Jan
31

Bringin’ Sexy Back: Navigating Sex After Cancer

Sunday, March 20th — 7:30 p.m. — $10

Leslie and GretchenCancer affects every aspect of a person’s life, including their sex life. If you have cancer, if someone you love has cancer, or if you are a cancer survivor, this class is for you.

Join mother-daughter duo, Leslie Heron (ARNP, FNP-BC) of Seattle Cancer Care Alliance and our very own in-house educator Gretchen, for this informative and fun workshop on cancer and sexuality. They will discuss common side effects of cancer and cancer treatments (relationship issues, hiccups in communication, and physical symptoms such as erectile dysfunction, vaginal dryness, etc.), and products that can help (books, lubricants, toys, and more)!

This class will be a light-hearted way for healthcare professionals and those affected by cancer to connect and learn together. Participants are encouraged to ask questions, share stories, and handle products.

This class has already taken place. Thanks for attending!

  Events      ,  
Jan
31

Win a Womanizer!

Big congrats to Quinn, Chris, and Christiane, the winners of this giveaway!
We hope all of you love your cool new toys.

The sex toy industry has never seen anything quite like the Womanizer. This odd-looking little toy provides innovative stimulation: gentle suction in addition to vibration. In the short time it’s been on the market, it has received rave reviews across the internet and with our staff.

We thought this would be the perfect toy to give away to our awesome customers! In fact, we have three Womanizers for a total of three different winners.

Suction for everyone — just in time for Valentine’s Day!

Intrigued? Enter below! The last day of this giveaway is February 14th.

Enter now!

Use the Rafflecopter widget below to enter the giveaway. The first entry option (subscribing to this blog) is mandatory, and the rest are optional. Winners living outside the U.S. will be responsible for shipping costs.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

This giveaway ends on Sunday, February 14th at 11:59 p.m. PST.
Winners will be chosen randomly.

  Giveaways      ,  
Jan
30

The past and future of edible sex products

Candypants edible underwear

Edible underwear wasn’t supposed to be a real thing. It was an off-hand joke that blossomed between two Chicago artists (Lee Brady and David Sanderson) in 1972, as they sat around discussing the phrase “eat my shorts.” What if someone’s shorts were literally edible? They cobbled together an interpretation and displayed it in the window of a friend’s shop as a piece of concept art, a conversation-starter.

Then a student at the University of Indiana bought it and wrote about it for a local paper with AP syndication. Put in today’s terms, edible underwear went viral. Then it became real.

In “A Matter of Taste: Inside the Edible Sex Toy Industry,” writer Jaya Saxena tells the story of how several companies pioneered edible sex products starting in the early ’70s. Sanderson and Brady, for instance, worked with an industrial baking company to develop the perfect material that would both hold flavor and behave like clothing. When the product was finally ready for consumption, they named their company Candypants.

They weren’t the only ones focused on making sex more delicious. Around that same time, a group of friends attended a party in which attendees used Wesson cooking oil as a lubricant. It was slippery and effective, but it didn’t taste very good. To improve upon that, they founded a company called Kama Sutra. Their first releases were Oil of Love, massage oils, and “honey dust.” In advertisements, Kama Sutra claimed their products would “startle your sense of touch without offending your sense of taste.”

The next frontier? Condoms. Lifestyles added a “Kiss of Mint” condom to their catalog in 1988, followed closely by flavored condoms by Durex in 1995. But with a product designed specifically for internal use, the downfall of flavored sex products became clear: sugar. Sugars (and ingredients, like glycerin, which behave like sugars) feed yeast, which can lead to yeast infections and other irritation.

It was easy with Candypants: market research proved that 85% of customers never even opened the box. Plus, when products are simply worn — as in the case of candy nipple tassels, love rings, cuffs, and necklaces — there’s no real cause for concern. But truly combining flavor and safety? That, Saxena believes, is the holy grail:

The ideal flavored sexual product is one that can be used safely on (and in) all areas of the body, and that actually tastes good. This is the brass ring the industry has been chasing since 1969, and one that seems increasingly appealing in our artisanal food- driven world. What’s the good of flavored body paint if you have to wash it off before you have sex, but also, what’s the point of flavored body paint if it tastes like artificial banana? The general public has become pickier about good taste. We have aioli on Wendy’s sandwiches and want our ingredients to be organic and naturally sourced. Why would that change when it comes to products we’re licking off each other?

