Vagina-Monologues-Blog-Post

Guest Blog: The Vagina Monologues

I read The Vagina Monologues for the first time at drama school, five years ago. Hannah Cecily, a fellow drama student, and feminist mentor, pressed the book into my hands one day.

‘You must read this,’ she said, an earnest passion shining in her eyes.

I took it home and started reading it that night. From the very first page I was gripped and transfixed and as I read, my eyes were opened. I laughed and I cried and I shook with anger. I felt empowered, enraged, reassured, appalled, joyful and sad, then I felt them all over again. Every story touched me so deeply.

Vagina-MonologuesIn Flood, an old woman explains that after getting sexually excited on a date with her high school crush and getting her dress and his car seat wet, she thought there was something wrong with her and never touched her vagina or got sexually involved with anyone for the rest of her life. I felt a deep connection to this woman and felt so sad for all the sexual pleasure she had been denied. I ejaculated for the first time during a masturbating session in my mid-teens. I was so shocked and ashamed of myself and wrote in my diary that I would never masturbate again as ‘I wet myself when I orgasm’. It was magazines, the internet, and my female peers talking openly about sex that taught me what female ejaculation was and that it wasn’t disgusting or wrong. I wondered, had I been born fifty years earlier with no access to any of that, if the woman in the monologue might have been me.

Again and again, the stories highlighted how disconnected women can be from their vaginas, as a result of rape and assault, shame they were made to feel by parents or partners, and fear of their (or our) own sexuality. I knew then how important it is that we take back ownership of our sexuality and reconnect with our vaginas (something that Sh! is helping with marvellously by the way).

When Hannah asked me a few months ago if I would like to co-produce a production of The Vagina Monologues with her I knew I had to do it. The play is as potent and relevant now as it was then and it will be relevant until sexual assault and rape cease to be, and all women feel utterly connected to their vaginas and sexuality.

The process of putting the show together has been incredible. The fascinating and in-depth conversations that have arisen at each rehearsal and the level of respect and trust between us all is so special. Every single one of our cast members and directors has brought such truth and passion to the project and the result is a powerful, funny, heart-rending, and heartwarming production.

All proceeds from the night are being shared between four amazing charities: RESPECT UK and DVIP (Domestic Violence Intervention Project), both incredible charities who are addressing the huge problem of domestic violence by running preventative programs for perpetrators and would be perpetrators, thereby stopping it at its root; Rape Crisis, who offer support, advice and information to survivors of child sexual abuse, rape, and any kind of sexual assault; and this year’s VDay Spotlight campaign, Women in Prison, Detention Centres, and Formerly Incarcerated Women.

We would love you to join us in supporting these charities and celebrating vaginas, at 7pm on Tuesday March 5th at Bethnal Green Working Men’s Club. Amazing Sh! raffle prizes also up for grabs!

Buy your ticket for The Vagina Monologues here.


Together we can start to heal the wounds and one day make a safe world for our vaginas.


via GIPHY

Many thanks to Jacinta for writing this blog post.

Auction_Lelo_Tiani_24k

Help Us Raise Funds For Survivors of Sexual Violence

Anyone with access to social media will be aware of the incredible uprising of women finally speaking out about Harvey Weinstein and many others just like him; powerful men who assume they have an automatic right to women’s bodies and who wouldn’t dream of taking ‘no’ for an answer.

Twitter and Facebook timelines were flooded with stories of sexual harassment and assault, shared by women all over the world using #MeToo.

My Body Back LogoIn the midst of this, we received an email by the fantastic women behind the My Body Back Project, a small but mighty charity focusing on female survivors of sexual violence: would we help them raise funds in order to help reach the thousands of women across the UK –the world! – who are desperate for the My Body Back’s support?

Well, hellz to the yes!

The issue of supporting survivors is something that lies close to our hearts, and together with My Body Back Project, we host a bi-monthly support group called Cafe V. Cafe V is set up as a sex-positive and empowering space where women come together for a cuppa & a danish pastry, celebrating themselves on their journey towards reclaiming their bodies.

