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!

 

#beboldforchange: How Sh! Helped Change the Female Pleasure Game

#beboldforchange: How Sh! Helped Change the Female Pleasure Game

This year’s International Women’s Day theme of ‘Be Bold for Change’ got us thinking about the times in Sh!’s herstory when we were bold, when we were determined to make a change, despite men ( and yes, mostly it *was* men) telling us that this was not a mould to be broken.

The sex industry today may be filled with women-led crowdfunded sex toy designs, female-focussed websites and couples-friendly packaging but 25 years ago it was a very different matter…

‘We don’t get many women in here Darlin‘ leered the moist male shop assistant on our first ever preamble to a sex shop…

We’d gone on our little shopping trip because as young, liberal women, we believed it was our right to explore our sexuality and I just wanted a nice vibrator and my friend wanted a strap-on!

Turned out that wasn’t to be. There were no nice toys, let alone female-friendly ones…

It also turned out to be the defining moment that spurred us to #beboldforchange.

For millennials, who have grown-up and honed their sexuality in a post-Sh!, post-Lelo, post-Agent Provocateur world, it’s difficult to explain to just how bleak and ignorant was the world towards female sexuality, 25 years ago.

It was 1992. At once both an age, and also a nano-second, ago.

It may have been 40 years after Dr Gräfenberg identified ‘an erotic zone [that] always could be demonstrated on the anterior wall of the vagina’ –  the famous G-Spot of his namesake.  Yet it would be 6 years until Helen O’Connell discovers that ‘the vaginal wall is, in fact, the clitoris’ in 1998 and a whopping 16 years before the first ever 3D sonography of the stimulated clitoris,  in 2008, reveals its true size and intricacy.

It’s not just the ignorance around female pleasure that’s shocking to look at within the last 25 years.

Within the last quarter century there has been a massive shift around sexual identity along with a rejection of limiting binary labels. The fact that half of all millennials don’t identify as 100% straight is beyond brilliant to those of us honing our own sexuality 25 years ago.

In 1988, Section 28 had been enacted; the nasty little law that stated local authorities ‘must not intentionally promote homosexuality’ and it would be a long, out and proud fight to get it repealed in 2003.

It was this fight that led, in a lovely rainbow line, directly to the equalisation of all relationships within the law and legalisation of gay marriage in 2013.

A time, when Madonna released  Erotica and leather-clad lesbians ran their own SM sex clubs  and yet when Operation Spanner was criminalising consensual SM and if you were a ‘proper’ feminist, you argued against porn, sex work and penetration.

It was a time of glimmers of sex-positivism amidst the oppressive gloom of the anti-sex brigade.

Radical was the concept of a sex shop where women were not only not only welcomed but were the main deal.

But we were bold. We wanted change. We opened one anyways!

‘I hereby charge you with running an unlicensed sex shop…’

The Licencing team from the local Authority had come armed with clipboards, counted up all the  ‘sexual articles’ in Sh! and decided they constituted a ‘significant degree’

[ The legal definition of a ‘sex shop’ is a place that displays/ sells ‘sex articles’ to ‘a significant degree’ ]

Oh dear. Either we were to pay the sex shop licence fee of £17,000 per year, or they would see us in court.

A licenced sex shop is legally allowed to sell R18 porn videos, which in a pre-internet world was a super-lucrative business within male-focussed sex shops.  We were already being radical by creating a shop for women to explore their sexuality, in a world that frowned upon or just plain disbelieved that women should even want to. But making up our sales with porn for women ( where precious little even exists, now as then) was asking too much!

Financially it was tantamount to closing us down.

But the bigger issue was around the meaning of a ‘sexual article’ which is legally defined as anything that ‘stimulates or encourages sexual activity or the force or restraint  associated with it’

Gosh! First off, how strange to place equal emphasis on  ‘force and restraint’ when F&R (or S&M as most of us would put it)  is quite a specialised sexuality. But no mention of spanking which is historically  La Vice Anglais (or perhaps that’s force and having it enshrined in law has somehow created a self-fulfilling  prophecy of kinky Englanders?) What about feet or food or silk? Oh dear but no – that would mean that Clarkes, Tesco and the haberdashery counter at Selfidges could be deemed to have a significant degree of sexual articles and were thus sex shops.

