**If you are a M.D., Counselor, Chiropractor, Acupuncturist, and/or Massage Therapist please let us know which of the above four populations you are most comfortable/experience working with. If you are comfortable working with all four populations, then list all four. The reason we would like to know this is because your profession often brings you into contact with the patient in a more physically intimate way than the majority of other professions. Because this is the case, individuals may wish to take special care when selecting a provider in this field.
A New Generation of Education-Based Sex Shops is Changing the Adult Industry
March 27, 2012 — The growing community of independent sex-positive shops has a new home thanks to the launch of the Progressive Pleasure Club (PPC), founders Molly Adler and Matie Fricker announced today. Adler and Fricker, owners of Self Serve Toys in Albuquerque, New Mexico, started the PPC to share support and resources with other shops like theirs, which help people make informed decisions about sexuality-related products.
Says Adler: “We wanted to get people talking about the unique work we do and the challenges and joys we encounter at Self Serve, and so the Progressive Pleasure Club was born. We believe everyone has a right to enjoy sexual pleasure in a smart and healthy way, and the PPC will educate customers about local, independent stores where they can feel safe shopping, and can trust the safety of the adult products they buy.”
Today a new class of social entrepreneurs are taking the lead in opening sex-positive, independent shops all over the continent. Self Serve is one of a dozen or so like-minded shops in cities from Portland, Maine, to Portland, Oregon, where trained sex educators offer a locally-owned, education-based, ethical place to shop for intimate goods. The Progressive Pleasure Club is a network of independent sex shops dedicated to helping people make informed decisions about sexuality products. Member shops are committed to the promotion of accurate and honest pleasure-based sexuality education, and to offering products that meet the highest standards of safety. “We are thrilled that the PPC came into being,” explains Gina Rourke, owner of Nomia in Portland, Maine. “Since 2004, Oh My in Northampton, MA and Nomia have been collaborating and sharing information, as well as our purchasing power. To have the opportunity to join with a cadre of similarly committed entrepreneurs with shared values is nothing short of revolutionary. We are excited to see how this collective will transform lives in our communities as well as the industry at large.”
In the next year PPC members will join forces to educate the public about adult toy safety, promote local support for small business, and lobby adult toy manufacturers to eliminate the use of phthalates and toxins in manufacturing. “We have created a unique space for sharing marginalized voices, both ours and those of our customers. The PPC is bent on radicalizing the adult industry for the better of all,” shares Lea Caughlan, owner the Rubber Rose in San Diego.
As small business owners, the members of the PPC recognize that there’s power in numbers. And not unlike the healthy polyamorous folks they sometimes serve, PPC members seek to approach business from an ethical place of abundance and positivity. After all, PPC members share the goal of promoting sexual health and pleasure for all, and believe there is room for all to succeed as they strive to reach it. Searah Deysach, owner of Chicago’s Early to Bed explains, “I am thrilled to be a part of an organization that is made up of small, local businesses that are committed to the same sex-positive, feminist values as I am. I love that we work together to help all of our shops thrive.”
Current Members of Progressive Pleasure Club
Early to Bed | Chicago, IL
Feelmore 510 | Oakland, CA
Good for Her | Toronto, ON
Nomia | Portland, ME
Oh My | Northhampton, MA
The Rubber Rose | San Diego, CA
Self Serve | Albuquerque, NM
She Bop | Portland, OR
Smitten Kitten | Minneapolis, MN
Sugar | Baltimore, MD
The Tool Shed | Milwaukee, WI
For more information about the Progressive Pleasure Club, email email@example.com
Surprisingly, sex education is a fairly thankless job. While there is often the bonus of fun work which I am passionate about, and the occasional free sex toys to test and review, overall, there is a lot of drama. You have to promote yourself constantly to get bookings, you usually have to work a full time just that is not connected to sexuality, or if it is, usually not the side that you’re passionate about. You have to deal with people (friends, family, co-workers and strangers) judging your choice of work, as well as treating you as a free sex therapist all the time. You have to have epic debates about whether to use your real name, give out your real phone number, etc, because of the fear of being unemployable in the future, or having stalkers…well, stalk you. It is not a job that makes much money (really), and it’s one that involves a constant fight for sex positivity in various environments, from the government funding Planned Parenthood to inclusion of gender in employment non-discrimination acts, to fighting for/with folks with disabilities to be allowed to embrace their own sexuality, to removing laws that make owning/buying sex toys illegal in certain states.
