VIP Interview Oh Joy Sex Toy – Erika And Matt!

Ohjoysextoy.com is the most popular sex blog site on the web.  Erika and Matt the curators and owners cover everything relating to sexuality in a unique and cutting edge style leaving no stone unturned whether it be on a sex toy review, sexual position or sexual education.  They address them all in a comic format that is both educational and fun.  A new post is published each Tuesday and with the help of other guests have created a site that is outside the norm.  Sex positive and not afraid to take a stand on issues they believe in they are pioneers of the modern day blog.

I have to start with the standard question – how did it all start? There are a heap of adult blogs, and sex education sites out there, how did you both come up with something so unique, fun and accessible?

Matt: Sex education has always been really important to us both. But it wasn’t until Erika decided to make a little how-to sex comic zine for conventions did we think of doing it ourselves on a bigger scale.

After a while, that idea grew larger, and eventually when Erika was in between projects, she set out to write a sex education book. It ended up being HUGE in its range and because of the sheer size, she stalled out on it. Not wanting it to go to waste, the project changed and morphed into a webcomic. Something we could work on each week, and would give us opportunity to for other things – like sex toy reviews!

Its worked out really well.

 

VIP Interview ohjoysex blog
Oh Joy Sex Toy Interview

What’s normally involved in the process from writing the script, to the finished artwork?

Matt: Not included everything else we do like the books and guest artists, our weekly pipeline looks something like this:

– Matt makes the 1st draft on a script

– Erika cleans it up or re-writes it

– Erika takes cleaned up the script, lays it out

– Erika goes straight to pencils then inks

– Matt goes in, cleans up and colors.

Erika:  I’ve always been utterly fascinated with sex. It started out as abject fear, as my mom was trying to “protect” me through scare tactics. When I began to learn there was more to sex than the worst aspects of it, that it could be this positive, joyful thing, I basically became obsessed with learning more and more and trying out different things for myself. Like Matt said, I’m making the comics that I needed when I was younger. I’m trying to provide people with the material I wish had existed decades ago.

 

What’s the story, thought, or experience that drives you both to doing this?

Matt: Erika was brought up with very poor sex education, and has set out to make something that she would have wanted to read when she was younger. I just love making comics, and think the world of sex is amazing.

 

Sex education is a continual and fluid learning process as we grow and develop in our lives – what’s the most important thing that you’ve both personally learned through this work?

Matt:  To stay open minded and sex positive, even in the face of the opposite. It’s shocking to see so many educators put their own artificial lines in the sand when it comes to different issues, or approach subjects with a decidedly negative point of view. I think the most important thing as a creator and human, is to stay positive, friendly and open.

Erika:  Same as Matt, this job has really stretched my empathy muscles to stay open minded when presented with sexual practices and desires that are super Not My Jam— and I feel like that’s been a real benefit, honestly. It’s stretched out into a lot of aspects of how I think about complicated issues, to look for the shades of grey in situations that people may default to painting as black or white. Basically, my motto is it’s ok as long as it’s safe, sane, and consensual— which  is a phrase coined by Dan Savage.

Your favourite comfort food is. . . ?

Matt:  Right now, nothing beats a good bowl of Pho.

Erika: Sliced cherries in plain greek yogurt with granola. I’m a fool for cherries in anything, and then the textures of the yogurt and granola is suuuuper pleasing to my mouth.

In her 24 hour Comic Series 2017, Erika makes note of one day being strong enough to do a comic on being Bipolar – What’s something else that you’d like to explore that you haven’t already?

Matt:  I know Erika has a lot of autobio storys in her, about her childhood, and rough years. It’s not really sex-education friendly, and more of a biography. I know she would love to explore that at some point, but it doesn’t really jive with what we’re doing at the moment.

Personally, we’ve got a few sexy fiction storys that would be fun to comic out. But that stuff doesn’t exactly sell well, and will probably just stay as a pet project.

Erika:  I have so many autobiographical stories I want to share, from serious subjects to some of the absolutely absurd situations I’ve gotten myself into. Oh, and I’d love to do a comic about our immigration experience of getting Matt into the US and becoming a citizen. And I want to embroider a comic!!! I want to do a three or four panel comic that’s entirely embroidered. I just have to figure out what the subject will be.

 

On the topic of strength – running a blog is hard work. Both of you are often open, honest, vulnerable and incredibly raw with what’s going on both physically and mentally in your lives – what’s one of the hardest things that you’ve endured in this line of work and how did overcome it?

Matt:  We suffer from burn out pretty often! The pace is a bit hard and fast, and after 5 year’s on the project we’re both a little thin. We try our best now-a-days to hire a lot of guest artists, to give us more time in between comics, but even that process can be exhausting! There’s no real answer here for you: making a living from comics, and sex education is hard, it involves graft and sacrifice.

