By day, Nigel R. is an environmental lawyer for the city of San Francisco. By night, he's the man behind Divine Interventions, a company selling handmade, iconic dildos purported to help you part the pink sea, prepare for the Second Coming, or contemplate the sound of one hand rubbing.
How long have you been making sex toys?
A little over three years
How long have you been working with silicone?
Also around three years. We tried some other materials in the begining, but found them unsatisfactory.
Have you got a favourite divinity, or a favourite DI dildo?
My fav is the jackhammer.
Goddess-shaped, pro-woman dildos have been around for awhile, but the Divine Interventions dildos seem more about having fun with obscenity than spiritualizing sexuality. What kind of feedback do you get from customers? Are people mostly interested because these are kitschy and fun, or do you hear from people who really are working through lapsed-Catholic guilt by Kegelizing Satan?
Hmm. I take issue with the word obscene. Perhaps it's my legal background, but obscene is a loaded word. If obscene, there would be fewer, if any, first amendment rights. I can see people finding our stuff objectionable, though obviously, I'd disagree. That said, we did not set about trying to spiritualize sex. People take religion too seriously. If I were to believe in a God, he or she would have a wicked sense of humour and would thus not be offended by our creations. Poeple should laugh when they see our stuff, they really shouldn't waste their time praying for our souls.
I don't know why people are most interested in our line. Some are definitely lapsed Catholics, rebelling against a restricted, conservative upbringing. Some are Satanists, while others are just having fun.
Do you have a favourite piece of hate mail?
Favourite hate mail? We don't get that much hate mail, though when we do, we prefer those who follow the strictures of the English language. Would it be too much to ask those of you who take the time to upbraid us to use spell-check?
Sculpted religious dildos combine some major, potentially heavy themes (sex, god, art), but all the Divine Interventions write-ups are really lighthearted. Do you have any grand motivations about treating big topics with humor, or are you just having fun?
We're mainly having fun. Though, we ask that if you're offended by what we do, to please take the time to be offended by homelessness; corporate welfare; environmental degredation; John Ashcroft's singing; and the game of golf.
Then again, what better way to treat big topics but with humour?
I've been reading a lot of books lately that claim to be confronting society's “last taboo,” and each have a different taboo in mind (menstruation, anal pleasure, celibate women ). As a maker of religious dildos, any pet taboos that could use confronting?
Publicly financed campaigns? No, not what you were thinking. Hmm? Sorry, nothing off the top of my head.
How much of your time do you spend making sex toys? Has it had an impact on your relationships with other people? Ever accidentally backed yourself into a conversational corner at the post office?
I'm usually making stuff every night. It depends on how many orders come in. The business was partly to blame for the demise of a relationship. She was/is quite Catholic. (Then again, it could have just been me). I've learned to not bring them in my carry-on. The security people don't know what to do or say. And as far as the folks at the post office are concerned, I'm selling toy figurines.
Most of the divinities in the catalog are Christian. Is that on purpose? Either way, are there particular benefits that Christian icons have over other religious icons when it comes to sex toys?
We never intended to go after mainly Christian divinities, it just ended up that way. We used to sell Moses and Judas, but neither sold well. We're in the process of coming out with Ganesh. A Hindu friend wasn't very impressed. As for benefits, the Christians don't seem to be too rabid. No fatwahs yet.
Ganesh was my secret dildo wish! Remover of obstacles how could that not be a perfect sex toy?
Ganesh will definitely move things out of the way as he's a big boy: 12 inches tall by approx 2 inches wide. (And of course he's got a suction cup base).
How long does it take to create a new model? Do you get requests?
As long as it takes me to find someone to sculpt a new design. The actual molding process is quick. We've been working on anal rosary beads for ever. (Lots of requests for these). We'll also soon be coming out with a piece called God's pinky.
How do you decide what functional features to incorporate in your designs? Does anybody test them out?
I design them with the help of a sculptor and then I ask friends what works and what doesn't. The boys down stairs have been very helpful when it comes to testing. (I actually took a model of the Ganesh to the gym and asked some friends what they thought they wanted me to add some balls and that was it.)
Silicone is a great medium for sex toys, but I know it is slow to work with. Does it produce rewarding results, for that “finished object pride” feeling?
Silicone is wonderful. I just love the finished product. Granted it can be finicky, (as finicky as an inanimate compound can be), but I wouldn't use anything else.
Is there anything else you like to make with it, or anything else you like to mold?
When I have the time I mold other things. I've been working on a wax sculpture for some time, but it takes the back seat to everything else.
Are you crafty off the job? What are other things you like to make? Any other sex-related creative projects on the go?
Well, I can dig a hole, I can whistle and I'm not a bad cook. The girlfriend is really the artist in the family. She studied at the Chicago Institute of Art andis teaching me things slowly.
I used to be involved with some friends who ran a free porn site, but that went the way of the passenger pigeon. No more sex parties, no more partying for the most part. I read and watch movies in my spare time. I'm just a normal guy living own the street from you; the one with the hatch back and the five cats.