Buzz: The Stimulating History of the Sex Toy

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Pegasus Books, Nov 7, 2017 - History - 384 pages

In the vein of Mary Roach's Bonk, a brilliant microhistory of the sex toy that ultimately tells the story of our changing sexual mores and evolving cultural values. 

Once only whispered about in clandestine corners, vibrators have become just another accessory for the suburban soccer mom. But how did these once-taboo toys become so socially acceptable? The journey of the devices to the cultural mainstream is a surprisingly stimulating one.

In Buzz, Hallie Lieberman provides a riveting history that tells the story of sex toys from ancient phalluses to 21st century vibrating rabbits. She focuses on the period from the 1950s through the present, when sex toys evolved from symbols of female emancipation to tools in the fight against HIV/AIDS to consumerist marital aids and finally to mainstays of today's pop culture. Lieberman's history is populated by vivid and fascinating characters, including Ted Marche, an entrepreneurial ventriloquist and dildo maker; Duane Coleglazier, the gay ice cream truck driver who founded the first boutique sex-toy store; Dell Williams, ex-communist advertising maven who created the feminist sex toy store; Betty Dodson, whose workshops helped 1960s women discover vibrators; and Gosnell Duncan, a paraplegic engineer who invented the silicone dildo. And these personal dramas are all set against a backdrop of changing American attitudes toward sexuality, feminism, LGBTQ issues, and more.

Both educational and titillating, Buzz will make readers think quite differently about those secret items hiding in bedside drawers across the nation.



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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - LyndaInOregon - LibraryThing

Informative and mildly interesting, this study of the history of sex toys remains humorless and self-conscious. In her attempt to be taken seriously, Lieberman has stuck to a strictly pedestrian ... Read full review

Buzz: The Stimulating History of the Sex Toy

User Review  - Book Verdict

In her first book, historian Lieberman transforms her dissertation on the history of sex toys into a thoughtful and densely footnoted tour of the individuals, business enterprises, and politics that ... Read full review


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About the Author

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About the author (2017)

Hallie Lieberman obtained her PhD from the University of Wisconsin–Madison in 2014, with a dissertation on Sex Toy History. Her writing has been published in Bitch, Bust, Eater, The Forward, and Inside Higher Ed, among others. She has given talks at many university events and conferences. She lives in Atlanta, Georgia.

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