In , in Lubbock, Texas, a sting operation in a lingerie shop resulted in the arrest of the clerk on duty. The employee was threatened with registration as a sex offender. Apparently, the sex toys gathered as evidence from the store were considered criminal enough to threaten a shop worker with 15 years of humiliation, housing restrictions, and job discrimination. But Texas is not unique in its long-running criminalization of sex toys.
The tech industry may be notoriously male-dominated, but an increasing number of sex tech and femtech companies are led by women. At the same time, the way we define, think about, and have sex are constantly evolving—and women are at the forefront of this evolution. It makes sense: Who better understands what works for women than us? Beyond selling sex toys even if they are super-fun ones , these women-led companies share a loftier goal: to facilitate honest conversations and maybe even change the way we think about female pleasure and sexual health.
I worked at a sex shop for seven years — one of those friendly, brightly lit storefronts that hired young feminists and queers with college degrees and great haircuts. This philosophy encourages and celebrates the vastness of human sexual expression, without favoring any single activity, orientation, or kind of body as the best, the most valid, or the most sexy. I was hired as a year-old, a recent college grad with a still-uncool haircut, and getting to work for a company that held this as a core belief felt really exciting. My job was to make sales, to make the store as much money as possible. That never bothered me.
Sutra earns her living in part by testing and reviewing sex toys. Her eponymous website, Cara Sutra , boasts over 2, product reviews and features sex and sex toy advice and even giveaways. In , Sutra took a job with SexToys.