Wednesday Dell Williams passed away at the age of 92. I wanted to reflect on a few memories of this sex pioneer. Dell was a hero, a firey voice in our field, a high minded activist and advocate for sexual freedom. We will miss her spunky spirit!
1980 era: Eve’s Garden was my first sex store shopping experience. In the early 1980s, when I was Associate Director of Education at Planned Parenthood national office in NYC, her shop was a brisk short walk at lunchtime from our headquarters. I bought my very first vibrator there, (Wahl) the ones that looked like a handheld hair blowdryer with all the cute little whirling/buzzing heads. In fact, years after she inaugurated this brave act of featuring pleasure devices for women (yes, she was THAT pioneer), I found one for ten bucks at the flagship F.W. Woolworth’s in midtown Manhattan. Finding my Wahl and finding Dell change my life, I assure you! That was a new beginning for me, for our field and for women’s sexual empowerment.
1990 era: Betty Dodson and I had the privilege of designing and creating one of Eve’s Garden’s print catalogs in the early 1990s. What fun we had, with Betty’s drawings (no jpgs yet) and my wordsmithing, and Dell’s insistence on perfection.
2002-2004: I hosted one of the very first Internet radio shows (the first was by iVillage with me as a co-host) speaking frankly about sexuality on the air; our show was on Voice America, a brand new tiny puppy in the online radio business then, and it was proudly sponsored by Eve’s Garden– bringing me even closer to Dell.
2006-2007: At one of the annual conferences when I was AASECT President (or PE) , I remember acknowledging Dell’s presence as our guest at the luncheon and awards ceremony, citing her for her many contributions. She was sitting in the audience, sassy, bright and outspoken as ever, and made an impression then at a frail but powerful 81 years of age!
Dell, wherever you are now, you are an angel to us all.