirely.
Because, despite what we've been told as women - that our primary sexual role is one of service to our partners, a kind of exchange we make in return for commitment and stability - we are actually allowed to enjoy sex. Regardless of our age, relationship status, or how good of a mother someone considers us to be.
Even the kind we have on our own, when the kids are at school, and we have half an hour to stare at the ceiling and forget who we are, or what year it is. (Just remember to stretch first.)