What happens at Cafe V stays at Cafe V – except for this one time…

So what can we do to help?

18 months ago we attended the glitzy launch of Lelo Hex Condoms, with Charlie Sheen as the face of what was no doubt a costly marketing campaign. Sheen’s alleged off-screen behaviour includes a long list of incidents including domestic violence, and it seemed an odd choice for Lelo as the leading sex toy brand for women.

Lelo Tiani 24kAt the end of the festive evening, we each received a luxury goodie bag containing a Lelo Tiani 24k Couples Remote Controlled Intercourse Vibrator (£339), which was incredibly generous and could have set us up for many a-night riding the orgasmic waves. (With a 10-year pleasure guarantee, it would have been the gift that just keeps on giving!)

However, due to Lelo’s ill-chosen spokesperson and how we felt about his attitude towards women, we decided to put the luxe vibes to better use: We auctioned off two of the Tiani 24k vibes to help raise funds for Solace Women’s Aid. This, to us, offered an opportunity to make something good out of something that left us with a bit of a sour taste…

For our take on the night Lelo got into bed with Charlie, just hop on over to this blog post.

We are now auctioning off another two Lelo Tiani 24k to help raise much-needed cash for the My Body Back Project.

Lelo Tiani 24 Gold Couples Vibrator

If you want to show your support and stand with survivors of sexual violence, place your bid now!

There are three ways to leave your bid and whichever way works best for you, works for us:

  1. Leave your bid in ££’s in the comments below
  2. Tweet your bid in ££’s to @Shwomenstore using #MBBP
  3. Leave your bid in ££’s on our Facebook page

The two highest bids by 5pm on Saturday 10th February 2018 will each take home a Lelo Tiani 24k vibe, knowing that their bids will be used to support female survivors of sexual violence.

If you’d like to organise a fundraising event or help support survivors in some way, sexual abuse & sexual violence awareness week is the perfect time.

Taking place from 5th – 11th February 2018, there’ll be a number of events like the Light Up The Night on Monday 5th February, which will see a walk across London’s Millennium Bridge to shine a light on the issue in solidarity with survivors of sexual abuse & violence.

For those of you who want to, you can also donate directly to My Body Back Project.

 

We have the Breast Cakes: Breast Cancer Awareness Teaparty

We have the Breast Cakes: Breast Cancer Awareness Teaparty

Screenshot (74)Hey come join us for a tea party!

We are known for our tea, if you ever want a hot drink and a chat about sex toys we are the people to come to. We are also known for our interest in women’s health. Yes, your sexual well-being but also your general well-being.

We hope you all remember to check your breasts regularly, and if you have any doubts about what to do read our quick guide to being breast aware. 

We also hope you’re aware that October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. One in eight women in the UK will be diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime and 11,433 people died from Breast Cancer last year in the UK. Though survival rates are improving it’s still a serious issue for women’s health, especially when you consider that  27% of cases are preventable.

So this October we will be raising some money for Breast Cancer Care as well as feeding you cake and taking some time to talk about breasts of all shapes and sizes.

We’re holding a tea party, complete with the breast cupcakes you will ever see as well as other delicious treats and space to talk about how much you love your breasts. You can also take a look at our Inspire Breast Massager, which helps with circulation and scarring.

All the funds we raise from your donations will go to Breast Cancer Care who are working to:

  • provide information and offer emotional and practical support
  • bring people affected by breast cancer together
  • campaign for improvement in standards of support and care
  • promote the importance of early detection.

So stop buy, buy an anatomically inspired baked good and tell us what you love about your boobs.

When: Sunday 9th October From 3pm

Where: Sh! Women’s Erotic Emporium, 57 Hoxton Square, London

How much: Bring some cash for a donation lovely people.

