We all know life isn’t fair and that a great inequity exists within our system, but that rings truer for some than others. Not everyone is fortunate enough to receive a quality education, let alone receive an education. For those of us who did have the right and privilege to go to school, our educational experiences may have been limited based on budget cuts and systemic biases. Whether it’s abstinence-only education or the ability to test out of the course altogether, our educational system is greatly lacking, and in the age of Trump, having access to an unbiased, comprehensive sexual health and reproductive education is now more crucial than ever before. Lucky for us, there are some who are going out of their way to provide us with the sex education every human being deserves.
Meet Wild Flower, an innovative, sex positive online adult store, not only bringing us the best in personal pleasure items for everybody and every body, but also filling the educational holes and answering the questions we were taught we weren’t allowed to ask. And who better to guide us into the realm of sex and wellness than someone whose previous employment was based entirely around the art of providing pleasure by pushing limits while respecting boundaries? We can all be so grateful that Wild Flower founder and owner Amy Boyajian left the dominatrix world behind to provide us with the non-judgmental sex education we all need, complete with an interactive sex Q&A section and weekly YouTube videos featuring giant paper maché reproductive organs.
LF: For our readers who may not be familiar with the topic, how do you define sex positivity? Why is it important?
AB: I don’t think you can clearly define sex positivity without relating to the current social climate. Sex positivity has been used since the free love movement of the 1960s, was adapted to uplift through the painful times of the 1980s AIDS epidemic, and steered feminism and LGBTQ+ movements through the millennium. Currently we are experiencing an overhaul of the status quo relating to sexual conduct and sexual harassment. I would define sex positive as not only a grasp of your own pleasure but also an agency over your body and consent. I also think to be sex positive, your politics have to be intersectional and inclusive of all races, genders, religions, sexual orientations, and sexual expressions.
LF: Unlike most online adult stores, Wild Flower labels each product by intended use, rather than binary gender. Why is inclusivity in the sex toy industry important?
AB: Imagine walking into a sex store, planning to buy something as intimate as a sex toy, only to find the section marked for your gender having nothing for your anatomy. This is a reality that trans and non-binary people face every day. Personally, as a cis woman, I loathed that all the products marketed towards me were ultra feminine aka baby pink or ultra realistic. I felt that this told me that my pleasure depended on outdated feminine ideals or ‘male’ anatomy. Looking around the sex store industry I also saw blatant sexist, racist, homophobic, transphobic, or other discriminatory toys and marketing that is completely unacceptable. This, combined with the lack of safety standards, made it clear to me that it was on the manufacturers and stores to raise the bar within the sex toy industry.
I think it is a company’s social responsibility to ensure they are actively all inclusive and an ally to all minorities and marginalized persons. I felt like the simplest way I could do this would be un-gender the toys, and not carry any toys that were flesh colored or ultra-realistic.
LF: What do you think our current sex education system is lacking? What was sex education like when you were growing up?
AB: Our current systems are lacking so much. Currently only 22 states mandate sex education, of which only 13 legally have to have medically accurate information. The few Americans that do get sexual education are faced with a religiously backed curriculum focused on abstinence and creating fear. Having such poor standards puts young people at risk and develops harmful behavior around sex that carries on into later life. I feel that there needs to be mandatory medically accurate sex education that includes pleasure and consent as well as an intersectional and inclusive approach.
I actually grew up in the UK and sex was never talked about in school or at home. The internet has a lot to do with my sexual education, for better or worse. As a young woman who developed early, I was hypersexualized without understanding how negative that attention can be at such a young age. I felt no agency over my own body and for many years, I felt that I was in a constant battle with my body.
LF: What are the most common misconceptions the public has about sex? What do you wish everyone knew about it?
AB: That there is no normal when it comes to sex. As long as everyone is consenting and there is no physical, mental or emotional harm being done, sex is a free game. Sex in your bedroom may look very different that someone else’s bedroom but it all needs to be respected and included in the ongoing dialogue around sex. Keeping with this theme, what I would want everyone to know is that it is ok to be yourself and you need to give yourself permission to explore your sexuality. Masturbate in a new way! Buy yourself a toy! Discuss your fantasies with your partner! Sex is an ongoing journey that runs parallel with the rest of our lives. Focusing a little effort into your sex life can do wonders for your self-esteem, your health, your social connections, and your overall happiness.
LF: How do you feel the media portrays sex? How is it beneficial and/or damaging?
AB: It really pains me when I see sex described as naughty or dirty, or on the flip side, as completely risk free. I think this feeds into the narrative that sex is devious and bad or unconcerning — both harmful attitudes that stunt many important conversations that need to happen. I also hate the correlation between beauty standards and sex, and the pressure that puts on people. What about bloated sex, period sex, morning sex with bad breath? It skips a large portion of sex, which is intimacy.
Though we are seeing a cultural shift in this, there is still a lot of sex used to sell items that have nothing to do with sexuality. Remember those Carl’s Jr commercials with almost-naked, white women rolling around on cars to sell fast food cheese burgers? Those days need to be over.
