On each Tuesday in June, 10% of our sales will go to the Q Center, the wonderful LGBTQ community center just around the corner from us in North Portland. The Q Center is an absolute gem of an organization; here’s their description of what they do:
Q Center is a 501c3 non-profit organization with a mission to increase the visibility of and foster connection within metropolitan Portland’s Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Questioning (LGBTQ) community. The center builds public awareness and support, and celebrates LGBTQ diversity through art, culture, and collaborative community programming.
There are dozens of events and groups that meet here, some focused on specific topics (like coming out or gender identity) and others aimed at fun social interactions (like sing-along piano cabarets or craft nights). Entry to most of these is sliding-scale and run by dedicated volunteers, keeping Q Center truly community-driven and accessible.
In addition to our programmatic offerings, our 5,000 sq/ft facility is also a safe and friendly place to spend an afternoon. With our monthly art exhibits, extensive library collection, Resource Wall, and free WiFi access, there’s always something to see and learn here at Q Center.
Come visit us and find a new toy on any Tuesday in June, and 10% of your purchase will go to the Q Center!
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 Erika is both excessively talented and a Portlander!
Tackling sexuality in her comics is not new to Erika, 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, Erika 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.
Did you know that the sex toy industry is largely unregulated? It is much more of a wild west than most consumers realize. Companies can actually make their toys out of any mish-mash of material they want, then slap false claims on the packaging such as “100% silicone” and “phthalate-free” — with no recourse or accountability.
The only regulations are the ones put in place by ethical manufacturers and shops who vow to only use and carry body-safe materials. We’re very discerning about our selection, as we believe consumers should not be subjected to toxic materials (nor should they have to search high and low for answers about what their sex toys are made out of!). This is why we are a partner at the Coalition Against Toxic Toys and a member of the Progressive Pleasure Club, a network of indie sex toy shops committed to safety and education. Together, we keep each other informed and accountable.
But unsafe toys continue to be manufactured, and packaging continues to lie, and there is no governing body to put a stop to it.
Enter Dildology. Founded by a former sex shop manager, a rouge blogger, and a technologist, Dildology is a new non-profit organization which independently verifies the material content of sex toys. After a toy has been tested in a lab, the results are posted on the public Dildology Wiki. Ultimately, Dildology will add transparency and oversight to the sex toy industry while also educating the public about the science behind sex toys. We’re very excited about this!
With a big end goal of $20,000, though, Dildology is in dire need of donations. They have over $1,000 so far, but considering that testing a single toy can cost $200-450, more funding is definitely needed (thus far they have sent the Jimmyjane Hello Touch to a lab and confirmed that it is indeed 100% silicone). Dildology is also hoping to get enough votes on Offbeatr to start crowdfunding on there.
We’re really glad that this organization has been created. The industry has needed something like it for a long time now. If you agree, donate here and read more posts about the importance of Dildology. You can also follow Dildology on Facebook and Twitter.
Wednesday, July 17th — 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!
May is Masturbation Month, which always gets us thinking about how we can help folks celebrate. In 2011, we listed the numerous ways masturbation is beneficial to your emotional and physical health. In 2012, we gave you some ideas for trying something new during your usual masturbation routine.
This year, we’re going with a different approach. We’d like to give some tips to folks for whom masturbation doesn’t come as easily. If, for any reason, you find masturbation difficult, not pleasurable, or simply dull, we hope these tips can steer you down a happier path.
- Unlearn negative thoughts. No matter where you picked up any negative cultural scripts that play in your head surrounding masturbation, banish them. There is absolutely nothing shameful or wrong about masturbation. Read our post about the benefits of masturbation; among other things, masturbation can boost your mood, relieve stress, fight insomnia, and strengthen your sexual relationship with yourself and others. Once you unpack and undo the negative messages, they won’t be able to hold you back anymore.
