Earlier this week, UK-based sex toy brand Hot Octopuss launched their new anti-sex stigma campaign – Show Stigma the Finger. There is still so much taboo around sex and sexuality, and Hot Octopuss are doing some fabulous work to combat those stigmas and stereotypes. Today I’m joining in with their Show Stigma the Finger campaign, and am not-so-nicely telling heteronormativity to fuck off.
Content note for brief discussion of homophobia. This post also contains affiliate links.
Hot Octopuss have just launched an awesome new finger vibe – the DiGiT – and the advertising campaign they’d planned was perfectly inline with the brand’s inclusive values. In the past, they’ve made sex toys for disabled folks and made their website inclusive for queer and trans folks. For the DiGiT, their plan was to photograph six activists (who would be ambassadors for the campaign) sticking their middle fingers up to stigmas and stereotypes around sex they’ve faced in their lives – including transphobia, ableism, homophobia, ageism, and body shaming.
And then they were told that their adverts had been banned.
Their brilliant ads, aiming to tackle these harmful stigmas, were deemed ‘inappropriate’, and Hot Octopuss were told that major buyers wouldn’t run their adverts. They’d planned to run adverts in New York – and start the conversation around challenging these anti-sex stigmas – but the ads were banned due to their nudity. Even though their nipples and genitalia were hidden, folks were terrified of the positive photography featuring woman advocating for healthy and happy sex lives that are free from prejudice.
However, Hot Octopuss decided to go ahead with their campaign anyway – how could they not, after a fabulous photo shoot where their six campaign ambassadors got naked?
Looking at the photo – now being spread all over the internet, as well as being on display at one physical location in New York – makes me smile so widely. To again acknowledge my privilege, I’m lucky: I’m a slim, white, able-bodied cis woman in my early twenties – exactly the kind of folks who are shown as buying and using sex toys. I’m “allowed” by society to have an active sex life. I am delighted that Hot Octopuss is using their campaign to raise the voices of underrepresented folks for whom it’s less “acceptable” in society’s eyes to have sex.
The DiGiT is a finger vibrator, so it’s worn rather than held and is ideal for stimulating the clit, nipples, or perineum – basically anything but anal play, which it’s not safe for. Hot Octopuss will also be donating 10% of DiGiT profits during the campaign to charities chosen by their six ambassadors. This means you can help fight these stigmas and get your hands on the finger vibe for just £59.
There are so many stigmas I wish I could erase, from slut shaming to the stigma around mental health. The stigma that’s really kicking my arse right now, though, is heteronormativity. Seriously: fuck people who assume I am straight.
There are definitely dangers to being openly and outwardly queer, but I’m privileged enough to be able to do so with very little risk. That doesn’t mean that it doesn’t hurt every time folks make assumptions about my sexuality and erase my queerness. The fact I’m not straight is key to who I am.
I face heteronormativity every day – just as much as I face homophobia. Homophobia tends to be obvious – slurs and discrimination and sideways looks when I kiss my partner when they’re wearing a skirt. Heteronormativity is more subtle. I’ve encountered it during STI tests where the nurse can’t get their head around the fact I have partners of more than one gender. I’ve come face to face with it at work and at university, when people ask me if I have a boyfriend. Again and again, society assumes that I’m straight, because straight is “normal”.
Almost as bad are the folks who ask me why I’m so loudly, proudly, and (sometimes) obnoxiously gay, not understanding that if I don’t keep shouting about my queerness, society will ignore it. It makes me smile every time I discover a public figure is part of the LGBTQIA+ community – these little bits of representation are part of the normalisation of queerness, which is necessary to combat the heteronormativity.
Hi, hello; I’m here, I’m fucking queer. Can all the anti-sex stigmas just fuck off, please?
Sinful Sunday is run by the wonderful Molly Moore – click the kiss for more sins…
Seriously, you should buy awesome sex toys from Hot Octopuss, because they’re doing really important work and striving to be as inclusive as possible. They’re also genuinely fab people with great products, and buying from them using the links in this post helps support my filth writing.