Dec
17

Thrills and mundanities on a queer porn set

 Nic Switch and Iona Grace with Shine Louise HoustonWhat goes on behind the scenes of a queer feminist porn shoot? According to Anna Pulley, writing for Alternet, performers ogle cat photos, knit scarves in the colors of the bisexual flag, and shoot the breeze about fisting censorship and breast milk pumping. The kitchen is well-stocked with coffee, fruit, and chips, and Feminist Porn Awards line the walls.

Scenes for queer porn site Crash Pad Series are shot in an unassuming neighborhood in San Francisco by filmmaker and director Shine Louise Houston, production assistant Jiz Lee, videographer Alexa Shae, and photographer Tristan Crane. The room is equipped with a “voyeur cam,” which allows members of the site to watch the scene in real time. The best scenes are compiled for DVD releases.

Anna Pulley visited the set to watch two scenes unfold: Nic Switch and Iona Grace, followed by Ray and Maggie Mayhem. As is always the case with Crash Pad scenes, performers first discussed their vision for the scene with Houston. Performers’ desires and limits are steadfastly respected and followed; the only true rules are no blood, no poop, and… no glitter. (It’s far too difficult to clean up!).

Then, the scene began. Pulley writes,

Since the room was small and crowded, I tried to flatten myself against the wall as much as possible, but even then I could’ve reached out and touched the performers, they were so close. I briefly considered the possibility of being in the line of fire should ejaculation occur, but mostly pushed that thought out of my mind and enjoyed my front-row seat. Luckily, I remained dry through both shoots…at least outwardly.

As a feminist, I’ve found there’s often a negotiation that occurs when watching most porn, especially if it involves any kind of heavy aggression or degradation. Because, let’s face it, our desires are hardly ever politically correct. When a woman in porn is tied up and being called a dirty whore, the last thing you want to be thinking is, “Does liking this make me a bad person?” With “Crash Pad,” there was no such negotiation. The performers genuinely seemed to be enjoying themselves. Nothing about the sex seemed contrived or for the benefit of an audience. Pleasure was the central tenet, and it worked. It was hot.

When all was said and done, several hours later, Pulley had witnessed a litany of sex acts, from strap-on play to Magic Wand buzzing to squirting — and a whole bunch of intense orgasms. Pulley commented on the large wet spot left on the bed afterward; her fascination was met with “oh, that’s nothing.”

After the scene, Houston interviewed the performers again to debrief. Grace explained why she does porn: it’s way more fun than being a cashier. Switch was more philosophical: she enjoys learning about herself and representing the queer community.

Pulley left the set with an armful of queer porn DVDs and a new outlook on feminist porn. She concluded, “it was certainly refreshing to witness Houston’s work, and to experience the kind of frank, pleasure-focused, authentic sex that rarely exists outside the mainstream.” Amen.

Dec
1

The glory of sex-positive emojis

Flirtmoji

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.

Flirtmoji: "booty call"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.

  Musings       
Nov
30

She Bop’s Picks: Gifts and Stocking Stuffers

If you’re pondering what to get your significant other this holiday season, we have you covered! Here are our top picks for sexy holiday gift-giving and stocking-stuffing this year. Visit us in person or peruse our online store to snatch these up.

Don’t forget to check out our picks from 201320122011, and 2010 for even more ideas!

We-Vibe 4 Plus

We-Vibe 4 Plus

The future is now, and it comes in the form of the We-Vibe 4 Plus, which can be controlled by a phone app. Yes, we’re serious, and yes, it is awesome. The app allows you to adjust both motors in the toy separately, as well as create “playlists” of vibration intensity and style. The We-Vibe is unique because it is designed specifically to be worn vaginally during penetrative play, but it also works as a solo or long-distance toy. (As long as you have WiFi, at least!)

Filthy Farmgirl soaps

Filthy Farmgirl soaps

Delicious-smelling soap and body products are common holiday gifts, but Filthy Farmgirl takes things a step further with naughtier names and complex, intriguing scents. All their soaps are vegan and handmade in Hawaii using herbs and spices they grow themselves or source from local farmers.

