Exploring Burlesque: Striptease Salon

Wednesday, July 8th — 7:30 p.m. — $20

Have you ever wanted to rock your boa? Peel your stocking? Shimmy your hips? Get your glamour puss on because this class is for you! Join Orchestre L’Pow producer Madison Moone for Striptease Salon, a flirty evening of classic bump and grind perfect for beginners or just the curious.

Students will be guided through a sexy burlesque movement study including bumps, grinds and struts, followed by a tantalizing round of peeling techniques and prop dancing. We will also explore classic burlesque characters before constructing a series of short teases as a group. Together, we will discover a deeper sense of our personal erotic being while developing a greater appreciation for our feminine power!

Students should dress in comfortable clothes such a yoga or dance wear. Music and demo props will be provided by Miss Moone. All levels of fitness welcome, no dance experience or nudity required. Please avoid alcohol consumption before attending and arrive by 7:20 p.m. — class will begin promptly at 7:30 p.m., no late entrance after 7:45 p.m. No photographs are permitted. There will be time for shopping after the class!

Grab your best girlfriends and join Miss Moone for an evening of fun, laughs and celebration of the female spirit. See you in class!

This class has already taken place. Thanks for attending!

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Even More Pleasure, Power, and Pain: Expanding Your BDSM Experiences

AnnamarieThursday, July 2nd– 7:30 p.m. — $20

Do you have a basic understanding of BDSM play? Perhaps you’ve read some of the how-to manuals, own some kinky toys, took a class or two, or have explored some sexy role play in the bedroom. Where do you go from here?

In this class, you’ll learn skills to help you build hot, intense scenes no matter what you’re into. We’ll cover how to take some of the BDSM basics a bit farther, plus learn some edgier types of play such as CBT, nipple/breast torment, and orgasm control. There will also be a discussion of public play — how to get invited to a party, what to expect, good etiquette, and more!

Be ready to try things out (optional, but so much fun!), ask questions, and share your experiences!

Annamarie is a passionate sex educator with a knowledge fetish. Sexuality has been a life-long interest, with a focus on embracing our entire sexual selves, growing as erotic beings, and creating community. She has been presenting and teaching workshops on sexuality, polyamory, and BDSM in the Portland area and around the west coast since 2006. You can learn more at her websites, Fierce Grace and PDX Kink Events.

This class has already taken place. Thanks for attending!

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The academic study of porn

Illustration by AnotherExample.

Taking an analytical eye to porn is not new. When feature-length porn films began playing in movie theaters in the 1970s, some feminist scholars and activists reacted with disdain, arguing that porn was inherently objectifying. Others disagreed, leading journalist and activist Ellen Willis to coin the term “pro-sex feminism” in 1981.

Around this time, film scholar Linda Williams wrote the groundbreaking book Hard Core: Power, Pleasure and the Frenzy of the Visible, and Concordia University film studies professor Thomas Waugh started including porn in his classes on sexuality and cinema. The school endorsed his decision, but colleagues often did not.

It’s been 30 years since then, and, as shown by this excellent piece in University Affairs, interest in the study of porn has not waned. In fact, there’s a new academic journal from Routledge called Porn Studies, created specifically to compile scholarship on the subject. At the helm of the publication is Lynn Comella, associate professor of gender and sexuality studies at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, who has been teaching about porn since 2001. Only after receiving tenure last July did she dare use the word “porn” in her course title.

What does a class on porn look like? Well, take the aptly-named “Porn Studies,” taught at York University by associate professor of sexuality and gender studies Bobby Noble. It’s held at 8:30 in the morning with the aim of attracting only serious pupils. For the first several weeks of class, students aren’t shown any film clips, photos, or images — instead, they discuss what pornography is and what assumptions are made about it. The first images they see are those of Victorian women from the 1850s.

In later weeks, Noble teaches about more contemporary issues such as queer and feminist porn, and the ways in which modern technology has altered the consumption and perception of the medium. “I was very impressed by their levels of maturity, the levels of sophistication, their poetical analyses,” Noble said about the first time he taught the class. “I could tell that these were questions about sexuality and sexual representation that they wanted to talk about, but haven’t had the space in which to do that.”

Meanwhile, Noble’s colleague at York University Lisa Sloniowski is compiling the Feminist Pornography Archive, which originally existed simply to provide materials for students taking applicable courses. It received a three-year grant from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council in 2010, and Sloniowski is now tackling the difficult questions: what is feminist porn, actually? Will the collection reside in the library itself or in a more private location? How will it operate in the digital age?

