November 14, 2002, Episode Twenty-Five: Adults Have the Best Toys
Laska is a young widow and single mom of a five-year-old boy. She is the opposite of what most people think of when they imagine someone who acts as a consultant on sex issues and sells sex toys for a living. Concerned about women and their bodies, Laska has developed a web-based business called Laskamaria Entertainment Ltd. that helps women not only to choose sex toys for their pleasure and for the enrichment of their relationships, but also gives women an opportunity to learn more about sex and sexuality. Her work challenges sexual taboos and sets new standards for adult sex education. We spoke with Laska this week about her life and her philosophy as well as her take on the social context of sexuality.
Laska's business got us thinking about how people talk about sex. How does public discourse about sex happen? What is taboo? What isn't? Who gets to set the terms of sexual discourse? How are sex, sex education, and sexual taboos constructed to create social control? Sex talk in public discourse seems to be more about reinforcing bourgeois values than about negotiating answers to basic questions. Can sex education be improved to provide useful information instead of simply reinforcing those values? We examine public discourse about sex at length.
Expression of sexuality is one of the most basic ways that people interact with each other. What seems to the na´ve observer like nothing more than a biological imperative is in practice an activity marked by enormous contextual issues and rituals and is culturally layered with all sorts of meaning.
Sex Toys. Sex Games. Masturbation. Penis. Vagina.
These words are difficult to say in public and evoke a noteworthy amount of emotional reaction on the part of the speaker as well as the listener. In Western cultures, a number of social and political factors are affecting sexual expression including the changes in women's roles and expectations, the legalization of abortion, the growing political movement recognizing the human rights of homosexuals, the growing political backlash of religious groups against both abortion rights and homosexuality; the spreading of AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases, and questions about pornography from both the liberal feminists and the religious right.
The symbology of sexual relations evokes so much more than two people sharing intimacy that it is any wonder we can have sex at all these days. Even if you are able to ignore the cultural, political and larger social aspects of the relationship, sex is still contextualised by the relationship itself. Finances, health issues, children and other of life's stresses often get in the way of relationships.
This week we spoke with Laska of Laskamaria Entertainment Limited in Vancouver. She has built a business selling sex toys and games on the world wide web and at private appearances similar to Tupperware parties. This may seem like a strange business for a single mom, but Laska's philosophy involving holistic approach to sex toys and sex games is unusual in an industry that usually gears its advertising and other marketing to make extensive use of the sleazier aspects of sexuality. We talked with her about her philosophy and the cultural barriers to enjoying our bodies and our sexualities in an episode we call "Adults have the Best Toys."
copyright by Pattie Thomas and Carl Wilkerson 2002
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