Eventbrite - Breast Cancer Care Tea Party

Pride Alert: We raised $1,058 for the Pulse Victims Fund

Pride Alert: We raised $1,058 for the Pulse Victims Fund

Thank you so much to everyone who bid on our Pride Dildo’s or who donated or spent money with us over Pride Weekend.

 

We promised to donate all the money raised along with 20% of our sales from Pride Weekend to the Pulse Victims Fund are we are so pleased and proud to have been able to donate $1,058 to the families and victims of the Pulse Nightclub shooting. We have so much love for everyone who helped us to achieve this.

 

It’s now a month on from the Pulse Nightclub shooting in Orlando and reports are coming in of another attack on a nightclub in Florida. Though the immediate attention might have died down we have all been deeply affected by this tragedy and it is still very present in our thoughts.

 

It was an event that was caused by an inability to accept difference, when we are inflexible and uncharitable in our attitudes towards others we are opening the door to hatred and violence. The only way to fight this is to be accepting, to be loving, to be brave and accepting of ourselves and others. To show in through our acts that we stand opposed to the values that cause such unimaginable pain and suffering. By donating to this cause and showing your support you are doing just that so, again, thank you.

 

We would like you take a moment to remember all of the victims of the Pulse Nightclub shooting and their families. The money you have donated will go to the families and survivors of the attack. The names of those killed in the shooting are listed below.

We believe it is important to remember the names and stories of the victims of this terrible event. They are the people who deserve to be remembered, forever, when we think of this tragedy:

Stanley Almodovar III, 23

Amanda Alvear, 25

Oscar A. Aracena-Montero, 26

Rodolfo Ayala-Ayala, 33

Alejandro Barrios Martinez, 21

Martin Benitez Torres, 33

Antonio D. Brown, 30

Darryl R. Burt II, 29

Jonathan A. Camuy Vega, 24

Angel L. Candelario-Padro, 28

Simon A. Carrillo Fernandez, 31

Juan Chevez-Martinez, 25

Luis D. Conde, 39

Cory J. Connell, 21

Tevin E. Crosby, 25

Franky J. Dejesus Velazquez, 50

Deonka D. Drayton, 32

Mercedez M. Flores, 26

Juan R. Guerrero, 22

Peter O. Gonzalez-Cruz, 22

Paul T. Henry, 41

Frank Hernandez, 27

Miguel A. Honorato, 30

Javier Jorge-Reyes, 40

Jason B. Josaphat, 19

Eddie J. Justice, 30

Anthony L. Laureano Disla, 25

Christopher A. Leinonen, 32

Brenda L. Marquez McCool, 49

Jean C. Mendez Perez, 35

Akyra Monet Murray, 18

Kimberly Morris, 37

Jean C. Nives Rodriguez, 27

Luis O. Ocasio-Capo, 20

Geraldo A. Ortiz-Jimenez, 25

Eric I. Ortiz-Rivera, 36

Joel Rayon Paniagua, 32

Enrique L. Rios Jr., 25

Juan P. Rivera Velazquez, 37

Yilmary Rodriguez Solivan, 24

Christopher J. Sanfeliz, 24

Xavier E. Serrano Rosado, 35

Gilberto R. Silva Menendez, 25

Edward Sotomayor Jr., 34

Shane E. Tomlinson, 33

Leroy Valentin Fernandez, 25

Luis S. Vielma, 22

Luis D. Wilson-Leon, 37

Jerald A. Wright, 31

We’re Auctioning Lelo Toys to Raise Money for Solace Women’s Aid

We’re Auctioning Lelo Toys to Raise Money for Solace Women’s Aid

So it seems like feelings might have been running a little high at this time for people to want to bid on Lelo toys, we are planning a Christmas auction with all kinds of fun products and that is where our Lelo toys are headed at the moment. So watch this space!