Definition surely always exists with context and  within the context of Sh! surely anything could be deemed sexual.

We purposefully rejected ‘realistic’ toys and porn-star packaging. There was nothing overt or ‘obscene’ ( another scurrilous legal definition) on our shelves precisely because these type of toys were made for the male gaze and had nothing to do with female-friendliness let alone female-pleasure.

‘They could all be electric toothbrushes!’ we retorted somewhat cheekily,  as the Council officials surveyed the brightly coloured, non-phallic vibes on our display table.

Which of course is true, because before Sh! and before Lelo ( who in 2003, were one of the 1st companies to design female-friendly sex toys) a lot of women used there trusty Braun to get off.

Sex and health are, of course, intertwined (which is how come you see vibrators in chemists & drugstores these days!), but back in the dark ages of the ‘90’s few businesses or institutions shared this healthy attitude to sex.

We were determined to bring sexuality out of backstreets of seedy-land and into the light of everyday life. But we had a fight on our hands if we were to even survive long enough to get our message out. There was nothing for it – we had to go to court. There followed a hysterically scary few days as we all pondered the precise nature of a ‘sexual article’ ‘Is THIS a sexual article Madam, …or this?’ quizzed our barrister of the magistrate as he flourished a feather duster or a length of chain around…

The case was thrown out, perhaps as much as on a technicality as on principal, but the bold issues had been raised and change was on its way.

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‘This is Mr Listen to Me from *much bigger sex toy company than yours love*….’

Sh! must stop calling your rabbit ‘Jessica Rabbit’ because we have bought the rights to that name and it’s ours, ALL ours!’

The rabbit vibrator may seem like it’s been around forever but it was a revolutionary design when it first hopped onto the scene, since when it has revolutionized possibly millions of women’s orgasmic capabilities.

We received this ‘order’ at least a decade after discovering a rabbit vibrator on the shelves of our local sex toy warehouse, re-naming it Jessica Rabbit Vibrator and telling the world about this fabulous new discovery.  The rabbit has had many guises, but this was one of the earliest, before Rampant, and was called (in the same vein) Roger Rabbit.

‘Did you recommend it in a 1993 Cosmo article?’ we asked.

That was the last we heard from any late-to-the-party sex toy company lawyers. We have proudly, boldly, and with a certain ‘so, sue us!’ righteousness to call our rabbit vibrator; Jessica Rabbit, ever since!

She is. Exhibition

She is.

8-9th March 2013

Electric House, 296 Willesden Lane, London, NW2 5HZ

“She is”: A fundraiser for “Women’s Aid” to promote a positive, direct and inspiring female voice.

“She is” is a collaborative exhibition bringing together a group of passionate and creative students from Kingston University and Camberwell College of Arts. The exhibition delves into femininity, looking at topics such as sexuality, therapy, expression and experience, explored through a range of mediums and approaches.

The exhibition will be suitably held on International Women’s Day and will be fundraising for Women’s Aid. As well as exciting visual art the event will also include workshops and spoken word and musical performances.  Involved are lecturer and artist Dagmar I. Glausnitzer-Smith who will be offering a performance “crash explosion” workshop during the daytime. Also appearing will be “Sophia Blackwell” – a self-identified performance poet, cabaret vamp, burlesque wannabe, feminist lesbian warrior princess and Italian pasta-momma and “Volker Renato”- a stand up poet. There will also be an acoustic set by “FRANKENSTAANEE”.

Promotion for this fantastic event includes ‘Belle Jar Magazine’, ‘Sh! Women’s Erotica Emporium’, ‘Erotic Author Kd Grace’, ‘East End Cabaret’, ‘Sue Williams’ and ‘Everyday Feminism.’

