Being Present During Sex: a workshop with Dr Lori Beth Bisbey

Join me, Dr Lori Beth Bisbey for a workshop on how to stay fully present during sex.

Mindfulness is the term often used to refer to being present. I prefer being present. The practice is spoken about in Buddhism and the term used is Sati.

Sati in plain speak means remembrance or recollection. However, when used in relation to meditation, it refers to an ‘a mental state in which one/recollects/remembers the activity that one is engaged in, in the present moment’ as John Peacock says.

For me, mindfulness is about staying fully present in the moment. When I say fully, I am speaking of thought, feeling, body, spirit. All awareness in the moment. In this way, to talk about being mindful doesn’t really sit well as the word seems to forgo emotion, physical sensation, and spirit.

I prefer to speak of staying fully present or becoming fully present. For many people, staying present is incredibly difficult. The mind wanders off or is triggered into some memory or other. The emotions are triggered and you begin to think/feel the past or think/feel about the future.

When mindfulness is first taught, people are often taught to focus on breath. Though many teachers find this the easiest access point, I do not. I prefer to have my clients learn to observe using their senses first. I prefer to talk about becoming grounded into the present.

In this workshop, we will practice a variety of methods of becoming and staying present in relationships, during conflict or difficult discussions and during sex.

Book Your Ticket For ‘Being Present During Sex’ Here

All genders & sexualities welcome

Ticket price includes Prosecco & cake

Who is Dr Lori Beth Bisbey?

Dr-Lori-Beth-Bisbey-Blog-PostDr Lori Beth Bisbey is a psychologist, sex & intimacy coach with over 30 years experience working with individuals, couples, and groups helping them to create and maintain their ideal intimate relationships. She has special expertise in working with the aftermath of trauma, working in the areas of gender and sexual diversity, and is kink and polyamory knowledgeable.

Lori Beth hosts a weekly podcast (the A to Z of Sex) and a weekly radio show: The A to Z of Sex ® with Dr Lori Beth Bisbey on the Sexy Lifestyle Network, one vlog on YouTube, has two blogs and writes for a variety of websites and media.

Lori Beth speaks regularly in the UK and USA on topics relating to relationships with sex. She can be found on http://drloribethbisbey.com where both her podcast and radio show can be accessed. She has consulting rooms in central London and sees clients from all over the world via Zoom.

Dr Lori Beth Bisbey is a polyamorous CIS gendered queer leather woman, married and in a 24/7 power exchange relationship with her husband. She can be emailed at loribeth@drloribethbisbey.com

Pronouns: She, Her

Laud your Lady Muff! Why new vaginal trends can harm your intimate areas

Laud your Lady Muff! Why new vaginal trends can harm your intimate areas

We at Sh! like to think of ourselves as pretty open-minded and up-to-date in terms of contemporary feminism. Yet, the other day we were flicking through a magazine aimed at women only to discover an article discussing new trends and tips on weeding and watering your luscious lady-garden. Our eyes were opened to a world teeming with vulval* charcoal masks, vaginal douches and steaming, not to mention the endless number of apparently specialised soaps we should be using. Whoever could have made a connection between vegetables or creased clothes and a human VAGINA had us puzzled. So, we decided to do a little research ourselves on the subject. What we discovered was a plethora of products claiming to promote vaginal and vulval health for a sometimes-hefty fee but have actually been found to cause more harm than good.

Not only are these cleverly packaged products marketed to promote sales, but they do this through “vagina/vulva shaming” with products aimed at “detoxing” or freshening up our most intimate areas. “How dare they!?”, all of our team cried in unison at this revelation (why do we need to be detoxed?). These ideas are notions that we simply cannot accept.

In response, we pledged to try and keep vaginas everywhere happy and healthy to the best of our brand’s ability. Here are a few reasons why you should not be buying into any of these weird trends.

*If you’d like to remind yourself of the distinctions between a vulva and a vagina, it essentially boils down to this – your vulva is the interior (think Changing Rooms) whereas your vagina is the exterior (think Garden Force):

Negative self-image

All these ideas about cleaning and modifying vaginas and vulvae implicitly lead us to believe that our natural anatomy is not good enough as it is. We are advised to steam our uterus’ with delectably-sounding plant-based products such as wormwood or mugwort. This type of steaming, in particular, claims to solve all kinds of issues, from depression and fatigue to infertility and infections. This, for the record, is not true and is no doubt a dangerous claim to make. Vaginas are amazing powerhouses that can provide endless amounts of pleasure to their owners, push out actual babies of and above all, clean themselves. Since when have they ever needed steaming? If you only loved one part of your body, it should be your beautiful, strong and inspirational genitals.

