The Deep South’s Dames of Dildos

In Alabama, where sex toys stores are illegal, a church-going grandma, enterprising mom, and sassy granddaughter built a booming business hawking penis pumps and butt plugs — and helping every person find their path to pleasure:

One day in 2015, Mary told Christy she wanted to open up a clothing boutique in Muscle Shoals near Florence. Mary’s husband was showing signs of dementia. She wanted to get out of the house more, make extra money, have a sense of purpose. Christy said she’d help finance the store under one condition: In addition to carrying women’s sundresses and blouses, the store would have to stock what she simply called “toys.” Mary didn’t quite understand.

At this point, Christy, who first learned about home sex-toy parties back when she was 19, had hosted these in-home Tupperware-like events herself for a decade. Sex toys had become an important part of her life. Yet these parties weren’t accessible to all women; you had to be invited. If a Florence-based woman wanted to buy a sex toy and she didn’t know about the parties? Sure, she could buy one online, but how could she know what it felt like? How to use it? The sex education that came along with the vibrators Christy sold in women’s homes was missing from Amazon.com. She wanted to open a store where she could help provide that.

Source: Narratively
Published: Jun 9, 2022
Length: 21 minutes (5,400 words)

The Surprisingly Messy Culture Wars Within The New York Times Crossword Puzzle

“While the crossword remains a word game mainstay, what’s appropriate has changed with the times.”

Source: Kotaku
Published: Jan 28, 2022
Length: 7 minutes (1,847 words)

The Trigger Effect

In September 2017, a campus police officer shot and killed a queer college student in Atlanta. By the end of the year, several of the student’s friends had been arrested, and two were dead. What happened at Georgia Tech? The story of a tragedy’s aftermath and the debates it sparked—about police brutality, free speech, gender identity, and civil disobedience.

Source: The Atavist
Published: Aug 31, 2018
Length: 56 minutes (14,000 words)