Sex toys stimulate sex education in OC

In 2018 Sex Issue, Lifestyle, Top Stories
Woman organizes products at an adult toy shop.
(Briggetta Pierrot / Daily Titan)

Say the words “sex toy shop” and it may bring to mind the seedy, dark, hole-in-the-wall stores that hide in the back corners of strip malls swathed in a ray of buzzing purple and red neon lights.

In Orange County, sex toy companies like A Touch of Romance and Pure Romance try to combat these negative stigmas and instead provide people with a safe place to learn and ask questions.

Walking into the A Touch of Romance store, visitors are met with a bright and pleasing room with some of its toys looking strangely similar to candy. Employees will offer advice and point customers in the right direction, but are also understanding if privacy is preferred.  

Pure Romance has no physical store location in California, but consultants who work for the company host sex toy parties to give women a safe space to learn about the benefits of adult toys.

Michelle Foster, store manager in Brea for A Touch of Romance, said one of the store’s main focuses is sexual wellness.

“We want people to come in and we want them to leave having better sex with themselves, better sex with their partner or their partners,” Foster said.

When Cal State Fullerton is in session, Foster said she can tell because many of their customers are college students due to the store’s close proximity to campus. But on a day-to-day basis a wide variety of people come into the shop, she said.

The A Touch of Romance stores in OC, which are located in Brea, Orange and Westminster, aim to educate customers about the role sexual wellness plays in overall health and well-being, along with the products that try to enhance this, according to its website.

Emily Schupp, assistant manager for the Brea location and a rape crisis counselor, said she was initially drawn to the store because of it’s inviting atmosphere and dedication to education.

“I have always been really interested in education and consent education and I feel like consent education and sex education are one and the same,” Schupp said. “If we teach people about safe and fun sex, then we can teach them how to have consensual fun sex too.”

While A Touch of Romance offers a brick-and-mortar shop for customers to explore on their own, employees are there to introduce products to customers.

Shelby Abrahamian, CSUF sociology major and former A Touch of Romance employee, said her time at the Orange location was more about being a sex educator than being a salesperson.

“I had to draw a diagram once for a woman who was probably in her mid-twenties, showing her and telling her what her clitoris was,” Abrahamian said.

The taboos that have historically surrounded the subject of sex toys and sexual pleasure are beginning to change. For Dana Froneberger, a sex toy consultant for Pure Romance, the sex industry has changed dramatically in the 18 years she’s been involved with it.

“When I first started people definitely had a misconceived notion of what it would be like and what went on at those parties. And when they got to them, they realized they are really fun and educational,” Froneberger said.  

Froneberger said she believes learning about one’s own body is the first step to having better sex with a partner.

“Have sex with yourself. I think it is important to do it with yourself and figure out what feels good. It’s self-awareness. If you don’t know what feels good for you, you can’t communicate that to your partner,” Froneberger said.  

Parts of the sex toy industry have evolved into more inclusive spaces. Many people in the industry are now educated and trained to ensure they include and appropriately address different groups of people, said Caroline Krauszer, another Pure Romance consultant.

“I try to avoid saying things like husband and boyfriend and really try to use the term partner. You never really know who is going to be at my parties. So in general I try to use more inclusive terms,” Krauszer said.  

Abrahamian, who is active in the LGBTQ community, said she interacted with people of all ages, genders and sexualities at the Orange location. She was impressed that part of her job training included sensitivity toward the LGBTQ community, like how to ask someone what their pronouns were in a non-offensive way.

In addition to using inclusive terminology, toys are being designed to fit everyone’s needs. Krauszer said partners in both hetrosexual and homosexual relationships can use the toys, and questions about how to use them are always welcomed.

“(Sex) should be something you can go and ask questions about. There is always somewhere you can turn to, whether it is a doctor or a local sex shop.” Krauszer said. “Sex should be something that you have the information you need.”

If you liked this story, sign up for our weekly newsletter with our top stories of the week.

You may also read!

Photo Illustration showing a housing development.

Proposition 1 could authorize bonds to fund housing

Proposition 1, known as the Housing Programs and Veterans’ Loan Bond, would authorize bonds to fund housing assistance programs,

Read More...
One pumpkin has the same medicinal benefits as supplements from the pharmacy.

Here’s why pumpkins are the superfood of the fall season

Despite the Southern California sun, fall is in full swing and the pumpkins are here to stay. Although this

Read More...
A police bus blows smoke on the site of the maze.

The 17th Door provides thrillseekers in Fullerton with hair-raising maze

The 17th Door in Fullerton is easy to miss; the only thing leading thrillseekers in the right direction is

Read More...

Mobile Sliding Menu