Gone are the phallic fruits and suggestive winky faces — four designers in California have just upped the ante on sexy emojis. Their project, Flirtmoji, consists of tons of adorable yet provocative icons that can be pasted into any phone messaging app. In it, you’ll find everything from wiggling Jell-O and heart-shaped hot tubs to chastity devices and a drill with a dildo attachment.
The Verge interviewed Katy McCarthy, one of the two artists involved in the project, who explained that Flirtmoji was born after many frustrating attempts at using existing emojis to communicate about sex. Behind the project at all times: inclusivity and sex-positivity. Many of the emojis were shown to the designers’ friends for feedback first.
We wanted to be able to show this to all of our friends and have them all feel comfortable. We wanted them to be able pick their own body parts in the Emoji — within the limits of size and colors. So we invited a ton of people to come look at them and to provide feedback. We wanted them to tear it apart, or say “yes, this is good and I feel safe.” It’s not supposed to be college frat humor, although part of being inclusive is making it funny. It’s just not that hard to have everybody feel represented.
Even the name of the project was deliberate. The team went with Flirtmoji to make the icons feel light, funny, and accessible to even folks not necessarily having sex. They wanted to represent everybody — including many skin tones and kinks — without judgment.
There are some challenges to drawing sex emojis that you may not realize. For instance: hair. Hair is very difficult to depict in the simple line stroke style of tiny icons. McCarthy agrees that hair representation is important, and the team is working on some new icons including it.
Although lighthearted, McCarthy believes sex emojis can help folks communicate in new and interesting ways.
What’s really beautiful about sex, and emoji, is that sex is really playful and also really difficult. And at the core of good sex is good communication. So to that end, I think that whatever it takes for you to be able to communicate what you want or need, or what you don’t want and don’t need is fine . . . with sex there are things that are really hard to say and hard to ask for, and that’s such a beautiful window to be able to provide someone with language.
Flirtmoji is not available in the iTunes store — on purpose. The team read too many horror stories about sexually explicit apps being rejected, and they chose not to be involved in a sex-negative platform. Instead, you can download some emojis for free, and others for 99 cents, on their website.
Sunday, December 7th — 7:00 – 9:00 pm — She Bop Division
Join us and the amazing Erika Moen at our new location (3213 SE Division) for the release of Oh Joy Sex Toy THE BOOK! Come get your book signed by the artist herself and shop around! Erika’s favorite toys will be 10% off, and a limited edition print will also be available. This event is free.
Oh Joy, Sex Toy: Volume One collects the first year’s worth of content from the weekly comic Oh Joy Sex Toy. Combining helpful facts with terrible puns and the occasional Star Trek joke, Volume One is an indispensable resource for fans of sex, fans of comics, and nerds of all stripes. In addition to Erika’s work, Volume One also features the comics of nearly a dozen other cartoonists. Plus there’s a bunch of bonus stuff too: Erika shares some brand new comics made exclusively for Volume One, as well as shares some behind-the-scenes information on OJST.
This class has already taken place. Thanks for attending!
If you need a new hero, look no further than Japanese artist Megumi Igarashi, pseudonym Rokudenashiko (“good-for-nothing girl”).
The 42-year-old sculptor and illustrator launched a crowdfunding campaign last year to raise money to create a “pussy boat,” a kayak formed in her vulva’s image. The campaign was wildly successful, and as a token of thanks, she offered to send a 3D printable image of her vulva to those who donated $30 or more.
In July, Rokudenashiko was arrested for following through on her promise — or, as the police deemed it, distributing obscene material. They raided her office, seized 20 of her art pieces, and arrested her. In response, she has said, “I cannot agree with the police’s decision to label the data as obscene. To me, my vagina is like my arms and legs. It’s nothing obscene.”
The arrest spurred a petition protesting the charges, which has now surpassed 20,000 signatures, while Jon Stewart pointed out Japan’s “genital double standard” in a segment of the Daily Show, saying, “Japan, you arrested a woman for 3D-printing her vagina, but you gave dicks their own holiday.”
Rokudenashiko was released a week after her arrest, but she could be re-arrested and formally charged down the road. If found guilty, she would face up to 2 years in jail plus a fine of 2.5 million yen ($24,655).
For years, Rokudenashiko has been making artwork to combat Japan’s silence around the vulva. Her amazing work has included iPhone cases with vulvas on the back, glass vulvas hanging to form a chandelier, a vulva charm bracelet, a lamp with lit-up clitoris, and tons of vulva-shaped dioramas in a seris called “Deco-Man” (after the Japanese word for pussy, “manko”).
In one diorama, women sunbathe on a beach-vulva. In another, astronauts land on a moon-vulva. In another, soldiers scale a battlefield-vulva.
