Review by Frank Plowright
When Erika Moen began her webstrip version of Oh Joy Sex Toy, there was surely never an anticipation of how long it would run, nor that book collections would extend to eighteen guest contributors, offering their own thoughts on devices and experiences.
By now readers know to expect illustrations featuring a cast of Masturbateers demonstrating the sound advice and unbiased recommendations from Moen and husband Matthew Nolan, along with practical advice on sexual health related topics. These are especially welcome, as, seriously, who would be confident enough to use a search engine for advice about urinary tract infections or tips on homemade porn videos? Perhaps more simply, there’s advice on sex toys that can travel with you discreetly. The strips ooze personality, Erica who identifies as queer has the chance to make a professional porn film, Matt’s guilty at the climate footprint of a one use only masturbation device, and the difficulties of differentiating between lubes are highlighted. One strip says all that needs to be said in fewer pages than usual ends with a riff on Orange is the New Black, and who else is going to tell you about the problem of diarrhoea before a swingers party?
As ever, for those whose sex lives aren’t as bold the wondrous inventive nature of some devices continually impresses. A Kegel Muscle strengthener? Who knew there was a Kegel Muscle, never mind a device to strengthen it? Or a fake dick for everyday wearing? It’s called a packer. Toward the end of Moen’s content there’s an essay on tolerance and understanding, sex positivity as she calls it. It should be required reading. As long as everyone consents, why is society as a whole still so judgemental about who puts what where?
Depending on how you want to look at it, a third of the book is contributions from guest creators, or a two hundred page book also features a hundred pages of bonus material. Moen has laid out liking hot porn stories, and noted there are activities leaving her cold, their attraction best explained by those who are enthusiastic about them. As with Moen’s content, for a lot of people these extras will be glimpses into new worlds, literally in the case of sexually adventurous game Dragon Age. There’s a definite feeling about there now being the possibility of selection for every book’s guest contributors, as the quality of the art has increased considerably since the first Oh Joy, Sex Toy volume. One standout is Kiku H’s ‘Asexuality’, both melancholic and liberating, and Tait Howard’s explanation of what happens in the brain during orgasm is going to be eye-opening for almost everyone. There’s a good joke at the end as well.
Any judgement about the fiction is going to be influenced by how closely it matches your fantasies, because as with all erotica, one person’s super turn-on is another person’s “meh!”. It’s all well crafted with a variety to the scenes, with Delidah’s ‘Forest Friends’ standing out as very funny as well as delightfully drawn.
If you loved the first two books you’ll love this as well, and more of the same awaits in Vol 4.