Ultimately, the study of pornography is similar to studying any artistic medium. Rebecca Sullivan, who teaches an advanced film seminar on pornography at the University of Calgary, explained:

I want to look at this film the same way we’d look at Hitchcock. What’s going on here? What do we learn? How do we embrace or resist it? Let’s move away from the pro- and anti- argument. It’s divisive and counterproductive. And it’s bad scholarship.

Read the whole piece at University Affairs.

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10% Tuesdays in May for TransActive’s In A Bind program

Throughout the month of May, 10% of all purchases made at She Bop on Tuesdays will go to TransActive’s In A Bind program! TransActive is a Portland-based non-profit that provides a wide range of services to transgender and gender nonconforming children, youth, and their families. Their In A Bind program provides chest binders to trans-masculine youth in need. It is the first national chest binder donation/distribution program, with over 1,300 people on the waiting list for a binder.

All proceeds from this fundraiser will be used to purchase binders from our distributor and donate them to TransActive. You are also welcome to visit the shop to donate binders.

So come on down to the shop on any Tuesday in May to support this amazing program. Be sure to follow TransActive on Facebook and Twitter, and check out this interview with the Program Coordinator for In A Bind, conducted by our very own sales associate and educator, Wyatt Riot!


Full-Bodied Fellatio

Thursday, June 25th — 7:30 p.m. — $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. Get empowered to give and receive extraordinary head!

This class has already taken place. Thanks for attending!


Keeping the Fire Alive: Satisfying and Sustainable Sex

Alyssa SiegelThursday, June 4th — 7:30 p.m. — $15

The number one reason that couples seek sex therapy is because sex has slowed or stopped altogether and it makes them question the viability of their primary long-term relationship. And while changing patterns in sexual dynamics can take time, it is far from hopeless! Most couples are in fact able to find great satisfaction again in their sexual relationships with the right tools.

By taking our own sexual inventories, exploring our interests and preferences, assessing areas of strength and areas for growth, and learning new ways to communicate our needs with our partners, we can create a new narrative in our sexual story. In this class we will explore why sex changes over time in partnerships, why it matters, what you can do about it, and how to keep fun, interesting, fulfilling and sustainable over time.

Alyssa Siegel is a licensed professional counselor in Portland, OR. In her private practice she works with individuals and couples specializing in sex and sexuality, relationships, and personal identity development. She is a contributing author for the book Your Brain on Sex: How Smarter Sex Can Change Your Life, and a columnist for Psychology Tomorrow Magazine, an online periodical that explores cutting edge ideas and practices in psychology, sexuality, and art. Alyssa received her Master’s Degree in counseling and is a member of the National Coalition of Sexual Freedom and the Society for the Scientific Study of Human Sexuality. Alyssa is a kink, poly, and queer friendly provider. For more information about Alyssa see her website.

This class has already taken place. Thanks for attending!


10% Tuesdays in April for Portland Women’s Crisis Line

Each Tuesday this April, 10% of our sales at She Bop will go to the Portland Women’s Crisis Line (PWCL). PWCL is a hugely important organization that offers 24/7 support to survivors of sexual assault and domestic violence. They offer services such as safety planning, peer support, crisis intervention, needs assessments, and referrals to community resources. They have specialized programs for sexual assault and sex workers. PWCL is an invaluable asset to our community, and we are honored to be able to give back to them for the tireless work that they do.

April is also Sexual Assault Awareness Month. According to RAINN, someone in the U.S. is sexually assaulted every 2 minutes. This unfortunate statistic is a reality for 1 out of every 6 American women. Here are a few resources for thinking about and combating sexual assault.

We also carry the book Healing Sex and its DVD counterpart, which are aim to help survivors of sexual trauma reclaim their sex lives.


What it’s like to be professionally cuddled

Samantha Hess, owner of Cuddle Up To MeYou may have seen the headlines. Woman Opens Professional Cuddling Shop, Struggles to Keep Up with Demand. Woman Opens Cuddling Shop And Gets 10,000 Customers In The First Week.

But if that seems fishy, it is: that figure would amount to less than 1 minute of cuddling per customer, with the cuddler working non-stop, 24 hours a day.

The truth is that owner Samantha Hess got 10,000 email inquiries in the first week of opening her shop, Cuddle Up To Me, on E. Burnside in November last year.

