Celebrating international women’s day with empowering classes

Celebrating international women’s day with empowering classes

Somehow, it is already March 2019 and that can mean only one thing: get your party poppers at the ready because it’s about to be International Women’s Day (IWD) on March 8!

#BalanceForBetter is this year’s theme and is all about bringing societal and professional equality to the entire world: trans/WOC/sex-worker inclusive. But how many of us actually know how IWD began?

Let the Sh! history lesson commence…

Fatigued with blatant inequality and oppression, the early 1900s saw women in many western societies become increasingly vocal about their plight for equal rights. America saw the first National Women’s Day in 1909 before Germany’s then bad-ass leader of the “Women’s Office” for the Social Democratic Party, Clara Zetkin, introduced the idea of an International Women’s Day. In front of 100 women from 17 different countries, she proposed that there be one, the same day of celebration held globally for the recognition of women.

IWD was originated in 1911 in America, Austria, Denmark, Germany, and Switzerland on March 25. By 1913/14 it had begun to spread to more countries such as Russia and the UK amidst World War 1.

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Fast-forwarding to the year 2000 and the term “feminism” was radically uncool in popular culture. Despite lingering inequality, people didn’t seem that bothered: an IWD revival was paramount! Thankfully the site internationalwomensday.com was launched and with the help of charities like the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts and Catalyst Inc, IWD’s profile was once again on the incline. Phew!

IWD is now celebrated in all over the world, in countries such as Afghanistan, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Burkina Faso, Cambodia, China (for women only), Cuba, Georgia, Guinea-Bissau, Eritrea, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Laos, Madagascar (for women only), Moldova, Mongolia, Montenegro, Nepal (for women only), Russia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uganda, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Vietnam and Zambia.

Women may have more rights generally speaking, but they are still falling behind in paychecks, health, and education, whilst being victim to a higher level of violence globally.

  • Women of minority communities are experiencing significantly higher levels of oppression than white women.
  • Inclusive visibility and equality is still a massive issue in many respects.
  • Trans, non-binary people and sex workers are still fighting for basic equal work and living rights.
  • Members of the LGBTQ community still face terrifying levels of persecution.

This fight is nowhere near over yet.

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#BalanceForBetter in Sexuality

2019 is has been acclaimed as the Year of Female Sexual Pleasure and we’re on board with this mission to close, delete and forget the orgasm gap one step at a time.

There are a couple of different types of orgasm gaps, and we’ll start with the widest one: The gap between men and women in heterosexual partnered sex.

  • In one study examining about 800 college students, a 52% orgasm gap was found. 39% of women said that they usually or always experienced orgasm in partnered sex vs 91% of the men. In the same study, 39% of women said they always orgasm during masturbation vs 6% who said they always orgasm during sex with a partner.
  • Another study examined 15,000 college students and found that the orgasm gap is larger in casual sex than in relationship sex – no surprise there. Still, the same study concluded that there is still a 17% gap in committed relationship sex.
  • Similar statistics were found in a survey of about 3,000 single women and men in the U.S. ranging from 21 to 65+ years: When having sex with a familiar partner, women said they orgasm 63% of the time vs the lucky menfolk enjoying orgasms 85% of the time.

It would be unfair to blame the orgasm gap solely on the penis involved in hetero sex, as we’re all responsible for our own orgasms, but the fact is that penis-owners generally pop their corks easier and faster than women (and often fall asleep straight after).

Most clit-owners require clitoral stimulation in order to orgasm, so assuming that thrusting a penis back & forth will make a partner climax is a bit lazy, tbh. For a clitoris to climax, everyone involved in the pleasure-fest needs to be onboard with stimulation involving fingers, tongues, and/or toys.

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The orgasm gap between straight and lesbian women

It seems clear that lesbian sex offers a higher orgasmic quotient for participants, and we believe this to be down to the way lesbian couples enjoy sex. Rather than being focused on the end goal, the pleasure can easily stretch out over several hours until everyone is fully satisfied. Compare this to straight sex where penis-in-vagina tends to be the main focus, and it’s easy to understand why lesbian women come out on top.

