There are many sex toy companies and retailers out there looking to make a buck. Unfortunately, many of them are only in it for the money and not for sex positivity, social justice, and respect. Some of them even attack sex educators, steal content, utilize likenesses, and more. In short, they’re skeezy.
On top of that, there are a lot of disability or illness-related sites that aren’t great. Consider this a one-stop shop.
Here’s who to avoid.
Sex Toy Retailers
Jolly Rocket Intimates
This company reached out to me inquiring about a sponsored post or ad on January 1, 2018. In looking at their site, I found that they sold a lot of toxic sex toys in addition to skeezy shit and gendering their toys. I sent back an email saying no and stating the reasons, only to get a barrage of emails from their employee Scott Melvin about, essentially, how I’m a bitch. When I brought this to the attention of the company on Twitter, I was mocked and then blocked. So, yeah, I’d avoid them.
Adam & Eve
We all know this brand. The problem is they sell toxic toys as well as items that benefit from bigotry and abusive methods. No, thank you.
Amazon and eBay, etc
Look, as much as I love Amazon for a lot of things, they aren’t the place to get sex toys or most gear. You can’t know if someone may have used a product before you, what materials are in the toys they sell, and more. It’s not a safe place to get sex stuff. Other stuff? Absolutely.
Listen, this company is shit. They’re based on a pyramid scheme, sell toxic gear, and encourage a reinforcement of gender norms. Nah.
In addition to selling toxic toys that they claim are body safe, they treat bloggers and reviewers like shit.
They have canceled workshops with sex educators because they are fatmisic. They then replied with shit answers. Click here for more.
Their social media is, generally, shit. In January 2018, they posted a meme relevant to the Aziz Ansari scandal. When called on it, they got extremely defensive to the point of blocking prominent sex educators (including myself) who pointed out the issue and gaslighting everyone else. They took down the photo, issued a shitty apology (literally: “Our attempt at humor was lost in the seriousness of the situation”), unblocked people, and then apologized directly to those of us who keep blacklists on our sites. They say that they’re listening, learning on their feet, etc, but don’t seem that receptive to concerns. If they can’t handle sex educators pointing out an issue, they certainly can’t handle others doing so – and probably need to hire or switch to a new social media person. There are a ton of people out there who will do social media for pay – and a million more resources on how to create your brand and not fuck it up. There’s literally no excuse for this stuff. Maybe they’ll change in the future, but I doubt it.
Sex Toy Companies/Manufacturers
This company has been notorious for using Jennifer Lawrence’s likeness, using bigotry in their marketing campaigns, and selling toxic toys. Check out both Lilly and Epiphora‘s posts for more about this.
I’ve never used a Lelo product and honestly never will. Since I’ve not interacted with them, the reason I refuse to is their hiring of Charlie Sheen as a spokesperson for the Lelo Hex condom. Sheen has a history of abusing partners. This combined with the Hex’s notorious breaking problem is scary. When bloggers brought up their concerns, Lelo responded like shit.
This company held a horrible session on toxic sex toys at Woodhull and recorded the session without authorization from Woodhull or the participants. They began to treat anyone questioning the issue like shit, too.
I used to have Tantus as an affiliate. At Woodhull in 2017, Tantus founder and president (and Woodhull board member) Metis Black began tone policing disabled peeps who raised concerns about accessibility issues, ableism, and eugenics on Twitter. Instead of stepping back and hearing our concerns, she continued to gaslight us. I dropped them as an affiliate that same day while at the airport. I have no room in my heart for sex toy manufacturers who treat a marginalized community poorly. As of January 2018, Metis also blocked me on social media – something that coincided with me publishing this page.
Autism Speaks is a terrible organization. They promote eugenicist ideas, torture, and conversion therapy to make autistics seem more allistic (or not autistic). You can find a round-up of posts against them here.
Despite me and others speaking up about it, The Mighty continues to partner with Autism Speaks. You can read my correspondence with them here. They focus on inspiration porn, content that harms our communities, and won’t pay writers. They chose to cater to parents mocking their autistic children as opposed to being a space for all of us to share things. They even threw people out of their contributor groups for speaking out and sharing their concerns. You can read more about this here, here, here, and here.
Invisible Disabilities Association
This organization is shit, pure and simple. They promote inspiration porn and refuse to respond to any concerns of whitewashing, anti-LGBTQ+ policies, super Christian focus, and lack of representation. Oh, and they trademarked the term ‘invisible disabilities’ and tried to take down other organizations around invisible disabilities – and refuse to address this issue, blocking those of us who ask questions.
This organization has a long history of racism and other bigotry. Their president Jennifer Laszlo Mizrahi made some very insensitive comments about race and the 2016 election. Additionally, the organization has a history of not including people with multiple marginalizations and promoting inspiration porn.
But You Don’t Look Sick/Christine Miserandino/Spoon Theory
In June 2017, a piece I wrote about the Spoon Theory went up. In it, I told my own story about how finding ST helped me develop a common language with loved ones who didn’t understand my health issues before. Unfortunately, CM and many of her 11k followers began attacking me without even reading the story. She claimed I was taking credit for ST and that I owed her both credit and money for essentially giving her free press on a major site. CM has since deleted some of these tweets due to the backlash she faced from many in the community. (I have screenshots for those interested.) This put into a new perspective the rumors I’ve heard over the years of her trying to pressure community leaders into joining her Younique team, threatening crafty peeps with Cease & Desist letters for using spoons/spoonie (which she can’t even do as she didn’t slap a trademark on this and spoonie came from the community), and more. She has no legal basis for sending C&D letters and these threats are baseless in the legal world unless you’re using quotes from ST.
Other Companies & Organizations
I dislike GFM so much. They take money from those trying to raise money for their medical expenses to run their own site. If you need to fundraise, use YouCaring. They don’t take money from those needing funds and allow donators to contribute extra to help support the site.
This is a Stanford University conference that I’ve attended twice. Unfortunately, it’s grossly unorganized and has allowed a sexual predator to continue attending despite multiple attendees raising concerns. Organizers of the conference continue to associate with said predator, denying knowledge of his actions from 2013 until fall 2017. Those involved with the conference also dropped me like a hot potato once I started sharing my story with this individual because it didn’t paint MedX well. At all. I’ve become persona non grata with them after pointing out these issues, but they continue to interact with this predator.
The SA has a long history of treating LGBTQ+ people like shit. They do this internally, through their officials system, and by turning away LGBT+ people – especially trans peeps – from their shelters and drug clinics. SA literally doesn’t want queer people alive. They’ve kicked trans people out (with some of them dying as a result), kicked whole families out due to having a queer kid, force people to beg and pray, and more. If you’re looking for better places to donate, check out these pieces on Them and NewNowNext.