Oh Joy Sex Toy: Volume 4
Erika Moen Matthew Nolan
Oni Press (NOVEMBER) Softcover $29.99 (304pp) 978-1-62010-444-6
Moen’s message: sex can be and mean many things; explore it for yourself.
Wild or mild? Oh Joy Sex Toy, Vol. 4 explores the many angles, acts, and archetypes of sex, gender, and sexual identity. Ambitious in its scope, this comic is a beginner’s guide to enjoying sex of all kinds.
Artist Erika Moen and her husband Matthew Nolan have clearly hit on a formula that works. Oh Joy Sex Toy delivers basic information, tutorial-style, with enough salty talk to season the material. (The reader is addressed as “pervert” throughout.)
Although language is sometimes off-putting, relying on crude slang or jokes about sex, the material is solid. Moen’s message: sex can be and mean many things, and you’re empowered to explore it for yourself.
The comic’s playful, pink, splashy pages are crammed with anatomically explicit artwork. Moen and Nolan, the strip’s hosts, appear in educational puffs of smoke like game show hosts. Outside experts pop in as well to dispel popular myths about sex. In one strip, a sex educator parachutes into the frame on a floating, floral maxi pad, hollering, “Did someone say period sex?!?”
Moen leans heavily on silliness and jokes to neutralize any embarrassment, though the trick wears thin. Her marriage, and her sexual relationship with her husband, are sometimes the subject of the strip, but a passing mention of Moen’s bipolar disorder is far more interesting than what she gets up to in the bedroom.
Sex-toy reviews comprise a huge portion of the book. While their art is wonderful, incorporating many body types, couplings, and preferences, these reviews read like ad copy and distract from the book’s overall message.
In terms of education, it’s mixed: will a ridged silicon toy be relevant to a reader in five years? Unlikely. On the other hand, Moen’s strip on ejaculation is a solid, evergreen reference.
Guest comic artists, especially kink education strips by Niki Smith and Ariel Vittori, are incredible. The diversity of style and subject create a great opportunity for readers to explore new artists, whose websites appear in the title of contents.
Vol. 4 can be read as a standalone book and should probably be taken as one slice of Moen’s personal exploration of sex. Although uneven and commercial at times, Oh Joy Sex Toy is a friendly, welcoming guide for newly curious sexual adventurers.