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AofA Interview: Samantha & Paul Evans – Founders of JoDivine, Online Sex Toy Shop


10 Minute Read

Samantha & Paul Evans are the owners of JoDivine, a sex toy shop that only sells skin safe products,  because they know they promote better sexual health and pleasure.

Samantha is a former nurse with a particular passion for helping their customers enhance their sexual pleasure through the use of sex toys and lubricant.

Q. What was it that led to you starting Jo Divine?

Sam: The idea actually came about after noticing Passion Parties springing up in the U.S. These were events where women came together to learn about products of a sexual nature, such as sex toys, dildos, etc. We thought the idea might work with couples but, after focus testing it with our friends, nobody was interested! At the same time, I’d come across a natural lubricant called yes that had completely transformed my sex life with Paul as I’d had some sexual health problems after using some of the brand names lubes that contained all sorts of ingredients such as glycerine that hadn’t agreed with me at all. I became evangelical about the yes lube (and still am)!

Paul was looking to change from working in computing and, between the two of us, we decided to set up a toy shop, initially just selling one product, the Lelo Gigi, which was one of the first toys to use a skin safe silicone. It’s a new, velvety material that is soft to the touch and slightly pliable. For a long time, sex toys were either made of jelly, rubber or latex which can all be washed but are all porous so absorb bacteria and degrade. Both Paul and I were both adamant we wanted to educate people not just about sex toys and lubes but about making sure that the products they bought were not going to harm them in any way. We’re still the only one in the market that will only sell skin safe sex toys and natural lubricants.

Q. What’s your most popular item?

Sam: The Picobong Zizo, a great first-time vibrator, battery operated and great for helping women with gynae issues too along yes organic lubricants. I say it’s great for first-time users because it’s a normal penis shaped product, skin safe and reasonably priced. Our customers tend to be 40+, many much older and often with no experience of using a sex toy. For some of them, they’ve come to us because their partner has died and they want to pleasure themselves. As a former nurse, I’m used to talking to people about intimate topics and I find many of our customers open up to us about their sex lives. I’ve come to understand that there are a vast number of women who, for instance, have never had or know about clitoral orgasms and so I feel it’s partly my job, in selling them their first toy, to discuss the kind of pleasure they’re seeking as everyone is so different in this regard.

Q. Do you think there’s a stigma about bringing toys into the bedroom?

Sam: For some, there will always be a stigma but attitudes are changing, sex toys are in mainstream media and people recognise that sex toys can enhance their relationship. Sex and the City certainly helped in educating people in their 40s and 50s but, sadly, everyone seems to associate sex toys solely with the Rampant Rabbit when, in fact, there are thousands of toys on the market!

Paul: You will always have men for whom the idea of a penis shaped toy can be seen as threatening but most don’t have a problem with their partner using a bullet (a small vibrator) shaped toy or something like the Lelo Lily (a pebble-shaped vibrator) to stimulate their clitoris while they are having penetrative sex.

Q. I remember a time when the idea of men using sex toys and suchlike was considered deviant. Do you think that’s still the case? If not, what has changed?

Paul: Male sex toys will always be harder to sell as men have a right hand. There is still an expectation that men are always ready for sex which often isn’t the case. We have found that women will buy a product for themselves then buy one for their male partner when they receive our catalogue – his and her sex toys.

Our most popular male sex toy is the Hot Octopuss Pulse III. This is a bendable sleeve that features deep vibrations that give men a different kind of sensation than using their hand or being inside their partner. It feels more like a massage than in being stroked or using a sleeve-shaped sex toy like the Fleshlight, for instance. And it’s very effective for men who may suffer from Erectile Dysfunction too.

Q. What do you recommend for customers who have not purchased a toy before?

Sam: Don’t assume bigger is better, choose skin safe products and always buy good quality lubricant to use with the product. Give us a ring to discuss what you’re looking for as we’re always happy to speak to our customers.

Before spending your money familiarise yourself with the products available to understand what type of toy you want. What do you want it for, external or internal stimulation or both, for couples play, solo play?

Q. You run the shop with your husband. How has that impacted on your relationship?

Sam: We work together every day from our home so sometimes work invades our personal life, you don’t get a break but it’s fun, we get on, we talk all the time and because we have the same/similar ideas for the business we don’t have to explain to each other what we mean or want.

Paul: We do disagree at times but having been married for 20 yrs what couple doesn’t?? Having access to lots of sex toys and discovering yes organic lubes our sex life has improved too! Sex has always been a very important component in our marriage so we actually enjoy bringing our work home with us!

Q. How can couples introduce the idea of using toys in their relationship?

Sam: Talk to each other, discuss what they would like to try, don’t just surprise your partner, we have had a few returns because it is an unwanted gift! If you struggle to orgasm through penetrative sex suggest a small bullet/clitoral vibrator, easy to slip between you and use during intercourse. Check out websites together to discover what you would like to try together. If you do want to surprise your partner, choose something small and unintimidating.

