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How to Make Realistic Dildo

Since sex toys count as a novelty item, the FDA never inspects dildos before they go to market.

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visited a factory in the Valley to find out how the adult entertainment industry produces our plastic friends.
Lacan argues that subjectivity is constituted through a void in the symbolic structure, a fundamental lack. Put more simply: We all have holes that we're trying to fill. For generations, women and (some) men have filled their holes with dildos. Considering that 23 percent of adults have used sex toys, you would think the government inspects them before they go to market; however, most sex toy companies label adult products as "novelty items," which means federal regulators rarely examine dildos before people put them in their hoo-has. On forums women have reported experiencing toxic burn and infections after using sex toys.

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Last year, a group of adult industry veterans assembled like the Avengers to found Curve, a sex toy start-up that openly discusses most of the materials used in its products.

How do their dildos get made? Photographer Amy Lombard and I decided to visit the Curve dildo factory in Los Angeles to find out.

During my visit, they take me to a white room. Dildos cover the walls, and linoleum tiles line the floor. It's reminiscent of Payless, but for plastic cocks. "This is our war room," Curve president Patricia Ratner explains. "[This is] where we actually design and create and decide what we're going to put out in our lines."

The company operates out of a warehouse behind a grocery store in the San Fernando Valley. When I arrive, Ratner meets me in a conference room; her big blonde hair reminds me of Dolly Parton's Nine to Five era. For a year, Ratner has worked as the president of Curve. She collaborates heavily with a middle-aged brunette woman named Erica, who serves as the company's director of product development. They both carry themselves like corporate executives and take pride in the company's use of focus groups to develop sex shop

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"A lot of research goes into all of our branding," Erica tells me. Curve's gay line, Rooster, "tested well with focus groups because [the gay male focus group] thought it was kind of construction worker-esque. A lot of the gay products on the market right now come in red and blue--pretty much red, blue, and black is all you get. So we decided to not go with the bruise palette and do something bright."

Their tests results show in their diverse group of brands. Prices vary depending on length and weight, but Curve caters to all classes, even offering a discount dildo called "Mr. Your Go-to Guy." They make tiny L!l' Buzz toys that look like ornaments and fit on a keychain, and their Gossip brand caters to "entry line" consumers, like college girls. Curve's most expensive line, Grand Affair, produces "high-end" vibrators, which can come in an "eggplant" color, like everyone's favorite sexting emoji. Some Grand Affair products' vibrations even change according to music users' play as they masturbate.

"I find they react really well to Nine Inch Nails," Ratner says.

Curve calls their largest dildos "the Homegrown Cock." The device looks like a real penis, complete with hand-painted veins, except it's 12 inches long and has a thicker girth than my arm. Ratner's publicist, Mike Kulich, knows that I am a big cock enthusiast, so he invites me to make my very own Homegrown Cock in Curve's factory.

Upstairs in the shipping center where Curve operates, three women and a man hover around brown boxes filled with dildos. Between their gowns and masks, they look like they could be lunch ladies at a Catholic school. Ratner introduces the lone man as "Alex the plant manager."

He leads me into another room containing a basin filled with a liquid plastic calledthermoplastic elastomer (a.k.a. TPR). Curve buys the TPR with vanilla color already in it (Curve's dildos come in both "black" and "vanilla"). They put the plastic in a giant basin, pour other colors into the plastic to give it a more realistic penis tone, and then heat the mixture to 350 degrees. Once the mixture cooks, Alex helps me pour the liquid soon-to-be dildo into a copper cast shaped like a huge penis. It takes 45 minutes for the Homegrown Cock to solidify.

"The reason it it takes so long is the size," Ratner explains. "That's a 12 [incher]!"

Next, we use an air hose to suck the dick out of the copper hole. I carry the dildo across the room and drop it in a giant bucket pit of water, where it sits for half an hour.

"That's twelve inches," Ratner reminds me again. "It's a big one so it takes a while to cool down."

After we air-dry the dildo again with the air hose, we move to the next room where three women trim and paint the plastic phalluses. The first woman takes my Homegrown Cock from my hands. Using an ecto knife-like device, she trims the edge. She then picks up a small heated piece of metal and irons away the imperfections.

She passes the dildo down the assembly line to another woman, who orders me to pick up a paintbrush, dip it in powder, and rub the powder across the dick to remove the dildo's stickiness. With non-toxic body-safe paint, she then airbrushes the dildo to give it a more realistic skin tone. She then hands me a q-tip, dips it in paint, and teaches me how to color veins across the scrotum. To finish, she wipes excess pigment off the Homegrown Cock.

Within an hour, we have created a huge, fuckable dildo. Big new dick in my hands, I follow Ratner and Erica to the war room to box the product. Ratner puts it in a big white box, reminiscent of a Power Ranger action figure case. She has photoshopped the VICE logo onto the box.

"Foot-long special edition for [Broadly]!" she yells.
She then offers me several toys from her gay Rooster brand. I happily oblige.

After making a Curve dildo, I'm still wary of putting the company's trucker-themed sex toys in my butthole. (Should any form of plastic really go there?) With that said, I would rather ride a phallus produced in a decent factory in the suburbs than in an unregulated plant in Buttfuck, Nowhere.