SAN FRANCISCO — Joani Blank, who founded Good Vibrations in 1977 as one of the first sex-positive and female-friendly adult retailers, has passed away at age 79, after succumbing to pancreatic cancer.
Blank died in her home on Aug. 6 surrounded by family, according to an announcement posted on Facebook by her daughter Amika Sergejev.
In her post Sergejev said Blank took her pancreatic diagnosis “like a champ and did like she always does...got down to business and handled logistics and preparations. She chose to have a Celebration of Life rather than a funeral, and at her celebration last week, she was able to say her goodbyes and feel the love of her community.
“She opened her celebration addressing police brutality and honoring the Black Lives Matter movement. Her life was based on advancing social justice issues, and the bigger picture always took precedence over her personal struggles. The celebration was another platform for her to acknowledge what was really important to her. She had a rapid decline after the celebration, and I think she felt she had completed what she needed to.
“This fierce revolutionary woman has taught us all so much. She has done so many things in her full days here on earth and I know you all have stories...share them if you feel like it. If I made this post about all she's done it would take days.”
Blank’s trademark optimism shone through in an announcement of her cancer diagnosis in a blog posted on the website for the Cohousing Association of the U.S.
“I have very recently received a diagnosis of metastatic pancreatic cancer. It is a very aggressive form of cancer with a poor prognosis, and it is likely that I do not have a lot of time left. For that reason, I intend to treat only my symptoms, not the disease itself, because I want to enjoy myself and not feel sick during whatever time remains.”
According to Wikipedia, Blank was an entrepreneur, writer, videographer, cohousing enthusiast and adviser, philanthropist, sex educator, and inventor in the field of sexuality.
Prior to opening Good Vibes, Blank founded Down There Press, a publisher of sex-related books, in 1975. She also was hired at the University of California, San Francisco to screen candidates who had difficulties achieving orgasm, which influenced her business model for Good Vibrations.
She was one of the first volunteers at San Francisco Sex Information and has served on the Board of Directors of the Society for the Scientific Study of Sexuality. Blank is also known for her inventions of the Butterfly vibrator.
On Twitter, Good Vibes paid tribute to Blank, along with colleagues and fans.
Good Vibes posted, “We love you Joani Blank and are forever grateful that you helped make the world a more sex positive place. #GoodVibrations forever JB RIP.”
Lynn Comella, a professor and sexuality scholar at the University of Nevada-Las Vegas, posted, “RIP Joani Blank. You were a sex-positive pioneer who made the world a better place.”
Good Vibrations’ Staff Sexologist Dr. Carol Queen said, “The great transformative human @JoaniBlank has died, on her own time, cuz as she taught us, ‘If you want s/TH done right’...”
Sex-positive writer, educator and filmmaker Tristan Taormino said, “Rest in power Joani Blank. What a legacy she leaves behind.”
Tantus founder said, “I met Joani Blank only a couple of times but I am in her debt for my career in so many ways. Thank you RIP.”