Why did I start making this kind of art pieces? That was because I had not seen pussy of others and worried too much about mine. I did not know what a pussy should look like at the same time I thought mine is just abnormal. Manko, pussy, has been such a taboo in the Japanese society.
Penis, on the other hand, has been used in illustrations and signed as a part of pop culture… [but] pussy has been thought to be obscene because it’s been overly hidden although it is just a part of women’s body. I wanted to make pussy more casual and pop. That’s how I came to make a pussy lampshade, a remote-controlled pussy car, a pussy accessory, a pussy smartphone case, and so on.
As “taboo” as it seems to make vulva-themed art in the United States, Rokudenashiko is up against an even more uptight society. She’s a brave and fearless individual — and hearing her describe and create her art is bound to make you smile.
Update! Rokudenashiko wrote a book called What is Obscenity? Of course, we picked it up!
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.
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.
In 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!
It’s been just over a year since Portland artist Erika Moen launched Oh Joy Sex Toy, and to say it has been a roaring success would be putting it lightly. This playful, hilarious, and informative sex-themed comic has become very popular, and the work that it has done as a sex education resource is probably immeasurable.
Bite-sized sex education is exactly what Moen hoped to achieve with the comic, she explains in this great article at The Daily Beast. Her own sex education was minimal at best, and the scare tactics it utilized left her “super, super terrified of sex and naked bodies.” For a long time, Moen dreamed of addressing the huge holes in American sex education. After 15 years of making webcomics, and after participating in a comic strip reality show called Strip Search, she decided to take the plunge and turn that idea into a reality.
Moen explains to The Daily Beast:
While I don’t think every artist everywhere has a responsibility to educate their audience, it’s a role that works for me. People online spend so much time criticizing the things they don’t like about the world, about the media, about our society. That’s valuable. Now I want to see people creating the media they want to exist. My sex education was horrific and scarring, so now I’m trying to make a resource that I personally needed back then and it just so happens that it’s still needed today.
The comic format is appealing, Moen says, because pictures make readers more receptive to new information. Especially when it comes to sex, visual material is easier to understand. Drawings have always been used as sex education — to warn against venereal disease during war, in pamphlets at Planned Parenthood — but Moen’s take is much more progressive.
Moen spends a week developing each strip, and she is the cog in each step of the process — a single person acting as writer, penciler, inker, colorist, and letterist. Guest illustrators step in from time to time, to provide variety and discuss topics outside Moen’s areas of expertise. For example, Emi Gennis contributed a strip about the history of the vibrator, while Amanda Lafrenais recounted “Dildo Misadventures” and Lucy Knisley shared her experience with the birth control implant.
Since the inception of the site, Moen has published tons of comics, from reviews of some of our favorite things (like the Ina 2, Bandit, Pure Plugs, Moon Cup, Sliquid H2O, and Delight) to guides on anal sex, cock rings, cunnilingus, and introducing sex toys into relationships, and even illustrated interviews with porn stars Jiz Lee and Stoya.
No matter the topic, Oh Joy Sex Toy is always a treat. New strips are published each Tuesday, and the comic is serialized at Bitch. You can follow Erika Moen on Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, and her main site.
Shunga: Sex and Pleasure in Japanese Art is also the most extensive exhibition ever created on the subject.
Japanese shunga was a mainstream artistic genre from the 17th to the mid-19th century, during which time it was widely enjoyed and even presented to new brides as a form of instruction as well as arousal. Shunga is marked by exaggerated genitals, playfulness, luxury, and mutual pleasure.
Academics study the genre now, but for years starting in the 20th century, it was suppressed — even in the British Museum. It used to be confined to a cabinet of “obscene” artifacts. Finally, it is being given its rightful appreciation in the exhibition. And it sounds like a wonder to behold:
A woman is pleasured by an octopus, its tentacles teasing their way into her every orifice. A kitten paws eagerly at a man’s testicles while he is locked in an embrace with his lover. Two women dally together, a dildo fastened around a waist; one urges the other: “Hurry up and put it in.”
. . . Everywhere you look, your gaze is unambiguously directed toward the often oversized, luxuriantly depicted genitalia of both sexes. “It was a pictorial tradition not committed to naturalism, and so that permits selective emphasis,” said Clark. “Attention is focused on the sexual bliss on the faces – and the engines of that pleasure, the genitals. Other parts of the body are downplayed and then there are gorgeous textiles, lacquerware, food and drink, so there is a seamless continuum of luxury and pleasure.”
Shunga: Sex and Pleasure in Japanese Art runs through January 5th at the British Museum.
