Book22.com is the first sex store website in the U.S. to market itself specifically to married Christian couples. It was started by Joy and Kevin Wilson, themselves a married Christian couple, who firmly believe that sexuality is a healthy part of human experience, and can be an important part of the lives of practicing Christians.
After wondering about the ramifications of this site, I contacted Joy, who kindly agreed to be interviewed about her site, her religious beliefs, and the struggles of being a Christian sex toy retailer.
One of the aspects of your site that has been getting a lot of media attention is that you say you only sell your products to married couples. Practically speaking, how do you manage this? Do you ask individual customers about their marital status?
There really is no way of monitoring this that I can see, and in all honesty I am not trying to "play God" or control people and their purchases. I bother to state this on our site because, frankly it is who I desire to sell to and bless.
You’re site has been getting some publicity in Canada recently, where gay marriage is now legal. Does this mean that Book22 also accepts orders from gays and lesbians as long as they are married?
This is a good question, and I had to ponder and pray over it a bit. My knee jerk reaction would be that I would not openly welcome gay married couples to buy from our store, but the fact of the matter is that we are all "sinners" and I don't ask other Married Couples to clean up the sin in their lives before shopping. I created Book22 for people like myself, who really wanted to spice up their marriage bed but, didn't want to be exposed to things we find vulgar/obscene or unholy. It is a specific niche- I confess.
Can you talk a bit about how your religious practice informs how you select products. Are there some products you won't carry and others that you feel particularly good about carrying?
Christianity speaks of some sexual practices that are not ”okay" in marriage. The one that applies most to what products we carry has to do with bringing a third person into the marriage bed. So we choose to not carry any products that are fashioned after real people or include other people such as x- rated videos. There are some products that Book22 shies away from; they have mostly to do with anal play. We do not feel the Bible prohibits this, we just personally prefer not to carry them. I actually am quite proud of the fact that Book22 carries dildos; we weren't going to have these types of products early on. I found that we were quite naive about this need in the elderly and disabled communities. I am grateful to the many people who have written to us and opened our eyes in this area and helped us create the special order page.
Do you get requests for products that you won't carry?
I do have requests for products that I won't carry on my site. However, I have more often than not special ordered these items for customers and still choose to not make them a regular item at Book22. The number one request has been for "Penis Pumps." I actually think they can be a very helpful item, and are often times Doctor recommended. Unfortunately there is a stigma around this type of product in the Christian community so I sell them as requests only.
Why do you think there is a stigma about penis pumps? I’m surprised by that, as it seems like a product that's much less overtly sexual than so many others.
I guess the thought in the Christian community is that penis pumps are used primarily for masturbation, and though not Biblical, masturbation is often seen as a sin. Many Catholic and Christian followers will quote the passage about Onan to back up there argument against masturbation, but if one were to really study this passage they would find he was being disobedient to God in not impregnating his brother's widow- that was the sin.