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      ,  
Apr
28

Lube 101

Slick, wet, and wonderful — lubricant is a sexual accessory that should always be kept close at hand. Lube makes all sex acts frictionless and more fun, and is absolutely essential for anal sex (since the butt is not self-lubricating). But due to the variety of lubes available today, choosing one can sometimes be daunting.

Indeed, there’s a lot to know about lube — this is only the first of many future posts about lube ingredients, uses, organic certification, etc. But these are the basics, and are definitely enough to get you up and running. Remember, finding the perfect lube for you is a personal thing. You’ll have to decide which texture, consistency, and ingredient list will best suit your needs. We have lube testers at our shop so that all lubes can be felt before purchase.

Lubes are generally classified by which ingredient they’re based on: water, silicone, oil, or a hybrid mix. Further down, we’ve compiled a list of ingredients that may cause irritation.

Water-based

By far the most common base for lube is water. Water-based lubes are compatible with latex and all sex toys, and they’re easier to clean off than silicone-based lubes are. Water-based lubes vary in consistency quite a bit, from very thin (Sliquid Sea is probably our thinnest) to substantially thick. Thick water-based lubes (like Sliquid SassySliquid Organics Gel, and Almost Naked) are awesome for anal sex, as the lube provides cushioning and protection for the delicate rectal tissues.

Because water-based lubes are absorbed into the skin and can evaporate, they may dry out during use — but they can be reactivated with water, or another dollop of extra lube. Also, water-based lubes are ineffective in the shower, bath, hot tub, etc. because they wash away easily.

Silicone-based

There are several benefits to silicone-based lube: it’s silky smooth, long-lasting, and it holds up in water. Silicone lube has a velvety texture that is very pleasurable, and it’s compatible with latex (which is why it is used in the manufacture of pre-lubricated condoms!). Silicone is not absorbed by the skin, so a little goes a long way, and it never dries out. Because of this, silicone lube is amazing for water play, and it’s a trooper during anal sex. Just be sure not to spill it — especially in the shower.

Unfortunately, silicone lubes are often incompatible with silicone sex toys. The lube may stick to the surface of the toy, making it gummy to the touch and impossible to clean. If you want to use silicone lube with a silicone toy, cover the toy with a condom first. (Some brands high-quality silicone lubes are compatible with some brands of high-quality silicone toys, but you should do a test on the base of the toy to make sure. If the lube stays slick, the two are safe to use together. If the lube bonds to the toy, do not use the two together.)

Silicone lube can only be removed with soap and water, so it’s not the best choice for quickies. It can also stain sheets, so lay down a towel first.

Hybrids

A few companies produce hybrid lubes. These are made with a mixture of water and silicone. Our favorite hybrid lube is Sliquid Silk. It’s vegan, and does not contain glycerin or parabens.

Another hybrid lube is Liquid Silk. Although it is labeled as “water-based,” it also contains silicone. Liquid Silk has a nice creamy texture and appearance, but does contain parabens. Many people use Liquid Silk successfully with silicone toys, but always perform a test first.

Oil-based

Oil-based lubes are not always so straightforward. We do not recommend that just any oil product be used as a lubricant, as oil can clog pores and disrupt the natural pH of the vagina. However, we stock an oil-based version of Yes, an organic lube from the UK that contains natural ingredients such as shea butter, almond oil, and vitamin E. Yes is entirely safe for vaginal use; it absorbs into the skin and tissue. Many of our customers use Yes and love it. If you’re feeling adventurous, you can layer the water-based version of Yes on top of the oil-based for a new lube experience.

Stroke 29, a male masturbation cream which contains glycerin and parabens, is oil-based as well.

The oil-based lubes are not compatible with latex barriers, as they will degrade them. But all the oil-based lubes we carry are good for water play and safe to use with silicone toys. Yes can also double as a fantastic massage oil.

Ingredients to watch out for

Beware of these potential irritants in your lube!

