Monday, February 20, 2012

Living with Sex Workers

About six months ago I moved in with a cute, kinky, tiny porn performer named Alexxa Bound (!/AlexxaBound).

People always assume that since I am a sex shop worker, and she is in porn, that we must have a very sexy household. Also, that we must either fuck all the time, or go on wild sex filled adventures. I have gotten emails requesting that we put cameras in our apartment for a sexy reality show.

Currently we are sitting on the couch in our jammies with the cats, watching House. I guess someone out there has a fetish for that.

A fun aspect of living with someone whose day job is in the sex industry is that we can be more casual about cleaning toys and leaving things out. I don't find it weird when she hangs her enema bag from our shower...

And she is totally fine with me cleaning my toys in the dishwasher.

I can also be blunt about my work, and don't feel awkward when I overshare. In turn, she feels comfortable doing cam shows in our apartment, as well as bringing other porn members over.

For example, the last time she shot with Denali Winter...

they ended up doing different acrobatic sex positions in our living room for my amusement.

Sexy, no?

I also find it amusing and come home to find that she leaves random equipment around the place. For example, I was plugging in my laptop in the corner near our couch, and Hey! There's a Hitachi Magic Wand!

Or when I reach for the remote and Whoops! Bottle of lube!

I guess my point is,

damn we're sexy

Sunday, February 19, 2012

I was ringing up a customer today when another customer came up to me and demanded that I come over and help her find a certain lubricant that she wanted. When I explained that I will be happy to in just a minute, she appeared frustrated and walked away.

The customer I was ringing up smiled at me and said "You must have the best and worst job in the world. I mean, all jobs seem like the best and worst, but yours is the best and worst to the extreme. You are probably like, Yay sex positive moment! And then all, Ahh people are just terrible!."

Well put customer. Well put.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

A Short Guide to Sex Shop Etiquette for Sex Workers

Here are some tips for sex workers who come into sex shops (please note this does not apply to all sex workers/sex shops).

- Welcome! Sex shops, or at least my work/progressive ones, are open spaces for all types of workers, whether you are a doctor, a rabbi, a Starbucks employee, whatever! Everyone is sexual, therefore, everyone (over 18+) is welcome!

- Let us know you are in the industry! Or not! Your choice! The title "sex worker" can be placed on various types of work (which I talk about in previous posts). Whether you are a prostitute, a sex therapist, a pro domme, a stripper, a go go dancer, a sex educator, or a behind the scenes cameraman for porn, if you identify as a sex worker and want to tell us, go ahead! If you don't want, you don't have to! We never question our customers about their occupation, nor judge them on what they purchase.

- Feel free to ask questions that pertain to your job. Often times people come in with specific questions or are looking for items that are for their work. For example, I have helped sex therapists find good reference books for certain topics, or have shown cam girls certain toys that their viewers have requested. We are prepared for most questions, and if we don't know, we will refer you to someone who does.

- Feel free to ask vague questions that don't give out information about your work. Like I said before, you don't need to tell us about your occupation. And if you ask a vague question, we aren't going to delve into why you asked.

- Some sex shops give a sex worker discount. Feel free to ask, it never hurts. If the shop does give a discount (like my work) we won't ask what type of sex work you do. Identifying as a sex worker is enough to get a discount.

- While we welcome blunt interactions, please don't over share. At times I find that some sex workers get either too comfortable or too awkward in sex shops, which leads to over share. While this can be applied to non-sex worker customers as well, I have found that sex workers especially try to over share their sexual knowledge with us. Maybe it's because they are exited to be in a sex positive space, or maybe they want to show off their product knowledge, but honestly, it can get uncomfortable. I've had sex workers come in and start talking about themselves in very intimate ways that borders on non-consent. Working in the sex industry doesn't mean that you need to be crude or over share to everyone else who identifies as a sex worker. While I'm all for "sister-solidarity" I sometimes feel violated when people tell me more than I need to know on the job.

- Please leave the sex shop education to the sex shop worker. Sex shops are an intimate place where people come for some personal shopping. While some people are okay with strangers telling them about products, as a sex shop worker I prefer that you don't. Please leave the education to me, since this is what my job is and this is what I am here for.

