​​The Weirdest Sex-Related PR Pitches I Got as a Reproductive Rights Reporter

As a journalist who covers gender and sexuality, I get unhinged emails about sex all the time. Welcome to the greatest hits.

The email slid into my inbox at an innocent time: 11:07 am on a Wednesday morning in January. Its subject line, however, was anything but innocent. 

“Can’t find a pegging partner?” it read. “You might want to consider heading to Georgia.”

In any other workplace, this kind of email would necessitate a call to HR to explain what the hell you’ve been up to online. But as a journalist who covers gender and sexuality, I get raunchy emails all the time.


Like most journalists, I receive dozens of emails every day from various spokespeople and pitchmen, trying to convince me to interview an expert, cover a product, or attend an event. Some of these are relevant to my job: Yes, I do want email blasts from the ACLU about their latest lawsuit defending abortion rights. Tell me about the Trevor Project’s latest study on how anti-LGBTQ legislation is impacting queer youth.

Others are decidedly less important. I’ve probably received hundreds of emails about UGGs and what those ex-trendy boots are up to. (Spoiler: They’re on celebrities’ feet.)

But, by far, I get the most unhinged PR pitches about one topic: sex.

Most of these pitches are attempting to convince me to cover items, people, and topics that are actually related to sex, like the emails that have tried to get me to interview the founder of a website for “sex-positive, ethical porn made from a woman's point of view.” Over the last two years, I’ve received at least 20 emails from the founder’s publicist, each boasting of her unusual insights into sex. 

At first, these emails seemed somewhat topical, as the publicist suggested I interview this “sexpert” about how the pandemic has changed people’s porn-viewing habits or dive into the intricacies of making ethical porn. (“Sexpert” is a word that appears in my inbox with alarming regularity.) More recently, though, they’ve started to take on a slightly manic tone.


This week, the publicist let me know that the sexpert wants me to Get “Rough” And Wild While You Take In The Foliage—as in, have rough sex outside. (This suggestion was somewhat confusing because, in March, the sexpert suggested having sex outside To Spring Clean Your Sex Life. What’s the best season to have sex outside? Surely this sexpert knows?) Another suggestion was to Get A Sex Pillow, because raking leaves may leave you too tired to get railed. I had no idea that raking leaves could be so vigorous.

The email also included multiple plugs for this website’s apparently ginormous back catalog of autumn-adjacent porn. One fall-themed “erotic movie” featured “Rob” and “Bella” seeking “solace in the comfort of their rustic cabin…as the world outside transforms into a canvas of warm, vibrant colors,” according to the PR email.

As the email described the movie, “The crackling fireplace casts a soft, golden glow that dances upon the walls, creating an enchanting atmosphere. Savoring a bottle of wine, they engage in captivating conversation, their eyes locked in a dance of connection. The crackling flames reflect in their eyes, igniting a fiery passion between them.”
I wonder what happens next.

Judging by my inbox, the competition for sexiest season is extremely stiff. (Get it?) (I’m so sorry.) In June, a few “sex and intimacy experts” let me know that summer is “sex-boosting” and “the perfect time to reconnect with your romantic partner,” since we’re getting so much Vitamin D and our sweat is releasing powerful, partner-attracting pheromones. (Somehow, I doubt that these claims were run past the FDA.) On August 1, I opened up my inbox to be greeted with an email subject line that bid me a “Happy Anal August.” (The company named in the email was selling gear for anal sex, like glass dilators, so their pitch made sense, but I remain unconvinced that this is a holiday anybody else knows about.)


Far more disturbingly, I recently received an email pitching Top Sexual Wellness Devices to Gift Your Man This Father’s Day. Those “wellness devices” include vibrating buttplugs and cockrings, as a picture in the email made clear—a picture that I do not ever want to see in the same email as the words “Father’s Day.” 

Valentine’s Day is, of course, Christmas for sex-related PR pitches. This year, one email informed me about how a new “study” discovered that New Jersey, home of Tony Soprano and the American Dream mall, is “the most romantic area in the U.S.” The alleged experts at a sex toy website analyzed Google Trends to figure out where people were Googling terms like “romantic restaurants,” “florist near me,” and “date ideas.”

According to this so-called study, the second-most romantic state is Massachusetts. I found that confusing, because I recently received an email about another “study” that found Massachusetts has the fifth-lowest libido out of any state in the country. People there tend to Google phrases like “boring sex life” and “spice up sex life,” the study found.

These emails fall into the second major category of sex-related PR pitches: the ones that are trying to sell me on something that has absolutely nothing to do with sex, except for the fact that sex sells. The company behind the libido email were “CBD specialists” trumpeting the seductive powers of cannabis. 


Unfortunately, these specialists do not appear to specialize in geography. They declared that one of the states with the highest libido is “West Dakota,” which sounds like a great reason to visit—except, unfortunately, that state doesn’t exist.

Another publicist emailed me three times in one week to suggest I cover a game called “Chicken vs. Hot Dog,” which sounds family-friendly until you actually take a look at the game itself. Sold on Target and marketed as a “family action game,” the two game pieces—a chicken and a hot dog—look like dildos cosplaying as a chicken and a hot dog thanks to some very ornate condoms. The publicist, clearly picking up on this and trying desperately to make it seem like this toy design was not a problem, suggested that I use the game to “spice up the foreplay with some friendly competition!” As many as eight people can play the game together, if you catch the publicist’s drift.

“We know that food turns everyone on but!!!!! DISCLAIMER: Chicken and Hot Dog Sling’Ems are not meant for that type of foreplay,” they added.

Look, I get it: Like everybody else, publicists have a job to do. I respect the hustle and the creativity. These emails also provide some much-needed levity at a time when my work seems to require reporting on more and more tragedy. Unfortunately, though, in my six-plus years at VICE News, I can only remember one time that a PR pitch sparked a story idea


But I do have to give a shout-out to the only other time I really thought about it: that email about pegging in Georgia.

The email was from Lovehoney, a wildly popular sex toy company, so I imagine they may know a bit more about this topic than any of the hundreds of sexperts who swarm my inbox. On Valentine’s Day 2023, they created a “Sex Map” and handed out awards to various states based on their sexual proclivities. My home state, Washington, won the Best Interior Decorator Award for buying more sex furniture than the average state. My personal favorite, however, was either Ohio’s Thinks Outside the Box Award, for buying more sex dolls than the average state, or North Carolina’s Most Daring Award, for buying more 12-inch dildos than any other state. 

Massachusetts also salvaged its reputation for sexlessness: Not only did that state buy more prostate massagers than the average state, according to Lovehoney, but the state that bought the least amount of product from Lovehoney was in fact Wyoming.

Finally, shoutout to Alford, Florida, for buying “the most electro/medical fetish toys,” according to Lovehoney’s email to me. Google tells me that only roughly 500 people live in Alford, so I would love to know what’s going on there. 

If you know, please, I beg you—pitch me.