Crazy chemicals

This leads us on to the topic of douching. Many women who preach its benefits claim that it makes them feel “cleaner” downstairs. In actual fact, douching can lead to vaginal infections such as bacterial vaginosis, pelvic inflammatory disease and it has even been linked to cervical cancer.


Traditionally, douching is done using a mixture of water and vinegar. Yes – vinegar – although we are currently unsure which type is more appropriate? Red wine vinegar? Apple cider vinegar? How about a simple Malt if there’s any left over after you’ve finished your meal from the chippy? We wonder if their appeal presents itself in the same way that your pilates instructor keeps luring you back for more bodily torture on a weekly basis with the tagline, “Feel the burn!.”

From scented sanitary towels, to perfumes, to odorous body washes and lotion, people are obsessed with the scent of vaginas – and changing them. There’s a reason why they don’t already smell of fresh lavender or evening jasmine with the main reason being that you are not flora or fauna. The douches that high street chemists and chains are selling feed off these attitudes. Their contemporary, chemical toolkit to wash your muffkin contains antiseptics and fragrances in a bottle or bag, which you then squat over and spritz up inside of your lower lips. What a magical experience this promises to be.

Unsurprisingly, it is not. The skin around your vulva is different to that of your body. In fact, it is actually much thinner than the skin on your face. Therefore, you are far more likely to cause irritation to it by dousing it in toxic agents that I bet you didn’t read up about when/if you checked the ingredients list on the back of the bottle. Not only are you spraying it onto your exterior skin, but you are shooting it up inside of you where you have a lovely bunch of PH levels that are pleading with you to leave them undisturbed. And with that, we give you cystitis…

Vulva wrinkles???

Similarly to the skin on the rest of our bodies, skin around the vulva can be prone to a range of skin conditions such as eczema, acne, psoriasis… and apparently wrinkles.


With this, a new product claiming to tackle these irritations has hit high street shelves – the infrared charcoal sheet mask. You essentially spread the moisturizing mask over your vulva and leave it on for fifteen minutes. This should apparently cool, soothe and ultimately eliminate said imperfections.

How could leaving a damp mask on possibly the most moist and sensitive, exterior region of your body ever sound like a bad idea? Well, because, being damp over a period of time can lead to yeast infections and skin irritations. Plus, there is literally zero research that proves its effectiveness in this.

If you have any irritations or inflammations around your vulva, your first point of call should be a GP so you can find out exactly what it is and how to effectively treat it. If you are worried about any aesthetic variances such as “vulva wrinkles” then why not take a look at Jamie McCartney’s Great Wall of Vagina? His amazing work is body and sex-positive, and lets you look at genitals in their 3D glory.

There are plenty of lumps, bumps and wrinkles on plenty of vulvae and if you find yourself being blessed enough to have them then you should worship every single one. We’re sure that you’ll find this a way more positive activity than listening to the whims of a greedy marketing executive (who probably doesn’t even have a vagina) trying to make you hate every last part of your body so that they can profit off you.

Trust us, your holy mother of vagina will thank you for it!






Vaginismus Awareness Event

Vaginismus Awareness Event

Did you know that at least 2 in 1,000 women experience Vaginismus once in their lifetime?

Vaginismus, a condition where the pelvic muscles spasm to prevent penetration, making sex painful or even impossible affects thousands, but many are too embarrassed or afraid to seek treatment. Sh! is now opening up the conversation about painful sex and Vaginismus with an in-store awareness event, featuring expert advice and non-judgemental discussions.

On Friday 14th of September, in honour of Vaginismus Awareness Day we have curated an in-store event as part of our mission to reach out and support anyone affected by this condition.

As well as a complimentary glass of bubbly and a free bottle of Sh! Pure Lube (25ml), our resident specialists will be on hand to present and share their expertise.

Join Us!

