We like to talk about sex, but in the U.S., our puritan roots always seep through. Sex toy shops abound in almost every major city, and yet it's considered taboo to leave toys sitting out on the bedside table. Instead, they're shoved into drawers and under the bed where nobody will find them (except when they do, and that's embarrassing).
Lidia Bonilla, a New Yorker who works on regulatory issues in banking, knows the pain of this storage method. "I had a personal organizer in my house and she saw my sex toys. I thought 'Why not come up with a better way to store them?'" she explains. Bonilla's solution is the MUA (pronounced "mwah"), a sleek organizer for sex toys that can sit in an exposed location.
The MUA, launched on Kickstarter late November, has the distinction of being the first adult product on the site—a feat made possible because the MUA is just an organizer and not actually a sex toy (Kickstarter has rejected sex toys in the past).
Before designing the MUA, Bonilla conducted some market research, visiting nearly every sex toy store in New York City and asking if they had sex toy storage products—and if not, why? The most common answer: Storage products are too bulky to display. Even when sex toy shops did carry them, the products were often relegated to the bottom shelf, where consumers would never find them. "I wanted to make product that could look pretty while being displayed," she says.
Bonilla has no design experience and knew she couldn't afford to hire a full-scale design firm, so she hunted down former employees of Smart Design, which has an internal design lab focused on making products for women. She eventually came across industrial designer Arsenio Garcia, who helped to execute Bonilla's vision for the MUA—a lacquered box with a satin handle, a leather latch, a built-in charging station for sex toys (or anything else), and an inner case with compartmentalized storage. On her Kickstarter cage, Bonilla explains that the fabric of the inner case is robust enough to stand up to lubricant and oil spills.
"We designed it so you can actually leave it out, store some smaller go-to things, and take that to the bed or the shower," she explains.
If the MUA reaches its funding goals, Bonilla hopes to have the boxes shipped in time for Valentine's Day. Ultimately, she wants to get the MUA into the same sex toy shops that she visited. "If you take the worry out of where to store products, you're less likely to associate them with shame," she says. "Why should shame be associated with pleasure?"
The MUA is available on Kickstarter here.