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Refinery 29

The Beginner's Guide To NYC Sex Shops

Eve's GardenEve's Garden is like a speakeasy of sex shops. Located on the 12th floor of a nondescript office building, the store has a relaxed atmosphere where people can browse, ask questions, and sit down to peruse one of its many books. Founded in 1974 by Dell Williams, the shop was the first woman-owned and woman-operated sex toy business in America. (Williams actually opened the shop after she had an uncomfortable experience trying to buy a vibrator.) Kim Ibricevic, the store's vice president, shares Eve's Garden's unique take on sex toys.

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New York Magazine

Rabbit Redux: About All Those Single Women

Now that single women officially outnumber married ones in the United States, it's worth remembering that it was New York feminists in the seventies who first advanced the idea long before Maureen Dowd made her first pop-culture reference that men might not be so necessary. (At least, not until fish started needing bicycles.) And what did those activists say could take the place of men? Vibrating sex toys, says 85-year-old Dell Williams, founder of Eve's Garden on West 57th Street, which she claims was the first sex shop in the city owned and run by women. ''Vibrators are a girl's best friend, not diamonds,'' she says. She recalls with particular fondness ''The Rabbit,'' a bedside companion first introduced in the eighties that ran on three batteries. ''It had a clitoral stimulator that looked like a rabbit. It appeared in Sex and the City and suddenly became very popular.'' Williams, a divorced former actress and advertising exec who opened her shop in 1978, says that three-decade-old books on feminine fulfillment like Betty Dodson's Sex for One and Lonnie Barbach's For Yourself, remain best-sellers at Eve's Garden. ''Marriage hasn't done that well for women in our society,'' she says. ''Think of all the violence, all the prejudice. Marriage is not so great for women, and women are saying, 'I'm not so sure this is what I want.''' She doesn't rule out giving marital life another try herself, though. With one condition: ''I would have to have my own bedroom.'' Mary Reinholz

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Oprah Magazine

Everything You Wanted To Know About Sex Toys

Everything she always wanted to know about sex toys and wasn't afraid to ask Hilda Hutcherson, MD. Our intrepid columnist gets the buzz.

With friends like Hilda Hutcherson, MD, my go-to sexpert and the author ofPleasure: A Woman's Guide to Getting the Sex You Want, Need, and Deserve,who needs sales help? I call my fearless pal and offer to buy her lunch in exchange for a guided tour of the best sex toys currently on the market. My education begins in the personal massagers section of a discreet midtown Manhattan shop called Eve's Garden. I check out a shelf of architecturally unobtrusive little gadgets as Hilda heads straight for a periwinkle blue confection. See how pretty, she says, grouping it with the chartreuse and salmon ones. They're so sculptural, you could really have them on your coffee table without anybody realizing they're vibrators. But before I can lay out what I feel is a rather cogent argument for not displaying an assortment of pastel sex toys in the middle of my living room, Hilda has moved on. Ooh, look, Lisa, it's the smoothie! She picks up an ultrasleek tiger-stripe number and turns it to low. Smoothies are a bit more phallic, she says, as it dawns on me that Hilda's idea of a bit more phallic is my definition of the Washington Monument. These are terrific for women who are just trying to get their feet wet. As the smoothie buzzes away, I start to offer her a little free advice: Technically, Doctor, it's not the feet that need to get. But before I can finish, Hilda is zeroing in on an odd contraption. Here's one based on a medical device for women with arousal disorder. This piece suctions the clitoris,she says, holding up a rubbery thimble, while this cylinder vibrates. I write lots of prescriptions for these, she says matter-of-factly

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New sales record for Magic Wand

Trusted leader goes from strength to strength

The Magic Wand, the personal massager trusted by Americans for over 30 years, beat all previous sales records in 2013 in a double digit-growth spurt. During the year, this favorite toy transitioned to an updated look, revised branding from the old Hitachi to the more streamlined Magic Wand Original and also introduced even stronger construction and gently updated componentry.

Since its launch last June, the updated version has received rave reviews. It also didn’t hurt that the Magic Wand won the first-ever consumer-voted Sex Awards as Favorite Sex Toy for Women in October 2013. Over 70,000 consumers cast their votes to hand the Magic Wand its win.

To learn more about the latest-generation Magic Wand, check out the Magic Wand in our Electric Vibrator category.

Shape, Cosmo highlight the Magic Wand

Best sellers featured for Valentine's Day

For Valentine's Day 2014, both Shape Magazine and Cosmopolitan gave the Magic Wand a well-deserved shout-out as the most popular vibrator ever.


Good Vibes: Eve's Garden Founder Appears in West Side Benefit for Women

Posted by West Side Spirit on April 13, 2011
Written by Emily Johnson
Photo by Isaac Rosenthal

Dell Williams founder Eve's Garden, with Eve Ensler, the author of The Vagina Monologues.
Dell Williams and Eve Ensler

The voice on the phone conjured up thoughts of baked apple pie, Whether's Originals and reruns of Are You Being Served? Hello, this is Dell calling the 88-year-old woman said giggling. You know, the vibrator queen. Dell Williams has had a career that was at the forefront of the women's movement: She is the founder of New York's first women's sex toy shop, a feminist, actress and interfaith minister.Look at this, she said one warm April night in her Upper West Side apartment. She was pointing to an article in a back issue of Cosmopolitan magazine titled An Orgasm A Day Keeps the Doctor Away.

Now, she said, ;look at this. She held up a pink button with those exact words and under, the email address for Eve's Garden, her boutique of erotica. Dedicated to serving women since 1974, the site boasts. ;They got that from me, she said. A tiny dynamo, Williams has spent the latter half of her life helping women find their sexual power. To her, confidence in all areas of a woman's life is linked to her sexual energy an area that our society historically does a thorough job of repressing, she said.

It was 1949 when Williams read Austrian psychoanalyst Wilhelm Reich's book The Function of the Orgasm. Some years later, she attended a Body/Sex Workshop in New York with feminist trailblazer Betty Dodson, who became one of her biggest inspirations. My knees were shaking because I had to take my clothes off with other women in the workshop, said Williams. But when she opened the door, she was stark naked, and she said, Welcome! So I immediately lost my shyness. It was incredible. Emboldened by the workshop, she went to Macy's afterwards. So I asked some person, Where do you sell the body massagers? she smiled. And he says, What do you want it for? She was mortified. And I thought, Where does a woman go to buy a vibrator where she won't be humiliated? she said. The answer came to her: Eve's Garden.

The first few years were slow. It was difficult to advertise because no mainstream publication would take her ads. She ran the business from her apartment at first, gradually expanding into a shop. And women started to find her. One woman came in, Williams remembered, and banged her fist on the counter and said, I've been married 20 years and I've had four kids and I've never had an orgasm.Another time, a mother and a daughter arrived separately, prompting the daughter to shriek, Mom!

Her decision to become an interfaith minister arose from her belief that our spiritual natures and sexual natures are connected. These days, she is still involved with the cause. She appeared in the Fourth Universalist Society's production of Eve Ensler's The Vagina Monologues on April 8 and 9 for the third year running. This isn't her first foray into acting. She appeared in a 1962 film called The Cliff Dwellers, which was nominated for an Academy Award. If I'd stuck with it, she said, I think I would have won an Emmy. I was a darn good actor.


The letter below was written by Gloria Steinem

Presented to Dell at the final performance of the Vagina Monologues

Gloria Steinem Letter to Dell Williams
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