. . . Perhaps, like the sex toy industry, the edibles industry will rebrand itself with high-end products at high-end prices: farm-to-table massage oils, fair-trade fruit leather bras, soylent pasties.

Saxena’s vision isn’t entirely impossible — or implausible. We already have lubricants like Hathor Lube Lickeurs and Blossom Organics, which are sweetened with Stevia and serve as a more body-friendly alternative to flavored condoms. Organic lubes and massage oils are safe to ingest. We stock a body chocolate that is made with ingredients we can pronounce, and a natural honey dust that is made locally. Some of our massage candles produce an edible, flavored oil.

But it’s important to make the distinction between products designed for internal use and those meant only for external application. Massage oil is great for a back rub, but can clog pores if used vaginally or anally. Water-based lube is perfect for penetration, but will likely get sticky if used for body massage. A few products can serve both purposes, but those are rare.

Still, as Saxena’s piece emphasizes, companies like Candypants and Kama Sutra did more than peddle sweets: they brought some much-needed fun into our sex lives. Simply by existing, they inspired couples to try something new, something silly. Even in 2016, four decades after Brady and Sanderson’s oddball idea, parading around in front of your partner wearing pair of edible underwear is sure to put a smile on their face.

  Musings     
Jan
27

The Joys of Toys!

Wednesday, February 10th — 7:30 p.m. — $15

GretchenJoin She Bop’s very own Gretchen for an evening of education and fun. Ever wandered around a sex toy shop and wondered “what the heck is that?” Never fear, Gretchen 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. Gretchen 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! Gretchen 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.

Additionally, just in time for Valentine’s Day, Gretchen will give pointers on how to select a toy or gift for someone else!

As a special Valentine’s bonus, we’ll be serving wine and chocolates, and class attendees get 10% off their purchases in She Bop the night of the Joys of Toys class!

This workshop is open to all genders and sexual appetites!

This class has already taken place. Thanks for attending!

  Events       
Jan
17

Communication in the Bedroom: Asking For What You Want

Stella HarrisSunday, March 13th — 7:30 p.m. — $15

Knowing what you want isn’t as easy as it sounds, and asking for it can be even trickier. Honesty puts us in a vulnerable place, opening us up to rejection or shame. People of all genders and sexualities have a lot of cultural baggage to work through, from messages implying that wanting sex or pleasure is slutty (and that that’s a bad thing) to ubiquitous sex tips that make it sound like we’re supposed to read our partners’ minds.

All of this sets us up for failure, and many people never take the chance to open a dialogue with their partner(s). But being able to talk about your wants and needs is the only way to get them met.

In this class we’ll talk about styles of communication, ways to put yourself and your partner at ease, and specific examples of tools and phrases to try. We’ll discuss how to start the conversation and how to incorporate communication into dirty talk. Not sure what to ask for? We’ll talk about some common fantasies you might want to try.

As always, there will be time for Q&A, and all genders and orientations are welcome.

Stella Harris is an author, educator, and coach who focuses on intimacy and connection. As a certified Intimacy Educator, she uses a variety of tools to guide and empower her clients and she teaches everything from pleasure anatomy, to communication skills, to kink and BDSM. She has presented classes for a variety of organizations including the Portland Leather Alliance, the Portland Academy of Sex Ed, Sex Positive Portland, and more, and has spoken at Portland State University, Reed College, and Pacific University. Stella is widely published in print and online, from erotic fiction to educational and lifestyle pieces on sex and kink.

Stella hopes to build a world where everyone has the tools and confidence to explore their sexuality safely and free of shame.

This class has already taken place. Thanks for attending!

Jan
10

Pleasure, Power, and Pain: An Introduction to BDSM

Wednesday, March 23rd — 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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Dec
23

Writing a disabled perspective into erotica

[Note: Xan West does not use pronouns and goes by “Xan.”]

Show Yourself to MeLanguage is powerful. It has the ability to enhance and validate someone’s experience, just as it has the ability to invalidate. Erotica writers are especially imbued with this influence, as their work requires them to describe bodies, sexual acts, and lived experiences more intimately than most. Unfortunately, much erotica presumes a default subject: a white, young, able-bodied cisgender person.