Join in with this exceptional event and help in the fight against violence and the exploitation of women across the globe as well as being part of a stand for peace, unity and positivity amongst us all.

FREE ADMISSION. Open from 10.00am-9.30pm 8th March and 10.00am-6.00pm 9th March.

For information call: 07773105964

Electric House, 296 Willesden Lane, London, NW2 5HZ.  Contact: diana@meanwhilespace.com  for information on the venueSenior lecturer and artist ‘Dagmar I. Glausnitzer-Smith’ will be collaborating by offering a performance crash explosion workshop during the daytime.

Today, March 8th 2012, is International Women’s Day.

by Shelly

It is a day that has been celebrated in many countries throughout the globe since the early 1900s (1977 is when it was first hailed in the West), but there are many out there who ask the questions “Why do we still need a Women’s day?” and “When is International Men’s day then?”

We’re hoping this post will clear a few things up.

Western women have come an incredibly long way from the oppression that those before us felt and fought through. Suffrage (getting the vote), being able to have the same level of education as our male counterparts, having a career ( at least in theory!) in whatever field we wish and just simply having a voice to name a few things.

We have come on in leaps and bounds, yet many from younger generations seem to think that all the battles for women have been won, that we are visible and we are equal.

If only that were the case!

Unfortunately, we still have a long way to go in order to get ourselves equal opportunities to that of our male counterparts, to get more of us present in business and politics, to fight through people constantly trying to lay claim to our reproductive health and, globally, needing to work to get women fair education and healthcare, to stop violence against women, to stop rape, to stop female genital mutilation…

Ok, so one day a year isn’t going to achieve everything we need, but it certainly helps. For one day we mark the achievements of strong, influential women – both past and present from all walks of life – and we look to the future and think about what we can do there to make this world a brighter place for all of us.

We need this day to remind us of just how far we have come and just how much we still need to fight to be heard.

The majority reading this will be doing so from a warm home, a comfortable office or on a smart phone, but there are millions of women out there who don’t have those luxuries or home comforts. They are at home – if they have one – some unable to work, others without much food, dying from poor health care, trying to rebuild their lives after war, many suffering from constant mental and physical abuse. These are the women who NEED this day.

As for “When’s International Men’s Day then?”, it’s the 19th of November, and it has been since 1999.

It’s not as celebrated or well known but it still works to promote healthy attitudes toward global gender equality, positive male role models for young boys and awareness of male health issues that don’t get enough coverage.

International Women’s Day is not about ignoring men or man-hating.

Men suffer oppression, abuse, rape and stereotyping too and those are never issues to ignore, but, as a gender, they have always had the upper hand. We are slowly but steadily closing the gap in Western countries, but the developing world is still too far behind.

So, take this day to celebrate all that women have managed to accomplish. Your favourite female authors, freedom fighters, actresses, musicians, local MPs and, closer to home, your mother(s), Grandmothers, sisters, Aunts, cousins, nieces…

Take pride in being female and what it means, whether you were born as one or have become one.

Happy International Womens Day!

International Womens Day is celebrated worldwide on the 8th of March each year, to promote equality for all women and to celebrate the acheivements that the movement for women’s equality has made.

Events are held throughout the world, from Afghanistan to Zambia, and Sh! is proud to be a part of it!
You can check out the events being held for International Womens Day below and find more info here.

 

ActionAid is also inviting women to join their Get Lippy! campaign, speaking out for women’s rights and supporting campaigns for equality.

Sh! will be celebrating International Women’s Day by giving each woman who enters our stores on 8th March an ‘Essensual Women’s Kit’, consisting of a selection of condoms and lubes, and that all-essential bit of chocolate for afters..!

We’re proud to be a part of liberating women’s sexuality and providing our lovely ladiez with the knowledge and toys to enjoy their sexuality. Here’s a big Sh! shout-out to our sisters around the globe working for women’s rights, equality, and a better future for all our daughters.