Filthy Farmgirl’s seasonal soaps are Filthy Balls Spiffy Spruce, Filthy Elf Cinnamon Peppermint Stick, and Filthy Balls Naughty Eggnog. Not feeling any of those? Never fear — their regular large and small bars come in a variety of scents from sweet to musky.

PrimO Tux cock ring

PrimO Tux cock ring

This recent addition to our cock ring selection won us over quickly with its price, unobtrusive size, and variety of settings. The PrimO Tux, which is made of stretchy silicone, isn’t bulky like some other cock rings. It also has three steady vibration settings along with a pulse pattern! A wonderful introduction to cock rings, it even comes with a set of back-up batteries.

Minna Ola

Minna Ola

You’ve likely never seen any sex toy like the Minna Ola. Its handle is actually a squeeze bulb which responds to pressure and repeats any vibration pattern you program into it, so you can make it do exactly what you want it to do. Its manageable size makes it an ideal clitoral vibe as well as a modest G-spot toy. The Ola is also fully submersible in water and comes with a one-year manufacturer’s warranty!

She Bop Sampler Pack

She Bop sampler pack

Everyone loves sampler packs! We created this special She Bop sampler just for you. It includes a three-speed Power Bullet vibe, back-up button cell batteries, a She Bop button, three lube samples (Uberlube, Sliquid Organics Natural Gel, and Good Clean Love Almost Naked), and three condoms (Sir Richard’s Ultra Thin, Sir Richard’s Ribbed, and Lifestyles Non-Lubricated). At $15, it’s an inexpensive way to try some new things.

Iroha Mini

Iroha Mini

The palm-sized Iroha Mini makes the perfect inexpensive vibrator gift. Powered by a single AAA, it has some good oomph behind its single-speed motor. The gently-curved tip is excellent for pinpoint clitoral stimulation, while the base of the toy rests comfortably in the hand. Comes in a box small enough to tuck in a stocking!

Crystal Delights anal plugs

Crystal Delights anal plugs

Add some shine to your holidays with a gorgeous butt plug from Crystal Delights. These sparkling, handmade glass plugs are truly beautiful to behold. The “plain” plugs with Swarovski crystal bases are amazing enough, but the company also makes frosted plugs with vintage medallions, a pink Hello Kitty-inspired plug, and plugs with faux fur, rainbow, and bunny tails. Any butt would be lucky to have one of these in it.

Fun Factory Pearly

Fun Factory Pearly

German sex toy manufacturer Fun Factory is known for their unique designs and easy-to-operate controls, and they did not disappoint with the versatile Pearly. Rechargeable, fully waterproof, and backed by a two-year manufacturer’s warranty, Pearly is a great high-quality toy for exploring vaginal penetration and external vibration, or even anal penetration.

Sqweel Go

Sqweel Go

Any stocking will become instantly cuter with the addition of the Sqweel Go. This pint-sized oral sex simulator has a wheel of tiny silicone tongues that rotate in several speeds and move back and forth. Although built with clitoral stimulation in mind, the Sqweel Go can be used anywhere someone likes to be licked. This totally unique sex toy is USB rechargeable!

  She Bop's Picks     
Nov
20

Beyond Monogamy

AJ (aka Amory Jane) Thursday January 22nd — 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.

Limited space available — sign up online!

Nov
20

Oxytocin, The Love Drug: Cultivating Biochemical Bliss in Birth, Orgasm, & Intimacy

Samantha ZipporahWednesday, January 14th — 7:30 pm — $20

The environmental, emotional, and physical factors that create the circumstances in which a person can surrender their ego and intellectual identity to enjoy an ecstatic orgasm also facilitate ecstatic empowered natural birth. The release of intellectual and ego identity, feelings of safety, intimacy, and surrender are crucial to healthy and complete release of the neuropeptide and hormone oxytocin. Relaxation, rhythm, and ritual all help stimulate it as well.