Xan West is the author of Show Yourself to Me: Queer Kink Erotica, a collection of 24 BDSM-focused stories that subvert the traditional narrative and strive for more diverse character representation. Xan is also a disabled top and writes many stories from a top’s point of view. In efforts to portray disabled characters more often, Xan sometimes has to edit previously-written material. That’s the situation addressed in Xan’s blog post, “Writing Erotica as a Disabled Top.”

Toying with a story that had been rolling around in Xan’s head for a while (tentatively titled “Packing”), Xan felt something wasn’t quite coming together. Upon closer examination, it became clear:

I noticed something I had missed entirely. I had once again written a top that was able bodied and invulnerable, and it was embedded in my language, in small word choices everywhere, along with larger frameworks. Because I hadn’t decided that the top was disabled, hadn’t decided what the tops vulnerabilities or struggles or capacities were before I wrote. Had just tried to make those sentences into a beginning without that kind of deciding. And my default was a non-disabled top, an invulnerable top, a top that wasn’t grappling with the kinds of things that are everyday for me in my own life.

So, the editing began. When the new draft was finished, the phrase “I push my boots into the floor” had been removed, and several other references had been changed as follows:

The leather round my hips and thighs focuses my attention on my own skin, the way I walk, stand, sit
The leather round my hips and thighs focuses my attention on my own skin, the way I move, gesture, and feel in my body, pain and all.

When I strap my cock on, I step into my dominance. When I stride back into the room…
When I strap my cock on, I sink into my dominance. Scooting back into the room…

She takes the first step towards letting go, sinking into her submission.
She takes the first move towards letting go, slipping into her submission.

These sentences serve as an important reminder that even small alterations can make stories more accessible. Xan hopes that as time goes on, Xan can learn to write from disabled perspective from the get-go, rather than editing to reflect one. This is a great mission — the world needs more erotica that consciously depicts the beautiful diversity of bodies and identities. That’s why we love collections such as Ageless EroticaCan’t Help the Way That I Feel, Curvy Girls, and now, Show Yourself to Me.

Read the entire post on Xan’s blog here. Xan has written extensively about disability, kink, gender, and erotica-writing philosophies — all of it is worth a read.

  Musings      ,  
Dec
23

10% Tuesdays in January for In Other Words

In Other Words

Throughout the month of January, 10% of our proceeds made on Tuesdays will be donated to In Other Words, a non-profit, volunteer-run, feminist community center in NE Portland. Their mission is to support, enrich, and empower the feminist community through literature, art, and educational and cultural events.

In Other Words’ bookstore includes books on feminism, queer and transgender studies, sexuality, and activism/politics, as well as alternative children’s books that are not easily found at other bookstores. Their resource center offers information on topics such as health and wellness, therapy and counseling, sexual and reproductive help, transgender issues, LGBTQ support and advocacy, birth and parenting, education, housing, activism and social change, and places to contact in crisis situations.

In Other Words also supports local artists, craftspeople, musicians, performers, and writers by providing a venue for events and a space for selling art. They are one of the few spaces in Portland where artists and musicians can hold events for free and where people can attend all-ages events for low, sliding scale costs.

Most recently, In Other Words has created a free lending library, which enables everyone to find radical books in a space that is accessible to all economic demographics. Go sign up for a library card today, and come visit us on any Tuesday in January to support In Other Words!

In Other Words can also be found on Facebook and Twitter.

Dec
22

Bon Appetit!: The Fine Art of Cunnilingus

Sunday, February 28th — 7:30 pm — $20

You asked and we answered—She Bop presents a cunnilingus class for anyone and everyone who wants to learn how to give (or receive!) phenomenal oral pleasure.

She Bop educators, Amory Jane and Sid Need, will teach you everything you want to know about anatomy, arousal, hand tricks, and tongue techniques. They will discuss foreplay, communication, and finding your own cunnilingus style, as well as give pointers on how to incorporate toys, temperature, and g-spot stimulation. Additionally, our educators will talk about fun ways to kick it up a notch if you’re stuck in a muff diving rut (face sitting, anyone?)!

This class is open to all genders, experience levels, and identities.

This class has already taken place. Thanks for attending!

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Dec
13

Full-Bodied Fellatio

Wednesday, February 3rd — 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!

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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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