I knew, going in to this, that this was going to be a book about ‘adult sex toys’ (more kindly referred to as “erotic products”), but beyond that, I wasn’t sure what to expect here. I think the subtitle, “A Showcase of Modern Erotic Products and the Creative Minds Behind Them,” is really key to this book.
This is not a catalog or even a review of modern erotic products. While it does feature some of the newest (currently) erotic products on the market, it does so in an artistic fashion (as opposed to either clinical or sensual) making this more like a coffee-table photo book than anything else. In her preface to the book, author Rita Catinella Orrell (who writes a consumer product design blog) writes: “The products in this book were chosen to appeal not only to lovers of good design, say the casual, curious observer, but also to those lovers of good design with a serious interest in acquiring these pieces.” And I’d say this is a pretty apropos statement.
The primary focus here appears to be the design of the products. I think it’s safe to say that the sex toy has come a long way from the days of simple vibrators or dildos and cheap plastic vaginal socks or mouths for male use. And yet, the ultimate purpose or result of the product remains the same. So where are the changes? In the quality of the materials in the product and the fine-tuning of shapes, angles, curves, and stimulation additions. What also has changed is the use of technology and the ability to control devices through the use of cell phones.
One of the more interesting products within is the “long distance” sex toys. One company (I won’t advertise individual companies here … you can read the book) packages a his-and-hers sex toy set in which each partner can control the vibration intensity of their partner’s toy through their own cell phones. So… while apart, instead of just the sexy talk over the phone, you can add another dimension and actually control the action your partner is getting, while still talking.
There are even vibrators that react to music or specific sounds. Who knew!?
But as is often the case with coffee-table style photo books, the objects within are not the sort that are easily available, or at least not usually in expensive. The above mentioned his/hers toy retails for $400. This doesn’t strike me as something for the average couple, but for those who are serious about their sexual toys.
I will admit, with a chuckle, that there were times when I viewed a product and I had no idea how it would be used (I guess I’m a little out of my league here). Fortunately, I may not be the only one as on some rare occasions, along with the classy photography of the product there might be included a very sterile, clinical diagram of the product in use.
Also, along with the product display, there are very brief interviews with some of the leading designers of some of these new products
There is still a sense of taboo surrounding the world of sex – specifically the world of sex for fun or as a pastime, rather than for procreation only – but books such as this show that we’re becoming a little more open to talking about and sharing these sorts of things. And as we can make these products more personalized (curves and shapes designed for the uniqueness of an individual’s body) the more likely we are to realize that these objects aren’t just for ‘deviants,’ but for anyone who wants to enhance their sensual pleasure experiences. Books like this make us realize that these products are available and that intelligent, qualified experts are always working to design new products. Now if we can work on the product prices and availability perhaps more people would purchase a product of this sort, and not just those whose lifestyle really revolves around these experiences.
Looking for a good book? Objects of Desire, by Rita Catinella Orrell, is a photo book of modern sex toys, presented in nicely photographed, artistic fashion. Put one on your coffee table and see what your neighbors think the next time they come over for drinks.
I received a digital copy of this book from the publisher, through Edelweiss, in exchange for an honest review.
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Objects of Desire: A Showcase of Modern Erotic Products and the Creative Minds Behind Them
author: Rita Catinella Orrell
publisher: Schiffer Publishing
hardcover, 272 pages