It is not easy, and there are days when I sometimes wish I had maybe chosen another route.
And then, you are reminded in a heart beat of why you do what you do.
Last week, I taught my final class (of pre-booked ones) at Fascinations. If they’d like to have me again, I’d be happy to do so, but this was my last planned one. The room was PACKED, standing room only (60+ people) for a class on cunnilingus, which is not frequently a sell-out subject. People were involved, asked questions, answered my questions, and were a truly wonderful group to teach to for 90 minutes. Afterwards, not one, not two, but over a dozen people came up to me, telling me how much I had positively affected my life. One woman was at a class for the first time, and cried, telling me she was so glad to have gotten to hear me speak at least once. Another women cried, telling me that over the last year or more, I had changed her life so incredibly, taking scary subjects of sexuality and helping her confront them, learn about them, and embrace them. Another group of 20 somethings (and a woman who had just turned 18, and was visiting a toy store for the first time) told me how much they’d learned from me, how comfortable they felt with their bodies and their sexualities, and how much they missed me. They all wanted to know when I’d be back, and they all hugged me.
THAT is why I do what I do. My goal in every class is for each person to learn 1 little thing that is new. One. This class, *I* learned how much my education has helped others truly embrace who they are, and have a more positive experience with sexuality. I could not ask for anything more than to have had such a positive effect in so many people’s lives, particularly in a state/area where sex is rarely discussed with a positive and pleasure centric bent.
It can often be a thankless job, but the occasionaly “Thank yous” that I get from people who have attended my classes, read my writing, watched my videos, or had counseling sessions with me? That is better than any easy 9-5 job, better than any big paycheck (though that would be nice too), and totally makes me reinvigorate my passion for this field. And to you all, I say thank you!
For those who do not know, many sex educators, myself included, were recently attacked in a post/report that claimed that our education on the Brown University campus was a direct correlation of the recent four new cases of HIV within the student population. It stated that people such as myself (a “sex toy representative”) did not have the education to provide sex ed to students, to handle the emotional side of things, etc (of course, they neglected to mention my Master’s in Human Sexuality Education, which provided me with exactly those aforementioned skills). It also insinuated that I was a prostitute, that other educators are connected with obscenity charges and that some educators are contributing to STI transmission by discussion topics such as polyamory (multiple loves) and anal sex, despite our conversations about barrier methods, testing, and intimacy without exchanging bodily fluids.
I have always had a strong commitment to educating individuals and groups about safer sex, including but not limited to STI prevention, pregnancy prevention, consensual activities and emotional safety. As I continue to educate people about the spectrum of sexuality, I will keep including discussions about safer sex practices (including barriers and transmission prevention) for people of all genders and orientations, and also continue my commitment to distribute dams and gloves in addition to the more traditional condoms and lube freebies often provided. Please read and re-post/forward/desseminate the below press release if you believe the positive aspects of sex education, and refuse to condone the slanderous accusations put forth towards us.
-Shanna Katz, M.Ed
For Immediate Release
Sexuality educators set the record straight: “Talking about sexuality does not increase sexually transmitted infections” despite what non-experts report.
Contact: ?Megan Andelloux
Contact: Aida Manduley
In yet another attempt to shut down access to quality sex education, South-Eastern New England conservative advocates hit the sex panic button in a multi-state, email and phone campaign to colleges all over New England last week.
