Interviews With The Involved: Metis Black

Metis Black is the wonderful woman that founded and is currently the president of Tantus Inc. . A quote directly from Metis off of her personal site:

Before I started Tantus, producing sexual products, I was a student of humanities studying cultural production.

It may sound funny, but I think the dildos, butt plugs, c-rings, gags and vibrators we make and sell are definitely a product of our culture.  They are as representative as a building, a sonnet or graffiti are products of their respective cultures. Likewise, at no other time has gender, the body and pleasure been so investigated, reported about and yes, commodified.

So it’s time to get back to my roots and use a few brain cells making sense of the sex education, toys and the culture in which we live.

The Interview With Metis

1. As an advocate of sex positivity, what do you see as the single biggest issue facing advocates of sex positivity and safer, healthier, smarter sex? What steps do you think can be taken to fix this issue?

Too often we are preaching to the choir, talking to our peers, and when someone does show up to the conversation that doesn’t share that sex positive position, we don’t know how to speak respectfully to them. You have to respect where someone is at, and get a message to them which is within their experiences. You bridge a gap, otherwise they just turn away.

2. What was the biggest struggle you overcame in the sex industry?

Communicating a message of safe sex toys to an industry that didn’t want to hear it. You can’t tell a sex toy distributor/ store owner that 99% of what they offer is bad and you have the 1% that is good. I tailored my message to make it more palatable (less offensive) for years. 

3. If you could change anything you’ve done through the course of your career, what would it be? What is the significance of said event or period?

I think I would have been less careful of offending the big manufacturing companies. I would have called a spade a spade and not worried that I wouldn’t be liked— I’m not that liked now and I bent over backwards trying not to offend. After all, at one training one of the big boys said they had the best silicone toys and mine were of lesser quality. The corporate managers knew better and they’re the ones who informed me that this was happening. And there was so much false advertising that products were “silicone;” they weren’t, and someone should have sued.

4. Who is your favorite author, erotic or non?

Robertson Davies (non erotic) because he wrote lifting your knowledge and intelligence to a higher peak; even when it was a gay, drag, kink, anal sex scene.

5. What is one thing you wish you could just explain to the world and have everyone understand instantly? Why would you choose that one thing over any other?

That sexual pleasure is a human right. It isn’t “just sex,” it really is a quality of life subject.

I think if the general population understood  this,  there would be no stigma,  and the politics of sex education would be totally different.


6. Who in the industry inspires you? What about them does so?

I’m inspired by those that came before me and laid the groundwork for advocating great, safe, pleasure based sex ed. Two of my heroes are Dr Robert Lawrence and his partner Dr Carol Queen. Robert has been teaching anal sex classes since 1970, he’s a second generation sex educator. He taught his first safer sex class in 1978— He really was revolutionary in what he did. Lawrence and Queen traveled the states giving anal sex classes in any rural area that would organize a space for them. The New Good Vibration Guide to Sex is taken from the handouts and classes they prepared for the Good Vibrations staff (and all they got was a thank you in the forward). And, they have created the Center For Sex And Culture, a resource library and collection

7. What do you wish someone would have taught you when you were just learning about sex and sexuality?

I was incredibly lucky to have a mother that believed sex education started in the bath tub when you were 2, naming parts. At 17 I was in a community college taking my first Sex Education curriculum and it was amazingly good (I took the top grade in the class). I’m pretty happy about the knowledge I brought to my first experiences— as I said, I was incredibly lucky.