*Spaces are limited so make sure to book early to avoid disappointment.

About the Speakers

Sarah Berry, Sex & Relationship Therapist – Your Vaginismus Journey

Sarah BerryHaving had her own battle with Vaginismus, Sarah is honoured to be able to help sufferers and partners on their own journeys with this condition.

Sarah is an accredited, experienced, sex & relationship therapist, who uses traditional counselling techniques as well as specialists sex and relational tools to help people find answers to why they have the condition, what maintains it and how to overcome it. She works experientially with each person or couple. While there are patterns, everyone is different and needs to find their own way to achieve their own goals.

Sarah’s advice has featured in publications including:

Cosmopolitan, The Telegraph, DIVA, The Daily Mail, Bizarre, Metro, The Huffington Post, The Evening Standard, Time Out, Company, Fiesta, Forum and Men’s Health.  Sara has been a guest on Radio 4’s Women’s Hour and various shows on LBC.

Renée Denyer, Senior Store Manager at Sh! – Vibrate Your Way Through Vaginismus

Renee - Senior ( & award-winning!) ManagerRenée is the multi-award winning Senior Store Manager & Sexuality Educator at Sh!.  An expert in female sexuality, Renée’s knowledge of sex toys and their benefits is unparalleled and she has years of experience offering advice and recommendations to women (cis and trans) battling Vaginismus.

During the evening, Renée will do a short presentation of the specially designed Sh! Vibrating Dilator Kit and explain the benefits of using vibrations as a way of overcoming Vaginismus. After the presentation, she will be on hand to recommend suitable toys and their potential for your pleasure.

During her 11 years at Sh!, Renée has been invited to share views, insights, and tips & tricks with a wide range of online & print magazines and newspapers such as Grazia, Cosmopolitan, Marie Claire, Glamour, BuzzFeed, The Debrief, Evening Standard, The Sun, Flavour Magazine, DIVA Magazine, Mirror, Amor Magazine, Bloomberg, SoFeminine and Hindustan Times.


vaginismus awareness day 2018





Midlife, Menopause, Sex & Happiness Event

Forget anti-ageing and embrace the superpowers of age!

Rejuvage, the online community for peri- and menopausal peeps everywhere, invite you to their very first IRL event. The evening will cover all things sex and the truth about menopause in a relaxed and friendly environment with a line-up of expert speakers (and you’ll get a goodie bag!).

Our award-winning Store Manager Renee will join Rejuvage for the event, delivering a fun & interactive talk on how to boost both intensity and frequency of your orgasms.

When: Wednesday 13th June | 6:30pm

Where: The Hospital Club, 24 Endell Street, London WC2H 9HQ

Book Your Ticket Here: Midlife, Menopause, Sex & Happiness Workshop


6:00pm – 6:30pm – Arrival, glass of fizz

6.30pm – 6.45pm  – Louise Proddow – Introduction

6.45pm – 7.15pm  – Kathy Abernethy – Your Menopause

7.15pm – 7.45pm – Sarah Doherty – Midlife Sex & Relationships

7.45pm – 8.15pm – Renee Denyer – Orgasms, the Reality

8.15pm – Open Forum/Q&A Session

The Speakers

  • Kathy Abernethy MClinSci RN – Menopause Specialist & Chairman of The British Menopause Society and author of Menopause: A One Stop Guide.

Kathy has extensive clinical expertise as a Menopause Specialist, regularly seeing and advising women on all issues relating to menopausal health. An Independent Prescriber with a Masters degree in Community Gynaecology and Reproductive Healthcare, Kathy is Chair of the  British Menopause Society, the professional society for healthcare practitioners. Director of ‘the menopause course’ an educational initiative for nurses, designing and running study days, courses and events relating to menopause. Published author in nursing and lay press.

For women, Kathy offers private consultations at a South West London clinic and workplace sessions by invitation to improve understanding of the effects of menopause on home and work.

Kathy is a regular speaker to medics, nurses and other health professionals as well as at women’s events and is a contributor to books and magazines. She is the author of ‘Menopause: The One Stop Guide’, a book for women, which aims to help women to make informed decisions about all aspects of menopausal health.


