Sex educator Anne Hodder has spent the last decade as a sex toy cheerleader of sorts. Hodder’s boutique firm, Hodder Media, is responsible for turning unknown brands into household names, and PR into sex-positive gold. Anne’s transformative media powers are well known, but her story about chasing down Perez Hilton story might be a new one for the books.
Before landing on Planet Sex Toy, Hodder worked as a journalist for a paparazzi-owned online magazine in the heyday of celebrity gossip. Hodder’s gig as a fashion editor didn’t preclude her from being sent out to stalk the streets of Los Angeles for scandal.
From a core understanding of sexual anatomy to LGBTQ-inclusive communication, my clients receive accurate, fact-based material that serves their unique audience.
“My former bosses used to send me and my colleagues to spy on Perez Hilton at his ‘office,’ which was a corner table at the Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf on Sunset Boulevard,” recalls Hodder. “I quickly got a taste for the celebrity climate of Los Angeles at the time, [and] I needed to get out of that soul-sucking universe.”
Hodder soon landed — where else? — at XBIZ headquarters thanks to a local job listing. At the height of porn and DVD sales, Hodder says she saw a niche just waiting to filled. Vibrators were still an after-thought in the skin-flick business, and Hodder struck right as the iron was about to heat up.
“Having an adult trade mag without a sex toy section felt like a department store without a shoe section — it just didn’t make sense to me — so I pressed for a few pages in XBIZ Premiere to be reserved for sex toys,” says Hodder. “But then I had to fill the pages. So I dove head first into the sex toy market — which was a VERY different climate then.”
Hodder says she soon “befriended almost every manufacturer, buyer, designer and other employees I met. Many of us ended up becoming a sort of industry family.
“Quickly, I built a roster of companies in need of copywriting, PR and other marketing-related tasks and my company Hodder Media Inc. was born — almost by accident.”
This “accident,” however, was actually the result of a slow-building climax that would eventually explode in a multi-orgasmic career. Hodder’s childhood had all the foreshadowing of a future sex geek — homemade bedroom experiments, and rather questionable trips to the library. Hodder fondly recalls the days before PornHub and $10 vibrators were a single click away for precocious youngsters.
“I was curious about bodies and sexy things as a kid and the only logical way for me to learn about them was to read as many books about sex as I could find. That meant spending hours in the town library trying to stealthily look up the sex section using the card catalog,” says Hodder of her adolescence. “I was familiar with the concept of sex toys at a young age, often making my own out of objects and items I could find in my room. I had no idea that I was literally experimenting with sex toy usage in ways that would stay with me decades into adulthood.”
Hodder eventually went on to study human sexuality while earning her journalism degree, and while window-shopping in her then-home base of New York City in 2004, Hodder’s fate was sealed after popping in to a Babeland (formerly Toys in Babeland) boutique.
“My world exploded,” exclaims Hodder. “I bought lipstick vibrators for all my friends and a few items for myself, and my days of makeshift sex toy making were over forever.”
Today, this feisty entrepreneur’s calling card is a blend of sex-toy expertise, good ol’ business know-how, and, as of 2014, triple certifications in sex education. Her collaborations with some of the industry’s most out-spoken voices on sex toy safety and personal wellness often catch the attention of companies looking to improve their relations with discerning consumers.
The Screaming O was Hodder’s first official client and, uncoincidentally, one of the first pleasure manufacturers to go public with a lab-tested and compiled product materials report. Hodder Media busted rumors that the company’s famous couples’ rings and finger vibes were full of nasty phthalates. Although if you ask Hodder, both businesses had a lot more than just choosy customers riding on that first consulting meeting.
“Justin Ross at The Screaming O was my very first client and, unbeknownst to him at the time, the advance he paid me to start building his product descriptions and brand identity made it possible for me to pay my rent that month,” recalls Hodder of her start-up days.
Now a flourishing pillar of good ethics and high standards, Hodder Media’s mission is to create a seamless environment where sex education and bedroom toys are joined at the hip — and based on her observations, we’re still in desperate need of a good schooling.
Throughout the course of her consulting and education career, Hodder encountered two particularly mind-blowing circumstances of unwilling ignorance: a classroom of 14-year-old girls that believed periods could put an end to their sports and activities participation, and a sex toy sales rep that couldn’t quite figure out how Sex Toy A could possibly be compatible with Human Body Part B. In both cases, Hodder’s knowledge was an empowering tool.
“[These experiences] inspired me to offer companies professional sex education trainings for sales staff: anatomy, materials, sex toy usage and benefits, and more,” explains Hodder. “Incorporating accurate sexuality information into my marketing and consulting has been revolutionary in the way products are developed, marketed and sold to end users.”
If Hodder has anything to say about it, the sex toy industry will eventually wind up even further from its porn-and-confusion-birthed roots than ever. In 2018, Hodder Media is honing in on inclusive marketing campaigns that leave no sexual stone unturned and no pleasure seeker behind.
“Simply put, I’m doing more of what I’m doing now,” concludes Hodder. “When we attempt to stay within our comfort zones — even with good or strategic intentions — we inadvertently close ourselves off to entire groups of potential consumers. From a core understanding of sexual anatomy to LGBTQ-inclusive communication, my clients receive accurate, fact-based material that serves their unique audience.”