The name, Wallace explains, comes from the idea of “total illiteracy and incompetence when it comes to the female body.” Although the anatomy of the clitoris (both internal and external) was present in scientific literature as long ago as the mid-1800s, and the internal clitoris gained some attention in 1998 when Australian urologist named Helen O’Connell published a paper about it, many are still unaware of the true size and scope of it. Wallace says:
It is a curious dilemma to observe the paradox that on the one hand the female body is the primary metaphor for sexuality, its use saturates advertising, art and the mainstream erotic imaginary. Yet, the clitoris, the true female sexual organ, is virtually invisible.
The project has many facets: a 10 x 13 foot installation called “100 Natural Laws of Cliteracy,” street art advertising the clitoris, and our favorite: a giant golden clitoris that guests are encouraged to mount like a mechanical bull. The “100 Natural Laws of Cliteracy” installation includes a 6-foot neon “Cliteracy” sign suspended above a lengthy list of text — scientific data, historical information, pop culture references, etc., such as “the clitoris is not a button / it is an iceberg.”
The “Clit Rodeo,” as it’s awesomely called, allows guests to ride the anatomically accurate (except for its size!) golden clitoris. “People couldn’t stop looking at [the clitoris], touching it riding it, being around it,” Wallace said. “It just had this aura about it.” Well, of course it did!
Watch the video below to hear more from the artist and see the clit rodeo in action:
Okay, we seriously can’t get enough of Oh Joy Sex Toy, a new webcomic from cartoonist Erika Moen! True, it’s all about sex toys, so we were bound to love it. But Moen is both excessively talented and a Portlander!
Tackling sexuality in her comics is not new to Moen, as evidenced by her past works “Silver Bullet” (the tale of her first vibrator), “GirlFuck” (an illustrated guide to “girl-on-girl lovin'”), and her “patron saint of the Hitachi” illustration which graces the walls of Chicago’s Early to Bed. But Oh Joy Sex Toy as a comic will be uniquely focused on sexuality issues:
Oh Joy Sex Toy (OJST) is a weekly comic that debuted April 2013 and updates every Tuesday to bring you reviews of everything that relates to sex, sexuality and the sex industry. From toys to workshops to birth control and much more, no stone will be left unturned, no vibrator left unused, no nipple left unpinched. With the aid of guest reviewers, this comic will cover products for ALL the different anatomies people posses, from vulvas to penises and beyond. OJST strives to be relevant to all different genders, body types, and sexualities.
Thus far, Moen has written about her love for the Hitachi Magic Wand (err, just the Magic Wand now), her experience at a Disney-themed edition of Queens of the Pole, her affinity for Pink silicone lube, and her husband’s experience with a Fleshlight. Every week, it’s been a delight to see which topic/toy is covered, and the comics are always adorable, amusing, and informative. Plus, those Anal Safety Snails may just be the best cartoon characters ever.
The clitoris looks a bit like a penguin. But most people don’t know that.
Outside of the body, the clitoris is just a small nub with a hood. Internally, it turns out, it has two wishbone-like arms and a pair of extended bulbs. Until recently, those bulbs were thought to belong to the vagina. The clitoris also has ten times more erectile tissue than we thought.
Seattle artist Lynn Schirmer wants to get the word out about all this. She’s the creator of The After Dinner Party, an art exhibition which includes contributions from over 20 artists from around the world. Art pieces include a huge inflatable clitoris, a neon sign in the shape of a clitoris, and an entrancing M.C. Escher-like sculpture of a penis perpetually entering a vagina.
Schirmer’s exhibition is, of course, not the first to examine female genitalia. In fact, its name is derived from Judy Chicago’s 1970s installation The Dinner Party, a triangular table with place settings for 39 historical women, many featuring sculptures reminiscent of vulvas. And Tee Corinne’s Cunt Coloring Book from 1975 was filled with detailed ink drawings of real vulvas.
But the clitoris in particular has quite a confusing medical history (more in-depth info about this can be found in Rebecca Chalker’s The Clitoral Truth, and there’s a concise version on Schirmer’s website). For most of human history, doctors and anatomists battled over its true shape. Somehow, those who believed in the internal arms and bulbs were silenced or ignored. In the 1990s, Australian urologist Helen O’Connell jump-started a re-examination of the clitoral structure, and finally, in 2003, the clitoris was fully mapped via MRI — revealing its extensive internal structure.
But many people — and textbooks — are still unaware of the actual shape of the clitoris, which is the driving force behind Schirmer’s exhibit and website.
[Schirmer’s] goal is simple: to expose what’s been hidden. I e-mailed a link to The After Dinner Party to Betty Tompkins, an artist who has been making huge, explicit paintings of sex acts and genitalia since 1969 — who’s been looking the clitoris in the face for 43 years — and she replied, “I would not have been able to identify the illustration as the clitoris.”