Last week we were auctioning Pride Dildos  for the Pulse Victims Fund… This week we’re hoping to do the same for Women’s Refuge Services in London ( we’re on a roll! 😉

So, what’s going on? Well, we hope you read our thoughts on Lelo getting into bed with Charlie Sheen, but if not, here’s the low-down:

Lelo,  the most famous luxury toy designers in the world, have always been female-friendly. But by using Charlie Sheen, given his long & unapologetic history of domestic violence, as brand ambassador their new condom,  this has called their direction into doubt.

At the posh Hex launch, everybody was presented with a stunning Lelo goody bag,  each containing a Tiani Couples Vibrator, which features a 24 carat gold band. It’s an amazing toy!  But as a message to Lelo about what we and many others feel about their dubious choice of spokeperson, we wanted to do something to redress/ address the situation.

So, we decided to auction off  Lelo Goodie Bags and donate funds raised to Solace Women’s Aid.

Paisley Gilmour, who has also written all about Charlie Sheen & LELO link-up  for Reveal Magazine’s sex blog , also wanted to make a point. She heard about our auction and swiftly posted her own Lelo Goodie bag to us to add to it – thank you Paisley! x

Solace Women’s Aid is an independent charity working across London, providing life-saving support to more than 10,000 women and children survivors of domestic and sexual violence a year. So the money could not be going to a more relevant cause. This is for charity, so there is a reserve but you could still get an amazing luxury toy for a great price.

Bid now for Lelo Goodie Bag containing:

Lelo Tiani 24 Gold Couples Vibrator
Tiani 24K Gold Couples Vibrator RRP £279

Lelo Lubricant
Lelo Personal Moisturizer RRP £10
Lelo Toy Cleaner
Lelo Sex Toy Cleaner RRP £7

 

There’s 2 goodie bags available – Leave your bids in the comments below or let us know @ShWomenstore on Twitter or on Facebook. It’s easy! Just let us know how much in £’s your bid is and the highest 2 get the booty!

Sex After Rape

Sex After Rape: The Letter

‘I have been to Sh! before, and found it to be a really fantastic experience.

I think it’s better if I’m open and honest about why.

I am a rape survivor and had a really, really difficult time with sex.

After all the emotional recovery was done, I found the sexual recovery even more difficult and lonely.

The reason is that there are services to help you with the way you feel after rape, but after the initial crisis period is over, there’s nothing to help you with the long-term effects such as how it affects the way you feel about sex and your body. It impacted on the way I felt about sex massively.

When I found your shop, it felt like a safe place to explore sex again.

The reason I’m writing is because no one really talks about it, and there is hardly anything on the internet on the subject too, resulting in feeling very alone with this.

Women feel isolated dealing with their sexual recovery afterwards.

[I’ve talked to other rape-survivors] and the interesting thing was, that all  women felt they were abnormal for the sexual problems they were experiencing and had never talked about them before, because they didn’t know where to turn. But many of them were experiencing the same problems, and in some cases exactly the same physical reactions, yet each woman thought she was the only one reacting that way.

I found your shop so helpful. It is the fact that it is female focused that makes it so special for any woman, but especially women who have experienced any sexual violence.

It would be great to talk about how sex can be enjoyed by yourself if that’s what a woman wants, or how it can be pleasurable for a woman and her partner without penetration, because many women find this difficult after rape. I think it would be great to talk about how women can make sex about them again, even after sex has been about violence…

Thank You

We received this letter just before Christmas. It inspires, humbles and fortifies all of us, here at Sh!

It also reminds us in a deeply personal way to say ‘thank-you’ to everyone who chooses to shop at Sh!

By choosing to shop with us ( whether online or at the Sh! store)  you help us to keep our bricks and mortar store, even if it may not make the soundest of commercial sense, as internet-shopping intensifies.

Sexual exploration, expression, renewal or recovery often goes way beyond dabbling with the new FSOG collection or upgrading a bunny and for that to be a positive experience, it often requires one-on-one understanding and guidance ~ something an internet-only company just cannot provide.

This letter, and many others from women who have had an sexual epiphany at Sh!, mostly around learning to orgasm for the first time, confirms why it is *so* important  to keep the Sh! store  truly female-focused by asking guys to come along with a woman, even if that definitely doesn’t make sound commercial sense!

