Jun
5

Sex trivia at the Beauty Bar this Tuesday

Want to win some fantastic prizes from us? Come to Sex Trivia night at the Beauty Bar in downtown Portland!

Come test your knowledge about sex this Tuesday, June 7th at 8 p.m. We’ll be hosting the event and giving away prizes to those who prove the most knowledgeable in areas such as:

  • Sex in pop culture
  • Anatomy
  • Sex history

And much, much more!

The Beauty Bar is located on Ash St., between 1st and 2nd (here’s a map). We hope to see you there!

  Events      ,  
Jun
1

The history of sex toys

Have you ever wondered how sex toys came to be? Well, the story involves dubious medical conditions, goat eyelids, hilarious magazine ads, dragon tongues, and a cast of characters that ranges from a former police officer to a ventriloquist. Intrigued? Read on…

A long time ago — 1000 A.D.

Nobody knows quite when the dildo was invented. It likely dates all the way back to the Upper Paleolithic period. Phallic objects from this period are sometimes labeled by archaeologists as “batons,” but they might very well have been used for sexual stimulation. One particular 20-centimeter siltstone phallus, estimated to be about 28,000 years old, was discovered in a cave in Germany.

Dildos can also be found in Greek vase art from the 6th century B.C., in depictions of both group sex and solitary female masturbation. Around this time, an early version of the dildo called the “olisbos” was invented in the Greek port of Miletus. Olisbos were sold by traders around the Mediterranean.

Olive oil may have been one of the first lubricants. It was promoted for contraception starting in about 350 B.C.

Ben wa balls were invented around 500 A.D. These little balls — some solid, some hollow with “clappers” inside that created a ringing sound — were inserted into the vagina. They were originally meant to provide pleasure to a man during intercourse, but their ability to improve the pelvic floor muscles was eventually discovered.

1000 — 1800

Cock rings first appeared around 1200 in China. They were made from the eyelids of goats… with the eyelashes still intact. These cock rings were flexible and had to be tied around a man’s erection. Why the eyelashes? Well, they were thought to amplify the pleasure of sex.

Around 1400, the word “dildo” was coined — perhaps from the Latin dilatare, “to open wide,” or maybe from the Italian diletto, “to delight.” Dildos in this period were made of wood, stone, leather, tar, and other firm materials, and required a copious amount of lubrication (again, olive oil) for pleasurable use.

By 1600 or so, cock rings had evolved quite a bit. They were now stiff ivory rings that Chinese men used to maintain their erections. The rings were ornately carved, usually with depictions of dragons. Over time, the dragon design became more and more intricate, until finally the dragon’s tongue extended beyond the ring, creating a nub that stimulated a woman’s clitoris during intercourse.

A primitive version of the vibrator popped up in 1734; it was powered by a hand crank.

1800s

Not much is known about the history of the butt plug, but during the Victorian era, one European doctor suggested that his patients insert a wooden egg anally. It was believed that pressure against the prostate gland would guide semen back to the bladder, thereby preventing “wasteful ejaculation.”

1869 was a landmark year in the history of sex toys. For centuries, doctors had been treating women for a plethora of illnesses (most notably hysteria, which had symptoms very similar to those of sexual arousal) with what they politely called “pelvic massage.” The point was to induce “hysterical paroxysm” — yes, orgasm — in the patient.

Hysteria was a recurring condition, of course, and doctors grew tired of the time-consuming treatment, complaining of fatigued wrists and hands. In an effort to aid them, an American physician named George Taylor, M.D. invented a hulking, steam-powered device called the Manipulator. The engine of the machine was so monstrous that it was hidden in another room, while the apparatus was threaded through a hole in the wall.

Thankfully, the Manipulator was usurped by the first electromechanical vibrator, invented in 1882 by British physician Joseph Mortimer Granville. This vibrator was battery-powered and came with several attachments with which to vary the sensation. Granville did not approve of his device being used on women; he insisted it was for massaging men’s skeletal muscles. But it was too late; the vibrator was off to a running start.

1900 — 1952

As electricity entered homes around the U.S., the plug-in home vibrator experienced a surge in popularity. In fact, vibrators were the fifth domestic appliance to be electrified, right behind the sewing machine, fan, tea kettle, and toaster, and about a decade prior to the vacuum cleaner.

Consumer magazines such as Home Needlework Journal and Woman’s Home Companion featured advertisements for vibrators, touting them as wonderful health and relaxation tools that could cure headaches, wrinkles, and nerve pain. Yet there was an element of playfulness to some of the copy — for example, “all the pleasures of youth… will throb within you.”

Sadly, all of that cheerfulness came crashing down in the 1930s. The vibrator had become more and more prevalent in pornographic films, and manufacturers could no longer pretend that their products were innocent “massagers.” Vibrator advertisements vanished.

