OH JOY, SEX TOY
COLLECTION OF WEB COMICS BY ERIKA MOEN
AMBER LOVE 22-OCT-2014 I can’t remember the first OH JOY, SEX TOY comic strip I ever saw. I do remember the emotional impact it made. It resonated enough that I imprinted the name ERIKA MOEN to memory and began to keep my eyes out for more of her work. This is one of the most honest comics you’ll ever read.
For about a year, I was in a position to financially back some Kickstarters rather than only share the links. I know sharing is a big part of getting the word out about crowdfunding but in cases like OH JOY, SEX TOY there was already some critical acclaim and it didn’t need my little push to help it along. However, since I was able, I did not want to miss the opportunity to get the full collection in a simple PDF file. Taking a look back at the history of the Kickstarter, I’m still blown away at how well a comic book about sex basics was received! It’s delightful! It makes me continue to question why there are communities that will do anything to stop sex education in our schools. OH JOY, SEX TOY had a reasonable goal of $16,000 and surpassed it by astronomical bounds hitting over $69,000. Let’s chuckle that it hit $69k. (*insert laughter here*) Because the original goal was exceeded, the final Kickstarter delivery includes 35 pages of guest strips and extra bonus material.
Moen is active on Twitter which is where I began following for updates on the comics. I can tell you that her work with her husband Matthew Nolan, is perhaps the most inclusive and welcoming introductions to discussions on how to have sex. They address a myriad of subjects about intimate relationships and the instructions are never presented in dull technical “how to” style. She draws herself and Nolan into the comic strips but they are usually observers or narrators. Moen set out to draw all kinds of bodies, sexual orientations and genders while addressing differing lifestyles from monogamy (being barrier free) to swinging (safe sex options). Moen discusses the challenges of her own relationship which began as a long distance college relationship that she never saw coming to the upsetting conversations with her mother when introducing Nolan to the family. Her mother was of a very different mindset that no couple should even sleep in the same bed unless married. I’m guessing her mother was not aware of Moen’s same-sex relationships prior to Nolan.
As I was reading the reviews of the various devices, I wondered if all of them were going to be funny but not critical, ending with “just not for me” but it’s not what they did. There are plenty of those entries about sex toys that they tried yet found lacking in some way, but when something really didn’t meet a checklist of criteria – in function (does it do what it’s supposed to), visual/physical aesthetics (how it looks and feels), and versatility/ease of use – they said so and explained why. A device might bring about orgasms in Moen but if it’s too cumbersome or doesn’t work hands-free as promised, then she doesn’t give it a glowing review. She’ll include the ways that the devices worked for them (some were penis-specific and Nolan’s input was used for the review content) and offer suggestions such as “only works well with a partner.” I’ll admit that Moen even covered my current favorite vibrator, the Lelo Ina 2 and she did not like it which shows that every body has its own needs.
As I said, OH JOY, SEX TOY is not just about sex toys. Moen has strips about menstrual products and contraception too, which includes a solid, easy to follow explanation about what the Morning After Pill (emergency contraception) is and what it isn’t. It isn’t an abortion – a message that politicians refuse to acknowledge despite all the science. Speaking of science, Moen is clearly a fan. She makes several STAR TREK references to show off some nerd cred.
Congratulations and applause also go to Matthew Nolan for his open participation in such work with Moen; and to Allyson Haller for the book design but of course to all the guest cartoonists too! The pink and black palette might turn off some anti-pink readers but I loved it. Moen is part of the collective at Periscope Studio which is full of other super wonderful people that make comics. You should check them out. If you were not lucky enough to get in on the Kickstarter to receive either a PDF or the hard copy collection of OH JOY, SEX TOY, not to fret! You can easily read all the comic strips online for free. And when you fall in love with Moen’s work, if you are able, she has a Patreon set up to keep her in the cartooning business.