- Read an empowering book or blog, such as Big Big Love, Transcending Anatomy, Sex for One, The New Male Sexuality, Gender Outlaws, or For Yourself, which address body image issues as well as sexuality. There are also more matter-of-fact guides specifically about orgasm, such as Becoming Orgasmic and The Elusive Orgasm. If you have dealt with any sort of trauma, Healing Sex is an irreplaceable resource.
- Watch an empowering (and hot!) film. Erika Lust’s Barcelona Sex Project, Betty Dodson’s Orgasmic Women, and Buck Angel’s Sexing the Transman show folks having authentic solo pleasure. For more of an instructional film, try Tristan Taormino’s Expert Guide to Female Orgasm, which includes a workshop portion followed by several partnered scenes.
- Do kegels. Kegel exercises, aside from strengthening the PC muscles (and thereby improving orgasms), can also help you get in tune with your body. These exercises can be done at any time, or you can purchase a specifically-designed kegel exercisor. Read our guide for more info!
- Don’t masturbate when you’re in a bad mood. A negative mental state will impact the experience and only cause frustration. If you’re stressed, preoccupied, upset, or feeling guilty, it can be difficult to feel sexual pleasure, let alone orgasm. So when you’re ready…
- Relax and get comfortable. It’s important to feel safe and at ease — whatever that means to you. That might mean taking a bath, playing music, and lighting a candle, or it may just mean blissful silence and a set of freshly-washed sheets. In any case, get rid of distractions as best you can: turn off your phone, lock the door, and send the kids and pets away! Preparation, aside from setting a comfortable scene, can help build anticipation and excitement for what’s next.
- Explore your body, not just your genitals. There are many more erogeneous zones to stimulate! Begin by stroking and caressing your ears, neck, arms, nipples, hips, thighs, perineum… wherever your hands take you.
- Spend time on arousal. When you’re aroused, your body will become far more sensitive and receptive to touch. So fantasize, watch porn, and/or read erotica to get the blood pumping first. Then, by the time you touch your genitals, your body will be primed for pleasure.
- Lube is your friend. Lube can enhance masturbation quite a bit. Stroke 29 and Boy Butter H20 are specially formulated for stimulating a penis, while Yes and Sliquid Sea are wonderful for vulvas. You could also try a stimulating gel. When applied to the clitoris or head of the penis, Stimulating O Gel or ON Clitoral Arousal Balm can bring sensation to the area, helping you focus.
- Follow what feels good. Despite what Cosmo may have you believe, there is no formula here. Everyone’s different and will respond differently to stimulation. Vary your speed, rhythm, pressure, and grip, as well as the location you’re pleasuring. There are some great alternative masturbation techniques for trans women and trans men. Try various positions — on your back, sitting up, on your stomach — as sensations will change. Take your time. You will find that certain techniques trigger more pleasure than others. Follow those cues!
- And don’t overthink it. It’s really important not to let stressful thoughts creep in and sabotage you. At the same time, don’t completely zone out and disconnect from the experience. Strike a balance.
- Introduce a toy. Sex toys can provide sensations that fingers often aren’t capable of. We have a guide to buying your first vibrator that can give you an idea of what’s out there. Other options include dildos, sleeves, and anal toys. Any of these can help enhance masturbation and add variety.
- Orgasm isn’t always the holy grail. Constantly worrying about orgasm will distract both your mind and your body, which will work against you. If you can accept that you may not always have an orgasm, it will relieve the pressure you put on yourself. Think of masturbation as pleasure for its own sake, not just an end result.
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 is full — email email@example.com with your phone number to be added to the waitlist.
It looks like our old friend the Hitachi Magic Wand is getting a bit of a facelift. Notice anything? Yep, the word “Hitachi” is being dropped from its name.
Don’t panic — it’ll always be the powerhouse we’ve always loved. But, as it turns out, Japanese company Hitachi has grown weary of having its name attached to a device far more well-known for its pleasure-inducing properties than its “intended” purpose of massaging sore muscles (although it does that quite well, too!).
