Episode 1

Published on:

30th May 2024

What Makes the Magic Wand So Magic?

The Magic Wand is a cult-favorite sex toy, beloved by vibrator connoisseurs around the world – but is it worthy of the hype? In this episode, we seek to answer that question, by examining the Wand’s reputation, first-time users’ reactions when they try it, and how it can help us close the orgasm gap.

Guests this episode:

  • Good Vibrations staff sexologist & Antique Vibrator Museum curator Dr. Carol Queen (she/they)
  • Sex toy historian & author Hallie Lieberman (she/her)
  • Sex educator & host/creator of the Sex Ed With DB podcast Danielle Bezalel (she/her)
  • Software designer & developer (& Kate’s spouse) mb bischoff (they/them)
  • Author, sex therapist, & psychology professor Dr. Laurie Mintz (she/her)

Making Magic is hosted and created by Kate Sloan, edited and co-produced by Jamie Pityinger, and made possible by the generous support of Vibratex. Our podcast art is by Addison Finch.

Kate Sloan (:

What's the most famous vibrator in the world? Go ahead and picture it. Bring up a vivid image in your

mind. Maybe you're thinking of the rabbit with its rotating shaft and fluttering bunny ears made famous

by an episode of Sex in the City way back when. Maybe you're thinking of the Sian, that huge hulking

vibrator that Howard Stern used to invite guests to use on his show. Or maybe you've got a less dated

reference in mind like the Rose toy that went viral on TikTok and has been a bestseller ever since. I think

you could make a case for any one of these vibes being the most famous one in the world, but if you ask

me, there's only one product that's truly worthy of that title. I'm talking about a toy that's been around


about the magic wand.

Carol Queen (:

It was like the first vibrator that had its own Twitter feed. Twitter was a place that when somebody

pulled out their magic wand and had a really good time, they would then tweet their orgasm.

Kate Sloan (:

This is Carol Queen, PhD staff sexologist, a Good Vibrations and curator of the Antique Vibrator


Carol Queen (:

I saw many people basically just write Ooh, ooh and capital letters for as many characters as it would

allow and said,

Kate Sloan (:

As much as I'd love to say that I first discovered the wand through legendary sex educators like Dr.

Queen or on an exploratory jaunt to my local sex shop, she's right. People love to post about their magic

wands on social media, and I'm pretty sure that's how I first heard of it. Over the years, there have been

Instagram hashtags, Facebook groups, Reddit threads, and yes, back when Twitter was still called

Twitter, there were tweets, a lot of them. For me, all that hype was just the beginning of what would

turn into an enduring fascination. It was hard not to wonder what makes the magic wand so magic. This

is Making Magic a mini series that'll take you on a deep dive into the history and legacy of this

international superstar of the sex toy scene. I'm Kate Sloan, a sex journalist, podcaster, and maybe most

crucially for this series, a total sex nerd, and I'll be your guide as we delve into the life and times of the

magic wand.

Hallie Lieberman (:

So I have one in my bedroom. He has one in his bedroom. I mean, I need to have them everywhere and I

just don't use other stuff because it's always like I'm making an exception and I think that says a lot

about the product.

Kate Sloan (:

This is Halle Lieberman, a sex toy historian, journalist and author of Buzz, A stimulating History of the

Sex Toy.

Hallie Lieberman (:

I mean, I'm someone who's used every vibrator, not every vibrator. That's a lie. I mean, a lot of vibrators

out there, and I keep going back to this one, I almost feel guilty because people will be like, well, what's

the new vibrator to use? And I'll be like the magic wand. People are like, really? And I'm like, yeah, I'm

sorry if I'm just being honest. That's what I use.

Kate Sloan (:

Halle iss not alone in this. I've interviewed 35 people for this series, and it's been wild to see the degree

to which some people pledge their allegiance to their magic wand. There are wand fanatics, wand

evangelists of true believers in the magic wand. How many sex toys can you say that about?

Hallie Lieberman (:

You don't listen to the who weekly podcasts do you because they talk about who's and thems, which is

like A-list and B-list, like a celebrity like them. Celebrity would be someone your parents or grandparents

would know about Tom Cruise, who is anyone? You would ask who afterwards, and that would be like

Rita Ora or that would be Ice Spice or someone like that. Hitachi is a them in one of the only thems of

the sex toy world, so if you ask someone to name a brand a vibrator, a lot of people aren't going to be

able to do it, but if they are, they might say Hitachi, they might tell you magic wand, it's probably the

only one that people have heard of.

