Buzz: A Stimulating History of the Sex Toy

Hallie Lieberman. Pegasus, $26.95 (352p) ISBN 978-1-68177-543-2
Focusing on American cultural history from the 1950s to the present, Lieberman, who wrote her Ph.D. dissertation on the history of sex toys, traces the commodification of the sex toy and its path into American mainstream culture. She populates the book with the colorful stories of many of the sex-toy industry’s most influential activists, inventors, and entrepreneurs, among them Reuben Sturman, who built a vast, sleazy empire on including masturbation booths in his adult stores, and Betty Dodson, a feminist activist who argued for the importance of the female orgasm and women’s sexual liberation. Lieberman writes that “sex toys soaked up the meanings of whoever was promoting them” and that they “were always political, but the politics they embodied were up for grabs.” The dildo, for example, threatened many straight men who feared it was a replacement for them, a reaction Lieberman contrasts with the perception among some lesbians that the dildo was a reinforcement of heterosexual, penetrative sex. Lieberman’s history is a fascinating account of the way sex toys have touched feminists, queer communities, and American perceptions of sexuality. (Nov.)
Reviewed on: 10/02/2017
Release date: 11/01/2017
Open Ebook - 288 pages - 978-1-68177-598-2
Paperback - 384 pages - 978-1-64313-037-8
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