Nov
26

Shop Little Boxes 2013!

Little Boxes

Little Boxes — an independent, PDX spin on traditional Black Friday sales — is back this year! And we are very excited to be participating once again!

Shopping in Portland’s Little Boxes on Black Friday and Saturday is an alternative to the hubbub of the big box stores. It’s a great way to find unique gifts for everyone on your list, enjoy the hospitality and warmth of Portland’s independently owned neighborhood shops, have fun with your family and friends, and — just maybe — win some pretty incredible prizes, just by taking a stroll in Portland’s best shopping districts.

On Friday, November 29th and Saturday, November 30th, each visit to a Little Boxes participating business represents an entry into the huge prize raffle. Then, when you make a purchase at one Little Box, you’ll get a stamp. Show your stamp to the next Little Box to get a 10% discount. That means you can get a 10% discount at our shop just by supporting another participating business. Hooray!

Little Boxes is city-wide, but plenty of our Mississippi neighbors are participating, such as JetFlutterManifestoSalty’s Dog & Cat ShopAnimal Traffic, and Black Wagon.

Check out the full list of participating stores and the Little Boxes Facebook page for more information!

  Sales       
Nov
25

Labia Library emphasizes genital diversity

The Labia Library

Women’s Health Victoria, an Australian non-profit health and advocacy organization, was frustrated with the rise in popularity of female genital cosmetic surgery. So, after receiving funding from the Victorian Women€™’s Benevolent Trust, they developed a website showcasing the natural diversity of vulvas: the Labia Library.

Not only is it great alliteration, but the Labia Library is an awesome and empowering resource. The site includes an in-depth photo gallery of an array of sizes, shapes, and colors of vulva, with photos from both the front (while standing) and below (with legs spread). There is also an anatomy page and a page called “are my labia normal?

The site seeks to reiterate that what you see in magazines and mainstream porn is not what many vulvas look like. Especially in Australia, where the Classification Board requires that the labia minora and clitoris be airbrushed out of photographs in unrestricted publications. Women’s Health Victoria hopes to influence this damaging phenomenon, as explained in an interview with Cory Silverberg:

We’re going to be doing further advocacy with the Classification Board in Australia, in an attempt to influence the application of the guidelines in Australia. We’re hoping that they will cease applying the guidelines by removing the labia minora and clitoris, or that they will start acknowledging that they’re doing this with a statement detailing how images have been altered.

That is definitely a worthwhile endeavor. So go, support this excellent project and take a stroll through the Labia Library. (Sorry, we just had to say that.)

  Community, Musings     
Nov
22

Salon writer attempts to “think off”

Barbara Carellas, photo by Barbara NitkeIs it possible to “think off”? Ask Barbara Carrellas, and she’ll tell you yes. She believes we should expand the definition of an orgasm beyond the traditional, genital-focused one — she deals in “breath and energy” orgasms.

59-year-old Carrellas is a sex coach and the author of Urban Tantra. She contributed an essay to The Ultimate Guide to Kink and wrote the foreword to The Big Book of OrgasmsShe was in an episode of TLC’s Strange Sex, being wheeled into an MRI machine to demonstrate her ability to have an orgasm with no physical contact. Sadly, the results were inconclusive — according to the Rutgers researcher, Carrellas “moved her head violently during her session in the scanner, precluding data analysis.”

As the idea of erotic breathwork is still fairly new to most people, we enjoyed reading the experience of Tracy Clark-Flory, staff writer at Salon, who visited Carrellas and attempted to “think off.”

She walked me through each chakra, all the way up through my head. When she wasn’t guiding me through visuals, she breathed along, letting out exhalations that sounded like bedroom moans. “You’re turning yourself on in a molecular sense,” she purred and suggested that I make a bit more sound. “It can be a sexy sound, it can be a power sound.” I let out an “ahh” that barely registered on my tape recorder.

Before long, she instructed me to take “fuller, faster breaths.” My lips were dry, my mouth tight and vomiting seemed a distinct possibility. I began to notice that my hands were tingly. My three outer fingers felt curled tight, like I was involuntarily pointing . . . While my hands didn’t feel particularly good, the sensation was remarkable and unlike anything I’ve ever felt. It was an out-of-body experience or, more accurately, as Carrellas puts it, “a deeply in-body experience.” I liked it and was scared by it, all at once.

She had me take three deep breaths and then hold my breath while clenching and pressing my body into the floor. “No expectations. Exactly the right thing will happen in exactly the right time-space continuum,” she said. “When you’re ready, let go.”

Turns out, a lot of what Clark-Flory experienced are classic symptoms of hyperventilation — over-breathing. But researchers believe that hyperventilation can lead to altered consciousness. In fact, a few have even made the connection between hyperventilation and enhanced arousal levels. In one study, women who hyperventilated prior to watching an erotic film had “significantly higher levels of genital sexual arousal” during the screening than those who didn’t hyperventilate.

All Clark-Flory knows is that she experienced something unique. Carrellas, meanwhile, has a rebuttal for the hyperventilation claims: “People say, ‘Oh, well, isn’t this just hyperventilation?’ And I say, ‘If it is, it’s the good kind.’”