Kate Sloan (:

She's right. The magic wand has brand recognition. It has a reputation, it has cachet. It's so renowned in

fact that some users still call it the Hitachi, even though that name hasn't been on it for years, but we'll

get to that. I bought my first magic wand online when I was 20 years old. I'd started a sex toy review

blog called Girly Juice thinking it would be a fun summer diversion, but toy reviewing had quickly

become a major hobby for me, and eventually it would become my main gig. Since I was getting serious

about sex toys, I knew I had to try the one that everyone talked about, the one I'd seen in a smattering

of porn scenes, the one that heroes of mine had called the Cadillac of Vibrators, a durable workhorse of

pleasure and the reigning champ of vibes. I didn't really understand the hype when I'd never held one in

my own two hands in porn. I'd seen the wand was loud, bulky, and obtrusive with its big round head,

glossy white body, an iconic blue button panel. The aesthetic of the wand seemed oddly clinical, which

makes sense given that it was originally marketed as a body massager, but it didn't exactly scream. Sex

to me,

Hallie Lieberman (:

Doesn't look sexy. It takes up a lot of space in your bag when you're traveling. All these things. There's

all these things, reasons to not use it, and to me, that's the power of it because it's the least convenient

vibrator I own, but it is the one I will take everywhere, and that kind of sums it up to me.

Kate Sloan (:

Back then when I was 20, I knew that while a lot of people revered the magic wands mega intense

vibrations, many others found that they were way too strong, almost terrifyingly strong, but I was

intrigued nonetheless and knew that my chosen path of sex toy reviewing would require clitoral courage

at times. So I ordered my first magic wand and I waited eager to find out what all the buzz was about.

Danielle Bezalel (:

I think once you use it, you get it because it gives really, really strong orgasms very quickly. It is really

easy to use and is made very well. It's hard to explain other than for me to say, try this at home. You

should try it and you should see

Kate Sloan (:

This is Danielle Bezalel, creator and host of the sex ed with DB podcast and a longtime magic wand


Danielle Bezalel (:

I remember the first time that I used a magic wand because the heavens opened, and then I remember

using it and coming within potentially 10 seconds and being like, holy shit, why have I never used this

Kate Sloan (:

Before? In asking all my interviewees about their first magic wand memory, I've learned that a lot of

people have this experience, the clouds part, angels sing an inferno of pleasure sparks to life, and the

wand immediately earns a spot in their top nightstand drawer where it might stay for years if not a

decade or more. However, if I'm being honest, that wasn't my experience, at least not at first, and once

again, I have the tweets to prove it. Okay, let's look at some of these old magic wand tweets. In June of

2012, when I was 20 years old, I tweeted, it's weird that I don't have a Hitachi magic wand yet.

MB (:

That is weird. Why didn't you have one then?

Kate Sloan (:

Yeah, I was I guess three months into sex toy viewing when I wrote this, and even then it seemed weird.

All the other sex toy viewers had a magic wand. I was not on their level yet,

MB (:

Right? Yeah.

Kate Sloan (:

This is my spouse mb, who is like me, a sex nerd and a magic wand aficionado, though they don't post

about sex toys on social media quite as flagrantly as I do.

MB (:

I'm trying to remember when I got mine. See, I don't have as many tweets about this kind stuff in my

archive that I could easily pull

Kate Sloan (:

From. I was in New York in late July of 2012, I managed to convince my dad to take me to the babeland in soho, and I tweeted that day. That morning headed to Babeland, I'm determined to come home with a

Hitachi. I immediately made a beeline for the vibrators and said to the salesperson, I'm here to buy a

magic wand, and they were like, oh, I'm so sorry. We're out of them right now.

MB (:

Yeah, that's wild. You had one job, Babeland,

Kate Sloan (:

Right? I really was not expecting that because it was so famous that I just figured they would have a ton

of them, and then later I just ended up ordering a magic wand online. That was less than a month later

because on August 7th I tweeted, I want my Hitachi. Damn it, so I assume I had ordered it, and then,

okay, yeah. Two days later, I wrote my Hitachi came in the mail a few hours ago and I tried it a bit and I

am not impressed. All caps.

MB (:

Wow. What do you remember from that first testing session? Do you have notes on it?

Kate Sloan (:

Here's MB reading. Part of the blog post I wrote when I'd owned my magic wand for about two weeks.