On February 3rd and 4th , certified sexuality educator and sexologist Megan Andelloux (AASECT, ACS) received word that numerous colleges and university faculty received a document stating that colleges who brought sex educators such as Ms. Andelloux onto their campuses were linked to the increasing rate of transmission of HIV in RI. Furthermore, among other misleading “facts” that were “cited,” the author of this bulletin claimed that Brown University was facing an HIV crisis, which is false.
Citizens Against Trafficking, the face behind the fear-mongering, spammed numerous local institutions from a University of Rhode Island account with its latest malicious missive that targeted specific individuals as well as Brown University. The author of the letter, Margaret Brooks, an Economics Professor at Bridgewater State, suggested that colleges and universities that host sexuality speakers, including those who are professionally accredited, are partly to blame for the four new cases of HIV which have been diagnosed amongst RI college students this year.
Ms. Andelloux states: “My heart goes out to those students who have recently tested positive for HIV. However, there is no evidence of any link between campus presentations on sexual issues and the spike in HIV cases. Rather, I would suggest that this demonstrates a need for more high-quality sex education to college students.“ It is unclear why people at URI or Citizens Against Trafficking, a coalition to combat all forms of human trafficking, is attempting to stop adults from accessing sexual information from qualified, trained educators. What is certain however, is that this Professor of Economics miscalculated her suggestion that a correlation exists between increased HIV rates in Rhode Island and the type of sex education these speakers provided at Brown University: one that emphasized accurate information, risk-reduction, pleasure, and health.
Barrier methods have been shown by the CDC to reduce the transmission of HIV and other STIs (Sexually Transmitted Infections). Research has shown that when individuals have access to medically accurate information, are aware of sexual risk reduction methods, and have access to learn about sexual health, the number of infections and transmission of STIs decreases, pain during sex decreases, and condom use increases. The CAT circulated bulletin is blatantly misleading about many issues, and often omits information that is crucial to understanding the full picture of sex education at Brown and in Rhode Island.
When individuals who do not hold any background in sexuality education speak out in opposition because of their fear or prejudice, society becomes rooted in outdated beliefs and pseudo-science that do injustice to people everywhere. Furthermore, when those individuals personally and publicly attack those devoted to providing sex education with false and misinformed accusations, it not only hurts those who are defamed, but also the community at large.
We ask for an immediate retraction of the vilifying and inaccurate statements made by Ms. Margaret Brooks and Citizens Against Trafficking in their latest newsletter. We also ask that esteemed local universities such as URI and Bridgewater State continue to hold their employees to ethical standards of normal scientific inquiry and require that their faculty hold some modicum of expertise in a field of education before raising the public level of panic over it.
Megan Andelloux is available to answer any questions the press, Margaret Brooks, University of Rhode Island or Citizens Against Trafficking holds. Aida Manduley, the Chair of Brown University’s Sexual Health Education and Empowerment Council and Brown University’s is available to discuss the upcoming Sex Week and sexuality workshops held at Brown University.
Megan Andelloux, AASECT, ACS
Shanna Katz, M.Ed
That’s right. After having spent five days in the city of sin (being incredibly NOT sinful), I’m back in slightly warmer Arizona, with my nose to the grindstone.
First and most important announcement: I am now the proud owner of an Njoy Eleven, thanks to Greg and Deanna, two of the wonderful Njoy gang. I cannot wait to try it out, and then give it an important and prominent place on my bookshelf d’art.
