Workshop informs and excites

Michael Lott

A roomful of eager Lawrentians greeted Searah Deysach of Chicago sex-toy store Early to Bed Tuesday, May 20. She gave a presentation about sex toys, masturbation and pleasure. This was Deysach’s second visit to Lawrence, jointly sponsored by the Downer Feminist Council and GLOW.
Students were giggly, excited and even giddy as they entered the room and saw what was laid out on the demonstration table in the front of Science Hall 102. A selection of dildos, vibrators, butt plugs, anal beads and other sex toys of various shapes, sizes and colors cluttered the table, rather than the usual lecture notes or laptop.
On a side table sat a host of raffle prizes that Deysach had also brought with her from the store.
Deysach describes Early to Bed, which she started in 2001, as a “feminist sex-toy store.” She opened Early to Bed after failing to find a place with an open, positive atmosphere about sexuality and pleasure — especially when it came to women’s pleasure.
Her presentation mirrored this vision of an open, woman-oriented approach to sexuality and pleasure. She said that her focus on women was due to the fact that women often have much less experience exploring their own sexuality than men. Nevertheless, she still discussed toys and pleasure for men as well.
Sex positivity was one of Deysach’s strongest messages. She made the point repeatedly that masturbation and pleasure are good, and even have other health benefits. She cited a study that indicated reduced risk of prostate cancer for men, and also talked about masturbation releasing endorphins and serving as a stress reliever.
Unsurprisingly, her presentation, like the subject material, was intended to be fun. She joked frequently, and the audience laughed at both her open jokes and the slang terminology she used. Her excellent drawing of a giant penis on the board — used to illustrate the use of a cock ring — was similarly entertaining.
However, the fun was educational, with safety always in mind. She first discussed lubricant, which she emphasized was helpful and increased pleasure for many sexual acts, from masturbation to anal and vaginal intercourse. Her discussion of dildos and vibrators continued along the same dual path of pleasure and safety.
She talked about what may be pleasurable and what may not be, and why. She explored clitoral, vaginal, anal, female G-spot and male prostate stimulation, giving examples of toys that are pleasurable for each. Experimentation was encouraged — Deysach insisted that trying things is the way to knowing what gives the most pleasure.
She talked about what is safe and what is not, and why. Washing jelly-type dildos, for example, is difficult because the surface is porous and can never be completely cleaned. A safe solution? Put a condom on it. In contrast, silicone dildos and vibrators can be washed and last forever, but are more expensive.
Other toys, including anal beads, cock rings and male masturbation sleeves were also shown and discussed, but not demonstrated — undoubtedly to the disappointment of some.
The audience asked a range of questions. One student asked how much a high-end dildo or masturbator could cost. The answer: up to $165 at Early to Bed, but there is one on the market for $1,500.
Another wanted to know if women gained pleasure from being penetrated anally The answer: While women lack a prostate, the rectum nevertheless has many nerve endings of its own.
At the end of the presentation, raffle winners were announced, and winners received applause as they went to pick out their raffle prizes of choice.
Deysarch emphasized that Early to Bed’s mission was one of education as much as one of business. In addition to education at the store, she regularly travels to do talks such as this one. She encouraged the audience to contact her with questions even if they did not plan on buying anything.
For more information, visit Early to Bed’s Web site: