Aug
17

Beyond Monogamy

AJ (aka Amory Jane) Thursday, October 9th — 7:30 p.m. — $20

A growing number of people are exploring alternatives to monogamy, through swinging, polyamory, and other types of open relationships. If you or someone you know are one of those people, this might be the workshop for you!

Whether you are curious about opening up, already enjoying polyamory and wanting to do it even better, or facing obstacles in your non-monogamous relationship, AJ will help walk you through the challenges and benefits of ethical non-monogamy. She will discuss different styles of open relationships, talk about how to deal with common issues such as jealousy, resentment, time management, miscommunication, and New Relationship Energy (NRE), and will offer tips on dating/meeting new people, navigating different relationship structures and hierarchies, and coming out poly.

In this interactive workshop, AJ will guide participants through exercises that help them negotiate agreements/boundaries, design their own ideal open relationships, and practice nonviolent communication for deeper, more fulfilling connections. There will also be the option to hear about real-life triumphs and tribulations of other non-mono people in addition to learning how to find and build community. This is a 2-hour class.

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 relationship coach, working with polyamorous individuals and couples in open relationships. AJ is an active member of the Portland poly community.

This class has already taken place. Thanks for attending!

Aug
1

10% Tuesdays in August for Bitch Media

10% Tuesdays for Bitch are back! Throughout the month of August, 10% of our sales on Tuesdays will go to the non-profit organization Bitch Media. Bitch’s mission is to provide and encourage an engaged, thoughtful feminist response to mainstream media and popular culture.

Check out Bitch’s toy, lube, and book recommendations for some ideas on what to snag!

We are big fans of Bitch, and we believe they are an invaluable voice in the feminist discourse. In fact, we constantly find ourselves wanting to signal boost the stuff they publish — like their interview with the author of Big Big Love, their sex worker series “The H-Word,” their interview with sex diary purveyor Arianne Cohen, and their BDSM series “Thinking Kink.”

But it’s not just their blog that’s amazing; their print magazine, which has been in circulation since 1996, is still going strong. Bitch also hosts awesome events, fosters a community lending library at their headquarters in NE Portland, and publishes an array of fun podcasts for your listening pleasure. Follow them on Facebook and Twitter for up-to-the-minute tidbits!

Whether you are a long-time devotee or a newbie to this awesome magazine and non-profit organization, you can now be a supporter and get some fabulous sex toys to boot. Drop by She Bop or shop online on any Tuesday in August to support Bitch!

Jul
31

The internal condom gets new life

© Giles RevellDespite having been on the market for over 20 years, an air of mystery continues to surround the internal condom. Worn internally during sex, this nitrile pouch with a flexible ring at each end can be 95% effective at preventing pregnancy and STIs, yet it remains difficult to find in stores and accounts for only 1.6% of condoms distributed worldwide.

Although commonly known as the “female condom,” the internal condom is used by people of all genders. There are many reasons to love this condom, as blogger and sex educator the Redhead Bedhead has pointed out — it doesn’t require an erection, it’s excellent for period sex, it’s empowering. It can also be a great option during anal sex. This unique contraceptive has the potential to become much more common, but its bumpy start caused misconceptions that plague it to this day.

The internal condom was invented by Danish doctor and inventor Lasse Hessel. Pharmaceutical company Wisconsin Pharmacal bought the rights to the technology in the late 80s, but it took six years for the FDA — which classified the condom as a high-risk class III medical device — to approve it.

When the FC1 internal condom hit the market in 1993, public health experts were thrilled… but consumers weren’t. Focus groups had liked the idea of the condom, but in use, they found it too foreign and confusing. It was also expensive: $5 per condom. As Emily Anthes reports in her detailed history of the condom:

Though some women did eventually come to like the condoms, there was a definite learning curve and as many as one-third to one-half of women had difficulty inserting them. Once in place, the condom had a tendency to squeak or rustle during sex.

The media pounced on these complaints, and utterly skewered the female condom. They ridiculed its aesthetics with seemingly limitless creativity. As sociologist Amy Kaler recounts in her 2004 paper on the condom’s introduction, journalists compared the product to: “a jellyfish, a windsock, a fire hose, a colostomy bag, a Baggie, gumboots, a concertina, a plastic freezer bag, . . . something out of the science-fiction cartoon The Jetsons, a raincoat for a Slinky toy, or a ‘contraption used to punish fallen virgins in the Dark Ages.'”

The barrage of negative press led the crew at Wisconsin Pharmacal to focus their efforts elsewhere. In 1996, they turned toward the global public sector, providing their condoms for at-risk women in low-income countries. Particularly in sub-Saharan Africa, where many women were being diagnosed with HIV, the internal condom made a huge impact.

Encouraged by this response, Wisconsin Pharmacal changed its name to the Female Health Company and made one important alteration to their product: the material. They switched from polyurethane to nitrile, making the condom less noisy and less expensive. This new generation was called the FC2. Between 2007 and 2010, the number of internal condoms distributed globally doubled.

Luckily for us, innovation is everywhere when it comes to modern condoms. Last year, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation awarded $1 million in grants to 11 condom prototypes, including a condom with pull tabs and another which reacts to body heat and conforms to the wearer.

Quite a few internal condom designs are also in the works. An Indian condom company makes the Cupid, which offers internal stability from a foam sponge. The Phoenurse, currently sold in China, comes with an optional insertion stick. The Origami Condom from Los Angeles is made of silicone and unfolds like an accordion when inserted.

Perhaps the most promising and thoroughly researched is the Woman’s Condom, created by global health nonprofit PATH. Starting all the way back in 1998, PATH began consulting focus groups in South Africa, Thailand, Mexico, and the U.S., asking what folks wanted from internal condoms. 300 prototypes later, they hit pay-dirt by implementing a dissolving applicator. The capsule-sized applicator is easily pushed into the vagina, where it releases the full condom pouch. Testers have deemed this condom comfortable, stable, and easy to insert.

But a lot depends on educating the public. There are still myths and confusions surrounding the internal condom that need to be dispelled. We could definitely take a hint from Zimbabwe, Malawi, and Cameroon, where salons and barbershops serve as distribution centers, and Africa, where the condoms are advertised on billboards, TV, and the radio. With the right innovation and advocacy, the internal condom could get the respect it deserves.

  Musings      ,  
Jul
29

The not-so-secret lives of erotica writers

Erotica books

Never Say Never, Playing with Fire: Taboo Erotica, The Mile High Club,
Pleasure Bound: True Bondage Stories, Lust: Erotic Fantasies for Women

In some ways, erotica authors are just like the rest of the population. But not in every way.

Ebook recommendation website The Fussy Librarian recently surveyed 103 authors of erotic romance novels, with some interesting results.  The vast majority of respondents were heterosexual married women aged 24-54. The average age that they lost their virginity was 17.8, compared to the U.S. average of 17.1. 28% of them have had more than 11 partners, compared to the national average of 9%.

Apparently, erotica writers don’t have sex any more frequently than average Americans, but they are more likely to have engaged in threesomes, practiced BDSM, and had sex in unique locations such as offices, cars, planes, and outdoors.

Speaking of unique locations, the really salacious responses came when the survey asked respondents for the most unusual place they’ve had sex. Even just among these 103 people, folks have had sex on stage at a concert, on a horse, in a canoe, on a stack of drywall in a home under construction, in a cemetery, on the Haunted Mansion ride at Disney World, and… at The Louvre.

46% of respondents have had sex as “research” for a book, and 76% have based a scene in one of their books on something that actually happened to them. So, don’t worry about whether that hot scene you love was plucked out of the sky — it was more likely to have been based on a true experience!

Finally, in case you were wondering, respondents would rate the novel Fifty Shades of Grey 2.2 stars out of 5. Ouch.

  Musings      ,  
Jul
26

We’re on Oh Joy Sex Toy — and voted the #1 sex toy shop in Portland!

When we invited Portland cartoonist and Oh Joy Sex Toy creator Erika Moen to attended two of our most popular classes, Full-Bodied Fellatio and Beyond Monogamy, we knew the resulting comic would be awesome. But nothing could have prepared us for just how awesome.

She Bop on Oh Joy Sex Toy!

Not only did Erika draw an excellent depiction of our class instructors AJ and M. Makael Newby, she meticulously illustrated the shop itself… and had so many nice things to say about her experience at each class!

AJ was fun and engaging, packing a TON of information into two hours. My favorite bit was the Jealousy Jellyfish she used to breakdown the different components of the ol’ Green Eyed Monster.

The diversity of the attendees surprised me! I guess I was expecting middle-aged, heterosexual, cisgender, married couples who’ve been together a couple decades and are now interested in swinging. But the ages and genders and sexual orientations of the people who showed up was quite a mix — and so were their reasons for attending!

. . . Despite the vast difference in subject matter and presentation format between these two classes, they both managed to be very high energy. She Bop felt very welcoming, friendly, and like a safe place to get feedback on super intimate questions.

We are so glad Erika enjoyed the classes and took the time to immortalize them in digital comic form! We run these two classes on a pretty regular schedule, so be sure to keep an eye on our events page or sign up for our monthly email newsletter to snag a spot in the next one.

She Bop in the Mercury's PDX Approved guide 2014In other news, we were voted the #1 sex toy shop in Portland in the Mercury‘s PDX Approved guide! This is our fourth year being included. We remember back in 2011 when the category was called simply “porn shop.” In 2012, it became “porn / sex toy shop” and the Mercury published a really cool write-up about us. Each year, we are honored!

A resounding THANK YOU to everyone who voted for us in the Mercury‘s ballot. We appreciate your support! And congratulations to our fellow shops Fantasy and Spartacus — it’s great to have so many fun places to shop in Portland!

Jul
26

Prostate Pleasure

Charlie GlickmanSunday, September 28th — 7:30 p.m. — $25 — Q Center

This class will be held at She Bop.

More people are discovering the amazing pleasure potential of the prostate, aka the male G-spot. Prostate massage, pegging, and anal sex for men can bring you to new heights of sensation and Charlie Glickman PhD, one of the authors of The Ultimate Guide to Prostate Pleasure, is here to tell you all about it.

He’ll explain the role of the prostate in sexual arousal and orgasm, give you lots of tips for easy and pleasurable anal penetration, tell you all about prostate massage, show you the best toys for strap-on play and pegging, offer ideas for combining prostate play with other kinds of sex, and much more. Whether you’re new to the idea of prostate play or you’re an experienced enthusiast, Charlie has plenty to offer you, so come discover new ways to make your partner’s toes curl!

Find out more about Charlie on his website or on Twitter and Facebook. For Charlie’s sex coaching and sexological bodywork services, visit MakeSexEasy.com.

This class has already taken place. Thanks for attending!

Jul
26

The Joys of Toys!

Wednesday, September 24th — 7:30 p.m. — $15

AJ (aka Amory Jane) as a sex toy superhero!Join She Bop’s very own AJ (aka Amory Jane, pictured here as a sex toy superhero!) for an evening of education and fun. Ever wandered around a sex toy shop and wondered “what the heck is that?” Never fear, AJ will answer those burning (in a good way) questions and then some!

In this class you will learn how sex toys originated and have advanced throughout history. AJ will explain the different types of toys, what they are used for and what they are made from, including vibrators, dildos, kegel exercisers, anal toys, toys for BDSM and more. Of course, don’t forget one of the most important things of all… yes, that would be lube! AJ will go over the different types of lube, as well as the ingredients to be aware of when selecting the best product for you. She will also address how to clean and store your toys so that you can enjoy them for as long as possible.

As a special bonus, class attendees get 10% off their purchases in She Bop the night of the class!

This workshop is open to all genders and sexual appetites!

This class has already taken place. Thanks for attending!

  Events       
Jul
13

More Than Two Reading with Franklin Veaux and Eve Rickert

More Than Two Reading with Franklin Veaux and Eve Rickert

Sunday, September 14th — 7:30 p.m. — FREE

Vancouver, BC author Eve Rickert, together with her partner and co-author Franklin Veaux, of Portland, Oregon, will be reading from their forthcoming book More Than Two: A Practical Guide to Ethical Polyamory and answering reader questions on the book and on polyamory in general.

More Than Two is a comprehensive guide to the polyamorous lifestyle. Challenging the notion of what society considers a healthy and successful relationship, Rickert and Veaux offer up personal stories from their own lives as well as of those in the wider poly world, emphasizing that this lifestyle choice isn’t for the noncommittal. Polyamory is all about the relationships and the individuals participating.

Charting a Relationship Bill of Rights, the authors underscore the importance of engaging in ethical polyamory and guide readers through the thorny issues of jealousy and insecurity with the aim of encouraging readers to work consistently and conscientiously on both their relationships and themselves.

This class has already taken place. Thanks for attending!

Jul
1

Tracking the history of American sex ed films

America’s first sex ed movie was called Damaged Goods. Screened in theaters in 1914, it followed the sad life of a man who contracted syphilis from a sex worker and subsequently committed suicide.

Unsurprisingly, the characters in early sex ed films were stereotypes. Men — whom the films were aimed at — were like stallions, easily overtaken by their sexual urges. Women fell into two categories: harlots out to infect young men with venereal diseases, and virginal “nice girls” with no sexual desire at all.

This account comes to us courtesy of Bitch, where Sarah Mirk has tirelessly deconstructed The Dramatic History of American Sex-Ed Films. In her research, Mirk found an odd and unexpected trajectory:

Instead of becoming steadily better in quality over time, the content, messages, and accuracy of sex-ed films have fluctuated with the moral and political forces of each era. What’s especially surprising in looking at the history of sex-ed films is how the medium has changed in its approach to contraception. Condoms, over time, have gone from being framed as a straightforward way to prevent disease to a failure-prone and risky option.

The first sex ed film to be screened in an American public school was called Human Growth. Funded by a physician and educator who left $500,000 in his will specifically for its creation, the anatomy-focused 20-minute film caused a great stir when it was shown in a seventh grade classroom in Eugene, Oregon in 1948. National magazines even wrote about the event.

The ’60s brought homophobic “stranger danger” public safety movies, then, oddly enough, fearless movies in the ’70s featured full nudity. Contraception made its debut in sex ed films starting in the early ’80s… but the AIDS epidemic quickly cast a dark shadow over the topic.

As the decades went by, films continued to ignore female sexual desire. The clitoris as a pleasurable part of the anatomy was not mentioned until the ’80s, while male masturbation and wet dreams were common topics. Most of the information dispensed to young girls was about menstruation. In fact, Disney once partnered with Kotex to produce an animated short urging girls to “keep smiling and even-tempered” during their periods.

A large shift took place in the 1990s, when the federal government began funding abstinence-only education. Religious groups began visiting schools — they used shame and fear tactics, centering their lessons on morality and virginity. The films made by religious organizations followed the same line of thinking, even including bogus “facts” about condom failure rates. No Second Chance, from 1991, was one of those films:

In the video, a woman extolls students to be abstinent while imagery of a kid playing with a gun rolls onscreen.

“When you use a condom, it’s like playing Russian Roulette. There’s less chance that when you pull the trigger, you’re going to get a bullet in your head,” she tells a class of students. One teen boy pipes up.

“What if I want to have sex before I get married?” he asks.

“Well, I guess you just have to be prepared to die,” she responds.

The upcoming documentary Sex(ED) The Movie (trailer below) estimates that 100,000 sex ed films have been produced in the past century, but the state of American sex ed remains grim. Although 80% of Americans favor comprehensive sex education, only 22 states require sex ed, with only 19 requiring the lessons to be medically accurate. There are no national standards for how sex ed should be taught.

Here in Oregon, where our sex ed policies are considered “progressive,” we’ve updated our sex ed video My Future, My Choice to include gender-neutral language about relationships and a racially diverse cast. But the video strongly recommends abstinence, fails to mention birth control aside from a brief blip about condoms, and, by all accounts, does not address pleasure in the slightest.

We do have the internet, where Scarleteen dispenses accurate and in-depth sex ed information, Laci Green uploads friendly and frank videos, and Go Ask Alice answers an avalanche of questions. But this puts the onus on kids to ask those questions and find the information they need. Films shown in classrooms have an air of authority that the internet will never have. Although we’ve come a long way since Damaged Goods, sex ed films still have room for improvement.

  Musings       
Jul
1

Erotica reading with Rachel Kramer Bussel!

Rachel Kramer Bussel, Tiffany Reisz, Stella Harris, Emily Bingham

Wednesday, September 10th — 7:30 p.m. — FREE

Join erotica author and editor Rachel Kramer Bussel with readings from her latest anthologies, Hungry for More: Romantic Fantasies for Women and The Big Book of Submission: 69 Kinky Tales. Joining her will be contributors Tiffany Reisz, author of the popular Original Sinners series, as well as Stella Harris, Emily Bingham, and Laurel Isaac.

Rachel Kramer Bussel is a New York-based author, editor, blogger and event organizer. She has edited 40+ anthologies, including Women in Lust, Bottoms Up, Spanked, Tasting Her, Gotta Have It, The Mile High Club, and Do Not Disturb: Hotel Sex Stories. Rachel conducts reading and erotic writing workshops worldwide.

Tiffany Reisz is the author of the internationally bestselling and award-winning Original Sinners series for Mira Books. Her first novel, The Siren, won the RT Editor’s Choice Award for Best Erotic Romance of 2012.

Stella Harris is an active volunteer in her local BDSM and sex-positive communities and writes erotic fiction as well as lifestyle and educational pieces on sex and kink. Publication highlights include several anthologies by Cleis Press and a series of tantalizing and informative articles on kinkly.com.

Emily Bingham is a writer, model, rope enthusiast, and seeker of adventure.

Laurel Isaac is a queer writer of sex stories and personal essays. She’s currently exploring small-town queer life in Southern Oregon.

This class has already taken place. Thanks for attending!

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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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