LF: Prior to your years as a dominatrix, how did you feel about sexual exploration? How did that job change your perception of sex and pleasure?
AB: Before I started working as a dominatrix, I really didn’t feel connected to my sexuality. I was more confused by it than anything. When you do any kind of sex work, you have to take elements of your own sexuality and heighten or adjust them to profit off of them. By having to self exam and adjust to each situation, it got me closer to who I was and what I wanted. I’m not saying everyone needs or should be a sex worker to gain agency over their sexuality, this is just what happened for me. I think what was more important was the prompt to take my sexuality seriously and see it as a major part of my whole.
Working as a domme also opened my eyes to the many expressions of sexuality. I’m in pretty open-minded and queer friend circles, but being trusted with fantasies that would be so taboo in society really made me appreciate how diverse sexuality is.
LF: What prompted you to leave sex work behind to enter the realm of sex education through an online adult store? Had you always wanted to become a sex educator, or is it something you fell into?
AB: I have a degree in business and marketing and always had dreams of having some business of my own. Being a dominatrix was my first real dose of entrepreneurship and I simply couldn’t go back to working for anyone else. But there came a time where sex work really burnt me out. It’s a lot of emotional labor, physical upkeep, and mental stress with no societal support or resources. It’s easy to get to a point when you feel overwhelmed, completely drained, and simply unable to work. I’m not gonna sugar coat it – it was a tough time. I felt like my career as a dominatrix was a large part of my identity and I found myself unable to fulfill that identity anymore. There was a lot of soul searching, a lot of art was made, and many tears shed but I started to formulate who I wanted to be outside of what I did for money. I wanted to be a healer, an advisor, a helper of sorts. It was around this point that I met my husband and he really supported me in making Wild Flower a reality.
I never planned to be a sexual educator, though I knew my store needed to focus on education to compensate for all of the misinformation out there. I originally thought I would be behind the scenes, expressing opinions and sharing information via articles only. However that’s simply not how everyone learns, including myself. I knew I had to incorporate written material with conversations and visual aids to truly reach everyone.
LF: Since the store’s launch 6 months ago, what has the response been? Any controversy?
AB: Most of the feedback I’ve got has been overwhelmingly positive. The only issues I’ve had were at the very beginning trying to open accounts with various financial institutions. For example, I casually went to my personal bank looking to open a basic business checking account for the store. I wasn’t looking for a loan or anything, I was just looking to open an account to hold the money the business earned. I was declined to open an account because sex toys were in violation of the bank’s ‘moral standards.’ These same standards say nothing about cigarettes, alcohol, or firearms, yet vibrating pieces of silicone seem to be a real threat to them. We had similar problems trying to find an institution to handle the store’s credit card transactions.
The positive feedback and comments we’ve gotten have been so amazing. Many people have trusted me with their stories of shame, rape, harassment, or health issues, and I love that I can create some kind of support for them. I make an effort to talk about all the elements of sexuality, even the painful ones, and I’m grateful that people who have sexually-related pain find our store a safe space. I’m sure there are some people out there who disapprove but a lot of people feel lost, confused, or insecure when it comes to sex and are seeking help. I find that people are grateful for the conversation and eager to participate.
LF: If you had to narrow it down to 3 products that you think EVERYONE needs to try, what are they and why?
AB: I’m a huge advocate for lube in an effort to normalize its use. Having a need to use lubricant doesn’t mean that your body is inferior or you aren’t turned on enough. There are so many elements that can affect natural lubrication or in the case of anal play, the area isn’t a naturally self lubricating part of the body. My favorite lubricant is Uberlube. It’s a silicone based formula which is silky smooth and long lasting. It has no harmful chemicals and naturally dissipates when friction stops. It’s also packed with vitamin E and can be used as a hair smoother!
I also think everyone should enjoy a little butt stuff. We all have a butt and no matter your gender or sexual orientation, you can find pleasure in a little exploration. I would encourage everyone to try a butt plug. It doesn’t have to be large and intimidating. There are thousands of sensitive nerve endings in the anus which can feel amazing when stimulated and if you are born with a penis, you can explore your magic button – the prostate!
And finally, getting really specific, everyone needs to get themselves an Njoy Pure wand or Fun wand. These toys are amazing tools of pleasure no matter what your anatomy is. They are the go-to toys for me when someone is having trouble is G or P spot stimulation or looking to learn how to squirt.
LF: What are your goals for Wild Flower? Where do you see the store going?
AB: I really want to evolve the community element of Wild Flower via workshops and support groups. My vision for Wild Flower was to have our education sections be interactive, incorporating the Sex Q&A section, but I want to grow it much bigger and reach more people. As we relocate to New York within the next few months, I’m looking to work in partnership with other innovative groups and brands to create engaging and necessary workshops where people can come with their questions, try out products, and explore their sexuality in a community setting without shame.
I really want to make Wild Flower the industry standard for how a sex store should act and engage. I think the future is non binary and all inclusive and all sex stores need to be reflective of this social progress. The future of Wild Flower is definitely fluid, yet I know for sure that it’s going to be sexy and everyone is included.