  • Sarah Doherty BA (Hons); FdA; PG Dip; MBACP, COSRT– Sex and Relationship Therapist

Counseller and Physiotherapist.   Offers couples counselling, sex therapy and individual help for all types of relationship and sexual issues as well as stress, anxiety, depression, and anger.


  • Renée Denyer – Senior Store Manager & Sexuality Educator at Sh! 

The trusted go-to person for women needing advice around a diverse range of issues such as Vaginismus, post-menopausal sex and sex after sexual violence. Through her many years fronting the Sh! shop and its team, Renée have built good relationships with Doctors, Nurses, and Therapists all over the country, many of whom now send patients and clients to the award-winning shop in Shoreditch for advice. When not in the shop, she’s usually out and about, pulling her sex-toy-suitcase along to one of the many organisations, groups and events she’s invited to talk and/or present at.

For the past four years, Renée has written a regular column for ETO Magazine, Behind the Counter. She is regularly invited to share views, insights and tips & tricks with a wide range of online & print magazines and newspapers such as GraziaCosmopolitanMarie ClaireGlamourBuzzFeedThe DebriefEvening StandardThe SunFlavour MagazineDIVA MagazineMirrorAmor MagazineSveriges Radio (Swedish Radio), BloombergSoFeminine and The Guardian.


  • Nicky Gaylor – Sylk, Managing Director

With over 12 years experience working in Advertising at top London agencies including Triangle and Billington Cartmell (now Hey Human), I was delighted to join Sylk as Marketing Director in 2007. This coincided with the birth of my first child and provided the perfect work/life balance for this next chapter of my life. Now on the verge of being peri–menopausal with a daughter who is pre-pubescent, I have a real understanding of the health issues that women face as they age and a huge interest in driving awareness of the menopause and the products that can really help make a difference.


  • Nicola Davies – Sylk, Communications

Joining the Sylk Team five years ago felt like a really natural step for me. My background in business administration and communications combined with my interest in women’s health issues made working with Sylk a great fit. I’ve always had a real interest and passion for women’s health. Growing up with a gynae nurse for a mother will do that to you! Talking about women’s issues was completely normal part of daily life in our house, so I’m determined to put women’s health on the map, and keep the conversation going.


Q&A Ask Sh!

Q&A: Sex & Arthritis

Over the last 4 years, I have had issues with my joints. Despite this,
until last year I was still able to enjoy sex and masturbation. Last year, after developing pain in my hip, I was diagnosed with arthritis in my right hip and knee. Since this, I have been unable to orgasm. I want to, I try too, using all the usual methods I would. But I get put off by pain in my joints. I’m currently not in a relationship and the few times I have tried to have sex since this, I have had to stop for the same reason. This is really getting me down – I’m only 35 and have always had a healthy attitude to sex. I don’t feel ready to not have a sex life. Any suggestions as to how I can get past this? Thanks in advance.

Hey there,

Thanks for getting in touch.

We’re so sorry to hear how arthritis is affecting your ability to enjoy pleasure and sexual activity, but we have a few suggestions that we hope you’ll find helpful.

Planning Ahead For Sexual Pleasure

Planning sex may sound like a passion-killer for those who love nothing better than spontaneous encounters in random places, but when it comes to pain-free, pleasurable sex planning ahead is your best bet.

First of all – when is your pain least intense? If it’s in the morning, then this is the best time for you. Or if the evening is generally kinder to aching joints, opt for play sessions later in the day.

The Spanish tradition of an afternoon siesta is a great practice for storing vital energy before sex. Napping is activity that shouldn’t be frowned at – we could all do with a li’l rest every now and again.  🙂

We are guessing you are taking medication for the pain? Taking pain killers 30 minutes before sex will make sure the pain level is at its lowest and most manageable.

Having a warm bath or shower a short while before your play session will help keep your body and joints feeling warm, relaxed and more supple. If you choose to relax in the bath, you could use the time wisely by bringing a sexy book with you as reading erotica will help get you in the mood. The brain is really our biggest sex organ, and this should definitely be utilized!

Rethinking Sex

It may be that you’ve enjoyed a certain type of sex in the past, but the time has come to rethink what sex means to you. It could be that some positions are now out of the question, and that’s ok. Discovering new ways to play can really enhance intimacy and sex, and there’s potential for undiscovered pleasures!