I was so happy to get to see many of my old friends, including Jamye Waxman, the JeJoue Crew, Tess and Diva from Tied Up Events, Clare and Riley from Smitten Kitten (and FINALLY got to meet Jennifer, the owner), Molly and Matie from Self Serve in New Mexico, Tres from SpareParts, Jackie Strano and Carol Queen from Good Vibrations, Gram Ponante (who I forgot to tell that I DO teach blow job classes!), Jacq Jones from Sugar, Shine Louise Houston, Syd Blakovich, Dylan Ryan, Tina Horn, Courtney Trouble, April Flores and more. Also, I got to meet the Jimmy Jane Crew, folks from Sliquid, more folks who will be presenting at Momentum in April, Laura and Hudson from the Tool Shed in Wisconsin, Buck Angel and his wife Elaine, and more. The sheer number of sex positive folks at the show this year was phenomenal, and continues to grow, making me happy, and making it totally worth going to what has traditionally been a very mainstream porn convention.
The awards show itself was only entertaining because I sat with Deanna from Njoy and Jamye. Except for Joanna Angel winning best solo girl site, there were very few surprises, and most all of the porn awards went to very traditional mainstream companies and movies. I was happy for JeJoue, Good Vibes, Babeland, Tristan Taormino and New Sensations for their wins. For the most part, it was same old, same old. I wonder how long it will take for it to change…and I know it will, because sex positive, queer AND ethical companies got nominations the last two years…it’s just getting that trend to continue and go further into actually winning awards.
All in all, the trip was totally worth it, albeit exhausting. Shout out to Kimberlee Cline for letting me stay with her father for the second two nights, and to Lynn Comella for hosting a wonderful party of smart people on Friday night, as well as to everyone who made time to say hello to me, and helped me to welcome and part of the community.
And there is no sleep for the sex educator; I’m back in the office today, trucking away.
I’m off yet again to Las Vegas. At this time last year, I had never been…and now this is my fourth trip there! Interesting what living in the Southwest and being part of the adult industry can entail.
The Adult Entertainment Expo and Adult Novelty Expo is a change for a) porn stars and fans to meet, take pictures, etc, and b) for toy companies to show their stuff off to retailers (like myself and Fascinations). Often times, new sex toys are rolled out for this show, so I’m really excited for it. Then on Saturday is the AVN Awards show, think like the Oscars of porn. Many of my friends and some people I’ve worked with before are nominated, so I’m excited to be able to go and see them. Plus, lots of awesome sex positive people will be attending, like staff/owners from The Tool Shed, Self Serve, Smitten Kitten, Good Vibrations, Babeland and more, as well as some rocking sex educators like Jamye Waxman. It looks to be a great year for sex positivity at the AVN/AEE!
If you’ll be in Vegas for this and would like to meet up, go ahead and contact me, and I’ll see when we can schedule some time. I wish everyone safe travels, and I’ll see you back in AZ on Sunday!
I’ve been to this festival, and spent time with both Matie and Molly (owners of Self Serve) as well as the wonderful Pornotopia volunteers. Pornotopia is where I first saw glimpses of Crash Pad Series, Chemistry, Silken Sleeves and other wonderful, sex positive and ethical clips clips of pornography. I’m heartbroken to hear that it must be postponed due to city regulations and their inability to find a space. Please support Self Serve and their other events, and if you have a space to host Pornotopia, please pass it on!
Erotic film festival once again finds itself at odds with city zoning codes.
Albuquerque, N.M . – Self Serve Sexuality Resource Center and the volunteer organizers of the Fourth Annual Pornotopia film festival regret to announce that this year’s celebration of erotic film is being postponed indefinitely. The City of Albuquerque’s highly restrictive zoning regulations have effectively banned the festival from all potential venues, despite all efforts by the planning committee to find a suitable location within city limits.
In protest over Albuquerque’s blatant attempts to censor films protected by the First Amendment, Self Serve announces Pornotopia CENSORED: Cirque de Sex, a live celebration of eroticism, sensuality and the joys of free speech.
Cirque de Sex will feature performances by September Smith, Cookie Fortune, the Gender Offenders, Burlesque Noir, Saywut, a sneak peak at Pornotopia 2010 and more! The show will be followed by a dance party.
The show will be held November 6 at 8 pm at the Sunshine Theater, 120 Central Ave SW, in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Tickets are $10 – $20 sliding scale and will be available at Self Serve in advance.