Despite the fact that the Magic Wand has been in production for over 30 years, Hitachi planned to cease production of the product. Thankfully, distributor Vibratex stepped in with a better idea: simply remove the word “Hitachi,” and in turn, prevent all-out pandemonium among the masturbating public.
Laura Anne Stuart, owner of the Tool Shed in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, attended the International Lingerie Show this year and reported back about the changes. Aside from the re-branding, the toy will have stronger construction and updated componentry, making it even more durable than before. Stuart found the new model to be satisfactory indeed:
I held a new Wand in my hand at the show, and it felt just as powerful to me, with the same intensity of vibration. The minor adjustments that Vibratex made cause the toy to be less jerky when turning on and off and will reduce the extremely small number of defective wands to almost zero. The handle has been reinforced to decrease the vibrations that are transmitted to your hand (rather than to the head of the toy), and the switch circuitry has been improved. In my opinion, you can feel these changes when holding the toy, but not when applying the head of the Wand to a body part.
The Hitachi Magic Wand rose to orgasmic fame in the ’70s, when feminist sex educator Betty Dodson featured it in her book, Liberating Masturbation, and talked it up in her workshops. It’s been a cult classic ever since, much loved for its incredibly powerful vibrations and broad, tennis-ball-sized head. It’s so popular that quite a few attachments have been invented for it, and a sex pillow was even designed specifically to hold one.
So sometime in the next few months, our Hitachi Magic Wands will be replaced with updated Magic Wands. And while we’ll miss the box featuring delightful photos of’80s ladies innocently massaging their backs, we’re relieved that Vibratex jumped in and ensured the posterity of the toy that many refer to as “the Cadillac of vibrators.”
Gifted with a Polaroid instant camera at age 8, Courtney Trouble was destined to be an artist. As a teenager in Washington, she spent her days in her high school’s dark room — and her nights running in grunge and riot grrrl circles.
Trouble attended The Evergreen State College in Olympia, where she continued pursuing print and digital photography. She snagged publishing, entertainment journalism, and photography gigs for a while, then started working as a phone sex operator. Phone sex was lucrative and allowed her to be her own boss, but it was exhausting catering to her clients’ fantasies all the time. Trouble was itching to explore her own rebellious queer desires.
So in 2002, at just 19 years old, Trouble founded NoFauxxx.com, a little website offering up “subversive smut.” In the beginning, Trouble shot erotic photos of her friends, lovers, classmates, and herself with a bulky Nikon CoolPix — 600 pixels max — and no light set, studio props, or a video camera. Just, as she puts it, “that good old Olympia DIY magic.”
NoFauxxx was a fun, creative hobby at first, something to balance out Trouble’s fantasy-based phone sex work with the documentation of real queer sexuality — but over the years, it grew into a community and a movement. The queer porn movement.
In 2007, Trouble began filming her first full-length DVD. With no formal training in film or video editing and very little money, it took her two years to finish. But the result, Roulette, solidified her trajectory toward queer porn notoriety.
Courtney Trouble is now known as a sassy and unapologetic champion of authentic, queer, body-positive, binary-breaking feminist porn. She strives for inclusivity, casting performers who run the gamut of gender, sexual orientation, size, and race. She likes to shoot performers in their own homes, using their personalities as inspiration for scenes. Queer porn, she admits, is a genre defined by its lack of structure:
Queer porn is a little bit undefinable, because the “point” of queer porn is to show the vast diversity of queer desire, and performers “queering” sex more as a verb than an adjective. Queer porn is a collaborative, open-communication-centric, intimate art that is as much the performer’s concept as well as the director or producer. Queer porn removes the various niches, stereotypes, and misconceptions that the dominant adult industry places on people based on how they look or how they fuck, and allows the performers and producers to make authentic, meaningful, sex-positive imagery that reflects our true sexual natures.