Sex can be all manner of activities – kissing, touching, rubbing bodies together, mutual masturbation, masturbating each other… Great pleasure can be had from having something inside to squeeze against, for sure, but if bodily movements are too painful to contemplate it’s time to look at something different.

Massage and erotic touching are incredibly sexy ways of enjoying each other. For this, we’d recommend using massage candles. The wax melts into a lush, warm oil that can be drizzled directly onto skin, with the added benefit of keeping you warm.

Propping up yourself with pillows will help take some pressure off parts of the body that might  find sex extra stressful.

Pacing yourself: slow sex is very erotic, so forget about sweaty sprints and go for the long haul instead.

We have a couple of excellent toys for solo pleasure too:

Ruby Glowrocks-off-ruby-glow-ride-on-vibrator1 is a ride-on toy, and as such needn’t be held in place. This is a fantastic option if your hands get tired easily. Placing the flat base of Ruby Glow on a chair, bed or directly on the floor means you can watch or read something sexy at the same time… Perfect for anyone with mobility issues, Ruby Glow doesn’t require much in terms of hand or leg movement.

Womanizer Plus and Satisfyer Pro 2 clitoral toys are exceptionally reliable when it comes to orgasms. They belong to the very latest generation of sex toys – they ‘suck’ at the clitoris and with 8000 nerve-endings at its very tip, this goes down a treat!

We recommend looking into Wand vibrators too. The vibrations are deep and rumbly, and tends to wake up sleepy nerve-endings in next to no time. The Wands are usually of a longer size, so should be easy to hold and maneuver. A cordless wand means you ‘re not tethered to a wall socket and can position yourself in ways that works for you.

We hope this helps!

Love, Team Sh! xx

If you’d like any tailored advice or recommendations, please feel free to drop us a line at advice@sh-womenstore.com and we’ll answer you privately.

We may also share Q&A’s so others may benefit, but if we do it will always be anonymous, with nothing left in to identify you – promise!



Reclaim the Menopause Event

Reclaim the Menopause Event

Our last event for magnificent women in mid-life and beyond was so much fun, we’ve decided to do it again! This time, we have Cabby Laffy and Eileen Bellot joining us for a deeper look into the effects menopause has on all aspects of women’s lives.

The menopause is one of those subjects no one likes to talk about, and yet it will impact every single woman on planet earth -so why the silence and shame?

Exacerbated by a lack of knowledge and negative social attitudes, many women find the Menopause a confusing and uncomfortable phase in their lives. Some have fears and concerns about the impact on their libido, self-esteem, and mental wellbeing, and feel reluctant or embarrassed to speak about the subject directly.

Come and join us for a relaxed and empowering evening to discuss the menopause, sensuality and sexuality. Ageing doesn’t mean we lose interest in sex – or the ability to enjoy it. The menopause needs to be reclaimed as a period where women come into their wisdom and power. It’s a time where we have been around long enough to know what we want or don’t want, where the children have flown the nest, or we begin to refocus on ourselves and our own needs and desires.

Guest Presenters: Cabby Laffy & Eileen Bellot

Cabby-LaffyCabby Laffy has been a facilitator of trainings and workshops since 1991. She has also worked as a psychotherapist with individuals and couples, and a supervisor for individual and couple work, for twenty-five years. She is a UKCP registered and NCP accredited psychotherapist, a COSRT accredited psychosexual therapist, a supervisor, an educator and group facilitator, and a member of PCSR. Cabby’s book LoveSex: An Integrative Model for Sexual Education (Karnac 2013) presents a model for psychosexual health. Cabby is available for one to one and couple therapy, training and supervision. admin@psychosexualhealth.org.uk

Eileen BellotEileen Bellot’s work creates space to allow people avenues and tools that support exploration of their mental, physical, spiritual and emotional selves. “My work is inspired by the things that make me curious: in 2012 I became curious about why women were embarrassed talking about the Menopause, so started the Reclaim the Menopause Project to allow women the opportunity to start having a dialogue about this important subject”.

Eileen has facilitated personal development and sacred workshop spaces for over 25 years. She is a Co-founder & Director of Hands Inc, a registered charity based in Hackney. handsinc@handsinc.co.uk

Cabby & Eileen will also be starting some new courses and a monthly menopause support group so check out the links for more information:

Facebook: Reclaim the Menopause





Ask Sarah: Sex, Orgasms and MS

Dear Sh!

