Sex-positive activist Joani Blank created one of the first woman-friendly sex stores in America, Good Vibrations, as well as sex toys like the Butterfly vibrator. Blank studied public health at the University of North Carolina before migrating to San Francisco. She began working at Planned Parenthood and San Francisco Sex Information, then became a sex therapist for pre-orgasmic women through UCSF. She realized that there was widespread ignorance and inhibition about sex, especially among women, and that most shops for erotic material were viewed as sleazy and threatening. In 1975 she founded Down There Press, publishing sex-positive books including her 1975 Playbook for Women about Sex and her 1978 Playbook for Kids about Sex. In 1977 she opened Good Vibrations in San Francisco, stocking the store and mail order company with vibrators and other female-friendly toys sold in discreet packaging. She then sold the company to her employees in 1992, making them all co-owners and shareholders. She continues to mentor sex-positive entrepreneurs and publish books on sex education while advocating for the co-housing movement, which creates intentional communities that have both shared facilities and private apartments to blend autonomy and community.
How to cite this page
Jewish Women's Archive. "Joani Blank." (Viewed on June 24, 2021) <https://jwa.org/encyclopedia/article/blank-joani>.