Glycerin (or glycerine, glycerol): Glycerin — a form of sugar — is what makes lubes sticky, and what makes some of them sweet. Because glycerin is a sugar alcohol, it can promote or exacerbate yeast infections in those who are prone. The majority of the lubes we carry are proudly glycerin-free, with the exceptions being Stroke 29 and Boy Butter H20.

Parabens (anything that ends with “paraben,” e.g. “methylparaben”): Parabens are a range of common, synthetic preservatives used in everything from cosmetics to packaged food. Parabens have long been considered safe, but recent studies have indicated that they may cause allergic reactions and even cancer in women. Experts found that when parabens are absorbed into the body, they mimic estrogen and can upset normal hormone production; this can contribute to the growth of tumors and cancer. Additionally, measurable amounts of various parabens have been found in biopsy samples of breast cancer tumors.

Although no study has proven a conclusive link between paraben absorption and cancer, any lube we stock that contains parabens features a warning on the product page.

L-Arginine: L-Arginine is an amino acid that may initiate a herpes outbreak in those with genital herpes. It is sometimes found in warming/stimulating lubes. We do not carry any products that contain L-Arginine. However, some stimulating lubes that we carry contain menthol and peppermint; these ingredients may cause irritation, so try a sample size first.

Propylene glycol: This ingredient is used in cosmetics as a humectant, which helps to retain moisture in the skin and prevent it from drying out. It’s also a component of antifreeze, and some lubricants. Anyone who is prone to yeast infections, or those with vulvodynia or interstitial cystitis, should be wary of propylene glycol. (The similarly-named “vegetable propylene glycol” is a different ingredient, and it is safe.)

  Guides       
Apr
28

New product round-up for April

We recently added a truckload of new items to our catalog, and we want to tell you all about them!

First, the vibrating delights: we’re now stocking the much-anticipated Jimmyjane Form 4. This vibrator is bulbous, rechargeable, powerful, and waterproof — awesome!

We have several new cock rings: a leather one and even a stainless steel ring. We’re also excited about the new Tenga Flip Air masturbation sleeve, an updated version of the uber-popular Tenga Flip Hole.

Remember how we promised to stock even more of the movies nominated for Feminist Porn Awards this year? Well, we got ’em! Feast your eyes on the feminist-approved Billy Castro Does the MissionRoulette Toronto, and My Own Master. We are also now stocking Matinee and Tristan Taormino’s Rough Sex 3: Adrianna’s Dangerous Mind.

We’ve added a ton of books to our catalog! We got some exciting parenting books: Sex and Sensibility and Always My Child. We’re also plumping up our Gender/Politics book section with some amazing and important books: Kate Bornstein’s Gender Outlaws: The Next Generation, Helen Boyd’s My Husband Betty, and S. Bear Bergman’s Butch is a Noun.

Oh, and how could I forget — Bonk: The Curious Coupling of Science and Sex, which is seriously hilarious.

Believe it or not, that’s not even everything we’ve added in the past month, but I’ll spare you an even longer link barrage! Drop by the shop and ask us what’s new, or use the filter in our online store to sort items from “newest to oldest.”

Apr
28

Cunnilingus from a Dyke’s Mouth

Sunday, May 15th — 7:30 pm — $20

What better teacher of cunnilingus than someone who loves to give and get it? Who knows the equipment better than a woman who owns her own and loves up others’? Join queer sex educator Felice Shays as she gives you tips and tricks for muff diving. A quick tour of anatomy and then on to the how tos: from the simple to the sublime and the vanilla to the kinky.

Known for her straight talk infused with humor, Felice Shays provides personal sexual and BDSM education across the US and Canada. A recent transplant from Brooklyn, NY, Felice provides sex and BDSM counseling to individuals and couples, and has presented at a plethora of events, groups, and private functions for a decade. Felice also produces sex and BDSM parties for women and trans people.

This workshop is open to all genders who love vulva.

This class has already taken place. Thanks for attending!

  Events      ,  

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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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