I wanted to ask about orgasms please. I have multiple sclerosis – I’ve had it for 30 years and have been fine until maybe 2 years ago, when I started having problems with fatigue. It’s then I started having problems with (no) orgasms. I’m not asking for medical advice!

I tried to get NHS advice (they don’t want to talk / don’t have any useful ideas if they will talk). And I think your specialist knowledge might help me with orgasms. Hopefully!

Myself, I think the biggest problem is that I lost confidence. I was very tired (MS-related fatigue), lost a lot of weight (so muscle), and had MS-related problems with urinary and gastro-intestinal symptoms. And I was having my menopause!
I’ve sorted lots of this out myself: with breathing exercises for hot flushes; increased weight and aerobic exercise (so I’m not just bones now); and some – but I think probably not enough – pelvic floor exercises.
That leaves me with the lack of confidence. And no orgasms!
My (male) partner is keen for me to have orgasms.  I feel under pressure from him, as well as me.
Of course, I’ve bought lots of your lovely vibrators (and lube). And your shop staff are lovely.
But … I’m stuck. Having no orgasms.
Can you help?
I don’t take any special MS medicines (or anything else except some vitamins)
Yours hopefully,


Dear Amy,

From your letter it does sound like you have a good idea of what’s happened to your orgasm.

Any body changes can interrupt the way we orgasm, meaning we need to relearn what once may have felt natural.

Fatigue, loss of confidence and pressure to orgasm (both from yourself and your partner) will all impact your ability to climax.

You don’t say in your letter where you are with enjoying intimacy, sex or masturbation, aside from not being able to orgasm. Do you feeling a connection with your partner? Do you have fun, flirting and affection outside the bedroom? Do you feel desire for him? During sex do you feel arousal? Do you experience an increase of pleasure that maybe reaches a plateau? Thinking about these questions can help you identify blocks.

Regarding menopause, a fall in oestrogen and testosterone can mean your vagina loses some of its elasticity and ability to lubricate plus your sex drive can lower. You could talk to your GP about pills and cream that could help with this. And as you’ve already said you’re using lube.

You recognise in your email, mood and wellbeing can play a big part in your enjoyment of sex. If you are feeling low, exhausted, despondent or disconnected from your body this will affect you.

Orgasms are often about being able to let go, be in the moment and enjoy sensual stimulation.

Are there other stresses in your life? Are you able to enjoy time alone and with your boyfriend? Do you do activities where you’re able to laugh? Express yourself? All these can help.

When people get stuck at the plateau phase of arousal, where they feel a rise of pleasure that evens out and doesn’t end in climax, they try push on to towards orgasm. They stop when they feel too sensitive, lose arousal or feel frustrated because it’s taking too long.

I understand that not being able to climax can feel frustrating. Yet expecting it every time you are intimate with someone or masturbate can add pressure and chase it away. It’s important to not keep doing the same masturbation or sex routine because it can leave you feeling more helpless and disconnected from your body. As can throwing a random medley of toys at potions at the matter in the hope it will right itself.

When masturbating, taking time to explore and enjoy your body, thinking of fantasies – maybe reading erotica or watching something sexy, listing to music or mindfully concentrating on the sensations can help you reconnect with it. This is not to be goal oriented. Try and stay in the moment enjoying the sensations and experimenting with different strokes. You may like to experiment with toys but these should be bought in the spirit of fun and hope rather than feelings of sadness or desperation.

In time, if you feel a bit more connected, or if you find this exercise unhelpful, try and role-play an orgasm. Bit the pillow, thrash about, moan loudly and do your kegel exercises (our kegels spasm during orgasm). This will train your body and mind to know it’s OK to let go.

Becoming Orgasmic Book CoverI wonder why your partner is keen for you to have orgasms. Is it because he feels that your orgasm is proof he can perform? Is he concerned about your enjoyment? Does he feel sex isn’t sex without an orgasm? Whatever the reason, discussing together how you both feel about sex, empathising with what is said and coming up with ways to enjoy each other can help you to both feel closer. When you are being intimate with each other, try both communicating about what feels good – maybe with compliments or moans. Rather than carrying on until you have the punctuation of orgasm, indicate when stopping is ok.