If you’d like to spread the word about the clitoris, the After Dinner Party website suggests flyers, T-shirts, flash mobs, and our favorite — chalk sidewalk drawings.
Madison Young is a lot of things: a writer, a queer and BDSM porn star and director, a performance artist, director of the feminist art gallery Femina Potens, and most recently, a mother. Young gave birth to her daughter, Emma, last March. Ever since, she’s been exploring the intersection of sexuality and motherhood in her performance art, and is even working on a children’s book called My Mommy is a Love Artist.
Young’s art exhibits, with titles such as “Building Our Own White Picket Fences” and “Becoming MILF,” have explored queerness and sex, and how they converge with being a mother. In one photographic piece about the sexual and non-sexual roles of breasts, Young is shown topless with the image of a milk carton concealing one breast, and a television covering the other. Another piece was a quilt comprised of both burp cloths and “porn star panties.” At one exhibit, Young served breast milkshakes.
Salon writer Tracy Clark-Flory interviewed Young about what has changed since her daughter’s birth. In response to the oft-asked question, “What are you going to tell your child?”, Young describes her children’s book, which just happens to sound amazing:
What I tell everyone is that I plan on being honest with my child and talking with her in a language she understands, which is the same as I do with any member of my family or anyone who is outside of the adult industry.
. . . I’m creating a children’s book right now that’s called My Mommy Is a Love Artist. It’s about a mom who creates art and film that captures the love that people have for one another. There are hearts everywhere and it’s like, “My mom goes on a safari, she goes through the wildnerness and finds people who are having magical experiences together and then captures them on film as they have their magic love.” It shows them holding hands and kissing. It advocates for love and for connection. And a lot of the people that I do shoot are real couples. Everything that I do is about capturing actual authentic pleasure. I think you can explain pleasure to a child — they have pleasurable moments, they love to give hugs and to receive kisses and be tickled. I’ll inform her about more things as it makes sense to address them, but I want her to understand the basic concepts of what I do. Right now, though, it’s all Elmo to her!
Young has even launched “The Sexy Mamas Social Club” in San Francisco, where moms gather to share their experiences with sex and motherhood. The group members are writing an anthology.
Read the whole interview for more of Young’s refreshing view on balancing motherhood and sexuality.
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.
- April 26, 2017 – Exploring Burlesque: Striptease Salon
- May 4, 2017 – Beyond Monogamy
- May 17, 2017 – Wet & Wild: G-spot and Squirting Orgasms
- June 1, 2017 – Back That Ass Up!: Anal Sex 101
- June 4, 2017 – Curvy Girl Sex: Body Positive Positions to Empower Your Sex Life
- June 11, 2017 – Sex and Survivorship: Navigating Sex After Cancer
- July 2, 2017 – Your Gender is Awesome: A Class for Trans Youth
- A film crew has blocked off parts of Mississippi Ave this morning. They should be done in an hr. We recommend parking near N. Borthwick Ave!
- Today is the last day to support @CalltoSafety by shopping with us. 10% of your purchase goes to their amazing work. https://t.co/dzkMi7Vmzh
- If you've been interested in kegel balls but unsure about the cost, these are very reasonable at only $26! NICE! https://t.co/0fZBY5rgc0
- Do you have a trans, gender variant, or genderqueer youth in your life? We have a new class just for under-18 peeps! https://t.co/8dLHndMSFa
- Have you been to Whoopee! yet? We spoke with show creator, @Amory_Jane, about her sex-positive variety show! https://t.co/oPAVcQUdq0
- 10% Tuesday is upon us! Visit us in person or shop online today & 10% of our sales will be donated to @CalltoSafety. https://t.co/dzkMi7Vmzh
- Orgasms will not be mythical with the Unicorn Wand! We could not resist this powerful vibe with unicorn attachment. https://t.co/BCf2iMTMm8
- We know how much you've been clamoring for a G-spot and squirting class! @stellaerotica is teaching one in May! https://t.co/8JmtMTTWYU
- Looking for a set of introductory vibrating anal beads? @rocksoffltd's Petite Sensations Beads might fit the bill! https://t.co/Q55aiWJ2Tr
- Want to support the life-saving services offered by @CalltoSafety? 10% of our sales will be donated to them today. https://t.co/dzkMi7Vmzh
- Basic Rights Oregon
- Bitch Magazine
- Bradley Angle
- BUST Magazine
- Dirty Playground
- In Other Words
- LGBTQ Student Resources & Support
- Mississippi Studios
- Orchestre L'Pow!
- Pants-Off Productions
- Portland Oregon Women's Film Festival
- Portland Women's Crisis Line
- Progressive Pleasure Club
- Pucker Up
- Q Center
- Queer Resource Center
- Quest Center for Integrative Health
- Raphael House
- The Portland Mercury