The act of giving birth naturally is the height of the human body’s ability to release ecstasy inducing levels of the “love hormone” oxytocin. Orgasm is a step below birth on the spectrum of human experiences that release this amazing hormone, and the step below orgasm is nipple stimulation.

In this class, full spectrum doula Samantha Zipporah will offer a lecture and experiential exercises exploring the human mind, body, and spirit during the release of oxytocin. Her intention is to empower the community in deepening their understanding of the physiology of intimacy, connection, surrender, and ecstatic embodiment. Participants will leave with practical tips to support oxytocin release throughout the human experience, including but not limited to birth and sexuality.

Samantha Zipporah is a full spectrum doula, sexual health educator, and activist. She believes the mind, body, and spirit connection deserve reverence and respect. Sam finds great inspiration from the places that science and spirituality fortify one another. She has been attending birth since 2006, and studied midwifery with luminary Elizabeth Davis who literally wrote the book on Orgasmic Birth. Sam has been supporting peers with fertility and pregnancy experiences for over a decade in personal, professional, and clinical contexts. Her approach is grounded by a solid understanding of biochemistry and biology, and is nourished by playfulness, sass, and reverent spirituality. Friends have joked that her business tagline should be, “If anything’s going in or out of a cervix, call Sam.”

Limited space available — sign up online!

  Events      , ,  
Nov
20

Full-Bodied Fellatio

Thursday, January 8th — 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!

Limited space available — sign up online!

Nov
6

Oh Joy, Sex Toy THE BOOK signing with Erika Moen!

Sunday, December 7th — 7:00 – 9:00 pm — She Bop Division

Oh Joy, Sex Toy THE BOOK signing!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 event is free — please RSVP on Facebook!

  Events      , ,  
Nov
1

What does being a sex researcher really entail?

Dr. Debby Herbenick, Dr. Justin Lehmiller, Dr. Kristen Mark, and Sarah Merrill

Ask the average person what a sex researcher does, and they’ll likely guess that researchers watch people have sex in a lab. The truth is, sex researchers don’t usually come that close to their subject — but they still love their jobs and are producing excellent and insightful work (which we have highlighted on this blog many a time!).

To show how varied the field of sex research is, Nerve interviewed four different researchers: Dr. Debby Herbenick, a research scientist who studies consumer sex products, self-image, and health, Dr. Justin Lehmiller, an expert on casual sex, Dr. Kristen Mark, who focuses on sex within long-term relationships, and Sarah Merrill, who studies physiological and subjective arousal.

Dr. Debby Herbenick fell into sex research first by working at The Kinsey Institute. She now teaches human sexuality classes at Indiana University, gives talks, writes articles, and of course, conducts research. She does a lot of survey research focusing on genital self-image and health, sexual behavior (such as use of condoms, sex toys, and lube), and exercise-induced orgasm. She is the innovator behind Make Sex Normal and believes the most important thing to remember about sex is that “we’re all a little unique with our sexuality — and that uniqueness is something to appreciate, not fear.”

Dr. Justin Lehmiller is a casual sex specialist who conducts anonymous surveys and runs a blog called Sex and Psychology. His interest in sex research was piqued when he was assigned a teaching assistant position for a sexuality course in graduate school. He firmly believes that the modern hullabaloo about “hook-up culture” is unfounded — young people aren’t having any more casual sex than in the 80s and 90s. He finds that being a sex researcher makes him a hit at parties: “Every time I tell new people what I do, whether I am at the bar or at a formal dinner, everyone wants to talk about sex and ask their burning questions for the rest of the evening.”

Dr. Kristen Mark works at the University of Kentucky as director of the Sexual Health Promotion Lab. She is interested in how couples can maintain satisfying sex lives in long-term relationships (short answer: communication). When not conducting surveys, she also teaches several courses and seminars on sexuality education and healthy relationships. What people forget about sex, she says, is that “Individual preferences outweigh any tips or tricks. Talk to your partner. Learn what they like. Explore.”