A helpful book for both you and your partner is Becoming Orgasmic by Julia R Heiman and Joseph LoPiccolo. Please send any further questions to advice@sh-womenstore.com

Do let us know how you get on.

Best of luck,

SarahAsk Sarah - Sh! Sex & Relationship Therapist

All names have been changed for the purposes of anonymity.



Cafe V – Update for Guests

Your support is vital in helping My Body Back Project continue its pioneering work, including smear test, STI, contraceptive care, and maternity clinics, as well as Café V sessions.

MBBP receives a very small amount of funding for the volume of women it works with. It is a very new organisation, with volunteers who offer time and love at its core. It is no surprise that currently the project is finding it very difficult to cope with the workload and little money to run services on.

One of the services available through the MBBP is Café V, workshops, run every six weeks,  offer a safe space for female survivors of sexual violence to talk about sex. There is no funding for this at all. So far, Café V, like all other services through MBBP, has been free of charge to the all women who attend the sessions.

Cafe VSh!, the very first female-focused erotic boutique not only in UK but also in Europe, continues to donate staff time and a venue for Café V sessions and refreshments free of charge in support of My Body Back Project.

Whilst we would ideally want Café V to remain free of charge, the admin costs associated with running My Body Back Project are fast racking up. When Founder Pavan Amara started the project, she had to personally fund start-up costs related to it, as well as extra admin associated costs. But, looking at the long term future of MBBP, we do not see this as a feasible option.

MBBP has visitors and service users from all over the world, and the website & its services are growing fast. Whilst we are happy to work around the needs of all the thousands of women using the services offered by MBBP, we need to look at the needs of the providers too.

After careful consideration, we put forward our suggestion of introducing a donations system to the guests at Café V on Saturday 17th September. After a  positive discussion, we have decided to introduce the donations system.

At each Café V meet-up, there will be a money box where each guest is welcome to donate a small amount for the session. Any and all monies collected will be used towards the cost of running My Body Back Project website and additional admin costs such as printing flyers etc.

There is no amount too low or too high but as an example, a reasonable amount to donate might be £3-£5 (less if you are unemployed, on benefits, a single parent, a student, on sick leave or struggling financially in any other way; and slightly more if you are in paid employment). If you want to give more then please do!

However, it’s important to note that we don’t want anyone to feel that they cannot attend if they cannot afford a donation. If this is the case, please send us an email at info@mybodybackproject.com just to let us know you are unable to offer a donation but still want to attend. We want Café V to be accessible to all, and we are very happy to work with you on this. We understand that there are times when there just isn’t spare cash available.

We hope you understand the reasons behind this decision, and we hope to see you at Café V soon.


Q&A: Will Oral Sex Give Me Cancer?

Dear Shhhh,

Thanks a lot for you existence and the opportunity to ask you questions!

I would be grateful to gather your thoughts on the following:
I am not very experienced in sex and the past one year when trying to give blowjobs to my partner I keep getting really painful mouth ulcers. I am scared about the statistics that oral sex increases oral cancer. We don’t use condoms. He really loves it and I want to understand if I should do it less (I used to do it daily, being a fresh couple 😉 ) or maybe with an easier technique to relax myself more often or are there any hygienic precautions I should be aware off? We are both very monogamous and he does take care of cleanliness.

Thanks a lot.

Kind regards,

Hey X.

Thanks for your question. It’s not oral sex that increases your risk of cancer but HPV can. Ulcers can also be caused by coming into contact with the HSV-1 virus.

So the first thing we’d recommend is that you and your partner get tested!

Testing for HPV is not always recommended because it is so common but you should definitely consider getting screened for other STD’s especially if you’re not using protection. About 50-80% of adults have oral herpes, it’s not a major health concern in most cases but you should avoid having oral sex if you have a cold sore because it can be transmitted to the genitals.

On HPV, it has been linked to some types of oral cancer (although alcohol and smoking are bigger risk factors), however around 25% of mouth and 35% of throat cancers are HPV-related. So it a possible, if not likely, concern.

It’s not known how common HPV infection in the mouth is. A study carried out in 2009-10 concluded that the prevalence of oral HPV infection in American men was 10%, and in women 3.6%. Age and number of sexual partners can play into your chance of infection. Even so 90% of people will naturally clear HPV from their body within two years, so it’s unlikely to lead to cancer.

