Ted Allen Interview: Sex Toys for Everyone!

Sex Toys for Everyone!

An Interview with Ted Allen


"You know, of course, that you want it," teases Ted Allen, contributing editor at Esquire and co-author of Esquire's Things a Man Should Know About Sex. "What most men don't know, unfortunately, is how to do it." Fortunately, Ted and co-author Scott Omelianuk have written this handy little guide to "all things horizontal," a quick read with a cute design and content that's as appealing to women as it is essential to men. Part humor, part handbook and 100 percent useful, Ted and Scott dispense knowledge in a readably witty way, offering up such salient tidbits as how to get a woman to talk to you, tips on performing and receiving oral sex and hints for getting her to come back for more, not to mention a reminder about who the sex is about--her. Filled with witty nuggets of advice and cautionary tales, Esquire's Things a Man Should Know About Sex is perfect for the bedroom, the bathroom and the college care package.

We recently caught up with Ted and posed a few questions.

Esquire's Things a Man Should Know About Sexis a compendium of practical advice about sex, dating, women and sex. How did you go about compiling this information? Do you consider yourself a sex expert?

Seeing as how my co-author, Scott Omelianuk, and I are both of the male persuasion, it seemed to us that the most important research we could do was to ask lots of women lots of questions-- this book being mostly about sex between men and women, and all. So we took our female friends out for drinks, and they let us have it. Naturally, of course, we consulted Kinsey, Hite and the University of Chicago study, except at such times when we made things up completely. Are we sex experts? I think anybody who asks lots of questions--anybody who communicates well about sex (especially with their partner[s])--becomes a sex expert.

As a female person, I found the tips contained in your book to be wildly accurate (although I do not agree with your statement that vegetarian people taste best). Have you received many gushing thank-you notes from men who have successfully "gotten some" after reading your book?

I'm glad you feel that we represented a female point of view reasonably well--that was our primary goal, not to mention a challenge for two guys from such a male-oriented operation as Esquire magazine. Why? Because, from the beginning, women were our target audience. Seeing as how so many men seem to think they already know everything about sex (while women know better!) we expected most of our sales to result from women buying the book for their men. That's also why we tried to keep the book funny--it's as much a humor book as a sex book, we hope--so that a guy who receives it can enjoy it and not feel insulted. We have heard appreciative sounds from the guys, too, though. It's simple logic that if you keep women happy, they're more likely to come back for more! As for nibbling on vegetarians, that one came from my coauthor--I've only had carnivores. Takes all kinds...

What's your single favorite piece of advice?

The first two items: "It's about her. Except when it's about her." And if we were writing a sex book for women, it might begin with "It's about him." Because we're of the opinion that the best sex happens when you're trying to make one another happy.
Let's talk about toys for a minute. What do you think are appropriate additions for a young man's toy box and/or repertoire?

Well, most young men find that slippery stuff comes in handy (ahem), whether alone or in groups. As for the more adventuresome items, such as those wild things Scott is into, I think anything that tickles is "appropriate"--or maybe I should say anything that is INappropriate is appropriate. It's your sex life, fella--knock yourself out.

MyPleasure's goal is to gentrify sex toys, to clean up their dirty image and make people all over the country feel comfortable experimenting with them. What do you think about that goal? Is it realistic?

Sounds fabulous to me--let's start with Alabama, where that goof of an attorney general is always trying to outlaw dildos! Seriously, I think making sex toys acceptable nationwide is a two-step process--first, dispel any perception of sleaziness by selling only high-quality items and backing them up with guarantees and the utmost professional business practices, then help people overcome their inhibitions and consider trying new things. The privacy of shopping on the Internet must surely be opening whole new worlds (among other things) for all sorts of people, especially people who were too timid to walk into a shop full of gigantic rubber Johnsons. Is the goal realistic? Absolutely, in my view. I think MyPleasure is already doing it. Another important step: educate people on the fact that these things are FUNNY. A foot-long penis, ladies and gentleman, is a funny thing. Except for mine, of course.

Shows like "Sex in the City" have done a great deal to improve the PR of sex toys. Where else do you foresee sex toys cropping up?

Yes, HBO can't get enough of sex toys, can they? There's a great episode of "Real Sex," in which HBO visits the Doc Johnson factory and you get to see all those nice ladies painting veins and attaching hair--it's fascinating. It seems to be fairly acceptable for modern, sophisticated, (mostly) urban women to openly discuss their plastic friends, and we in the gay community (that's me, not Scott, as far as I know) have even fewer qualms about it. You don't yet hear the straight boys in sports bars talking about their vibrators so much--not just yet.

What do you think about people and institutions who consider sex toys to be pornographic?

I think most of them probably just need a little education and perspective--either that, or a vigorous spanking. Some politicians seem to view anything sexual as an easy issue to rally the assbackwards-conservative vote--they need to be teleported back to the Dark Ages from whence they came. These are simply innocent little devices that people use in the privacy of their own homes to enhance their sexual experience--I mean, it's not like they're running around whacking little old ladies on the head with The Sperminator and stealing their purses. Seriously, consider this: some people can only have sex when a toy is involved--for example, some people with disabilities. And we all know there are millions of women who never experience an orgasm until that happy day they discover a vibrator. To deny people such harmless, simple pleasures is not just ridiculous and stupid, it's inhumane.

Is there an etiquette for introducing sex toys to a new partner? What advice would you give for accomplishing this?

A very smart and groovy woman in the sex-toy industry once explained this to me--and it's consistent with something we were discussing earlier--you ask questions of your partner before you show up with the 14-incher. You might say something like, "Sweetie, I'm sort of curious about this and that and the other, and I wonder how you might feel about giving it a try." And by the way, according to this smart and groovy woman, most ladies are not looking for the biggest item in the store.

What sex toy or sexual enhancement products would you like to see on the market? Is there anything that needs to be invented?

I would like to see a love doll with an uncanny resemblance to my coauthor Scott (whoa, did I write that or just think it?)! Actually, greater minds than mine are on the case as we speak, I'm sure. How about love dolls that look like anti-toy politicians? Like the attorney general from Alabama--you know, he's quite young and kinda cute in a repressed sort of way. Imagine this: "Now you, too, can give it to Sandra Day O'Connor--all night, all day!" You can have that idea for free.

Thanks, Ted. We'll think about it!

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