In 1952, the American Medical Association concluded that hysteria was not a true ailment. This was the final turning point — the vibrator could no longer hide behind its medical use.

1960 — 1990

In 1966, a middle-aged ventriloquist named Ted Marche pioneered the manufacture and distribution of rubber dildos and other sex toys. By 1976, Marche Manufacturing had sold nearly five million toys — and paved the way for countless others.

The Hitachi Magic Wand, made by Japanese manufacturing firm Hitachi, first appeared on the North American market in the 1970s. The Magic Wand’s stated purpose is to massage sore muscles and nerves, but its use in porn eventually made it famous among sex toy users. To this day, few sex toys are as well-known and well-loved as the Hitachi (although it underwent a name change and now has competition).

In 1980, KY jelly finally went over the counter as a sexual lubricant. Since its inception in 1927, it had been used by physicians during pelvic exams. This opened the flood gates, and a huge variety of lube is available today, including special flavored and stimulating gels.

1990s

Things really began speeding up in the ’90s. Vixen Creations, San Francisco-based manufacturer of 100% silicone sex toys, was founded in 1992. German company Fun Factory, known today as the company that makes cute, brightly-colored toys, came along in 1996. Tantus joined the party in 1998.

The rabbit vibrator, a type of dual-action toy named after the shape of its clitoral stimulator, experienced an explosion in popularity in 1998 when it starred in HBO’s multi-award winning TV show, Sex and the City. Even recent interest in this type of toy can be attributed to the single episode in which Charlotte becomes obsessed with her rabbit.

1998 was also the year the Fleshlight male masturbation sleeve was patented (hilariously, the patent calls it a “device for discreet semen collection”). A former police officer named Steve Shubin came up with the idea when his wife had a high-risk pregnancy and the couple was advised not to have intercourse. Shubin hired models, took casts of their genitalia, then re-created them in a flesh-like material. He disguised each realistic sleeve in a faux flashlight case, and the name “Fleshlight” was born. The Fleshlight is now the best-selling male toy of all time.

2000s — today

Business is booming! Luxury Swedish sex toy company LELO was founded in 2003, and they were the first to create a rechargeable vibrating cock ring, as well as a USB-rechargeable clitoral vibe. Jimmyjane, another manufacturer of high-end toys, was founded in 2004. Stainless steel sex toy manufacturer njoy and wooden sex toy company NobEssence followed in 2005. In 2006, a former Apple employee partnered with her husband to create the world’s first music-driven vibrators.

In 2008, the public was introduced to the first sex toy that remembers what its user likes, the now-discontinued Je Joue SaSi, causing awe among consumers at how advanced sex toys have become.

Now, the market for luxury sex toys is fierce, and innovative toys (such as the Sqweel, Cobra Libre, and Stronic Eins) are being released often. The traditional rabbit vibrator has evolved and been re-imagined. Many vibrators are rechargeable, waterproof, and powerful, all at the same time. And dildos now come in a vast variety of materials, although they always have — but supple pure silicone is definitely an improvement over tar.

Where are sex toys headed next? Some predict advanced phone apps, virtual sex, and biometric controls that respond to moods, body heat, and even brainwaves. Others simply imagine an increase in hygienic materials and eco-friendly options. What would you like to see?

May
30

New product round-up for May

Here’s what we added to the shop and our online store in the month of May!

The spunky people at Tickler have re-invented the rabbit! Check out the innovative Double Toyfriend Bossy and Double Toyfriend Shorty. Both are 100% silicone vibrators with insertable shafts and long-eared rabbits for clitoral stimulation. Shorty is quite a bit smaller than Bossy, so check the dimensions to find the right one for you.

Pjur Original Bodyglide is one of the most popular silicone lubes of all time, so we’re excited to add it to our catalog. A little goes a long way with silicone lube, so this 3.4-ounce bottle will last a while! (Read more about lube in our Lube 101 guide.)

The flower-shaped Gossip Ring has to be one of the cutest toys we’ve ever seen — it’s a finger vibe that doubles as a cock ring. It can also be worn out on the town as an incognito fashion accessory.

And this is a first for us: we’re stocking our first strap-on vibe! It’s called the Wing Fling, and the stimulator is a butterfly made of phthalate-free TPE. We do carry some awesome hands-free vibes (like the Cleo, Snuggle Puss and We-Vibe), but the Wing Fling is the first product that attaches to the body with straps and is controlled by a remote.

Last but not least, we’ve added two amusing and boob-centric products to our Party Fun category: Gummy Boobs and a Boobie Mug.

