Kim Airs, 54, could easily pass as a bubbly soccer mom. You’d never guess that she makes her living playing with sex toys all day. Airs talks about her job with the giddiness and disbelief of someone thrilled with her good fortune. She never expected that this would be her day job, or even could be. It all started out as just one wild and courageous idea.
Airs didn’t use a sex toy until she was almost 30, and dating a radio disc jockey whom she dubbed “Smut Hound.” She was working as the assistant to an esteemed Harvard University administrator at the time, but shifted to part-time to open a sex shop that quickly grew into a $1.3 million-a-year business. These days, Airs is a successful sex-toy consultant, penning sex toy reviews, lecturing on college campuses, advising sex toy businesses, as well as conferring with doctors and their patients about the best sex toys for relieving certain medical issues.
There were plenty of naysayers during this career transformation. But Airs now has a personal motto to deal with that: “I care what you think about, but I don’t care what you think about me.”
Finding Her Passion
Married as a freshman in college, Airs says that her sexual curiosity made her husband uncomfortable. By 27, they were divorced. Restless, Airs landed a part-time summer job at Harvard and moved into doing administration work for whoever needed it. (She even briefly worked for Larry Summers, then an economics professor; years later, he would become university president and secretary of the U.S. Treasury.)
Airs says that while she was temping, a top Harvard administrator hired her to be his full-time assistant. While she wouldn’t name him to AOL Jobs, she says that she enjoys the shock value of disclosing his name to friends. “They can’t believe a freak like me would work for him,” she says, laughing. The two remain close friends.