MB (:

Zillions of people have reviewed the Hitachi magic wand. I'm sure you don't even care anymore. You

know it's strong, it's ugly. You know that most people who try it love it, and there's a vocal minority who

can't stand the damn thing. When the package arrived, I immediately took the Hitachi out of its

hilariously G-rated box and plugged it in. I held it to my pubic mound, practically trembling in

anticipation of its purported epic power and turned it on. It was buzzy and high pitched. It sounded like

a food processor.

Kate Sloan (:

Yeah, I had tweeted that jerk off session I referenced there. I wrote, exhausting jerk off session, finished

the Hitachi could not get the job done too buzzy. August 10th they wrote, I finally got off with the

Hitachi, but now I have no feeling in my clit. Spoiler alert, though I eventually came around on the magic

wand. I mean obviously I did. I've made a whole podcast miniseries about the damn thing. You're

listening to it right now. I can't say that me and the magic wand fell in love at first sight or at first orgasm

the way it happens for some people like Danielle, but one thing I do have in common with a lot of magic

wand diehards, I've been the recipient of a surprising amount of unsolicited criticism on my wand usage

almost always from random men who imply or sometimes even outright say that using a large vibrator

means I'm a sexual freak who could never be satisfied by a quote real man as if either of those things is

inherently a problem.

Kate Sloan (:

The most hilarious example of this was when a far right blogger who I'd never met or spoken to or heard

of wrote an entire blog post about how uncomfortable he was with me being an openly sexual woman

on the internet. The first sentence of that piece was Kate Sloan is an example of what I mean when I say

every feminist's ideal boyfriend is a Hitachi magic wand. To be clear, this is definitely one of those

hashtag not all men situations. Almost all of the men I've been with we're completely chill about my

vibrator usage during sex or otherwise. Many even liked me to use it on them, and let's be real. It's not

only men who can feel threatened by a sex toy. That being said, I've thought a lot about why some guys get their boxers in a bunch about women using vibrators, and I think a big part of it comes down to

female autonomy.

Hallie Lieberman (:

The magic wand is the device that we are using to liberate ourselves the idea that men have to provide

us with sexual pleasure, that we can't do that on our own, which was so revolutionary. That goes back to

the fear that women are going to abandon men and just use vibrators or they'll become addicted to 'em

or it's unnatural and there's some natural way of having sex. All that stuff. As

Kate Sloan (:

A culture, we're still not fully comfy with women being sexually self-empowered, which is evident in the

way vibrators are still sometimes talked about in media, in public health documentation, and even just

privately in bedrooms around the world.

Dr. Laurie Mintz (:

I've actually talked to many, many men about this, so I have a whole spiel I use.

Kate Sloan (:

This is Dr. Lori Mintz, an emeritus professor at the University of Florida where she teaches the

psychology of human sexuality to hundreds of students a year. She's also a licensed psychologist, a

certified sex therapist, and the author of two books, one of which is especially relevant to what we're

talking about today, becoming Clate. It's a book that digs deep on one of the big themes of Dr. Min's

work, the orgasm gap. The orgasm gap is the phenomenon where people with vulvas are consistently

less likely to reach climax during partnered sex than people with penises by a significant margin, and we

call that margin the orgasm gap.

Dr. Laurie Mintz (:

We know most women don't orgasm from intercourse despite the myths and the misinformation and

the images, and we know that orgasm rates increase with clitoral stimulation.

Kate Sloan (:

Dr. Mintz co-authored a meta-analysis in 2020, which found that men tend to reach orgasm during sex

about 80 to 90% of the time while women only orgasm 49 to 65% of the time. Most of these studies are

extremely heteronormative and cys normative, so they're not telling the whole story, but they're still

pretty damning. Different experts have different theories on why the orgasm gap exists, but many are in

agreement. We don't focus enough on clitoral pleasure as a culture, and it shows it's too often

presented as extra or additional when for the majority of people with vulvas, it's absolutely required in

order to reach orgasm.

Dr. Laurie Mintz (:

I've seen that so many times, additional clitoral stimulation with or without a vibrator, and that's like

saying what most of us need to orgasm is just like icing on the cake. You can have the cake without the

icing. It's the cake that's important, and I really do take issue with that idea of extra or additional when

for most of us, it is the main event.

