Introducing Nichi Hodgson as part of our weekly Sextech Salon series, on the history of courting and the future of dating in a post-MeToo society.
Tell us a bit about your book, The Curious History of Dating?
It’s a feminist history of dating, sex and relationships, spanning 300 years, and covering everything from the first personal ads to mixed race relationships, to secret drag balls, with a strong focus on how technology has changed how we date over the years.
Click here for the Audible link of The Curious History of Dating; From Jane Austen to Tinder.
What did you want to be when you were younger?
First a surgeon, then an actress. I settled on being a broadcaster and campaigning journalist, so the creative impulse won out and I’ve never doubted it was the right thing to choose.
What was your sex education like growing up?
At school, pretty scant. At home, there was a very liberal discussion around sex and relationships which helped me to grow up comfortably and without fear of judgment.
When it comes to sex, what’s the one thing you wish everyone knew?
Penis in vagina sex is just one of a hundred things that ‘counts’.
What’s the biggest surprise you’ve had since starting to work in sextech?
That while there are dozens of amazing small businesses in this area with deep passion and knowledge guiding their mission, some of the biggest players really aren’t up to speed with the conversation. And that the ones run mainly by men are nervous about actually changing society for the better.
How do you think the industry has changed in the past 5 years?
It’s slowly become more diverse. The stigma of working in sextech has begun to lessen. More investors are curious about and less fearful of investing in it.
What do you think is the next big step for sextech?
To see the most innovative products reach the top of the market – the things that break the mould and old social expectations around gender and sexuality – with those that confirm lazy stereotypes at the bottom.
Who else in the industry do you admire or look up to?
I’m sure everyone says it but Cindy Gallop is the obvious one – I’ve long felt inspired by her determination and utter refusal to accept the status quo, quite aside from her intelligence and oratory.
And in terms of sex more generally, definitely Stormy Daniels this year!
What wider changes do you think sextech can have or is having on society?
A far better conversation about what pleasure is, the need for better sex ed for all, irrespective of age, and the acceptance that women are equal and fully fledged sexual beings.
What are some of the key trends you’re seeing at the moment that influence your work?
As someone heavily immersed in debates around power, pleasure and respect, the post Me Too conversation on dating feels very vital. We’re also seeing a backlash against ‘gamified’ dating apps and a desire for deeper, more authentic connection.
In the sextech space, some amazing, inventive new products are being designed – mainly by women, it has to be said! Sex robots, as the tabloids report them, are a bit of a non-trend, in my opinion.
What are you currently working on that you are willing to share?
A new, practical post-Me Too dating book. For centuries, we relied on etiquette manuals to guide us. For the past 50 years we’ve been mainly without. It’s time to teach everyone how to set healthy boundaries and practice great communication skills – and to set a social standard for such.
What advice would you give someone who is looking to break into the industry?
Make sure you understand the market and the social conversations around sex and intimacy, past, present and future. People will question products or services that are not borne of authenticity and a desire to improve people’s lives.
Do you have any practical tips that someone could use tonight to enhance their pleasure?
Before you get down to it, ask your partner how they are feeling generally today. That’s one of the best guides you could have when deciding how to interact with them and best meet their needs.
Thank you for chatting with us Nichi, we are loving the audiobook here at MysteryVibe and can’t wait to see what else is in store.
Watch this free video of Nichi here talking about the book – you won’t want to miss it!