Sarah Merrill is a Developmental Psychology Ph.D. student at Cornell University. Her research focuses on sexual orientation fluidity (“There can be, and should be, a significant amount of nuance when talking about a person’s sexual orientation”), the role of sex in adult attachments, and the gap between physiological and subjective arousal. Using a combination of eye tracking and pupil dilation measurements, her lab tracks sexual arousal in participants and compares it to the participants’ subjective accounts of what arouses them. Often, subjective arousal and physiological arousal don’t match, and Merrill is trying to figure out why — and if any alterations to the studies can make them match more closely.

Read full interviews with all four researchers here!

  Musings      ,  
Oct
27

Help save In Other Words

In Other Words

We love In Other Words. This month, they turn 21 years old, and that’s 21 years of being an amazing feminist community space and resource. Their storefront serves as a book store, lending library, and venue for feminist events. Each January, we donate 10% of our sales on Tuesdays to them. But In Other Words is in dire straights right now, and we wish it wasn’t so.

In Other Words is facing capacity deficits and are seriously considering closing their doors. Each month, they need at least $5,000 just to make ends meet. As a non-profit, they are entirely volunteer-run and rely on donations. To stay open well into 2015, they need help. They’ve set up a crowdfunding campaign with the goal of $20,000.

As they write on the crowdfunding page, they don’t make a bunch of dough just because they were on Portlandia.

The question we get most often is, “but don’t you make zillions of dollars off of the TV show Portlandia?!” The short answer is: NOPE. Far from it. Unfortunately, the fact that the TV show Portlandia features a regular feminist bookstore parody does not provide us with any substantial revenue flow and Portlandia-related donations are far from enough to pay our bills.

You can help In Other Words at this juncture in three ways: contribute to the campaign, sign up for a volunteer position at the space by emailing volunteer@inotherwords.org, or apply to join their board of directors at humanresources@inotherwords.org.

On November 8th, there will be a public community meeting about whether In Other Words has increased their volunteer base and received enough donations to stay in business. Please consider donating or volunteering to keep this vital organization running. The video below, “Feminism Matters Now More Than Ever,” is a good reminder of why we need In Other Words.

 

Oct
20

She Bop Division grand opening and raffle!

She Bop Division!The time has come! We’re still putting the finishing touches on everything in our second location on SE Division, but we’re ready to open our doors to you!

Our first day of business will be this Friday, October 24th, from 11 am to 8 pm. The new spot is located at 3213 SE Division, right across the street from Pok Pok. Come visit us and our new neighbors, Sugar Me and Little Otsu!

That day the street will be celebrating the completion of the Division Streetscape Paving Project with OpenFest, which will include a ribbon cutting, music, beer garden, and specials at many new and veteran businesses.

To celebrate the grand opening, we’re having a raffle to benefit the various local non-profits we support throughout the year (Bitch Media, In Other Words, Portland Women’s Crisis Line, Bradley Angle and the Q Center). Raffle tickets are available for purchase online or in the shop for just $5 each. Purchase as many as you’d like to increase your chances to win one or more of these impressive prize packages:

Grand opening raffle prizes!

  • Jimmyjane Form 6 + Blossom Organics Natural Moisturizing lube
  • njoy Pure Wand + Hathor Aphrodisia Pure lube
  • Aslan Leather Cumfy Cuffs + Jaguar Collar + Sliquid H2O lube
  • Fun Factory Stronic Zwei + Good Clean Love Almost Naked lube
  • LELO Mona 2 + Hathor Aphrodisia Pure lube
  • Spareparts Hardwear Joque harness + Good Clean Love Almost Naked lube
  • We-Vibe 4 Plus + Blossom Organics Natural Moisturizing lube
  • Fleshlight Vibro + Sliquid H2O lube

Winners of prize packages will be contacted on November 1st. Prizes will be available for pick-up in the shop; out-of-town winners to kindly cover the cost of shipping.

Huge thank you to the following companies for donating products: LELO, njoy, Entrenue, We-VibeSpareparts Hardwear, Fun Factory, Jimmyjane, Aslan Leather, FleshlightGood Clean Love, Hathor AphrodisiaSliquid, and Blossom Organics. We could not have put this together without you!

We can’t wait to see you this Friday!

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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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