By Kai, Sexpert
There are so many sex-positive movements occurring around the world right now. But none as important as this one. When I think about the story of toys and genitals, the comparison between our own personal genital awareness and genital education is striking. From time to time I write about particular movements that are of interest or that break sexual taboo. So, without further ado, I introduce you to the next movement – Neudies™ by Enrique & Inés Diaz-Rato who happen to be brother and sister. I caught up and asked some questions about the movement and feelings around genitals.
Enrique & Inés came to realise that genitals (Neudies) have been consciously rejected in the toy industry for a very long. As their story goes Neudies have been living in the dark basement of toy factories feeling ashamed and misunderstood.
The solution was to let the Neudies free. No longer should genitals feel repressed. Enrique & Inés thought if the toy industry was not willing to let Neudies be shown then they would have to become their own toy instead. So Navigi (vulva) on the left and Nipes (penis) on the right were born. Both are approx. 12.7cm vinyl genital toys in skin colour.
These harmless and innocent toys help create an awareness surrounding genitalia. Something that’s been lacking for a very long time. It helps break down barriers (shame, taboo, repression, naughtiness, mystery, dirty etc) around our genitals. It makes it easier to talk about them and have healthy conversations around them (genitals). It makes it acceptable to see them. It allows children to explore their feelings and curiosities. Neudies should be part of every parent’s sex education repertoire from an early age.
As a parent, you are primarily responsible for the genital and body-based education of your child. Don’t assume your child’s school system has the capacity to provide a “comprehensive” sex-positive education that is free from political and social agenda. On that note, it would be great to see Neudies in the curricula of early childhood learning. Neudies can be used by parents to introduce topics around genitals, example – when its ok for children to touch thier own genitals, when its not ok for other people to be touching them (consent), or just exploring the relationship of genitals and thier bodies etc. It should also include the Neudies story about feeling ashamed. Because we don’t want to be shaming our genitals.
If not the most progressive sex-positive education movement of our time. Kai
I have already witnessed some parental reactions to them – definitely, some internalised responses happening. Most likely these parents were taught a sense of secrecy around genitals and not to talk about them. Something that I can help parents with. Neudies have their work cut out for them. If you’re a progressive sex-positive parent, then you will realise how important these toys are for your child. No doubt you won’t have any problems finding them and introducing them to your family. As a suggestion, you might like to set them free during bath time with other toys.
Regardless of your age Neudies are really for everyone. I have freed a couple of Neudies myself. I can’t wait to get my Navigi and Nipes. I imagine them sitting on my desk or dangling inside my car from the mirror. I am certain that anyone who lets the Neudies into their lives will thoroughly enjoy them.
I caught up with Enrique & Inés and asked them a couple of questions about the movement, and how they felt about genitals and their bodies when younger.
Where do you both see the Neudies movement going?
We want to change the way we look at genitals and empower them to receive new adjectives. It’s not too often that genitals get compliments of cute and adorable, and we want this to be translated to our own bodies. Genitals are sexual organs, but that’s not all they are, and we want people to be able to see this side of genitals, which is not typically shown.
Shame towards genitals is not an inborn feeling but is rather socially constructed. We think that if we truly want to educate kids and start thinking of genitals in a more natural way, we first need to change the perception in adults. And that is why the neudies are primarily geared towards this demographic that can relate with our ideas and values.
We see our beloved genital toy characters growing into a collectible family of friends of many colours and personalities while exploring different routes that add value to the neudies world. Our goal is to continue telling stories and opening the floor for new conversations that are more honest, and hopefully fun.
Do you wish you had Neudies when you were children? How would they have helped you in terms of your own feelings around genitals and your own body?
When you are a kid you ask without fear. You look and talk about things without shame. And when curious, you say whatever comes to mind without concerns of being judged. Sadly, as we grow up, we lose this authenticity and spontaneity along the way and we start labelling certain topics as weird, dirty or obscene. The conversation surrounding the genitals fit within this group.
To answer your question more specifically, we wish we had neudies when we were children, not only for the toy itself but also because it would have meant that adults did not perceive genitals as something shameful or awkward. So, in a way, that authenticity and the ability to ask would carry on into adulthood.
We grow up with so many (sexual) myths in our heads, and because we are not able to discuss them in a natural way, they continue to be myths without answers. For example, while doing research on the topic, we were surprised by the number of women who thought that their vulvas were weird while growing up. In one particular interview, a middle-aged lady mentioned the embarrassment she felt towards her genitals and her inability to talk about it with anyone without feeling ashamed. It wasn’t until much later in life that she was able to discuss it and realize that vulvas are all different in nature.
For me (Ines), as a result of the neudies, I have had more conversations (many of them funny even) surrounding genitals with my friends and family in a year, than in my whole life altogether. Shedding some fun and taking away some of the seriousness related to genitals can definitely help in normalising a conversation, which in our opinion can be beneficial for all of us in plenty of ways.