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Sexpert Spotlight with Epiphora

Meet Epiphora, a blogger best known for her honest and educational sex toy reviews. Her passion for providing accurate information about pleasure products and safer, more inclusive spaces for all shine through in her blog Hey Epiphora

           

                          

How did you get your start as a sex toy reviewer? 

It was forever ago now: 2007, my junior year of college. An online sex shop put out a call for on-site toy reviewers, so I applied. They sent me toys and I wrote little reviews of them. A year later, I decided to go solo and create my own website. I’d built websites before, so it was a natural progression. Thanks to a small network of fellow reviewers, I was able to contact retailers who were willing to send me toys, and it took off from there. A lot has happened since then, including my hobby morphing into my career, but that’s how it all began.

What do you enjoy most about what you do? 

Genuinely improving not only folks’ sex lives, but how they relate to their own bodies and pleasure. Greatly expanding my own sexual repertoire along the way. Being my own boss. Writing for a living  and actually getting paid for it. That thrilling moment when I’m writing and capture exactly what I want to convey.

Perhaps most of all: the incredible community that has grown out of it. In my job at a local sex shop, my co-workers were my first queer community — something I desperately needed. At conferences and events, people turned from avatars into instant friends. There is an inherent camaraderie between people who work in this misunderstood industry, so it is not unusual for me to meet someone and feel immediately at ease. It is a gift to be surrounded by people who think I’m wonderful just as I am, in all my queerness and quirkiness.

What do you wish society better understood about sex and pleasure? 

I wish there wasn’t such an emphasis on straight sex in our culture. Both straight and queer people are harmed by heterocentric stereotypes about what sex entails… such as assuming the almighty penis is the ultimate tool of pleasure, accepting the orgasm gap as immutable, believing in “foreplay,” and simply thinking there’s one way to have sex, with little room for creativity or flexibility. It’s a very narrow view of sex that leads to a lot of dissatisfaction, inability to voice desires, and feelings of brokenness.

What is your favorite quote and what does it mean to you? 

Audre Lorde’s poem, “To the Poet Who Happens to be Black and the Black Poet Who Happens to Be a Woman,” is transcendental. Ever since I read this stanza, it has been my favorite:

I cannot recall the words of my first poem

but I remember a promise

I made my pen

never to leave it

lying

in some body else's blood.

I’d never heard it articulated in such a way, but that’s exactly how I feel about my writing. I am devoted to honesty, vulnerability, and always, always staying true to myself. 

What improvements would you like to see made in the pleasure product industry?

I’d love to see people of color, trans people, and disabled people running sex toy brands. The era of “look at me, I’m a WOMAN who founded a sex toy company, I’m so PROGRESSIVE!” is over. That was almost always spoken by a cis, able-bodied white woman. We need to do more than hire people or use them for social media clout — people from historically oppressed groups need to be in leadership positions. Not only would this make the sex industry more equitable, it would truly change the toys we see on the market and how consumers relate to the companies they support. 

What lasting impression do you want people to have of your contribution to the sexual health and wellness industry? 

I want people to remember me as an engaging and trustworthy writer, a champion for the sex toy industry to do better, and a source for anyone who needs a laugh, an escape, or simply guidance. I empower folks to pursue their true sexual desires and think differently about toys. I push sex toy companies to be more inclusive and inventive, and I’m not swayed by the ones who try to silence me when I criticize them. I never forget the most important person in the whole equation: the person buying the toy, hoping it will work for their body.

What is one of the coolest experiences you’ve ever had? 

When Fun Factory invited me to Bremen, Germany to see their headquarters and help with a secret project — all expenses paid! That is the stuff of dreams, once-in-a-lifetime, beyond anything I ever expected to experience. They gave me a tour of their factory and I even POURED MY OWN DILDO! Exploring Bremen was delightful and unforgettable. I still daydream about scarfing bratwurst at the biergarten along the river.

What is a little known fact about you? 

I have an extensive walrus collection. I started it when I was a kid. Mostly stuffed animals, but also some figurines, trinkets, and a surprising number of dog toys. Walruses in all sizes and colors: purple, yellow, turquoise. Walruses with professions: surfer, professor, sumo wrestler. Walruses where extreme liberties have been taken with their anatomy — one of my favorites is a 6-foot long, tube-shaped “walrus” from Japan that looks more like a snake. It’s absurd and incredible.

What is your favorite pleasure product of all time? 

My instinct is the Magic Wand Rechargeable. It’s easily the toy I use most often, and the one I can’t imagine surviving without. It fulfills my lazy masturbation needs with quick, effortless orgasms. My vagina is sad not to have representation, though, so I must give an honorable mention to some insertables that changed my life: the Pure Wand and Stronic G

I have all my top picks listed on Betty’s Toy Box, so check that out!

Where can our readers find you online? My blog is my central focus. The best way to support me is to subscribe directly. You definitely want to follow me on Twitter, where I fire off zingers, and Instagram, where I post cute photos of dildos and cats.