Nov
11

Erika Lust turns anonymous fantasies into reality

We are longtime fans of erotic film director Erika Lust, and her latest endeavor, XConfessions, is just the cherry on top of why we love her. Originally launched three years ago as a place for users to share their anonymous sex fantasies and stories, XConfessions is getting even steamier. Now, Erika Lust is handpicking her favorite confessions and turning them into hot short films!

XConfessions has over 20,000 registered members and 250 confessions, of which 8 have already been filmed. In “Hold Me So Tight it Hurts,” a woman experiments with rope bondage. In “Let’s Make a Porno,” Lust helped a real-life couple achieve their dream of being filmed. “I Believe in Happy Endings” follows a masseuse who uses her whole body to massage her clients (this scene is also featured in Lust’s Life Love Lust).

Scenes that have yet to be posted include “Sadistic Trainer,” in which a confessor fantasizes about torturing their gym trainer, and “I Pegged My Boyfriend,” which is pretty self-explanatory. Erika Lust brings her usual stylish eye to all of these films, with brilliant casting, set design, music, and camera angles.

Register and confess anonymously today, and you can even watch some short clips for free.

We’ll leave you with the intro to “I Fucking Love IKEA,” a confession from a woman who really really loves watching her boyfriend build things.

  Community      ,  
Nov
10

Back That Ass Up!: Anal Sex 101

Thursday, January 23rd — 7:30 p.m. — $15

AJ (aka Amory Jane)Are you interested in anal pleasure but not sure where to get started? Already tried anal play but wanting to learn some fun tricks and techniques? Whether you’re brand new to the wonderful world of anal or already have some backdoor experience, this class is sure to teach you something new!

In this educational and humorous workshop, AJ will confront taboos, go over anal anatomy, prostate, and the G-spot, discuss anal penetration for beginners, and show great positions for anal sex. She’ll also cover safety and hygiene and give you the inside scoop on all the best lubes and anal toys! This class is open to all genders and sexual appetites.

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 sex-positive relationship coach.

This class has already taken place. Thanks for attending!

Nov
10

Full-Bodied Fellatio

Thursday, January 16th — 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!

Nov
10

Exploring Burlesque: Striptease Salon

Wednesday, January 8th– 7:30 p.m. — $15

Have you ever wanted to rock your boa? Peel your stocking? Shimmy your hips? Get your glamour puss on because this class is for you! Join Orchestre L’Pow producer Madison Moone for Striptease Salon, a flirty evening of classic bump and grind perfect for beginners or just the curious.

Students will be guided through a sexy burlesque movement study including bumps, grinds and struts, followed by a tantalizing round of peeling techniques and prop dancing. We will also explore classic burlesque characters before constructing a series of short teases as a group. Together, we will discover a deeper sense of our personal erotic being while developing a greater appreciation for our feminine power!

Students should dress in comfortable clothes such a yoga or dance wear. Music and demo props will be provided by Miss Moone. All levels of fitness welcome, no dance experience or nudity required. Please avoid alcohol consumption before attending and arrive by 7:20 p.m. — class will begin promptly at 7:30 p.m., no late entrance after 7:45 p.m. No photographs are permitted. There will be time for shopping after the class!

Grab your best girlfriends and join Miss Moone for an evening of fun, laughs and celebration of the female spirit. See you in class!

This class has already taken place. Thanks for attending!

  Events      ,  
Nov
1

Industry Spotlight: Carlos Batts

Carlos Batts (photo by Coagula Art Journal)Is 20-odd years enough to make a lasting impact with art? In the case of Carlos Batts, the answer is absolutely yes.

Since he was 16, he had the name of his company all mapped out: C. Batts FLY. At Franklin High School in Reisterstown, Maryland, he ran with the goth kids, devoured horror movies, sported death metal band T-shirts, and cultivated an early love for photography.

Working a part-time job on the weekends, it took Batts weeks to save enough money to buy his first camera, a Pentax K1000, which he lugged to punk shows to take pictures from the pit. Soon he was shooting album covers.

Batts had always been inspired by the gothic aesthetic, so it was no surprise that his photography went in that direction. By his 20s, he was setting up lights in his house, shooting dark fetish photos of friends of friends. He landed freelancing photography gigs with fetish magazines Taboo and Leg World.

But like any good artist, Batts was rejected by every art gallery in Baltimore. So in 1999, he left for Los Angeles, where “there are more opportunities, and people are more willing to believe your bullshit.”

Little did Batts know, a chance encounter at a gallery opening in Echo Park in 2000 would change the course of his life. That is where he met then-barista April Flores, the woman who would become his wife and muse. But at first, he was just amazed by her flawless skin. He wanted — no, needed — to photograph her.

He had always been turned off by the women who saw posing for him as nothing more than a job — not art. When he shot Flores, there was an immediate spark. No matter how he lit her, or what he dressed her in, every picture was perfect.