May
28

Swedish guest house offers more than beds

Now this is my kind of hotel: a guest house in Sweden offers sex toys and the services of an orgasm coach to guests. The owners of the Venusgarden guest house are Ylva Franzén, author of Orgasmera Mera (Orgasming More), and her husband, Åke Fridell. The hotel features three themed bedrooms: Kamasutra, Venus, and Tao.

When was the last time you saw something like this in the website description of a hotel room? This one’s for the Venus Room (pictured):

On the exclusive mirrored table there is every imaginable massage oil, lubricant, tickly feather, love game, sex toy and incense to enhance the atmosphere, a tray with aphrodisiacs including a magic pill which will work wonders for him and of course the bible of the house: Orgasming More. You can try the love swing in the ceiling and pick whatever you want to take home with you from the erotic kit.

Another room features an “ingeniously placed mirror where every move can be watched if you like,” and urges guests to “pick your choice of the love toy for the night to take home with you as a memory of the night passed in love.” Or perhaps more than a single night, as another description reads, “relax and make love for three days like the Indian gods.” Well, okay then!

  Musings     
May
25

Third gender category to be added to Pakistani identity cards

Pakistan’s Supreme Court has done something quite radical: they’ve agreed to add a third gender category to their national identity cards. Surprisingly, there has been little opposition to the ruling, neither within the registration authority nor outside it. This may be because trans people — of which there are an estimated 50,000 — are generally accepted as part of the fabric of Pakistani society.

However, life is not easy for trans people living in Pakistan. This BBC article profiles Shehzadi, a Pakistani trans woman who left home as a teenager. While she appreciates living in the trans community, she says, “People don’t understand, and they abuse us. It’s hard to get somewhere to live, or even to move about normally. I get teased when I stand and wait for a bus.”

Many trans people have trouble finding work as well. Pakistan’s Supreme Court is attempting to remedy this; they recently announced that trans people should be allocated a certain number of government jobs. Shehzadi now works as a tax collector. “We knock on the doors of people who haven’t paid their taxes,” she says. “We stand on their doorstep and give them trouble and make a spectacle. Then to stop us attracting attention, they pay. I love the job, life’s going well!”

While these changes are certainly a step forward for Pakistan in recognizing gender non-conformity, they do not change everything. As Shehzadi somberly explains, “However much we say we are a close community, and call each other ‘sister’ and ‘mother’ it is still a lonely existence.”

May
23

Rough Sex for Beginners: Consent and Desire

Sunday, June 26th — 7:30pm — $20

The sweet intersection of a slap and kiss. The rough and tumble of spank and caress, of commanding voice and gentle stroke, of laugh and growl. Does this sound like you? Or wish it could be you?

Come join hugely popular sex and BDSM educator Felice Shays as she teaches you to use your hands, mouth, toys, and imagination to delve deep into what is often taboo and always crazy-hot. Felice will address what it is to take and give power –as men and as women — and how we get to lose society’s prescriptions as we cross the bedroom threshold.

We will explore communication, emotional limits and release, safety, partnered positions, head-space, anatomy, dirty talk, and helpful items. Throughout the workshop, Felice will share provocative techniques on how to find and express your own desire, how to push through fears that might be preventing you from discovering new sexual and sensual highs, and of course, she will teach you how to spank, slap, restrain, and more.

All genders, ages and individuals and couples all and always welcome. Bring your questions and your curiosity.

This class has already taken place. Thanks for attending!

  Events      , ,  
May
20

The benefits of masturbation

Every month is Masturbation Month to us, but since it’s official in the month of May, we suggest you take some time for yourself and celebrate. The benefits of masturbation are numerous, and range from the physical to the emotional. Here are just a few reasons why masturbation rocks.

  • It’s fun, and it feels good. Couldn’t leave this one out! Sexual gratification is pretty awesome, if we do say so ourselves.
  • It’s up to you. The act of masturbation can be a private act governed by you and you alone. You are free to relax and do what feels right without having to worry about anything or anyone else.
  • It strengthens your relationship with yourself and others. By exploring what you like sexually, you build self-confidence and improve your body image. Sharing your sexual discoveries with a partner can enhance your relationship both physically and emotionally. If two partners have a difference in sex drive, masturbation is also great for creating balance and harmony within the relationship.
  • It boosts your mood and relieves stress. During arousal, the mood-enhancing hormones dopamine and epinephrine go wild. Post climax, the calming hormones oxytocin and endorphins are released. All in all, this leads to a sense of well-being and contentment.
  • It fights insomnia. Those same feel-good hormones also create a soothing afterglow effect. This can help you relax and fall asleep more easily.
  • It improves pelvic floor strength. Especially during orgasm, the pelvic floor gets quite a workout. Toned pelvic muscles can lead to stronger orgasms, and can also prevent involuntary urine leakage.
  • It eases premenstrual and menstrual symptoms. Cramps and muscle tension, for instance, can be alleviated by masturbation thanks to an increase in blood flow to the pelvic region.
  • For folks with vulvas, it can prevent urinary tract and cervical infections. Orgasm causes the cervix to open, allowing old fluid to move from the cervix into the vagina. This process flushes out infection-causing bacteria.
  • For folks with penises, it promotes prostate health. Masturbation can build resistance to prostate gland infection, and if done frequently, it may even reduce the risk of prostate cancer.

