Skip to Content
Culture

Inside MN’s Newest, Queerest, Raunchiest Sex-Toy Company

Founded by three pals, Bedroom Besties goes where other adult retailers wouldn't dare.

8:31 AM CDT on April 13, 2023

Courtesy of Bedroom Besties|

That right there’s the Rocks Off Petite Sensations Smooth Plug.

What do most sex-toy websites have in common with a boiled dildo? Despite being meant for sex, they’re awfully sterile. 

Browsing for sex toys on most parts of the internet means coy euphemisms, disembodied toys on plain white backgrounds, and an overall e-commerce experience that feels pretty much like shopping for a new pair of pants. 

So when you stumble across the website for Bedroom Besties (and we really can’t stress enough how NSFW this site is), it comes as a shock to see explicit photos of the worker-owners gleefully using the toys on themselves and each other. While most industry players have adopted the buttoned-up appearance of the e-commerce landscape, the three co-owners of Bedroom Besties say their sights are set on curating a shopping experience that isn’t necessarily for everyone. 

It’s for perverts.

Why is it so uncommon to see people having sex on sex-toy websites? We sat down with the team behind Minnesota’s newest, queerest, and raunchiest sex-toy company to find out.

“Sex Toys Aren’t Intuitive Sometimes”

Bedroom Besties opened this January, but its founders—Ethel, Arch, and Berry—began scheming and dreaming up their “candid, queer, gender-inclusive, and filthy sex-toy shopping experience” back in 2021. (Disclaimer: The author has known the co-owners since 2012, when they all volunteered together at Boneshaker Books; legal names have been omitted due to the pornographic nature of their work.) 

Arch and Berry were working together at a local sex-toy shop, where Berry was spending a lot of her time doing photography for the store website. But Berry says the work felt like more of the same ol’ vanilla stuff you see across the internet. Something was lacking. So she approached Arch and Ethel with the idea to start their own site specifically catering to kinky queer and trans customers who might embrace a filthier, more explicit kind of sex-toy store. 

Part of that stems from the fact that all three Besties are self-described “sex-toy nerds and freaks” who were psyched about making gender-inclusive, sex-positive porno together. “We’ve always loved horny explicit photos, and it’s been really fun to create that content,” Ethel says.

They also approached the project from a sex-education standpoint, noting that the industry rarely shows how toys are used on queer and trans bodies. Arch points to the potentially bewildering Blush Noje Quiver, which looks eerily similar to a douche bulb with a hand making bunny ears attached to its nozzle. 

“I think it’s really great on trans bodies and we were able to actually showcase where it goes, which is not intuitive,” they explain. “Sex toys aren’t intuitive sometimes!”

“We’re not just curating,” Ethel adds. “We’re going to show you how to use it.” 

Beyond featuring queer and trans people in their product photos, the Besties also edited every product description on the site to be gender inclusive without coming across too clinically. 

“Explicit language is a lot of fun—and we want it!—but it also can be triggering,” notes Arch, “[because] not everyone’s gonna use the same language.” 

The challenge, they say, was to accurately describe body parts without fucking up the vibe by coming across like a doctor. A tight needle to thread… provided you’re not into medical play. 

“There’s No Blog For That”

Berry is quick to mention Bedroom Besties is not unique in the realm of sex-toy websites willing to explicitly showcase their wares, citing Fort Troff as one inspiration. 

“They’re great, but they’re really only marketing themselves to gay, cisgender men,” she says. “And I was like, I feel like there’s a huge opportunity here to show how sex toys actually work on all different kinds of bodies.”

The overlap between porn and the sex toy industry remains surprisingly small. Browsing through the web’s most popular sex toy stores, the most risqué thing on most sites are models in lingerie or, on one site’s playful Easter sale page, a plush bunny rabbit wearing bondage gear. 

Ethel attributes some of that to mainstream America’s complicated relationship with pornography: “We live in a culture that’s pretty puritanical, and it’s only gotten worse when it comes to… queer and trans bodies and fat bodies.” Thus, there’s no clear roadmap for how to build an e-commerce-meets-pornography-meets-sex-education website like Bedroom Besties. “There’s no blog for that,” Arch says. And marketing a sex-toy website also presents its own set of problems, particularly when the content veers into the realm of pornography—which is subject to any number of complex advertising regulations.

Marketing pornography on Instagram isn’t really allowed, Arch says, and the Wild West of Twitter presents its own challenges. TikTok’s new 18+ feature has yielded almost zero reach for the Besties. “It’s like a way to shadow-ban yourself,” Berry says.

Serving The Whole Slutty World

So what does growth look like for Minnesota’s newest sex-toy retailer? 

For now, the Besties are focused on building the brand online and doing a bit of grassroots promotion to get the word out locally. This Friday they’ll be sponsoring and raffling off sex toys at a Dykes 2 Watch Out 4-hosted screening of the little-known, Minnesota-made 1991 lesbian porno film Bathroom Sluts. Click here for details.

The Besties have lots of other ideas about how to expand their business in the coming years, but a brick ‘n’ mortar location isn’t one of them. Says Berry:

“We’re happy to be online and serve the whole slutty world.”

Stay in touch

Sign up for our free newsletter

More from Racket

Area Children Demand Ice Cream Shop at Nicollet & 43rd

Plus zombie fires in Canada, the hell of homebuying, and a Dunn Bros. lawsuit in today's Flyover news roundup.

OK, Fine, I Saw (and Reviewed) ‘Madame Web.’ Happy Now? Here Are Some Better Movies.

Pretty much every movie you can see in Twin Cities theaters this week.

February 29, 2024

Best Budget Bites: $5.49 Roast Beef Sandwich from Wally’s

Doing it better than Arby's since the purported moon landing.

February 29, 2024

Weed Weviews: 4 Things I Tried in February

Drink add-ins, phony negronis, a local collab, and an '80s throwback inspired by 'Ghostbusters.'