Sometimes it doesn’t just come down to the bottom dollar.

So, Thank You to *everyone* who chooses to shop with Sh!, whether online or in store.

By doing so, you’re helping us to keep our unique environment; a safe, welcoming and empowering place for women and couples to explore, express and enjoy their sexuality.

We appreciate your support.

Support Group.

There’s clearly a need for more  support for women reclaiming their pleasurable sexuality after sexual violence ( Government statistics released in January 2013 estimate that  1 in 5 women (aged 16 – 59) has experienced some form of sexual violence since the age of 16) and we’re talking to our letter-writer about setting up a support group at Sh!

Women should not be left to feel isolated or abnormal. Sexual recovery is as equally important as emotional recovery.

If you would be interested in helping to set up, or attend, such a support group, please email renee@sh-womenstore.com, in the strictest of confidence, as always, at Sh!

If you’ve been a victim of rape or sexual assault, Rape Crisis have a Freephone helpline 0808 802 9999 open from 12 – 2.30pm & 7 – 9.30pm.

 

Note:.
* we had to change/cut the letter a little to retain anonymity. The words in [brackets] are ours. Everything else is in her words entirely.

Breakthrough Breast Cancer Bake Off

Raise some dough for Breakthrough Breast Cancer

On Friday 18th October, Sh! Women’s Erotic Emporium will take part in the Great Pink Bake Off – but we’re adding a twist: we will be hosting a Naughty Cupcake Competition! Join us for an Open Evening of delicious and decadent delights…and we’re not just talking about the cakes!

 Want to enter?

Just email us at Events@sh-womenstore.com to let us know you’ll be coming along with your naughty creation/s on the night – easy peasy!

We ask for a £2 minimum donation per entry (yes, you can enter more than one naughty cup cake!) and all proceeds will go to Breakthrough Breast Cancer.

All entries will be judged on appearance and taste, and the winner & runners up will win some fabulous prizes!

Give breast cancer a good beating!

 

advice unable to orgasm

Cervical Cancer

Cervical Cancer screening is a service that is offered nationwide

…if you’re over the age of 25. It’s likely you yourself have either had or are soon to receive a screening invitation. That being said, in 2010, 20% of women turned down their invitation a cervical screening and in the same year, only 50% of girls offered the HPV Vaccine chose to have the potentially life saving jab.

When you see statistics like these, it’s not hard to see why it is now more important than ever to raise awareness of Cervical Cancer and its prevention through attending screenings and early detection.

Maybe you think you don’t need to attend

 a cervical screening

Jo's Trust Cervical Cancer

…but they are vital for anyone who is/has been sexually active, including Lesbian women and FTM Trans* people who have a cervix. Most cervical abnormalities are caused by persistent infection with HPV (HumanPapillomavirus) and as HPV can be transmitted through skin-to-skin contact in the genital area, all cervix owners are at risk of contracting HPV and experiencing abnormal cervical changes.

Because of the worrying statistics, Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust need as much help as possible to raise awareness and spread the word about their work. There are a number of ways to help them do this:

· Display posters/leaflets in GP surgeries, hospitals or your local library.

· Distribute our leaflets at your university or college.

· Ask if your employer would allow posters to be put up e.g. in women’s toilets.

· Run a stand or table with leaflets at your local hospital.

·Organise an event on behalf of Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust.

· Tell your story in your local newspaper.

· Spread the word…make your friends and family aware of the symptoms of cervical Cancer.

· Start a conversation online – you could tweet, Facebook, Google + or blog about cervical cancer.

It’s important to get the word out there about Cervical Cancer and how to prevent it.

Speaking to other cervix owners and attending screenings is one of the best ways to detect any abnormalities and get them dealt with early on. SPREAD THE WORD!

