Dirty Lola dishes on the power of sex toys and why an orgasm isn’t #SexGoals.
– KEYS SOULCARE
As one of NYC’s favorite sexperts, Dirty Lola isn’t shy about the birds, bees, and everything in between. The sex “edutainer” — a hybrid skill of educator and entertainer — spent over a decade fighting the stigma and shame around sexual health. Her speciality? Sex toys! The self-proclaimed dildo slinger made her Netflix debut on the hit docuseries, The Principles of Pleasure, walking viewers through a tabletop of goodies to tap into their sensuality.
In this candid chat, we uncover sex toys’ ancient roots, the best sex advice you deserve, and the key to reclaiming our time and our pleasure.
HOW WAS WORKING ON THE PRINCIPLES OF PLEASURE? WHAT DID YOU WANT TO ACHIEVE THROUGH THAT DOCUMENTARY?
It was lovely. I had no idea how my pieces would be used. I was just as surprised as everybody else that I was the first face you see when you open up the show. And that was a blooper! That was me being nervous and calming myself down, but I felt really good [about] how it was put together. You don’t see [diversity] like this, right down to the art. The Principles of Pleasure is a big step forward to showing people that you can be very inclusive. You can show disabled bodies and talk about pleasure. You can talk about racism and how it plays into our pleasure. You can still have a show that does really, really well on Netflix. You don’t have to keep pandering to what people have always done. I felt honored that I got to be a part of that and [I’m hopeful] it’s an example for what comes after it.
WHAT’S THE BEST SEX ADVICE YOU HAVE EVER GIVEN OR RECEIVED?
Sex is whatever you’re making it. It’s not dividing it into different categories like “foreplay” and “sex.” It doesn’t have to end in penetration of any kind. We [need to] move away from the idea that sex is only penetration. There are tons of folk of all genders and sexualities who do not like penetration.
HOW CAN PEOPLE WORK TO CHANGE THIS SEX MINDSET?
Expand your vocabulary of how you see sex. Sex could be energetic — [similar to] meditating and sometimes barely touching, but moving hands over [the body]. Change your goals. Orgasms don’t have to be the goal. Sometimes, I have sex and it’s so good, but I’m tired. I haven’t had an orgasm, but I’ve been fully pleasured. Let go of everything needing to be punctuated. We don’t need the punctuation of penetration and we don’t need the punctuation of an orgasm. Did it feel good? Do you feel connected? Are y’all tired? It’s ok if you want to cuddle and fall asleep. Focus on the pleasure of sex and not an orgasm. Release the stress around performance and just enjoy one another.
WHAT’S THE HISTORY ON SEX TOYS?
Sex toys go back to ancient times. Our oldest phallic object was found in a cave in Germany around 28,000 B.C. When “hysteria” was a diagnosis for orgasms, vibrators were [marketed] as wellness products because they were “curing” hysteria. The vibrators were the fifth electrified appliance. They were electrified before the iron and the vacuum — that shows you how important they were. They were respected until science said hysteria wasn’t actually real. That — along with sex toys now being used in things like porn — made sex toys become these dirty, awful things that you shouldn’t have because they’re only for pleasure.
WHEN DID SEX TOYS BECOME POPULARIZED AGAIN?
In [the] late sixties and seventies, we really saw people taking charge again with sex toys and trying to push them out of the darkness and into the light. We have Betty Dodson to thank for the popularity of the Magic Wand and the [sex toy] classes that she did. Sex in the City also really got people back out there and made it more acceptable, for especially women, to pick up the different toys that they showed on a national cable network that you could watch with your mom. People need permission, whether it’s directly to them or Kim Cattrall.
WHY ARE SEX TOYS VITAL TO SEXUAL WELLNESS?
Yes, sex toys are fun and amazing, but they can be life-changing. I have sold first vibrators to 18 year-olds and I’ve sold first vibrators to 65 year olds. I [worked with] this wonderful woman who said, “I love my husband with all my heart. I could never tell him that he wasn’t giving me an orgasm and, sadly, he passed away.” It broke my heart, but made me so happy at the same time that she [reached] out. I’ve had people who’ve experienced severe trauma come into my shop terrified and I hold their hands and cry with them, then make sure they have an amazing time. A vibrator [can] change somebody’s outlook on their pleasure and create activism in a community to stop violence and [help us] get back to ourselves.
WHEN DO YOU FEEL MOST CONNECTED TO YOUR HIGHEST SELF?
When I’m taking time with my masturbation. I plan it out with a bath and moisturizing my body then move into a clean bed. I feel like I’m tapping my ancestors. I’m touching on things that I learned from my mother and my grandmother about taking care of myself. And then, I’m adding in the masturbation that I’ve learned over my journey in life. It feels very fulfilling when I’m purposefully doing those things.
WHAT IS YOUR HIGHEST VISION FOR YOURSELF?
I want to continue on my path. Going through a divorce [recently] really helped me realize I’m an adult and capable. My divorce was a gift because it gave me a closer relationship with the universe. I just remember laying in bed and having all these worries and anxieties about my career and what was going on in my life. And then there was this voice in the back of my head that said, “You always stress out and then the way appears.” I turn 41 in a couple weeks and I’m loving it. I’m loving it. I’m already like, what is 50 gonna look like? I’m looking forward to what the decades will bring. I want keep that kind of curiosity for life as I move into the different stages of my life.
WE DEFINE LIGHTWORKERS AS THOSE THAT BRING AND SPREAD LIGHT AND POSITIVITY INTO THE WORLD. WHAT MAKES YOU A LIGHTWORKER?
A colleague years and years ago coined the phrase, “beacon of permission.” That means you live your life out in the world, being you, being true to yourself, and giving someone permission. Somebody sees you whether they talk to you or not, and they feel good. Permission is so important because it really flips the switch in your brain of what you can and cannot do.
I don’t have a college degree and for years, I felt like nobody’s ever gonna take me seriously. Finding other people doing this work without a college degree was my beacon of permission. That’s the energy I want to put out in the world. I want people to feel your background doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter your trauma. It doesn’t matter where you’ve been or what you’re doing, you deserve pleasure in whatever way that feels good to you.
What’s bringing you pleasure today? Share your feel-good moments in the comments!