meet tami rose: the woman who sells mississippians their sex toys
May 1, 2023 3:44 PM   Subscribe

“I do more $1 million a year in sales,” Rose said, “so someone here likes me.” Believe it or not, we have some folks who sit in the parking lot working up the courage to come in. They’re embarrassed, or ashamed, I guess. A lot of people come in and do a lap, but then they go right to what they’re looking for, as if they didn’t want us to know that’s what they came here to get. That’s fine. We’re not judging. But if you do this every time you come in, who are you kidding? There’s a lot of shame in this community when it comes to sex. Some of that is small towns. Some of that is religion. But a lot of it comes from the fact that we just don’t do sex education in this state. That’s a problem because sex is part of life, and so many people here don’t feel like they have a place to go with questions about their bodies and what gives them pleasure.
posted by alexdobrenko (14 comments total) 19 users marked this as a favorite

It's awful but I was mad at those swingers for not being into leather. You're keeping Tami Rose from having her pieces!
posted by kingdead at 4:58 PM on May 1, 2023 [1 favorite]

When I visited rural West Virginia, I was surprised to see a pretty even ratio of churches to sex shops.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 5:26 PM on May 1, 2023 [3 favorites]

I love her and want to hang out with her.
posted by emjaybee at 5:57 PM on May 1, 2023 [5 favorites]

It was a long time ago but I do recall my many trips up and down I-95 had some states that featured truck stops with stripper bars and adult video/toy stores attached, and some did not.

I recall one place being set up rather like a food court in a mall, except the "shop" nooks had sex videos, sex toys, a stage for dancers, a bar, a diner serving burgers, a regular magazine rack, sundries/candy bars, the check-in desk for the motel.... quite a business.
posted by seanmpuckett at 6:18 PM on May 1, 2023 [3 favorites]

One of my vendors had a party in New Orleans where we had a jazz funeral with a casket full of sex toys that didn’t sell.

I dearly hope that they actually buried it, just to imagine the look on some far future archaeologist's face. (Even better if it's an evolved non-human species like a cockroach.)
posted by Halloween Jack at 6:30 PM on May 1, 2023 [7 favorites]

Hell, the leather doesn’t surprise me. Mississippi is hot. It’s hard enough to wear jeans some days!

Big emotions in me now about why I didn’t have it in me to stay in Mississippi and fight, the way she does. She loves people, though—that’s the difference. I’m glad Jackson has her.
posted by Countess Elena at 6:56 PM on May 1, 2023 [8 favorites]

The detail about the cops stealing $50,000 worth of sex toys was a good detail in the section making the connections between constitutional rights and sex toys. Another thing I didn't know I was taking for granted!
posted by coolname at 10:30 PM on May 1, 2023 [2 favorites]

Very good points about people wanting to have non-impregnating sex after Dobbs, and the men just not getting it at all.

I also laughed at "the wives of law enforcement" getting her inventory.
posted by jenfullmoon at 10:30 PM on May 1, 2023 [3 favorites]

What a delightful read and a marvelous person! I hope she runs for office someday.
posted by la glaneuse at 12:00 AM on May 2, 2023

She sounds lovely, and this was equal parts heartwarming and horrifying. Apart from the insights about the non-impregnating sex, it's absolute madness that in a supposedly "developed" "Western" country (those are heavy sarcasm quotes) sex toys can be illegal and confiscated stolen by cops with complete impunity.
posted by confluency at 5:00 AM on May 2, 2023

Since the article mentions the increase in interest in non-impregnating sex, it seems apropos to share The Loophole.
posted by CheeseDigestsAll at 5:39 AM on May 2, 2023 [4 favorites]

Around the time I took over Romantic Adventures, the Baptist church went after us. They have a lot of influence, so that put pressure on the sheriff. He came in and seized $50,000 worth of toys off my wall.

"When I say fuck the police, this is not what I meant!" *rimshot*
posted by AlSweigart at 8:16 AM on May 2, 2023 [2 favorites]

A few years back, a local opened a sex shop on a cross-street in my hometown's downtown. This wasn't some garish BOB'S DILDORAMA roadside hole-in-the-wall; this was a discreet, rather pleasant retail shop run by a degreed sexologist who positioned it as an education center as well as a toy shop. You could go in and buy gadgetry, and you could also sign up for sexual wellness classes and seminars on both how-to and self-improvement topics.

The locals, well outside the bounds of fabled Pennsyltucky in the Philly suburbs, nevertheless freaked out. A church two blocks away expressed EXTREME MORAL OUTRAGE that a SEX SHOP could be ALLOWED to open WITHIN WALKING DISTANCE of a HOUSE OF THE LORD where INNOCENT SCHOOLCHILDREN might wander down and be EXPOSED to RAMPANT FILTH. (They seemed to have no problem with the longstanding handful of bars on their block, far closer to their front door.) Borough officials pressured her to remove even discreetly-packaged products from her small windows. The pressure continued until the owner closed up shop, both amused and frustrated by the strain of Puritanism that had been uncorked.

I do wonder if those guardians of our town's moral values now shake their heads ruefully when they walk into our nearest Target or Walmart and see boxed sex toys on the shelves, right there for anyone and their mother to stare at and pick up. GRANDMA might see a CLITSUCKER and DIE OF OUTRAGE RIGHT THERE.

Or what they think when they pass the sex shop (similarly discreetly decorated) five miles down the highway. But that's the whole point, isn't it? Sex is something that happens Somewhere Else and Not In OUR Town and is certainly not to be presented as a normal part of life.

Now head to class and try not to stare at the college students necking in the bars, children..
posted by delfin at 11:22 AM on May 2, 2023 [1 favorite]

Too bad they foist their ignorance and shame on the rest of us when they get involved in politics.
posted by AJScease at 5:59 PM on May 2, 2023

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