It’s been just over a year since Portland artist Erika Moen launched Oh Joy Sex Toy, and to say it has been a roaring success would be putting it lightly. This playful, hilarious, and informative sex-themed comic has become very popular, and the work that it has done as a sex education resource is probably immeasurable.
Bite-sized sex education is exactly what Moen hoped to achieve with the comic, she explains in this great article at The Daily Beast. Her own sex education was minimal at best, and the scare tactics it utilized left her “super, super terrified of sex and naked bodies.” For a long time, Moen dreamed of addressing the huge holes in American sex education. After 15 years of making webcomics, and after participating in a comic strip reality show called Strip Search, she decided to take the plunge and turn that idea into a reality.
Moen explains to The Daily Beast:
While I don’t think every artist everywhere has a responsibility to educate their audience, it’s a role that works for me. People online spend so much time criticizing the things they don’t like about the world, about the media, about our society. That’s valuable. Now I want to see people creating the media they want to exist. My sex education was horrific and scarring, so now I’m trying to make a resource that I personally needed back then and it just so happens that it’s still needed today.
The comic format is appealing, Moen says, because pictures make readers more receptive to new information. Especially when it comes to sex, visual material is easier to understand. Drawings have always been used as sex education — to warn against venereal disease during war, in pamphlets at Planned Parenthood — but Moen’s take is much more progressive.
Moen spends a week developing each strip, and she is the cog in each step of the process — a single person acting as writer, penciler, inker, colorist, and letterist. Guest illustrators step in from time to time, to provide variety and discuss topics outside Moen’s areas of expertise. For example, Emi Gennis contributed a strip about the history of the vibrator, while Amanda Lafrenais recounted “Dildo Misadventures” and Lucy Knisley shared her experience with the birth control implant.
Since the inception of the site, Moen has published tons of comics, from reviews of some of our favorite things (like the Ina 2, Bandit, Pure Plugs, Moon Cup, Sliquid H2O, and Delight) to guides on anal sex, cock rings, cunnilingus, and introducing sex toys into relationships, and even illustrated interviews with porn stars Jiz Lee and Stoya.
No matter the topic, Oh Joy Sex Toy is always a treat. New strips are published each Tuesday, and the comic is serialized at Bitch. You can follow Erika Moen on Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, and her main site.