Vieness-weekend

Women’s Weekend in Southampton

We are thrilled to announce our participation in the VieNess Women’s Weekend in Southampton on Sunday March 3rd!

Organised by the wonderful Vie Portland, a long-time chamion of women’s causes, the Women’s Weekend is the perfect way to grab some much-needed me-time whilst still having fun.

vieness-logo-purple“I know women are incredible, however, far too frequently, they can’t see that of themselves. With the pressures of society and the high expectations they put on themselves, they too often don’t realise how incredible they are.

A lot of my work is around helping women see how amazing they are and, for a quick, fun, relaxing burst, these weekends are ideal. If you feel like you want a weekend with girlfriends, or a weekend away from everyone you know, time for you to reconnect with who you truly are, need a boost to feel good about yourself, want to learn new skills in a friendly and supportive environment, these weekends are for you.”

Taking place at the beautiful Chilworth Manor Hotel on the outskirts of Southampton, there’ll be plenty of time to access the Chilworth Manor spa (count us in!). Spend the time in the hot tub, lounge on a recliner with a good book and a face mask, steam in the sauna, or book a treatment with the special 15% discount.

Also included in the price are the meals; the hotel does great food and are more than willing to adapt menus to suit dietary requirements.

Workshops

There are several workshops for you to attend, all included in the price, and the fabulous women listed below will share their expertise and ensure you get the most out of your weekend:

Vie-Portland-smlVie Portland is a body positivity and self-esteem coach, Body Image Movement Global Ambassador, an international burlesque performer, and winner of the Inspiring Person in Burlesque Award (twice). Vie uses her psychology and counselling background alongside her lived experience to help and encourage women to see how incredible they are. Vie will be facilitating a body positivity workshop and a burlesque workshop.

Vie is the organizer of this weekend retreat and many others like it. She is available for a number of confidence-boosting talks, classes & workshops. 

 


Renee-Spanking-smlOur very own Renée award-winning Store Manager & Sexulity Educator at Sh! will be facilitating the Sex Positivity workshop on Sunday 3rd of March, sharing lots of fun tips & tricks for making the most out of your potential for pleasure.

An expert in her field, Renee is the go-to advisor for various media outlets and is regularly invited to share her pearls of wisdom at events hosted by organisations such as Positively UK, My Body Back Project and Women’s Institute.

Renée is available for a long list of events such as hen-do’s, divorce-do’s, birthday parties and age-appropriate sex ed classes for teenagers. Please email queries to:  Events@sh-womenstore.com


Becki-ShortBecki Short is a professional singing teacher with a passion for helping people discover their voice. She believes everyone can sing and uses music to connect all ages and abilities. Becki will be facilitating the Singing for Confidence workshop. Find out more about Becki and the work she does on her website: www.beckishort.co.uk

 

 


Tracy-Rigney-SmlTracy Rigney is a dance and fitness instructor and strongly believes everyone’s lives can be made happier and healthier through dance and fitness. Tracy will be running a Boogie Bounce class; she says Boogie Bounce is a fab, fun and funky exercise on a mini trampoline. Find out more about Tracy and her business The Fitness Fairy on her website: www.tracyfitnessfairy.co.uk

 

 


Tickets & Pricing

Saturday daytime only, including lunch: £80
Saturday daytime and evening, including lunch and dinner: £100
Sunday daytime only, including afternoon tea: £60
Weekend cost, to include all activities and meals:
shared room £230 (this works out at less than £8 an hour for the weekend!!);
single supplement £280.
For Friday evening dinner, a room, and breakfast on Saturday, the whole weekend will be £280 shared room and £330 for single occupancy.

Spaces for the Women’s Weekend are extremely limited so make sure to book your ticket now if you want to join us for some relaxation & fun!

 

BOOK HERE: Please email: vie@vieness.co.uk to book onto the weekend.

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#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!