Written by Z
Many of the adult industry's leaders, be it in porn production or in the novelty trade, are women. They're the ones behind those innovative techniques, elegant toys, and women-friendly adult videos. Designers, inventors, and CEOs. Sex educators, entrepreneurs - women have a big impact on the adult industry in almost every way, and for women's history month, we'd like to honor some of the great contributions they've made.
In an industry where sales are dominated by female sex, it only makes sense that some of the most ingenious and top selling items would be invented by a woman. In fact, it's this particular woman who we can largely thank for bringing sex toys into the mainstream! Of course, we're talking about CEO and founder of CalExotics (California Exotic Novelties), Susan Colvin:
Susan Colvin was the first woman in the United States to own her own sex toy manufacturing company, and today, CalExotics is renowned worldwide for their breakthroughs in the industry. Known as one of the “Big Three” manufacturers, Colvin’s multi-million dollar company is noteworthy for bringing sexual empowerment to the masses in the form of sex toys marketed to women. Popularized by Sex in the City, the Jack Rabbit became a cultural phenomenon and is still one of CalExotic’s best sellers today. Beyond sex toy manufacturing, as of 2016 Colvin’s company has donated over $1.5 million to charitable organizations over the last 22 years. Colvin’s focus is directed towards the LGBT community as well as women, with best-selling line Colt, and has prioritized sexual wellness along with quality for the nearly 23 years since California Exotic Novelties was founded.
Sex-positive pioneer Betty Dodson is who to thank for the resounding popularity of the Magic Wand massager, and the subsequent frenzy of wand-style massagers that have been in production ever since. This is not Dodson's exclusive claim to fame, however; that is reserved for her astounding work as a sex educator.
Betty Dodson has earned the unique privilege of being revered as a masturbatory pioneer. It is Dodson we can thank for the “Dodson method,” and the accompanying phenomenal success of the magic wand as a personal vibrator. In the 1970s Dodson brought women’s sexual pleasure into the mainstream by hosting orgasm workshops, which heavily featured the famed Hitachi magic wand. Dodson continued her career as a sex educator and is still active today, offering counseling, educational services, coaching, and Bodysex classes. Dodson’s no-nonsense approach is evident both in her sexual methods, and in her life - career and otherwise.
It would be inaccurate to say that women in porn have not also had an effect on the industry, even if that effect is off-screen. In fact, the off-screen impact of women either previously or currently acting in porn has been, in some cases, profound; the opportunity presented from a background in adult film can lead to one of the most poignant platforms for sex positivity, and these actresses have used their voices accordingly. Retiring from porn to enjoy motherhood, write erotica, play music, perform in other arenas such as mainstream films and acrobatics, and all while advocating and speaking out for those who may not have a voice as large as theirs, these stars show us how sex-positivity is done!
Sasha Grey: Though she only made porn for a handful of years, she is perhaps one of the most well-known modern entertainers, and maybe not for the reasons you’d assume. While her legacy in the minds of some may well only be as the AVN winner of Best 3 Way Scene, for others, it’s her advocacy work that stands out. Having moved on from porn several years ago, she divides her time between multiple hobbies - not limited to DJing and writing erotic novels - and speaking out for young people, especially women. Her fierce defense of a woman’s right to choose her career, be it in the porn industry or otherwise, is matched by her passions for education and equality for all. Because she is an advocate overall for the safety, thriving, sex positivity and education of young women, Sasha Grey shows us that porn is not a reduction of woman.
Belladonna (Michelle Sinclair) began acting in pornographic films in 2000 at age 18. Today she is best known for her intense film performances, as well as the films she has directed - nearly 100. Sinclair opened up about her tumultuous experiences starting out in the porn industry in an infamous interview with Diane Sawyer in 2004, in which Sinclair claims her story was twisted to spin more of an “anti-porn” viewpoint, and has clarified that she is not anti-porn. Since then, Sinclair has been an advocate for sex positivity. Since retiring from directing, she has been a creative consultant for the pornographic films her husband directs and produces, and has acted in a couple of noteworthy mainstream (non-porn) films including Inherent Vice directed by Paul Thomas Anderson. Sinclair spends her days of late focusing on motherhood, and though she has said she would not perform in an adult film again, she has a deep love for performances of all kinds; from classic film, to stage, to aerial silks. Through her strength of character and love of creating, Michelle Sinclair shows us that having a background in pornography is neither an indication of nor is it a limit on your talent!
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