226  ConclCLusion
malize sex in a powerful way. We make available quality information, a clean
and welcoming environment, and staff that really care about what they do. I
don’t see that occurring on a massive scale without a huge cultural shift in atti-
tudes about sex.”35
If co-­optation is the industry practice du jour, it may be the price feminists
have paid for a world in which, as retailer Jones notes, “folks that were terri-
fied to walk into a store that sold toys will now happily walk in and post about
it on Facebook.”36 Thanks to early feminist businesses like Eve’s Garden and
Good Vibrations, you can find elements of the alternative, women-­friendly,
and educationally oriented retail model they developed even at establishments
like Las Vegas’s Adult Superstore. That’s where twenty-­six-­year-­old Amber, a
Las Vegas transplant, headed after her dog ate her favorite vibrator. Amber
grew up in a small Midwestern farming town of six thousand people, a place
where sex “was shunned” and sex toys were never discussed. If she wanted to
find a sex-­toy store back home, it would mean driving forty miles to St. Louis.
Now, at the Adult Superstore, a large sex-­ t oy emporium—think clothing re-
tailer h&m but for sex toys—she knows that she’ll not only have many options
to choose from, but once there she’ll be treated with respect by a knowledge-
able staff.37
It’s a far cry from the humiliation Dell Williams experienced in the early
1970s when she walked into Macy’s department store to purchase the Hitachi
Magic Wand. The culture that Williams and her contemporaries fought so
hard to transform was one that rarely viewed women as sexual agents and
consumers who were entitled to take their pleasure—and their orgasms—­
seriously and expect that others would, too.
Judging by Amber’s attitude toward her vibrator errand, they seem to have
succeeded. For Amber, there’s nothing dirty or sleazy about it—no stigma, no
embarrassment. Shopping for a sex toy is like any other business transaction,
akin to buying any other consumer product to meet a perceived need. “Things
are changing,” she told me. “It’s now okay for women to be more open about
our sexuality, to have an opinion, to talk about it.”38
Feminists changed the sex-­ t oy industry and, over time, the industry
changed their businesses, forcing them to become more profit-­minded and
fiscally conscious whether they wanted to or not. For many people, myself in-
cluded, there’s a palpable nostalgia for an earlier time when feminist entrepre-
neurs like Williams and Blank led with conviction and intention and shunned
conventional ways of doing business. The images of Williams standing in her
kitchen opening letters from customers thanking her for starting Eve’s Gar-
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