Batts’ first book, Wild Skin, came about after he wooed a German publisher with a portfolio of kinky, garishly-lit photos of racially-diverse women of all body types. In fact, when his publisher flew in from Munich to edit the book, he just happened to choose a photo of April Flores for the cover.

The years that followed found him publishing two more books, Crazy Sexy Hollywood, and American Gothic. Along the way, he directed music videos and indie films, shot album covers and porn box covers, exhibited his work internationally, and even landed the cover for a UK edition of Chuck Palahniuk’s Snuff. He drew, painted, designed sets, made collages, and sculpted.

He clung to his art fiercely; he once stated that he would rather shoot school yearbook photos or weddings than create something that he hated. And so, when his muse gained interest in expressing herself with moving images, he followed suit. But he always stuck with his own aesthetic, culled from years of experimentation with light:

My intent was never to do hard-core. I’m not even in the league. I wasn’t technically inclined to light a room like that. I didn’t even know how begin to light a big, shiny, bright white girl. I would set up four hot bulbs and let it go. Get some mood in there. Make her become more of a character, and not just like a thing.

Really slick porno is lit like you’d light a lawn mower. It’s like shooting a Sears catalog. There’s no depths as far as personality. You’re not engaged. She’s just a brightly lit vagina. I could never do that.

In all, he directed just over 10 erotic films, including Behind the Red Door and Dangerous Curves, as well as the porn documentary trifecta of Alter EgoVoluptuous Life, and Glamazons. Batts’ films are all about style, using sound, mood, atmosphere, lighting, wardrobe, and diverse talent to tell the story. Dangerous Curves won “Most Deliciously Diverse Cast” at the 2010 Feminist Porn Awards, and April Flores World won “Sexiest Star Feature” in 2013.

In 2009, when April Flores’ vulva was molded for a sex toy, Batts came up with the ingenious idea to have famous artists paint plaster molds of her vulva for an art exhibit called the April Flores Toy Show. It was yet another example of how, for many, it became hard to imagine Batts without Flores, or Flores without Batts. His unique point of view and love for his wife shown through every time he collaborated with her.

Calling art “the strongest form of activism,” Batts believed whole-heartedly in the transformative and important nature of what he did. Yet, he was soft-spoken and never pretentious. Tristan Taormino recounted a conversation she had with him about his place in the feminist porn movement.

. . . he wanted to be respectful and was especially wary of taking up space as a guy in this growing revolution . . . We had this amazing discussion where he talked about what he believed, what he valued, and how he could claim the label ‘feminist.’ He didn’t want to say it until he was clear about what it meant to him and what he could bring to the party. He was beginning to shape and articulate how the art he was creating could be specifically feminist, and it was pretty cool to be in on that process.

He thanked me later for helping him talk it through, but what he didn’t realize is that our talk was just as enlightening for me. It made me more aware of my own place in the movement as a white woman who identifies as a feminist. That was Carlos: he pushed me to look at my privilege simply by his openness and willingness to talk about his struggles and beliefs. He gave me gifts like that a lot. He wasn’t always the loudest voice in the room, but when he opened his mouth, it was clear how fierce and brave he was about challenging the status quo.

Batts and Flores were guests on Tristan Taormino’s Sex Out Loud radio show last year, speaking about how they met, why they loved making art, and the April Flores Toy Show.

Batts’ last major artistic contribution to the world was a monumental one: a photography book — his fourth — entitled Fat Girl. Released in July of this year, the book chronicles twelve years with April Flores. Reclaiming the phrase “fat girl,” it offers an exceptional look into the fearless, intimate, playful, and romantic relationship the two shared.

Carlos Batts passed away on October 22nd at the age of 40. Donations can be sent to the Carlos Batts Memorial Fund.

Nov
1

British Museum showcases shunga erotic art

Erotic figurines from the 18th and 19th centuries, photo by Suzanne Plunkett/ReutersIf you can make it out to London before January 5th, you’ll have the opportunity to see the most sexually explicit exhibition to grace the British Museum since its inception in 1753.

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.

  Community      ,  
Oct
31

Win tickets to HUMP! 2013

HUMP!, the Pacific Northwest’s lovable amateur porn film festival, is right on the horizon! Showings are Thursday, November 14th through Sunday, November 17th at Cinema 21, and many showtimes have already sold out!

We want to help you experience the hot, laugh-out-loud fun of HUMP!, so as in years past, we have some tickets to give away. Four pairs, to be precise! (So each winner can bring a friend.) We have a pair of tickets to each of the following showtimes:

  • Saturday, November 16th at 3:30 pm (18+)
  • Saturday, November 16th at 6 pm (21+)
  • Sunday, November 17th at 3:30 pm (18+)
  • Sunday, November 17th at 6 pm (21+)

Enter now!

Use the Rafflecopter widget below to enter the giveaway. The first two entry options are mandatory, and the rest are optional.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

This giveaway ends on Wednesday, November 13th at 11:59 p.m. PST.
Winners will be chosen randomly and tickets will be emailed to them.

  Giveaways      , ,  
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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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