By making sex pleasure-focused rather than end-goal-focused, orgasms gaps will soon start closing themselves.

Knowing your own body is the best and surest way of ensuring toe-curling orgasms, and if you want to celebrate the Year of Female Sexual Pleasure, we recommend taking charge of your “coming” by coming along to one of our Orgasmic! classes.

Our friendly sexperts will be on hand to share tried-and-thoroughly-tested tips & tricks for great orgasms, as well as talk guests through a variety of self-pleasure techniques – all whilst you sit back and relax with a glass of fizz and sweet treats!

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Knowing not only your own but also your partner’s body is crucial to pleasurable anal play. According to the 2009 National Survey of Sex and Behavior that polled nearly 2,000 adults (19 -59), women stated they climaxed 94% of the time when they were penetrated anally.

The fact that only 31 women responded to that aspect of the survey throws some shade over the stats but nevertheless, anal orgasms are a thing.

The anus and rectum are part of the sexual pleasure package, and stimulation of this area can have incredible results.

The clitoris is shaped like a wishbone, with legs (crura) and vestibular bulbs hidden under the outer genitals. For some peeps, the legs of the clitoris extend all the way down to the anus and during anal penetration, these legs are being stimulated.

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An anal orgasm is most likely brought on by the indirect stimulation of the internal clitoris and G-spot, but the A-spot located just under the cervix also enjoys stimulation through the delicate tissue that separates the vaginal canal from the rectum, and can produce intense orgasms. This takes time and care obvs; a butt-full of patience is essential, as is a large dollop of lube.

To help build your confidence and know-how on how to best pleasure this hidden jewel of an area, we’re introducing a class focusing on erotic anal play.  We’ll cover anatomy, advice, and hygiene, as well as highlighting the ins and outs of maximising the pleasure potential of pain-free anal penetration in the safest way for all parties. Between the Cheeks occurs on Wednesday 13 March at 6:30pm and is open to women & couples.


The anal play class mentioned above is currently SOLD OUT – but get in touch and let us know if you’d like us to schedule in another one soon!


Christian Grey and his Fifty Shades of Shadiness may have disappeared off of shelves, but kinky fuckery is here to stay.

Revel in your internal power; dominate or submit – but do it safely. Again, our super-team have put together a list of fave tips & tricks to create a sensual scene of power exchange for beginners.

The Bedroom Bondage class teachers cover safe use of fun paraphernalia such as cuffs, blindfolds and hot wax, and guests get an opportunity to try a couple of thwacks on willing bottoms too…

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You might feel that our popular Blow His Mind classes focus too much on The Big D for a mention on International Women’s Day, but bear with us.

Many – perhaps even most – of the women who come along to this class do so to build confidence. It’s often a case of “heading down south, popping it in and hoping for the best” but we can change that.

Giving a blow job can be one of the most empowering things you do in bed and whilst there is no right or wrong way of doing it, the Sh! sexperts teach a bagful of tricks that go down (arf!) so well that Time Out Magazine deemed it “high-end head.”

Classes at Sh! are raucous affairs and if you fancy building on your skills whilst catching up with friends, get a bunch of BFFs together and make the most of the group discount *wink*

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Whether you choose to celebrate the day by marching, dancing, rising, uniting, resisting or protesting; have a wonderful  International Women’s Day!

 

‘Tis the Season to be Sex-Positive

‘Tis the Season to be Sex-Positive

An Ode to Sex-Positive Feminism

As 2018, aka the widely acclaimed “Year of the Woman”, draws to a close, we feel it’s the perfect time to celebrate each other – I mean – let’s be honest, when isn’t it?

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“Empowered Women Empower Women”

For over a quarter of a century (eek) we’ve been inspiring women to explore their sexuality. Sick of silicone penises bulging with veins and sex shops that didn’t seem to think twice about women, our founder Ky Hoyle took a great leap of faith and launched Sh!, the only one of its kind. Fast-forward to now and look how far we have come. Even your local supermarkets are stocking subliminal sex toys, courtesy of Cosmopolitan.