- If you have clients, you are welcome to bring them in. Just please do not session with them in the shop. This is a safe space for all, and some people are not comfortable with public sexual acts. But feel free to bring them in and shop around and we will be glad to help!

Friday, February 10, 2012

Finish this story!

Today a woman walked in with her dog running around without a leash. As I opened my mouth to tell her that we don't allow dogs in, she cut me off by saying "I don't care! Here, I don't want this!" and shoves a Hitachi magic wand that she took out of her purse in my hands and then stormed out.

I stood there a little confused, as well as insulted that a stranger just yelled at me, as well as forced me to hold her used sex toy (which I threw away).

So here's the fun part. Let's make up a story for why she did this! My co-worker likes to think that she got too addicted to her Hitachi so she had to get rid of it quickly.

Let me know what you think!


Denali Winters says: "Maybe it massaged her TOO well and it was a pandora's box-type dimension-bending experience."
Tsareia says: "She probably tried to actually use it as a massaging tool instead of its actual purpose."
Cathy says: "Her lover made her choose between them, or the Hitachi. She chose them, and needed to dispose of it quickly lest she be tempted."

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

A promise to my friends

To my friends who come into the sex shop:

I promise that I will never out you
Whether you know that I work here, or you find out once you walk in, I will never tell other people about you being here. Hell, if you want, we don't ever have to talk about it. What you do is your business. Though I do write a blog, I will never name you, nor say anything that will identify you.

Your shopping is safe with me
Whatever you buy, whatever you look at, I will not tell. Your sexual preference is your business, and I will not be reporting it to any of our friends or to your partner(s). If I find out you like anal, great, good for you. I'm not going to go running to facebook, twitter, whatever and giggle about what you like to put in your body. Your purchase is, well, yours.

If you want, I will stay away
Not everyone wants their friend who works at sex shops to be around them when they are at said shop. I have no problem giving you space just as much as I have no problem helping you pick something out. You don't even have to say it, I usually can tell when people want their space in the store.

If you are my friend, I will probably give you a discount
It's a perk of having a friend as a sex shop worker. I will happily give you one.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Questions and Answers

1) Many women report that they have difficulty having an orgasm during sex with a partner. What could you tell a woman who has this issue? What products, if any, might you suggest and why?

First off, I would tell her that many women have difficulty having an orgasm during sex for a variety of different reasons. She is not alone. This is a completely common concern and has no reflection on either partner’s performance in the bedroom, nor their affection towards each other. One reason that women have this issue is due to pressure to orgasm. Just like a male-bodied person may have difficulties maintaining erections when pressured, women can be distracted or too flustered to orgasm if there is too much attention on the matter at hand. I would suggest practicing taking deep breaths and communicating with her partner about what is going on in her mind. Nerves can be pretty off putting and a stressed out body means clenched muscles and an unhappy body. She needs to feel at ease to be aroused, to which communication can help. I suggest practicing foreplay with the partner, and if that is already happening, extending it. A nice massage and heavy petting can really help relax the body. For this I would suggest a Rub Me bar or any other massage product. Small toys like a Fingo or a Pleasurette may help to stimulate arousal while still enjoying some intimate foreplay action. Avoiding jumping right into sex is also a great benefactor of foreplay, as it lets the body get comfortable with different touches and sensations and extends the sexual session.
Another reason that some women have trouble having orgasms is because they expect orgasms during sex to be the same as orgasms during solo play. In Sex for One the idea of mutual masturbation is brought up as a way to show your partner how you cause arousal and pleasure in your solo play, which can lead to ideas of how to incorporate it into the bedroom. How can a partner know what turns you on if you don’t tell them? Make sure to also learn from their own solo play practices, because arousal goes both ways! Orgasms are generated differently depending on the location of arousal, for example clitoral verse vaginal stimulation. A large majority of women can orgasm through clitoral stimulation, which is often ignored during penetrative sex. I would suggest stimulating the clitoris during penetration, using fingers, partner’s fingers, or a vibrator. If you have a favorite vibrator that you use in personal play, it would be a great addition with your partner. If this is the first time you are bringing a vibrator into the bedroom I would suggest something small and quiet that does not distract or take away from the sex. Again something like a Pleasurette, or the Form line by Jimmy Jane would be great toys that are small enough to be pressed into the palm of the hand or against each other’s bodies.
I would also strongly suggest reading materials like The Multi Orgasmic series or I <3 Female Orgasm. Informative guides can give the individual a much better idea of what is going on with their sex lives than any person can.