 

Focus on Girls’ Education: Malala Day

On 9th October 2012, 15 year old Malala Yousafzai was the victim of an assassination attempt by the Taliban as she traveled home from school. A vocal advocate for the inclusive education rights of girls in Pakistan, Malala has been campaigning for basic access to education since she was 11 years old.

Now just one month later Malala is doing extremely well in a British hospital and has vowed to continue advocating for worldwide education despite the attempt on her life. Gordon Brown has since launched a United Nations petition in Malala’s name, using the slogan “I am Malala”, which stipulates that all children worldwide be in school by the end of 2015.

In honour of her bravery and determination, November 10th has been declared a day of global action known as: Malala Day. On Malala Day a million-signature-strong petition will be handed to the UN, demanding international support for the push towards girls education and the right of every child to go to school.

This weekend when she stood up for the first time since being laid low by the dreadful attack, the world witnessed her standing up for 32 million girls around the world who are denied daily their right to go to a classroom and learn. – Gordon Brown via Huffington Post

We support this right wholeheartedly and hope that our customers and friends will do the same. We believe that education (in every aspect of our lives) is the key to health and happiness, and stand with Malala Yousafzai in the demand for global equality of access. It is unthinkable that over 30 million girls around the world are discriminated against in such a way to deprive them of the basic right to an education.

Sh! has a rich history of community involvement and supporting causes like Malala Day. If you want to learn more or get involved, read Malala’s story here, and check out ways that you can help Sh! support women and girls around the world with our Charity gift vouchers that focus on women 

MIGHTY MOVEMBER!

by Shelly

MIGHTY MOVEMBER!!

Fan-tash-tic!
Fan-tash-tic!

Ahh November.

The month where we break out the fireworks, light up the sparklers and where moustache enthusiasts around the globe gear up for growing their very own lip-warmers.

Why? We hear you ask.

Movember of course!

No, it’s not just a silly name and an excuse for hairy faces.  It’s the driving force behind raising awareness of Men’s health issues, specifically Prostate Cancer and Testicular Cancer. Participants start of the month completely clean shaven and, throughout November, let them grow to magnificently bushy proportions. The MOvement is literally changing the face of Cancer by encouraging Men of all ages and backgrounds to get themselves involved and, ultimately, get conversation flowing about the importance of increasing early cancer detection, diagnosis and treatment.

So why are we, a shop set up specifically for Women, talking about Movember?

Cancer affects us all at some point in our lives. Whether it be developing a form of it ourselves, being informed that we are more likely to develop it because of genetics, or having a partner/relative/friend/workmate suffering from the disease. It takes its toll both physically and emotionally for all involved and that’s why Cancer awareness in any way, shape or form is so important.

*Testicular Cancer, around half (47%) of all cases occur in men under 35 years old and over 90% occur in men under 55 years. Testicular cancer rarely occurs before puberty but it is the most common cancer in men aged 15-44 years.

Although the incidence of testicular cancer is low throughout the world, it is estimated to have doubled in the last 40 years.

*Prostate cancer is the 4th most common cancer in the UK (2009), accounting for around 13% of all new cases. It is the most common cancer in men in the UK (2009), accounting for a quarter of all new cases of cancer in males. In 2009, there were 40,841 cases of prostate cancer in the UK.


So, Lads, getting yourself checked out regularly is absolutely vital to detecting any problems early on and getting them treated. It can feel embarrassing having to get your private bits out for a stranger, but Doctors see the same things every day and are just there to make sure you’re in the best of health.

You can check your Testicles yourselves whenever the mood takes you. Simply hold your scrotum in the palms of your hands and feel around -GENTLY- for any changes in size or weight and for any unusual lumps or bumps.

As for Movember itself, If you’re a little late with getting a Mo of your very own started, or perhaps just admire those with Mos, there are plenty of other ways you can help the cause by visiting the official MOVEMBER website and looking for other ways to take part.

For more information on Cancer, visit Cancer Research UK

Happy Growing, Guys.

Love,

The Sh! Girlz xx

*Statistics taken from Cancer Research UK