It’s been a long journey over the years and we have watched our clientele blossom into the diverse community it is today, regardless of age, gender and orientation. We’ve presented Jessica Rabbit to Graham Norton, we’ve custom-made countless silicone dildos and we’ve watched our favourite sitcoms like Broad City trigger an increasing acceptance of pegging in society.

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Feminism, in our eyes, can’t only benefit one group of people. As women, or non-binary people, we should be listening to, helping and supporting each other. Contemporary feminism is about inclusion, acceptance and equality. We’re striving to create all of this – starting with our strap-ons.

A Woman’s Place is in the Sh!ome

If it’s societal power dynamics you are looking to escape, a thorough delve into bondage could be exactly what you need. You could start with a splash of hot wax (from a body-safe candle) on your lover whilst they’re restrained to the bed. Or, perhaps, you could begin with a cheeky clamp on their nipples and some crotchless lingerie…

Maybe, it’s a strap-on you are yearning for. Known for our in-house dildo-making lab, we at Sh! love to put our own, extra, touch onto sex toys. This Christmas, for instance, we have taken to hand-making harnesses lined with gold leather and honey coloured dildos that are marbled with glitter. What a time to be alive! If using one of these isn’t utterly invigorating then, excuse us, but we have no clue what is.

Both harnesses and dildos are available in a range of sizes (and shapes for the latter), meaning you can choose exactly what you want, how you want. If you are using a strap-on to penetrate someone else for the first time, be sure to take it slowly and steadily with LOTS of lube. Remember, as the driver, you have zero nerve endings in your joystick but your passenger definitely does – so you can’t go in too hard or fast. It might be an idea for your passenger to sit on top so they can be your backseat driver and choose the speed and motion that feels good.

Self-Care

Back in the day, medical professionals believed that below-the-belt stimulation was necessary to avoid an ever-imminent “hysteria” experienced by women. This hysteria, no doubt, proved to be rubbish but we still believe that regular downstairs T.L.C is vastly important for a healthy, happy life and luckily for you, you don’t need a doctor to give yourself a good seeing to.

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We have a multitude of cherry-picked toys to take your favourite self-loving chore to an otherworldly experience. Live like the Queen you are with Zalo’s regal set or lap away at your lower lips with the classic, yet under-rated, Volta toy from Fun Factory. Whatever you choose – just make sure you are lubed up to perfection. We are strapped onto a path to eroticism and to liberate sex-positivity for the sake of womankind!

Stress-Relief

Is there anything more stress-inducing than living in a patriarchal society when you’re not a cis-man? Perhaps not, but thankfully, we have ways to alleviate your strife on all fronts. Take this cute little stress ball for instance: what better way to quash any negativity in an everyday scenario? Or, what about our fun Feminist Card Set? Dedicated to making a life of dodging misogynists that bit easier, all you have to do is whip one out to end instantly another eye-rolling conversation.

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However you choose to deal with everyday sexism, it’s worth remembering to make time for yourself. Join us at Sh! to promote feminism in any way that you can. Even if it’s something as small as buying your friend her first ever sex toy this year, it could be a life changer.

 

 

 

Women of the World Festival

Looking for something to do this weekend? The Women of the World festival is on at Southbank Centre, so why not head over for a weekend of talks, performances, concerts debates and music!

In the wake of International Women’s Day, the WOW festival seems like the perfect opportunity to celebrate! The very best of recognised and emerging female talent in politics, the arts, economics, fashion, science, health, sport, business and education have come together for 3 days of inspirational events. Check out the schedule here!

The Sh! Girlz highly recommend the Saturday session, Sex and Sensibilities (1pm). Our very own Kathryn Hoyle, Founder of Sh! Women’s Erotic Emporium, will be on the panel, discussing women’s sexuality in the post-50 Shades world.

Day passes for WOW are only £12 (or £30 for a 3 day pass) and this covers *most* sessions. Evening events are individually ticketed, see www.southbankcentre.co.uk for more details.

