My Beginnings as a Sex Educator
It was 2010, a long time before I decided to become an affiliate of Entice Me. There I was, writing a blog about pegging. Having found my favorite subject, I dove down the rabbit hole and wrote about it quite happily, learning as I explored. I was excited to be writing about my favorite sexy subject!
As I sharpened my blogging skills, I watched other sex educators with curiosity. I loved blogging and teaching about pegging, but I wasn't making any money doing it. How were others managing to monetize what they put out into the world? Mostly, they weren't. Many had day jobs. Some had partners whose income allowed them to just focus on educating instead of earning money. Some had small incomes from books or affiliate relationships. The rest of us simply struggled.
Passion for the subject matter kept most of us going, even when there was little compensation. We shared a desire to help people navigate the uncomfortable, taboo subjects and transform them into sources of pleasure. We were (and are) warriors, nay, gladiators, slaying shame and embarrassment with our words. Our classes, webinars, books, podcasts and videos educated, reassured, and normalized sexuality. We helped people find more pleasure in their lives, basically. Worthy goal.
But we certainly weren't getting rich. Getting asked to teach classes or present for free was a regular occurrence. For the 'community', or the 'exposure', or the 'non-profit' venue where the classes were held. We were rarely asked to teach for cash that we could actually pay our bills with.
I definitely wasn't earning any serious coin. Time went by for me and my blog. I started doing podcasts. I attended sexuality conferences and was thrilled to find my tribe. Presenting at those conferences for free, or for admission to the conference, felt okay to get the promised 'exposure'. I kept my day jobs, but longed to walk away from them and throw myself wholeheartedly and completely into sex education, if only I could find a way to make enough money.
The Question of Affiliations
Gradually, my blog got more traffic. I began looking at affiliate relationships with the toy companies and retailers I recommended. That endeavor felt complicated. I have always had a strong aversion to cluttering up my website with all kinds of advertising. Changing ads for different toys and sales, fitting them onto my website, talking about them on my podcast, and keeping track of it all felt like a lot of effort for $50 here and there. Some manufacturers didn't even have affiliate programs. But if I signed up with a retailer, I didn't want to tell people to ignore all the cheap, crappy toys they sold and just buy the good ones. I wasn't impressed, after dipping my toes into the affiliate world.
Tiffany in the Jacuzzi
Around that time, I attended another sexuality conference. Classes were over for the day. I headed down to the pool and jacuzzi area. Soaking in hot water and meeting more of my tribe sounded like just what I needed.
That's when I met Tiffany Yelverton, of Entice Me.
I'd learned all about toxic sex toys at a previous conference, so my first impression of Tiffany was a good one. The only products she sold were body-safe, non-toxic, and top quality. We chatted for a while and definitely hit it off. Our like-mindedness in that regard was reassuring.
Leaving Corporate Life Behind
I loved Tiffany's story. She worked in the corporate world for too long, putting in 60 - 80 hour weeks until her therapist told her she needed to quit if she wanted to stay alive. Too much stress. As a sex-positive person, she attended a couple of sex toy parties. The products offered were such poor quality! She thought - I can do this so much better. So she did.
Along with her online store, she masterminded 'Sexy Soirées' with a crew of 'Sexinistas' to host them. Her approach gave a measure of elegance to the typical cheesy sex toy parties, transforming them from giggling, embarrassed events to educational, stylish gatherings. They were infinitely better than any pleasure parties I'd attended. High quality products along with an informed, relaxed manner made all the difference. I decided to do business with her.
I Sign On With EnticeMe
At first I tried the Sexy Soirées, mostly because my daughter needed a job - her first - and couldn't find one. We had fun doing them together until she found a retail job. Then my participation changed to being a Sexinista affiliate. Hosting Sexy Soirées felt like getting paid to go to parties, but it wasn't my passion.
As an affiliate of Entice Me, I should have been talking it up all the time, right? Initially I went through a period of resistance to putting any advertising in my podcasts, however. I remembered listening to Dan Savage's first few podcasts when he started advertising, and his distinct discomfort with it. I was going through a similar thing. So once in a while I mentioned Entice Me, but not often. I earned modest commission checks. Nothing really impressive. I guess I was just waiting for it to happen by magic.