Q. There are so many sex toy shops on the net now. How do you remain relevant to your customers?

Paul: We believe we are unique in being the only sex toy company still in business after 10 years who only sell skin safe products. This is something we are passionate about but has held back our progress at times as far too often people only look at product price and do not consider the impact a bad product could have on their health.

We also offer a huge amount of online sexual health and pleasure articles in our magazine and spend time advising and educating our customers and healthcare professionals on the phone and via email too.

Being independent we offer personal customer service and can advise about the majority of our products because we’ve tried them. We’d rather have satisfied customers who will return to buy another product rather than end up with someone who has a product they cannot use.

Sam: Using my nursing background we also work with many healthcare professionals in the NHS and private practice who recommend our products and articles to their patients to help them overcome sexual issues and enjoy a better sex life. We even created a health brochure with our local hospital which is now given out across the UK by many healthcare professionals.

Q. How can using toys help older people improve their sexual health?

Sam: Having many older customers we know that using a vibrator can keep things working. Use it or lose it! Vaginal dryness, tightness and decreased sexual sensation are part of the ageing process and menopause yet using a simple sex toy and pH balanced sexual lubricant can really help.

Many women buy their first vibrator from us. Some buy them to help gynae issues or when their partner has died or their relationship has broken up. We have many customers in new relationships who haven’t had sex for years and want to resume it with a new partner so buy a slim vibrator to get back in the sack.

Paul: Vibrating cock rings are ideal for men who struggle to maintain an erection or to help them last longer by restricting the blood flow out of the penis. The Bathmate can help treat erectile dysfunction, but being an exerciser it can also help prevent it in the first place.

The Hot Octopuss Pulse III is an amazing male vibrator that can be sued with a flaccid or erect penis using pulse plate technology.

Q. How important do you think sex is in a relationship?

Sam: For many sex is important and when it changes or is affected by illness, disease, or the ageing process relationships can break down. It makes you feel good, releasing endorphins that improve your mood, boost your immunity, helps you to sleep, makes you look younger.

It is a choice and there is no normal sex, it can be hard when sex drives are mismatched which is when sex toys can really help.

Q. Since the advent of 50 Shades and similar books, do you find more older people are requesting products that reflect BDSM scenarios?

Paul: It isn’t a huge part of our business but we have been pleasantly surprised at the response when we recently added some new bondage products to our brochure.

Q. I know quite a few people who don’t feel that toys have a place in their relationship. Why do you think that is?

Sam: Shame, embarrassment, upbringing and the view that they will replace a partner or be better than them. They still have the image of seedy sex shops in Soho but sex toys have moved on from horrible jelly products, although they still remain in places, to beautifully designed quiet products made from high-quality materials and many of which don’t even look like a sex toy.

Q. What specific toys would you recommend for men & women 50+.

Sam: There is no specific toy, however using a vibrating cock ring can help men maintain an erection and offer clitoral stimulation, the Satisfyer is great for women with decreased sexual sensation. It uses suction and vibration rather than direct stimulation. And the Bathmate, although not a sex toy promotes erectile function. For women struggling to orgasm through penetrative sex, a simple bullet is ideal too and inexpensive.

Q. What’s your favourite toy?

Sam: Can I have several as no one toy satisfies all my needs! Satisfyer Pro 2, Mimi Soft, Mio, Doxy, Bathmate, Pulse.

The one thing we use every time during sex is yes lubricant.

Q. What has been your family’s reaction to running a sex toy shop? How has it impacted on your children’s lives?

Sam: The children are all teenagers and our daughter is now 18. They go with the flow, they’ve told a few friends, some who thought we were spies as our daughter said she couldn’t talk about what we did, other friends have said “we’re cool!”. She’s even written an article for her new website called “My Parents Sell Sex Toys”.

Paul: We don’t really talk about our work when we meet new people unless they are in the industry or healthcare professionals. When we do talk about it the majority of people are fine and interested in what we do especially about how we came to create Jo Divine and the health work with the NHS, although we have had a few people who didn’t believe that we owned a sex toy company!

You can find all the sex toys listed and more at Jo Divine.

How I Became a Dom – My BDSM Story


1 Minute Read

I’ve been asked to write my personal journey with the BDSM world but first of all I thought I’d let you know the rules when it comes to playing in this arena.

1) Consent is Key. No means No. Anyone defying consent is an abuser at least and well I’ll let you dear reader think what that means at worst.

2) A Submissive (Sub) has to have boundaries. These are the activities where there is an absolute ‘no’ in place. If their Dom overrides them, then this is also abuse. It breaks the consensual agreement.

3) There has to be a safeword in any play. This can be used at anytime the sub wants play to stop.

It’s also important to understand that – To Dom is to Protect and Care. Also that the Dom has control but the Sub the power.