Girls Get Busy Zine

Girls Get Busy Feminist Zine

Girls Get Busy is a feminist collective supporting female-identified writers, musicians and artists with a monthly zine. Based in London and curated by Beth Siveyer

I’d always been interested in female sexuality, but was very aware from a young age that the sex industry was dominated by men, which infuriated me immensely, and still does! I’ve been working at Sh!, the women’s sex shop for nearly 4 years now and in that time, have become more and more interested in feminism.

I had wanted to make a zine for a while, but kind of lacked self belief. It was through my personal Tumblr that I met some really amazing girls that inspired me to be creative and made me realise that ‘you can do whatever you want’ – which was extremely liberating.

So in December 2010, I put a post on my blog that I wanted to make a feminist collective zine that featured artwork, writing, poetry and was looking for other girls to contribute. Once I received all the submissions within the deadline, I worked on the layout on a publishing programme, printed it out and sold it online. I’ve been doing that every month ever since and I’m now currently working on issue #17.

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With Girls Get Busy, I wanted to have a creative platform and support network for girls to showcase their work and ideas about feminism, and to feel a part of something important with a voice. Over the past 2 years Girls Get Busy has hosted feminist parties, gigs, workshops, a zine festival, exhibitions, book readings and have just started distributing other people’s zines on the webshop.

Follow Girls Get Busy on Facebook and Twitter!

Below are sex-positive pieces that have been featured in the zine and on the blog.

Beth Siveyer

Rebecca Cooper

Melanie Jane

Arvida Bystrom

http://www.flickr.com/photos/hanecdote/

Holly Lucas                                                                   Hannah Hill

Beth Siveyer

Check out the Girls Get Busy: In Colour! online exhibition – a collection of colourful submissions that were originally printed in the zine in b&w at Art Baby Gallery!

Whore Magazine Logo

Should Our Goal be Finding ‘The One’?

 

Guest Blog by Ginger, Editor of Whore Magazine

There is an increasing trend going on in the midst of global expansion and turmoil — the rise of the Single Ladies. As the economic platform shifts towards honoring jobs traditionally held by women and a higher percentages of female college graduates compared to their male counterparts, the need to put a ring on it is becoming less imperative. However, that has not stopped many a lady from wanting her cake and eating it too.

Or more importantly, it seems that those who derive a profit from the longing for love have redoubled their efforts to prove to us that our main goal should be finding The One.

It is a concept as familiar as commercial jingles, as ubiquitous as the bright candy coloring of a rom-com, and as insufferable as a teenager shouting, “No one understands me.” The One is the new shorthand for the idea of the soul mate, that perfect person who completes you.

It is unclear when The One became so common; it seems to have cropped up in the ’90s, but “soul mate” is a least as old as Plato. According to his dialogue, The Symposium, humans originally had four arms, four legs, a single head made of two faces and both genitals. Just a little too powerful, these early human hermaphrodites pissed off the gods and as punishment, were split apart and doomed to die. Thankfully, Apollo took pity on these baleful souls and sewed up a new version of them with only one set of stuff and a belly button as a reminder of what was once whole. As a result, we are still, to this day, forever on the hunt for our other half.

But how to know when you’ve found your soulmate? So says Aristophanes, “When the two find each other, there is an unspoken understanding of one another, that they feel unified and would lay with each other in unity and would know no greater joy than that.” It’s a marvelous idea and terribly comforting. Oh those belly butterflies and fireworks and signifying portents. All those supposed clues that this time it’s for real, that in all the world, two people are ordained to fit together like puzzle pieces.

It sounds good, sure, but it’s all a load of hooey. I don’t buy it, not even for a penny. Not anymore. I used to be one of the worst devotees, believing that finding a perfect love would solve everything. I was helped in this belief. Perfect love is marketed to us in exactly the same way as the perfect car or the perfect laundry soap, and it continues to fuel record sales, movie deals, and bulk shipments of vodka. The relentless propagandist fury with which The One is advertised also disregards the fact that being on our own can be incredibly fulfilling. We won’t ever find perfect unity with another person (go on, I dare you to show me one couple who has found this). But we can love and be loved. We can help each other feel less afraid. We can recognize the real beauty in that person sitting across from us. Be it a family member, friend or lover. Focusing on finding The One inhibits our acceptance of being in our life on our own terms.

