2  Introduction
ket. “Women have dollars, believe me,” Holland told the crowd at the expo.
“And they love to spend [them] on things they feel enhance their self-­esteem,
their intelligence, their sexual lives.” Ken Dorfman, the national sales manager
for Doc Johnson, one of the largest sex-­toy manufacturers in the world, used
dollars and cents to make a similar point: “One guy shopping alone—average
sale $8. Two guys, $12. But one female shopping alone—­ a verage sale $83. Two
females shopping together, $170.”1 In an era when profits from pornography
had declined precipitously, the result of piracy and free Internet video sites,
these numbers told a powerful story: the marketplace was changing and adult
businesses needed to change with it.
Even the convention’s infamous parties mirrored this change. Later that
evening in a suite at the Venetian Hotel and Casino, high above the Las Vegas
Strip, feminist sex-­toy retailer Babeland hosted a party to celebrate the release
of the SaSi vibrator by Je Joue. Billed as one of the most innovative vibrators to
hit the market, the SaSi was touted as a marriage of sleek design and custom-
izable technology. While the product’s designers huddled around the proto-
types they had brought with them from the United Kingdom, others, includ-
ing Babeland cofounder Rachel Venning, milled around the room, sipping the
evening’s specialty cocktail, the SaSitini. Transgender porn star Buck Angel
lounged on the bed while, across the room, feminist author and filmmaker
Tristan Taormino signed copies of Chemistry, her award-­winning porn series.
This was not your father’s porn industry party, and it reflected the growing
power of a women’s market that until fairly recently was regarded as a rela-
tively small and somewhat inconsequential part of the larger adult industry, a
specialty niche more likely to elicit a playful wink than any serious consider-
ation. In recent decades, due in part to the popularity of television shows like
Sex and the City—which introduced millions of viewers to the Rabbit vibra-
tor—and the runaway success of Fifty Shades of Grey, women have acquired
newfound economic and cultural cachet as sexual entrepreneurs and con-
sumers.2
Many adult entertainment companies, from sex-­ t oy manufacturers to re-
tailers, are recalibrating their business practices with an eye toward wooing
female shoppers. Traditional brick-­and-­ m ortar retailers, for example, are re-
moving their video arcades, painting their stores to make them lighter and
brighter, hiring female staff, and placing a greater emphasis on stocking
quality products and offering attentive customer service. They are softening
the edges of their businesses and taming the often harsh and in-­your-­face rep-
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