About

By: Ian

The Sex Toy Collective is a place where we share guides on sex toys, sex toy DIY, and tips & tricks on how to use them.  One of our main goals is to help people learn how to craft sex toys, a hobby that’s fun, rewarding, and easier than most people realize.

So far we’ve made the Dildo-Sculptor tool, the Dildo University, and the SexToy Discovery tool, and have more tools on the way!

STC Authors

Sarah Melancon Ph.D

Background:

I’m a Sociologist and Certified Sexologist (ACS) who takes a holistic approach to sexuality — I believe mind, body, heart, and spirit interact to create our sexual experiences, for better or for worse!  My work focuses on the influence of attachment and trauma (big and small) on sexuality and relationships and embodied, somatic approaches to healing sexual difficulties.  I’m a lifelong nerd who is always learning, but more importantly, I’m a human being who just wanted to enjoy her sex life.  When I took my first sexuality course in 2005, I realized there could (possibly maybe hopefully) be answers to the problems that privately plagued me, and soon began focusing on sexuality and sexual health in graduate school.  At age 4, I was diagnosed with severe social phobia and a communication disorder called selective mutism; I easily became overwhelmed and frozen around people, often unable to speak — ‘awkward’ should have been my middle name.  Fast forward to adulthood, and no wonder sexuality and relationships were equally fascinating and confusing!  But despite getting a Ph.D., reading all the books; listening to all the podcasts; working with therapists, coaches, and healers; running a YouTube channel with millions of views and a podcast downloaded by tens of thousands each month; speaking at sexuality conferences, and even asking my fellow colleagues for advice — I was still left without a complete answer or an effective way out.  There was no obvious “diagnosis” for my experience, and as selective mutism took over my life once again, my life and career began to fall apart.

I was first introduced to the “answer” in 2015 through a podcast interview with Stephen Porges, on his Polyvagal Theory about the autonomic nervous system.  Only a few months prior, a therapist was amazed to point out, “You just cycled from fight to flight to freeze within only 90 seconds” and my reaction was, “Huh?”  While I only understood about 10% of what Porges said, deep down I knew Polyvagal Theory somehow explained both my social and sexual issues.  Life has a funny way of (eventually) leading us to the right path, however, and developing PTSD after a traumatic childbirth ironically shined a light on my world of growing darkness.  Diving into the world of trauma, neurobiology, and somatic healing approaches, I not only came to understand Polyvagal Theory and how I developed PTSD (and published a book chapter on both) but FINALLY, my social phobia, selective mutism, and sexual problems made sense!

My painful journey showed me that while our sexual desires can be a path to greater intimacy and connection, they also reveal our deepest fears, hopes, dreams, and traumas that we keep hidden in the shadows, unconsciously re-creating the same emotional wounds that keep us disconnected and stuck.  By cultivating embodied awareness, learning self-compassion, and healing the underlying traumas endemic to modern society, our most hidden corners of shame can become our greatest sources of power.  I’ve come to believe that human beings are wired for relationships, and that embracing the awkward by connecting with greater love, authenticity, and intimacy is one of the life’s most profound and meaningful experiences.

Approach:

My approach is based on the work of Stephen Porges, Peter Levine, Bessel Van Der Kolk, Dan Siegel, Deb Dana, Pat Ogden, David Treleaven, Stanley Rosenberg, Stephen Karpman and dozens of others in the field of trauma, neurobiology, and somatic therapies.

In the field of sexuality and relationships, my influences include Diane Poole Heller, Stan Tatkin, Barry Komisurak, Cindy Meston, Lori Brotto, Beverly Whipple, John Bankroft, Sheri Winston, Emily Nagosaki, Francois de Carufel, and John and Julie Gottman, combined with decades of research on the autonomic nervous system, trauma, attachment, and sexual function.  Notably, these lists are incomplete, as I’m always learning!

I take a holistic, somatic approach in my current work with men recovering from erectile dysfunction and premature ejaculation.  I am honored to witness my clients’ vulnerability, self-discovery, and courage, whether at age 18 or 85.  Having been in their shoes, I am grateful to bring a sense of acceptance, understanding, and healing to my clients’ lives, and frequently hear, “You’re so easy to talk to!”  While I am not (yet) trained in Somatic Experiencing (SE), I have completed Irene Lyon’s Smart Body Smart Mind program based largely on the SE approach, completed SE-based workshops with Diane Poole Heller and David Treleaven, and am currently co-authoring a study using SE for eating disorder patients in recovery.  In addition, I co-created 5 research-backed trauma scales along with SE practitioner Ilene Smith, published in her book, Moving Beyond Trauma.

While my current focus is on men, I have a wealth of knowledge on women’s sexuality and in the future, intend to work with women and couples as well.

Media:

I don’t actually believe experts exist, because there’s always more to learn.  However, I’m grateful to have shared my knowledge and been quoted as one in dozens of outlets, including Cosmopolitan, Shape, Bustle, Men’s Health, AskMen, Good Housekeeping, High Times, Instyle, Lifehacker, Psych Central, Community Psychiatry, Healthline, Health.com, Womens-Health.com, Livestrong, MindBodyGreen, Tinder Swipelife, o.School, Kinkly, and Giddy.

Check out some of my favorite articles:

J.C. Ways

When I was a teenager, I used to peruse sex shops and be fascinated by all these wonderful toys, outfits, and accessories that are designed to maximize sexual arousal and orgasm.

While other customers giggled like schoolchildren, I was candidly talking to the staff about the purpose of each toy, seeming perhaps wise beyond my years.

I’ve never been afraid to stick things up my butt or pop my cock into something – why wouldn’t you want to make your sex life better? I aim to smash down stigmas and introduce men and women to sex toys that change their lives

Tawney Seren

I am a Pacific Northwesterner who specializes in collecting skills and knowledge, most of it pertaining to sex and sex toys! I have always been open in regards to talking sex and wanted nothing more than to work in the world of sex education and help others. After years of working in the industry as a content creator and performer, I was surrounded with viewers who had questions upon questions about sex and toys! Realizing there weren’t enough voices in the sex education community, I started to share my experiences and study. 

See Tawney’s posts

Ms. Kay

Ms. Kay is a professional sex educator who lives in Sydney, Australia. She is an academic who aims to empower women worldwide by helping them understand and explore their sexuality.

For the past 15 years, Ms. Kay has explored a plethora of kinks and fetishes, and has a never-ending desire to experience more. She is passionate about dismantling social constructs of gender and ending the stigmatization of female sexual pleasure.

As a bisexual, she also has a vested interest in addressing the issues of bi-invisibility and bi-erasure, to improve the mental health of the “B”s in the LGBT community.

If you have any questions, please feel free to email us at [email protected], or message us on twitter @ST_Collective_

Happy Toy Hunting!

Written by

Ian

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