Review by Frank Plowright
This is the longest volume of Oh Joy Sex Toy to date, but the content now splits almost 50/50 between the reviews and advice provided by Erika Moen and Matthew Nolan and guest strips, 21 of them. Everything celebrates sex as something joyous and inclusive, Moen’s cartooning is cheery and the cast of Masturbateers she uses to illustrate device use are always enjoying themselves. This is an important point noted in Laura Hudson’s introduction, where she also mentions how much she’s enjoyed the strip and kept reading the web version despite not being in the market for a sex toy. She also makes the very salient point about how shame kills. Why do so many people want to control how others express themselves sexually? Oh Joy Sex Toy supplies reviews of many devices readers would never consider using, yet does so prioritising an open-minded, non-judgemental attitude. A studded dragon dong might not be for you, but what’s the problem with others having fun with it?
Don’t care about sex toys at all? Well Oh Joy still has plenty of useful advice to offer for those who’ve had an active sex life for decades. Sex can provide relief from menstrual cramps, there’s a need for regular gynecological inspections, and sexual infections can be unknowingly carried and passed on. Most guys could surely benefit from reading the ‘Cock Talk’ strip. How many really know how the old meat and two veg works? And the illustrations are great, particularly the Boner Train.
Some toys have a larger practical value, such as the Quickshot aid to blow jobs for those with a sensitive gag reflex, and regular readers will gasp with astonishment at Erika finally discovers a serviceable rabbit toy for herself. You may not want to indulge yourself, but there aren’t many places where you’ll find so many informative and unbiased reviews, and that’s admirable.
The content from other contributors is more variable, although this time there’s barely any fiction. As ever, the sheer variety of kinks and people willing to share their enthusiasm is endearing even when nothing about a particular speciality has a personal appeal. There’ll be some occasions when you’ll be wondering just how anyone can get off on a subject, but each to their own as long as no-one is harmed. The idea of sex in fursuits is a head-scratcher, despite Marley Smith’s best efforts to explain, and plenty of guys are going to cringe at the thought of ballbusting. Of course, even loving consensual sex isn’t without problems. Capp’s description of the pain of Vestibulodynia is apparently surprisingly common (running between 10 and 15% of women), and Vicky Leta considering mental health problems may be attuned to greater 21st century awareness, but there’s a still a long way to go. Mady G’s autobiographical strip about bullying and intolerance is a heartbreaker.
Not all the cartooning from other contributors is as efficient or attractive as the main content, but while some might just be functional, there are no longer any submissions where enthusiasm trumps talent. This volume ends with more of Moen’s work, all of it in some sense autobiographical and revelatory, and all of it good, but fun isn’t always the applicable mood.