But none of this was a surprise to Hess. She knew the demand was there — she’s been cuddling professionally since 2013. She had just exited a 13-year relationship and was inspired by the free hugs offered by folks at Saturday Market. For a while, she traveled to clients’ homes or locations of their choosing, sometimes up to five hours out of Portland, to cuddle. But she wanted to expand: she wanted a space.

It took her eight months to find a landlord who understood that her business had no ulterior motives. Cuddle Up To Me now resides in 3,500 square foot space and features four themed rooms (forest, ocean, universe, and zen), security cameras that record every session, and four professional cuddlers. Sessions cost about $1/minute and can last 30-180 minutes. The business welcomes anyone in need of human connection.

Without any direct stories, it can be hard to visualize these cuddling sessions. But a piece in Salon illuminates both what goes on in a session and how therapeutic it can be. Writer Melissa Duclos went into the experience unsure of what to expect, but she was quickly won over.

It’s hard to argue with the value of unconditional acceptance, though the notion that it can come from a stranger is difficult for many people to swallow. According to Hess, though, a stranger — who doesn’t know you and who isn’t in a position to judge you — is the best person to deliver this message. Beyond that, she explains, professional cuddling allows clients to be completely selfish, receiving what they need without having to give anything in return. It brings them back to being children: loved, accepted and completely taken care of.

Given this explanation of the value of cuddling, it was apt that the first cuddle position we used was called the “Mama Bear.” Hess sat on the bed with her back leaning against the wall, and instructed me to sit between her legs, my back and head resting against her torso. She wrapped her arms around me. I closed my eyes and kept my arms at my side, my hands on my own thighs. We remained silent, though Hess had assured me that talking was fine if I wanted to. As I leaned against her, she stroked my arms, played with my hair, and massaged my temples and the always tight muscles in my jaw. My breath began to deepen, matching the pace of hers. It started to occur to me that snuggling with a stranger was not such a crazy idea after all.

Duclos left the session feeling “euphoric, giddy like a child and more open to the world around me.”

Samantha Hess even developed a 40-hour cuddle training program to teach her employees 50+ cuddling positions, how to read body language, and how to guide the flow of the cuddling session depending on a client’s desires. Sometimes, clients prefer to cuddle on a couch rather than a bed, or listen to the cuddler read aloud to them. Some like to talk during a session; others prefer to remain silent.

The important thing, Hess emphasizes, is “making people feel worthy for who they are today.”


Pleasure, Power, and Pain: An Introduction to BDSM

Thursday, May 21st — 7:30 p.m. — $20

BDSM — whips, chains, and lots of black leather, right? Well… sometimes! But the world of kink and BDSM covers so much more, from a little rough sex to the opportunity to explore your personal boundaries, both emotional and physical.

If you’ve been curious about something you’ve read, or turned on by a scene in a movie that’s a little rougher than the usual fare, this class is for you! You’ll learn how to use those amazing toys and have the chance to see what they feel like. We’ll also be discussing role play, power dynamics, and resources for finding the local BDSM community.

Bring your fantasies, your questions, and your curiosity and get ready for a hot evening!

Annamarie is a passionate sex educator with a knowledge fetish. Sexuality has been a life-long interest, with a focus on embracing our entire sexual selves, growing as erotic beings, and creating community. She has been presenting and teaching workshops on sexuality, polyamory, and BDSM in the Portland area and around the west coast since 2006. You can learn more at her website.

This class has already taken place. Thanks for attending!

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Back That Ass Up!: Anal Sex 101

Wednesday, May 27th — 7:30 p.m. — $20

AJ (aka Amory Jane)Are you interested in anal pleasure but not sure where to get started? Already tried anal play but wanting to learn some fun tricks and techniques? Whether you’re brand new to the wonderful world of anal or already have some backdoor experience, this class is sure to teach you something new!

In this educational and humorous workshop, AJ will confront taboos, go over anal anatomy, prostate, and the G-spot, discuss anal penetration for beginners, and show great positions for anal sex. She’ll also cover safety and hygiene and give you the inside scoop on all the best lubes and anal toys! This class is open to all genders and sexual appetites.

AJ (aka Amory Jane) is one of She Bop’s in-house sex educators. She graduated with a master’s degree from Lewis & Clark College, where she studied Sex Therapy and Marriage, Couple, & Family Counseling. She has facilitated multiple discussion groups and taught dozens of sex education workshops around Portland and the Midwest. She also moonlights as a sex-positive relationship coach.

This class has already taken place. Thanks for attending!


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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