Tiffany Wakes Me Up
About that time, Tiffany made a long distance road trip. She listened to my podcasts for the entire drive. They entertained her and kept her awake! When she returned home, she got me on the phone and kindly but firmly read me the riot act. I've thanked her many times for that phone call. She explained how I was missing out on a lot of business.
On that drive, she listened to me talk about equipment, toys and lubes. Every time I talked about a product, it was a missed opportunity to make money as an affiliate, and she told me so in no uncertain terms. Being an affiliate of Entice Me was supposed to work that way! There I was, giving people great advice and helpful suggestions, and getting little in return. If I asked them to shop at Entice Me, she assured me, some of them would!
Why it Works
Slowly but surely my audience grew, as did my commissions. One day Tiffany enumerated all the ways that being an affiliate of Entice Me was more advantageous than having many different company affiliations. Here's the list:
- My website isn't junky looking, with a slew of lurid color ads all over the place. (Major plus!)
- People prefer one-stop shopping. Clicking on 5 different ads and buying 5 different things is something very few people will take the trouble to do. Entice Me is that one stop shop.
- Exceptional personalized service. If you buy a toy and can't figure out how to use the remote or the controls, there is a live chat to assist you. If you're lucky, you might even get Tiffany herself. (Try that at the big retailers.)
- Customers can relax and shop. Entice Me's collection of pleasure products is carefully curated. Shoppers are no longer in the wilds of toxic sex toy lands (like Amazon, Adam and Eve and Doc Johnson). They trust the quality Entice Me insists upon.
- There will always be places to get cheaper prices. The customers I am courting are not the ones who search for deals on Amazon (please don't buy your sex toys there, people!). I am courting customers who have more disposable income, who love what I put out into the world, and want to support my efforts.
- I'm going to add one more: Passive income. My presence is not required while customers shop. I love passive income!
I am Now Officially Making Money
My sales commissions have consistently been going up since the pandemic began. This January I broke all previous records and earned a hefty commission check that would make anyone proud.
Factors that have likely contributed include:
- I have simply reached that breakpoint of popularity in the sex education world; I am the go-to for pegging information.
- When the pandemic hit, I ramped up my webinar game and taught over 100 webinars since March of 2020.
- FetLife's new 'virtual' event designation exposed my events to a much larger, worldwide audience.
- As a trusted sex educator with free webinars, I have earned the right to promote my webinars in several large forums on Reddit. The sheer numbers of folks in those forums gives me great exposure.
- I'm now on Tiktok, too, doing some basic informational videos about pegging! That has measurably driven more traffic to my website.
- There has been a dramatic increase in sex toys sales, especially pegging equipment, during this pandemic.
All of these factors have contributed. Sort of like a perfect storm of stuff that all happened to come along just at the right time...during a fucking pandemic, no less.
My packed webinars are often quite international. The last one included folx from Brazil, Iceland, Russia, Ukraine, Switzerland, Canada and India. I'm making a big effort to include metric measurements in my webinars because of the international attendees!
So now...here I am. No more day job. Teaching, which I have always loved. About my favorite subject, which freakin' rocks. Life is good.
Thank You For All Your Purchases!
Part of this writing is a huge thank you to my listeners, readers, and attendees of my webinars. Your purchases gave me a banner month of commissions - the best ever! I am very, very appreciative and thankful.
Additionally, I am hoping my story about being an affiliate of Entice Me and my resulting commissions inspires other sex educators. You can do what I did! Perhaps not exactly the way I did it, because we all have our favorite subject matter, our favorite demographic to engage with, and our favorite way to engage with them. But there are so many possibilities! Entice Me celebrates their 10 year anniversary this month! They are here to stay.
If you find yourself recommending sex toys and pleasure products in your travels around the sex education world, consider becoming an affiliate of Entice Me. I'm here to tell you, being a Sexinista rocks!