Kate Sloan (:

Dr. Min's 2020 meta analysis summed it up like this. Our cultural prioritization of penile vaginal

intercourse over more C literally focused sexual activities is linked to the gendered orgasm

Danielle Bezallel (:

Gap. I'm curious to see what the newest numbers on the orgasm gap are, because I feel like the ones

I have at least are from mid:

progress here. I think that if culture and media and porn continue to shift and prioritize clitoral pleasure,

then I do think that that will be mirrored in everyday relationships and hopefully that's currently


Kate Sloan (:

Funnily enough, when that right wing blogger claimed that every feminist's ideal boyfriend is a magic

wand, he may have been onto something but not in the way he thought. The orgasm gap is a feminist

issue among other things, and many experts believe vibrators are a major potential solution.

Dr. Laurie Mintz (:

Oh, I think they're central. I give lectures to lay people, other therapists, physicians, and I always talk

about vibrators in terms of both empowering women to orgasm and closing the orgasm gap because we

know from the research, a lot of women don't have their first orgasm until they use a vibrator. We know

that women who use vibrators have easier and more frequent orgasms.

Kate Sloan (:

Still, despite clitoral awareness being much higher now than it was a few decades ago, the myth persists

that penetration alone should be enough to do the job. As Carol Queen puts it,

Dr. Laurie Mintz (:


Carol Queen (:

Equals penetration, right? That's what so many people have heard or assume have gotten the message.

Somehow penetration is thought to be the same as sex. Sex is much broader of core. I don't have to tell

you this, but I'm just going to assure any of your listeners who ever wondered. I wonder if that's all there

is to sex. No, no. Many, many, many, many things count as sex that are pleasurable, sexy, erotic, and

maybe not to everyone, but maybe to

Hallie Lieberman (:

You. I think we've gotten a little better, but the amount of times I will watch a movie or TV show and see

a woman fake an orgasm during missionary sex, and when there is no kind of cunnilingus, and I know my

boyfriend's probably sick of hearing me go, oh my God, only 25% of women would've had an orgasm

then, and there was no, her vagina was so dry. Where was the lube? And I know it doesn't have to be a

hundred percent accuracy. It is fictionalized, but on the other hand, the message, and I remember this

message, I remember internalizing this message that you're supposed to just kiss and it be passionate,

and then you have penetrative sex and boom, you have an orgasm, and that's actually a really harmful message, and it's still being, I mean, you see more cunnilingus on screen and stuff like that, but still clitoral

stimulation. Absolutely. Even though you see more of it on screen, totally undervalued.

Kate Sloan (:

The idea that penetration alone should be enough to bring a woman to orgasm has spread so far and

wide that it can even affect how guys feel about themselves if their girlfriend or wife can't come from

penetration, even though that's completely normal.

Dr. Laurie Mintz (:

There's been studies that have come out since my book that really reinforce that men feel more

masculine and achievement oriented if their partner orgasms through penetration and then manual or

oral are kind of next on the list and low down as a vibrator. I say, look, look, you care so much about

your partner's pleasure that is so fabulous that you really want her to have an orgasm, but you, you're

kind barking up the wrong tree, banging your head against a wall because you've been so duped and

misguided by society that you think you have to do that with your penis. Here's what the science said, if

you care, so let's take your caring to a level where you're implementing scientific advice, which is


Kate Sloan (:

Now, look, am I saying vibrators can fix the patriarchy? Of course not. Am I saying the magic wand can

give everyone an orgasm? Hell no. Everyone's body is different, but the wands worldwide fame certainly

seems to indicate that it's filling a hole in people's lives, so to speak. It's helping to bridge a gap. You

could say the orgasm gap.

Dr. Laurie Mintz (:

I do think that we're making progress. I think slowly but surely. I think the word is getting out about

women's pleasure and vibrators. I gave a talk for about 150 fraternity brothers, and I am not kidding

you. At the end of the lecture, they were asking me, where do I buy a vibrator? Can I bring one to

hookups? How do I do this? And I was like, yeah, here, get one. They were very interested in using

vibrators. Once they understood the benefits to them and their partners, they get the clit at seal of


Kate Sloan (:

So now that I've fully outed myself as an angry feminist who wants to right the wrongs of the patriarchy

with a vibrator in one hand and a microphone in the other, let's talk about some of the other reasons I

find the magic wand so compelling as a cultural icon. A few years after I bought my first magic wand, I

was in school to get my bachelor's degree in journalism, and I took a class called advanced feature

writing. Other kids pitched stories about politics, business media, me. I pitched a story about the magic

wand, its history, its legacy, and its effect on its users sex lives. Fortunately, my professor was unfazed

and he gave me the green light to start reaching out to potential interviewees right away. Some of them

I just spoke to on the phone or interviewed them in their kitchens or on their living room sofas, but

some of them, including some couples, let me into their bedrooms so I could observe how their wand

usage fit into their sex and masturbation.