You may benefit from getting the HPV vaccine particularly if you are under 26; by 26 most women will have been exposed to some strand of HPV, although they may still benefit from the vaccine. It might be something to discuss with your doctor.

If you’rswirl-flavoured-lubese both healthy there is no real reason why giving oral should cause mouth ulcers, unless you’re biting or scraping the inside of your mouth.


Whatever you’re doing we highly recommend using condoms or dental dams for oral sex.

This is the best way that you can protect yourself, if you don’t like the taste of condoms try flavoured condoms or flavoured lube. 

Again we highly recommend that you and your partner both get yourselves screened for STD’s, it’s the best way to give you peace of mind or make sure you’re taking all necessary precautions.

Hope that answers your question, thanks so much for getting in touch and continue to enjoy frequent oral. If you’d like some tips on technique why not come along to one of our ‘Blow His Mind’ classes, for a friendly, informative guide to fellatio.

If you have any questions please send them to advice@sh-womenstore.com, if you’d like advice from our sex and relationship expert Sarah Berry please include the subject line ‘Ask Sarah’.

Team Sh! xxx

All names are changed for the purposes of anonymity.

Men’s Health Week: Guest Blog from Pleasure Solutions on Sex After Prostate Cancer

Men’s Health Week: Guest Blog from Pleasure Solutions on Sex After Prostate Cancer

Prostate cancer can have a devastating effect not just on men’s health but also on their sex lives. People often forget the importance of sexual function in the lives of cancer survivors, male and female and the severe impact this can have on quality of life, self esteem and intimacy.

This week is Men’s Health Week so we asked Hilary Belcher of Pleasure Solutions to talk to us about some of the sexual consequences of prostate cancer and treatment.


“We believe everyone living beyond cancer has the right to return to a quality of sex life they’re satisfied with.”

To achieve an erection, a man needs to have healthy nerves to transmit pleasure messages, veins that can transport the blood that fills the penis to make it hard, vital tissues in the penile muscles that keep the erectile response and the desire to have sex which is a process involving both the brain and penis.

Prostate cancer and treatment can affect each of these necessary functions.  Pelvic Radiotherapy can cause cell and tissue deterioration, including damage to nerves and veins that are required to flood the penis with blood to create the hardness. Similarly non-nerve sparring surgery to remove the prostate gland can damage the nerves that relay pleasure message for sexual function.  Finally many men are required to take androgen deprivation treatment resulting in reduced production of testosterone and therefore impeding normal erectile function.

Statistics show that 60-80% of men recovering from Prostate Cancer still have erectile dysfunction (ED) even 2 years after finishing treatment.


These messages around erectile dysfunction and prostate cancer are important for men to understand fully before they enter treatment.  Many clinicians report that in the early stages of diagnosis the focus is on survival and messages about erectile dysfunction get lost.  It is only after treatment that the late effects of the treatment become important.  If men realised these long-term impacts earlier then they could take steps to rehabilitate their penis to keep its vitality and increase their chances of maintaining erectile function as a result.  In the stark but real words of Prostate UK charity “use it or loose it”.


Despite these disturbing statistics and the realities faced by many there are solutions available for men recovering from cancer and its treatment. Pleasure Solutions is a company that provides advice, information and scientifically designed products to help people respond to life-altering changes to their sex lives.

There are several products that can be helpful for men suffering from the after effects of prostate cancer treatments.

One of these is the innovative TENGA egg  uses a super-stretchable material that can be used on a non-erect penis.  Using an egg regularly will keep blood flowing into the tissues of the penis – te-loverskeeping it strong, healthy and less likely to shrink in size.

The hope is that individuals or couples using these TENGA eggs will maintain intimacy during a difficult time and even if an erection is not achieved the pleasure provided by these tools could lead to an orgasm.  It is important to demystify the association that a man needs an erection to climax.

Therefore, the diagnosis of prostate cancer does not need to mean the likely loss of erections. With the right attention and advice men ought to be encouraged to play with their prize organ, even when they don’t feel like it.  This is the sure way to learning that intimacy and pleasure might be different after a prostate cancer diagnosis, but they don’t have to be over’