After her first film, Trouble helped build Reel Queer Productions, a video line for which she directed and edited 11 more movies, both plot-based and gonzo, including Roulette Toronto, Seven Minutes in Heaven, Nostalgia, Billy Castro Does the Mission, and Bordello.
Trouble is a performer as well. She loves being in front of the camera, using her body and sexuality (as a genderqueer fat feminist femme switch) to make a political statement. As a performer, she has starred in her own films, as well as The Wild Search, Crash Pad Series Volume One, and in scenes on Shine Louise Houston’s website CrashPadSeries.com and Madison Young’s website Madison Bound. Performing, she firmly believes, makes her a better director.
Taking everything she learned from the trial-and-error development of NoFauxxx, Trouble collaborated with queer pornstar Tina Horn in November 2010 to launch QueerPorn.TV, a community-based porn site featuring exclusive content and interviews with performers. She also runs QueerPornTube, the first ever free, user-generated queer tube site, which hosts the work of both amateurs and professionals.
In 2011 she established her own porn production company, TROUBLEfilms, through which she has released several films: Fuckstyles of the Queer and Famous, Live Sex Show, and Lesbian Curves (which just won a Feminist Porn Award for “Hottest Dyke Film”). TROUBLEfilms also distributes Tobi Hill-Meyer’s Doing It Ourselves: The Trans Women Porn Project and The Genderfellator.
By taking complete control of her content distribution, Trouble is able to release scenes featuring fisting, knife play, squirting, and other sex acts that distributors usually don’t allow due to obscenity laws. These often nonsensical laws are what inspired Trouble, along with genderqueer porn icon Jiz Lee, to create International Fisting Day to educate and dispel myths about fisting.
Ten years after its initial launch, NoFauxxx changed its name to Indie Porn Revolution, and subsequently received an AVN nomination for “Best Alternative Website.” It is now the longest-running queer porn website on the internet, with a unique genre- and gender-less navigation structure that encourages the viewer to explore its breadth of erotic imagery without choosing a familiar category marker first.
When asked what keeps her passionate about queer porn, Trouble said:
The effect that my work has had on other queer folks . . . I get letters all the time that queer porn has changed, and sometimes even saved, a life. It saved mine 10 years ago, and the fact that it’s still relevant and even more so now, is why my passion thrives. Sometimes people use my art as a survival tool. Not very many pornographers get to say that their porn is that essential.
Courtney Trouble loves animals (especially her chihuahua, Cookie Party), the njoy Eleven and Hitachi Magic Wand, and cheeseburgers. She is working on a film called Come Find Me, which follows a woman on a bike-powered scavenger hunt to her real-life lover. It will be Trouble’s first full-length movie starring a heterosexual couple.
Check out this fun interview with Trouble from this year’s Feminist Porn Awards:
Big news! After much toiling behind the scenes, our affiliate program is now live. If you run a blog or website and want to promote our shop and the products we carry, you can now apply to be a part of our program. We offer 15% commissions on every sale you send our way. If you’re already talking about us online or want some incentive to do so, this is it!
How you choose to promote She Bop is up to you, whether you simply place a banner in your sidebar, mention us on Twitter, write reviews of your favorite products… or all of the above! Then, when a visitor clicks on one of those links or banners, their IP will be logged and a cookie will be placed in their browser for tracking purposes. If the visitor orders from us, the order will be registered as a sale for you (for which you will receive 15% commission).
Read more about the program on this page. There’s also a FAQ. Applications are approved or denied on a case-by-case basis. We are generally looking for websites and blogs that are relevant, well-maintained, and likely to be an asset to our program. When you’re ready to apply, go here.
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!
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.
Error: Twitter did not respond. Please wait a few minutes and refresh this page.
- Basic Rights Oregon
- Bitch Magazine
- Bradley Angle
- BUST Magazine
- Dirty Playground
- In Other Words
- 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
- Sex Worker Outreach Coalition
- The Portland Mercury