The Pornotopia Film Festival has been an influential force over the last three years in changing what is viewed as sexy. “Mainstream porn fosters a culture of shame and unrealistic ideas about sex and our bodies,” says Matie Fricker, Self Serve co-owner and festival director. “Much like the environment at Self Serve, Pornotopia features films promoting a positive, educational and empowering erotic experience.”
Self Serve co-owner Molly Adler points out, “ If there is no room for these films to be seen, how will people’ s perception of sexuality ever change? The films slated for Pornotopia 2010 deserve to be seen. The festival is ready to go; we just need a screen to call home.”
Pornotopia has not been canceled. The organizers are currently searching for a proper venue outside the city of Albuquerque.
For more information, please contact Matie or Molly at Self Serve.
More Info: www.pornotopiafilmfestival.com or www.selfservetoys.com
Contact: Matie Fricker, firstname.lastname@example.org, 505-265-5815
About Self Serve
Self Serve is a fun and welcoming adult retail store and sex education center. Through its store, Web site and special events, Self Serve provides opportunities for all people to learn about sexuality and their bodies while shopping for high-quality pleasurable products. Self Serve supports women, LGBT people and anyone seeking healthy, positive sexual attitudes and perspectives, and sensual pleasure in everyday life.
There is a new lube study out there, that the media has really picked up on. According to it, and the media, water-based lube used during anal sex is dangerous, and IF one is to use lube at all, they should use silicone.
I think that this study, and the hype around it, is dangerous itself. I see a backlash of people choosing to not use lube during anal, which is dangerous. I see people using silicone lube with silicone toys, not know that this is a bad plan. I see doctors telling patients not to use silicone toys because they aren’t silicone lube compatible. I see a lot of issues. I’m still trying to figure out the best way to post something about this.
In the mean time, Dr. Charlie Glickman recently wrote a great blog post about it this whole subject, and I really think you should read it until I’m ready to post about my thoughts. He has a lot of similar views as I do regarding this, and is an over all sex education rock star.
So for now, I believe that people should still use water-based and/or silicone-based lubes for anal sex, because there are better quality lubes out there than KY and Astroglide that weren’t done as part of the research. Because Maximus, and Sliquid Organics and other great lubes out there are still great lubes. Because not using lube during anal play can tear the anal tissue and increases the risk of infections and STI transmission in and of itself.
Is the research possibly valid? Yes. Does there need to be a LOT more research on this and the interpretation of what said research means before I think people should stop using water-based lubes before anal sex.
More to come (no pun intended)…
And he decided to do something really sweet. He wrote a post about me for FemQuake. I am a FemQuaker now.
I thank him for thinking of me, and for writing such a lovely post that I just found incredibly touching. Click here to read it.
Thanks May, for the post, for all the work you do, and for just generally being an all around amazing person.
I just heard from Audacia Ray about a project she’s doing with two other researchers about finding out what type of information is available when you search the internet in public libraries. I think this is a really important bit of research, as many people’s only internet access comes from public libraries. Everyone should be able to find information on health issues, gender identity, and more. I ask that if you have a free second, you go to your library and participate in this project. All you have to do is show up and go to www.infoandthelibrary.org.
Here’s what Audacia had to say:
We’re in need of people all over the United States who are willing to go to their local public library, do a few quick searches on some keywords and URLs we’ve identified as potentially blocked, and report whether or not they were able to access the information. The searches and completion of the survey take less than five minutes.
As you might know, in the US we are constitutionally granted freedom of information, but private corporations have no obligation to uphold this. So, companies that design web filtering software each come up with their own definition of what they consider “harmful content.” When public libraries use this software, they limit access to sexuality and health information – searches on words like “anal,” “transsexual,” and “abortion” may be blocked. More details and the survey to fill out is here: http://www.infoandthelibrary.org/