Kate Sloan (:

I'd sit on a chair in the corner, my little reporter's notebook open on my lap pen in hand, and I'd write

down what I saw, and then we'd talk about it more afterward. Why did you reach for the wand at that

particular moment, or did it get in the way? What did it feel like when you came? And I'd see the love in

their eyes get almost as bright when they talked about their wand as when they talked about their

partner. One thing that surprised me again and again was how do devoted some people were to their

wand as a sex toy reviewer. I'd rarely been loyal to particular toys in that way. If a vibe of mine died or

got damaged, I'd just use a different one, but for a lot of these folks, that was unthinkable. The magic

wand was their one true love in the sex toy realm, and that came up a lot in my interviews for this series


Carol Queen (:

It has such fantastic word of mouth. I

Dr. Laurie Mintz (:

Have a friend who works at a sex toy shop, and he tells me the story of people coming in with practically

tears streaming down their face with a 15-year-old vibrator. Do you still make this?

Carol Queen (:

Every time I turned to a person to sell them a magic wand or something else, unless they already knew

all about it and the only reason they were in the store is that their magic wand had finally given up the

ghost and they needed a new one immediately. Please.

Danielle Bezalel (:

It's so fascinating. I mean, clearly it's such an iconic brand that everybody knows, and it's a fantastic

fucking product.

Kate Sloan (:

I love that. The magic wand is not only a sex toy, but a symbol. It's a symbol of sexual self-empowerment

of sex, positive feminism of self-love. You don't need a magic wand to achieve these things, but for a lot

of people, it sure helps it's fame and its symbolic significance. Make it a great conversation starter too.

During the production of this series, I've acquired a magic wand tote bag, a bunch of magic wand

enamel pins, even a cute pair of magic wand earrings, and it's astonishing. The number of comments

eyebrow raises and knowing glances I've received. Lots of people I interviewed had stories like this too.

Carol Queen (:

I was once walking through the Oakland Airport and I wrote Exhibitionism for The Shy. I really have no shame, and so my magic wand was sticking out of my carry on bag, and the guy at the Oakland Check-in

was like, what is this thing? And he was working with a woman who started laughing hysterically, which

probably she probably should have done that, but she did. She was like, you dunno what that is, and one

more working man got schooled about the magic wand that day. It was a great day.

Kate Sloan (:

In this series, we're going to talk about the history of the wand, how it came to be, and how it reached

the status of being one of the most iconic sex toys in the world. We're going to talk about the Magic

Wands presence in porn. Its usefulness in kink, and its surprising health benefits. We're going to talk about its impact on art, internet culture, the queer and trans community, and the disabled community.

We're going to talk about its flaws as well as its strengths. I hope you'll join me on this journey of making

magic with the magic wand.

Show artwork for Making Magic

About the Podcast

Making Magic
How the Magic Wand Became the World's Most Famous Vibrator
Arguably the most famous vibrator, Magic Wand has improved the sex lives of millions of people over the past 56 years. More importantly, it has shaped how we think about, talk about, and depict sex more broadly in society. Making Magic, a limited audio series, examines the legacy of Magic Wand and its significant impact on society's acceptance of pleasure. The series connects listeners to the stories of people whose lives have been changed by this vibrator. Magic Wand's illustrious history is told by sex writer and podcaster Kate Sloan and features over 30 sex and relationship experts such as Dr. Carol Queen, Stoya, Zoe Ligon, Hallie Lieberman, Dr. Laurie Mintz, Alice Lovegood, Tristan Taormino, Elle Chase, Tina Horn, Lorrae Bradbury, Danarama, Sexsmith Sinclair, and more.

About your host

Profile picture for Kate Sloan

Kate Sloan

Kate Sloan is a writer and podcaster specializing in sex and kink. She is the author of 101 Kinky Things Even You Can Do, which Men’s Health named the “best BDSM book," and 200 Words to Help You Talk About Sexuality & Gender. In addition to creating and hosting Making Magic, she also cohosts the AVN Award-nominated sex podcast The Dildorks, and the game show podcast Question Box. Her writing has appeared in GQ, Cosmopolitan, Teen Vogue, Glamour, The Cut, MEL Magazine, and more.