Warning: This column addresses a subject that is for adults only. That said, I don't feel old enough to write about it. So I'm going to avoid being specific. This subject has been written about in this newspaper before. But it's something about which I have never written, and I like the challenge of coming up with euphemisms and synonyms.
Minneapolis is one of the sexiest cities in the U.S., according to the "sex map" of one of the largest global online retailers of adult novelties.
United Kingdom-based Lovehoney claims to have studied the purchasing habits of cities across the country and determined that Minneapolis is sexier than cities sampled in the surrounding states.
As I pondered the meaning of that, I started to wonder if this whole sex map thing is a prank.
So I called the company to ask what I had not in several previous phone calls: This is not going to turn out to be a practical joke, is it? I was assured it's real, and while the public relations representative I talked to admitted that her grandmother did not know she was handling this account, "My mom knows, though."
As is common with most PR people, she did not want her name printed here, only the client's.
In retrospect, I'm not shocked by Minneapolis' ranking on the map. A couple of years ago, I had to make a work-related stop at one of the vendors at an expo selling these devices at the Minneapolis Convention Center. The place was packed.
Due to time zone differences, this interview was conducted via e-mail. Despite the fact that two different Lovehoney executives answered my questions, neither would touch these:
Are annual "appropriate workplace behavior" or sexual harassment courses held at the Lovehoney offices? Are Lovehoney products displayed in your office? How many people were in the room when the idea for a sex map was conceived?
These questions were answered by Nick Ellis, head of content for the company's media department.
Q: Why is the sex map important?
A: The sex map gives us interesting insight into the sexual desires of the American population. We believe it will spark new conversation about differing sexualities and help people feel more confident and comfortable talking about their sexual desires.
Q: What do you think is the most shocking statistic uncovered through the map?
A: The most shocking finding is that New York City was actually close to the bottom of the list of 250 cities that were studied for the map, and Morgantown, W.Va., [was] at the top. The top 10 sexiest cities are smaller towns despite larger cities being more widely known as being "sex positive."
Bonny Hall, product director, answered these questions.
Q: From my reading of the findings, it seems that there is more to do in NYC than Morgantown, W.Va. What is your conclusion?
A: Those living in NYC are very lucky to have some awesome sex toy stores on their doorstep, and we suspect that a lot of them are taking advantage of this. There are also a lot more people in NYC than there are in Morgantown. Shopping in NYC may also feel more discreet. Many other smaller cities are unlikely to have the same quantity or quality of sex toy stores and [shoppers] may be more likely to bump into a neighbor if they're browsing. [Blatant promotional pitch coming:] Hence, they've found Lovehoney online and are taking advantage of our huge range of products and super-speedy service.
Q: Where is Minnesota on the sex map?
A: Minneapolis is the eighth sexiest city in the USA.
Q: Where is South Dakota?
A: Rapid City is the 77th sexiest city.
Q: Where is North Dakota?
A: Grand Forks is the 54th sexiest city.
Q: Where is Iowa?
A: Des Moines is the 214th sexiest city.
Q: Where is Wisconsin?
A: Madison is the 58th sexiest city.
Q: Your job seems unique. How did you get involved in the industry, and what's your response when you are asked what you do for a living?
A: I head up the product development and buying team at Lovehoney. I've been with the business for over 15 years and was very lucky to be the first employee joining the company back in 2003. I learned about the industry from the bottom up. [I hope that's not a joke.] Back in the early days, I covered four or five different roles (customer care, content writer, stock controller, order picking).
I'm always honest about what I do and very proud to be working for such a fun company. There are many dinner parties where I've learned far more than expected about the sex lives of the guests once they know where [I] work and after a few drinks!
Q: From where did the name "Lovehoney" derive? Is it U.K. slang?
A: The founders, Richard Longhurst and Neal Slateford, were flicking through a book on retro sex movies, looking for inspiration for a name, when they came across the Russ Meyer flick "Mudhoney." Lovehoney instantly popped into their heads!
C.J. can be reached at email@example.com and seen on Fox 9's "Buzz." E-mailers, please state a subject; "Hello" does not count.