Being on our own, in whatever capacity, does have its difficult moments and I know full well the peculiar terror and loneliness that can erupt. Wanting that special someone is a perfectly normal hankering but one that can also leave us very vulnerable to destructive advice. Particularly, retro, anti-feminist advice available in hardcopy or paperback via Ellen Fein and Sherrie Schneiders’ The Rules. Their series of books that claim to have the sure fire method for nabbing Mr. Right.

Some of the rules are:

Be honest but mysterious
Don’t stare at men or talk too much
Don’t talk to a man first (and don’t ask him to dance)

When there are so many women fighting to achieve gains in political, economic and social power, these rules are not only ineffective, they contribute to an underlaying societal sickness that we, as women, are still defined by our relationship status. The Rules are a false and limpid stand-in for the only thing that can actually contribute to enjoying a healthy, loving relationship or our individual existence– self respect.

Joan Dideon wrote in Slouching Towards Bethlehem, “to have that sense of one’s intrinsic worth which constitutes self-respect is potentially to have everything: the ability to discriminate, to love and to remain indifferent. To lack it is to be locked within oneself, paradoxically incapable of either love or indifference. If we do not respect ourselves, we are on the one hand forced to despise those who have so few resources as to consort with us, so little perception as to remain blind to our fatal weaknesses. On the other, we are peculiarly in thrall to everyone we see, curiously determined to live out — since our self-image is untenable — their false notions of us.” Also says Dideon, “to free us from the expectations of others, to give us back to ourselves — there lies the great, singular power of self-respect.”

Love does not solve all problems nor heal all wounds, it is simply a grace of life, one of many. The movement that told women that they didn’t need a man to define them was not made up of a bunch of hairy arm-pitted, raised fist man-haters. Those women fought for us to have a greater opportunity to cultivate our character and pursue our unique vision of happiness. They believed, as do I, that, as Simone de Beauvoir wrote: “On the day when it will be possible for woman to love not in her weakness but in strength, not to escape herself but to find herself, not to abase herself but to assert herself — on that day love will become for her, as for man, a source of life and not a mortal danger.”

A few years ago, I finally accepted the fact that I might end my days alone, possible wearing colorful muu-muus and harassing teenagers on the bus or maybe pruning the orange trees outside my villa. It used to be that thinking about being old and alone absolutely terrified me, but after challenging all of that deep longing in my soul for a person to complete me, in fact, killing it with a vigorous fury, I suddenly found delight in contemplating the idea. It was with a profound sense of relief, freedom even, to live my days as they were. Days filled with projects, friends, books, sun slanted afternoons and yes from time to time, an enlivening amorous adventure.  I no longer went to events with just a little extra lipstick on or wearing those particularly uncomfortable heels just in case I met someone promising. I went to the event because of the art or the music or simply because sometimes it is nice to be out in the world.

Partnerships can be great. They also come with their own host of challenges. I am not advocating that women disregard relationships all together but it is high time that we revel in the truth that those feisty feminists of old really did succeed — we no longer require marriage (or its equivalent) to live a life full of achievement, connection and celebration. We have indeed, come a long way baby!

About Whore Magazine:

Whore magazine is a quarterly print publication dedicated to celebrating the current and historical qualities of women who have defined a role for themselves outside the status quo. Through written word, art, design, fashion, and music, Whore! magazine creates dialogue about what women are as opposed to what traditional society has dictated they should be. Whore! delves into issues largely untouched by mass media while reclaiming a derogatory word that has long been used to censure those who would desire, express, resist, or simply take a different path. By recognizing those women, both modern and historical, who strive for experience rather than conventional “goodness,” and continue to fight an age-old battle against expectation, Whore! explores important facets of culture, sexuality, ascendancy, shame, history, and the right to be.

Whore Magazine can be purchased on www.whoremagazine.net