Erika:  I had a nervous breakdown over the intense backlash to one of the comics we ran. It’s the closest I’ve come to being hospitalized for a mental breakdown, and in hindsight I probably should have been. A year later I still feel like I’m recovering from it. I don’t know that I’ve overcome it, but the way I’ve learned to survive the scrutiny and condemnation I receive is to have a really strong friend group and turn to them for guidance and support, and generally not let myself be so accessible to the public at large. It’s such a contrast to the work we do: Our comics are all about being open and friendly and communicative, and in real life I’ve had to close myself off from the general public to protect myself from the casual judgements, vitriol, violence, and death threats that are sent my way. Ah well, it’s a livin’!

 

Running a blog full time is really hard work. I really want to emphasize that point. Between the weekly comics, the annual book, guest appearances, shows and maintaining your own health– how do you both fit it all in?

Matt:  It’s a constant battle, and balancing act of all of that. We’re lucky that we’re two people and have a passion for the subject!

 

How would you best describe the approach you use to the way you review sex toys?

Matt:  We always try to find the positives. Even if a toy is terrible, it might still be perfect for someone out there, and so we try our best to acknowledge that.

Hitting the right tone is the next big thing. We want each comic to feel like a conversation between friends: I often tell our guest artists that it’s gotta feel like they are sitting down with a pal at a coffeeshop, to talk about the toy or subject. Coffeeshop Erika.

It’s not enough to just say what’s goods and bad about a sex toy. We want to engage with a reader, have fun with them, and make them excited for the world of sex through our excitement.

 

You’re one of the most respected and popular male/female sex toy reviewers in the world – when it comes to male/female sex toys and pleasure where are toys hitting the mark, and where are they missing it?

Matt:  Gosh – thank you for that =D

Its odd, I keep feeling like imaginations have run a bit dry in the sex toy industry. That the best sex toy designs have been made, and that the new things are just iterations on said designs. Companies are running around trying to make subtle differences, but nothing all that new. That being said, I’ve been seeing a real push for better PR, marketing and a market trending for the $100+ toy’s, which is encouraging. We deserve fancy toys for our sex lives!

It’s been really exciting seeing Fun Factory expand into menstrual cups. And The We Vibe’s Nova actually seemed like an innovative new (good) idea, so the industry still surprising and delighting me!

Personally I see the future in more hand crafted story lines for sex toys. I think there’s a lot of room and excitement for a toy that comes with a history of its sourced components and the people who worked on it. People are excited to have sex and own a sex toy now-a-days. Lets help them be PROUD of their specific sex toy too.

Your goal seems to be providing sex education in a fun and exciting way. If there was one thing about sex that you’d want your readers to understand, what would it be?

Matt:  That sex is an interesting and fascinating part of being human – even if it’s not your jam, it’s a huge deep well and something that should be celebrated.

Erika:  Sex is so much more than two bodies smushing their genitals together. Sex overlaps with so many subjects; science, art, trauma, philosophy, fantasy, legislation, taboos, sociology, representation, attraction, communication, psychology, identity, community, cultural customs, consumerism, capitalism… There is SO MUCH to explore and it’s all so fascinating.

 

What advice would you give to anyone wanting to start out their own adult or sexual education blog?

Matt:  Look for a unique angle, expand your skills set past just writing: it’s not enough to JUST be a blogger any more. Make sure to have at least a years of income saved up before diving in (and/or do it part time initially), and keep in mind that you need a HEALTHY dose of luck (which might never come), to ‘make it’.

On a personal note: stay away from being negative. The world is so toxic right now, don’t fall for it. Instead be a beacon of positivity. Show the world how you want it to look with your work.

 

What do you feel is your greatest achievement?

Matt:  5 years without missing an update, and the emails we get from people who say they’ve been touched by our work.

Erika:   Creating work that I’m incredibly proud of with the most important person to me. I love being a creative team with Matt. I mean, don’t get me wrong, it’s not always a walk in the park! But I know for a fact that I have done some of my best work with him on this series. And knowing that our work has actually helped people just blows my mind. People tell me that they’ve gotten contraceptive devices IMPLANTED INSIDE THEM because of our comics, they’ve gotten diagnosed with conditions because they recognized the symptoms we explained and went to their doctors about them, we’ve even had more than one person tell us that reading our comics inspired some folks to go off and enroll in graduate school so they could go into the medical field for sex. Like. Holy shit. That is serious, life changing stuff. And they got the seed of inspiration from something we created for a comic? Wow.

 

Any final words to people looking for sex education?

Matt:  Planned Parenthood and Scarleteen are SO GOOD. Check them out. Alternatively, we’ll be making more and more sex ed on Oh Joy Sex Toy. And our next book Drawn To Sex, The Basics will be out in bookstores at the end of the year.

Erika:  Adding on to Matt’s suggestion: DONATE TO SCARLETEEN AND PLANNED PARENTHOOD IF YOU CAN! They survive on the funds they raise from the public, especially Scarleteen, and what they provide for free to the public is so, so invaluable. I feel like Oh Joy Sex Toy is the appetizer to whet your appetite before the sex education meal, and the main course that really fills you up with more knowledge than you can fit in your mouth all at once is Scarleteen and Planned Parenthood. …Sorry, that analogy got a little weird. What can I say? I love them!

 

We are extremely grateful for Matt and Erika’s Interview.  Learn more about Erika Moen and Matthew Nolan at their websites.

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