Also re roles. The Dom gives the Sub what they need. Let’s also expel a few myths. The Dom person is not domineering or controlling. A Dom is given control by the Sub. The Sub is not a doormat or a second class citizen or for that matter weak. It takes strength to be a Sub.

I fell into the London Fetish scene 10 years ago. To tell you how and why is a story in itself. Suffice to say my journey as a Dom started as a Sub.

So was it down to fate that I became a Sub. However I was given my first Domme (the female term) /Sub experience in a club for my birthday so I would ‘Get it‘.

This woman, who has now become a very dear friend, used to be a professional domme. In other words, a Dominatrix. Her clients would book her for a fee and she would dom them. She gave me my first ever play. Domming someone is giving them what they want with the goal of orgasm sometimes. From a professional standpoint, Dommes don’t do personal services. Yet their clients may gratify themselves if she allows it and normally this happens nowhere near the Domme.

On this initial occasion, I wasn’t in a serious state of sexual arousal after she had finished but I was – I later learnt – in subspace. Domming a Sub is about mixing sensations. In brief, endorphins come from certain types of pain – for instance, being spanked, flogged or having one’s hair pulled. Serotonin is produced by pleasure and the skin surface itself is a huge erogenous zone. Mix in genital stimulation and you get adrenaline.

There is a chemical reaction as well as mental and physical. In fact, the physical is the least important although it has its place. BDSM is mostly a mental pursuit. What did she do? Well, I was butt naked in a club I’d never been to before, she spanked my arse and stroked it seductively too. She caressed my back, then flogged it.

This Domme was talking to me all the time. She whispered in my ear that I should say ‘Red‘ at anytime and she would stop. I melt when someone whispers in this way and I’m sure she knew that. I was a mess in a good way after she had finished. I’ve had my fair share of pleasure but this was a WOW subspace.

However even during this intense play, I was taking in lots of information about how she dommed. To this day, I use some of her techniques.

So the bar was set high. I bounced around the scene. I hooked up with some Dommes and had a few relationships where I was their Sub. It dawned on me pretty quickly that as a Sub, you are the focus of your Dom. Also having a woman in charge of you, your actions and sensations is sensual.

I’m sure lots of men reading this will be thinking – “No woman is going to domme me.” Well, if you find a cool Domme, try it. I did for six years and I learnt loads about myself and my body. For instance, do you guys know where your G spot is? Find a woman who does and can touch it skillfully – that’s it all your birthdays and Xmas’ in one big gift.

What I can say is in those six years as a Sub, I knew what I was getting myself into. I consented to everything that happened. I even lost my strap-on virginity. And I always felt I had the power to get up and walk away. I cannot reiterate this enough. The Sub always has a choice.

So we move forwards to four years ago. I kept bumping into a certain woman at clubs, after a few chats and hanging out she asked me to dom her. I had a fair idea of what to do from studying my own Dom before.

I managed to borrow a few floggers and other equipment. I strapped her to a cross and then remembering my first Sub/Dom scene I copied what that Domme did to me. Communicating, stroking flogging and more. It was at this juncture that I knew I liked it, being a Dom, that is.

“‘Do you like having your hair pulled?” I asked. “I love it” came the reply. I kept asking her questions whilst unleashing my inner Dom. It was horny as hell and I also got the same kind of buzz as I did as a sub. Dom Rush I called it. After we played, she clung onto me for dear life. I had given her what she wanted and in the way she wanted it. That’s when the penny dropped. She trusted me.

Now I’ve had two Subs. Both times we sat down and discussed the hard limits they have. One of my Subs hated massage. I love giving that but It was a boundary for her. I could flog her, have sex with in any orifice, yet massage was not allowed. Also it was not in my edict to ask why.

As I stated in point 1 at the beginning of this piece, “No” means “no”. Communication is the key. I think I’ve spent more time talking to my Subs than I ever did in my vanilla relationships. In my Dom role, it’s easy to discuss these aspects of the relationship with a prospective Sub.

Being a Dom is giving the Sub what they want. It’s not the Dom doing what they want to the Sub. The Sub / Dom dynamic is built on skillful connection, trust, respect and empathy. So the more you dom, the more the sub surrenders. It’s a circle of energy. If you do it with the right person then it can also be highly sexual. When I hear my sub beg to come, it’s such a turn on. And when a Sub has to beg, they also often get turned on.

I really enjoy being a Dom now. I’m confident in my abilities and yet humble at the same time. I hope. My Subs have been strong independent women but behind closed doors they like to relinquish control in the ways they wish, fo course.They want a man who can give them what they want, how they want and when they want. One key to being a Dom is knowing when they want you to be in control!

Get it right and boy can you have some great debauchery.

Silver is the Dungeon Master at DVS on 5th August. First timers and newbies welcome! For further details click on the FB Event page here.

You can also find him at Flamefest 18-20th August, the Kink Rave Festival in Kent. Full info on the FB page here.

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