Introducing Florence Schechter, the founder of the Vagina Museum, as part of our Sextech Salon series on shakers and movers in the sextech space.
What is the Vagina Museum and how did you get into it?
The Vagina Museum is the project to build the world’s first bricks and mortar museum dedicated to the gynaecological anatomy. I started the project when I discovered there is a penis museum but no vagina equivalent anywhere in the world. This was pretty unfair, and the more I thought about, the more I realised the world really needs a Vagina Museum!
What is your vision for the future of The Vagina Museum?
A place that supports people who love themselves and treat vulvas with the respect and wonder they deserve.
What are the key trends you’re seeing at the moment that influence your work?
There’s definitely a move for museums to be more inclusive and accessible. This isn’t just about inviting new audiences in but reinterpreting their work and collections in terms of decolonising them and adopting feminist practices.
What’s the biggest surprise you’ve had since starting to work in sextech?
How normal everyone is. I know it was terrible and silly to think, but there was something in me that expected everyone who works in sextech to always be in bondage gear and to be horny 24/7. But really, we’re all people just doing a job that we happen to love! I don’t know how long it will take for the novelty to wear off of talking about sex in a professional office context…
When it comes to sex, what’s the one thing you wish everyone knew?
It’s not going to be fireworks every time and that’s ok.
What did you want to be when you were younger?
Depends how young we’re talking. At one point I wanted to be a part-time vet and part-time ballerina. A bit later on I wanted to be a doctor or a lawyer.
What was your sex education like growing up?
Awful! At school we got one session in primary about how to put a pad on a pair of knickers, and in secondary school we got one session on domestic violence. That was literally it. Urgh, faith schools. My parents were a bit better and were more open to talking about sex, but more in an academic context than personal, e.g. we would talk about Freud and stuff. Which has definitely made me less squeamish in my personal life.
What are you currently working on that you are willing to share?
We’re working on getting our first semi-permanent premises but I can’t say any more than that….
How do you think the industry has changed in the past five years?
I think it has become a lot more inclusive and female-focused, which I’m all for!
What do you think is the next big step for sextech?
Probably AI and machine learning. A sex toy with sexy “auto-correct” that will learn what you like and don’t like.
Who else in the industry do you admire or look up to?
Kate Devlin. She is a computer scientist and researches the sextech industry. She does fascinating work.
What advice would you give someone who is looking to break into the industry?
I have no idea. Just be the best version of yourself and be open to the fact that you can be wrong. Which is really just general life advice.
What wider changes do you think sextech can have or is having on society?
I think it’s definitely making people more open to talking about sexuality, especially masturbation. I think this happened when the Rampant Rabbit first came into public consciousness. Suddenly masturbation was an alright topic for friends because Rabbit normalised it a bit.
Do you have any practical tips that someone could use tonight to enhance their pleasure?
Turn off your phone before you start. Those little pings when you get a notification will really pull you out of the mood.
Thanks so much for taking the time to share your revolutionary project with us, Florence! We can’t wait for www.vaginamuseum.com to find its permanent home.