We carry a ton of products that can be used during masturbation, so it’s hard to narrow it down and suggest just a few. But we are pretty excited about the new Form 4 vibrator and Tenga 3D masturbation sleeve. And don’t forget lube!

Now go… celebrate!

May
17

Full-Bodied Fellatio

Thursday, June 23rd — 7:30pm — $20

What do you do when your partner lacks blowjob skills? Where do you go for training when you wish to improve your own? Here!

M. Makael Newby is a relationship coach and dance instructor with a particular skill for breaking physical action into components and teaching them with enthusiasm… and blowjobs are one of her favorite things. This class will educate both the givers and receivers. Come learn about creating anticipation, communication, preparing for success, hand skills, tongue tricks, prostate massage, deep throating, sloppy BJs, choking and forced gagging for both bio and strap-on penises. Live demo (on dildo) included.

Many of these techniques are included in My Erotic Adventure, her choose-your-own styled erotic novel, now available at She Bop. Get empowered to give and receive extraordinary head!

This class has already taken place. Thanks for attending!

May
13

Mistress Pineapple raves about her experience at She Bop

We always love to hear what customers think of their shopping experience at She Bop, so we were so delighted to see Mistress Pineapple recount her visit on her blog! Here is what she had to say:

Walking into Portland’s SheBop the Shop last week was like a dream come true (minus a naked Colin Firth, naturally). I rarely make it out to North Portland but this trip was definitely worth it. Wall to wall vibrators, dildos, books, strap-on harnesses, anal plugs, lube and a smiling sales clerk greet you when you slip through the door on N. Beech St. And the best part of all? Not only can touch and play with just about everything, you’re encouraged to.

. . . After perusing the Fun Factory table and ogling the absolutely epic wall of strap-on harnesses, I tentatively picked up a vibrator. As soon as I started playing with the buttons, the sweetly quiet saleslady was beside me, happily displaying the various settings. Far from overbearing, this SheBop girl kept the perfect distance and let me explore to my heart’s content.

Going to a sex boutique with a budget is an absolute must for me. But let me tell you, I had a very hard time sticking to my guns and not buying everything in the store.

Mistress Pineapple ended up buying the LELO Luna Beads, a set of kegel exercisors. She loves them!

The Luna Beads are great! I wear them while I do laundry, grocery shop, run errands and work out (it’s just too much fun to be doing healthy, sexy exercises in the privacy of your pants). I really want to grab one of these sweet beads from Fun Factory to keep in my purse. If you’re not sold on either of those, my best friend bought this set and absolutely loves it.

Thank you so much, Mistress Pineapple, for taking the time to write about your visit with us on your blog. And now, I’m off to satisfy my sudden craving for some tropical fruit…

May
5

Kinky merit badges for the scout in you

Maybe it’s because I’m a former Girl Scout, but when I came across these kinky merit badges, I knew I had to share them. The above badges are entitled “Collared,” “Flogging,” and “Gags,” but there are many, many more. The badges have iron-on backing and are incredibly detailed. The kinks represented on the badges range from the common (spanking) to the very specific (high heel worship!).

There are so many ways these badges could be used. They could be used as rewards, of course, or as a way to advertise one’s skills and attract partners. As Angel wrote,

All I could think of was a naked sub wearing nothing but a boy scout / girl scout merit badge sash with a couple of missing badges, looking nervously about and wondering which badge they would earn today.

The badge creators put a lot of thought into their enterprise. On their site, they explain the thought processes behind the badges:

We thought seriously about creating a book similar to the scout handbook on how each badge should be earned but ultimately felt that wasn’t the right way for us to go . . . The badges could be awarded for both a giver and receiver and we’ve put a lot of effort into making them as pansexual and gender non-specific as possible so that no-one would feel that they’re being excluded in any way.

I just think this is so cool. What do you think — would you sport a kinky merit badge (or several)? Can you think of some creative uses for them?

  Musings      ,  

Welcome to She Bop’s blog!


She Bop is a women-owned sex toy boutique specializing in body safe products and education. Our mission is to promote healthy and safe sexuality by offering quality products and educational workshops in a fun and comfortable environment. She Bop welcomes people of all genders and sexual orientations.

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