2) A customer says that she’s heard about the G-spot, but doesn’t know anything about it. What are two things that you would tell her about the G-spot?

The first thing I would say is that the G-Spot does exist, but people respond to it differently. Many women think they do not have a G-Spot because they cannot “find it”. Fact is, G-spot stimulation and response is different for every person, so you may be playing with it and not even know! Many women build up in their head what G-spot stimulation is supposed to feel like, but the fact is that some people love it, and some people don’t. The G-spot is an area of tissue about two to three inches inside the upper floor of the vaginal canal that is very sensitive and can cause sexual orgasm for some. For some people when it is stimulated it can feel like there is a lot of pressure happening inside their vaginas, which can be pleasurable, and for others it can feel uncomfortable, as if they have to pee. The best thing with any sexual exploration is to relax and take your time. I would suggest putting aside some time with yourself or with your partner for G-spot exploration.

The second thing I would say is that the G-spot responds to pressure, more so than vibrations. Whilst vibrations are enjoyable, just vibrating it will not stimulate the G-spot. A good technique to find it is to insert fingers or a toy and pull gently towards the belly button. In Expert Guide to the G-Spot Tristan Taeromino refers to this as a “come here” motion with your fingers. She also suggests using toys that have a strong hook and when having it inserted, make sure that the hook is pointing towards the belly button. In the GV Guide to the G-Spot the importance of sexual arousal is brought up in regards to finding the G-Spot. The G-Spot is most sensitive and reactive when the vagina is aroused, so foreplay before searching is highly recommended.

3) A customer says that he’s interested in exploring BDSM. Name two books that you might recommend to him and why you chose them.
One book I would recommend is SM 101 by Jay Wiseman. First off, Jay Wiseman is a great community figure and his book, though slightly outdated, is a great overall of a wide range of topics. As a community figure, Jay knows what he is talking about. It is also written from a personal narrative and not factual and hard to read. It reads as if you are having a conversation with him. I also really appreciated how personal the book was and how you can tell that his advice comes from experience. It also gives you space to jot down your thoughts about the topics that he brings up, which really makes reading the book seems more like having a conversation with him.
Another book that I would recommend is The Ultimate Guide to Sexual Fantasy by Violet Blue. The book explores and demystifies the world of sexual fantasy and lets the readers explore their own sexual fantasies without judgment or reprehension. What I really appreciated about the book was that she brings up ideas as well as explanations in regards to fantasies, and does so on such a wide range of topics. The book explores fantasies that can be acted up, and the taboo, and gives suggestions on how to play with certain fantasies without harming yourself or others as well as breaking any laws. I also really appreciated the stories that were placed in between sections that gave example to how the fantasy can be thought about and practiced.

4) List three things that you might tell a customer who has never tried anal sex and is curious about it.
First off, I would tell the customer that though there is much controversy and debate over the topic of anal play, it is totally safe and fun, if done properly. Of my three tips for customers, I would tell them to communicate, relax, and don’t be afraid to use lots of lube, as well as other safer sex supplies. Communication is very key in any type of sexual play, but especially when attempting anal play. Anal sex can be physically painful if there is no communication, as well as emotional. Approaching anal sex is an intimate topic and there may be some mixed feelings about it! People who have been raise thinking it is a sin may even have guilt! Both parties can end up with a negative experience if they do not talk. In the Ultimate Guide to Anal Sex for Women partner communication is a very key aspect before approaching anal play. Anal play for either partner can be an enlightening as well as sexually empowering experience. My second tip would be to relax. The anus can tighten due to stress, things cannot be inserted, and if attempted can cause a painful experience. I would advise the person to relax as much as possible when exploring with the anus. Practicing pushing the anus open is a good way to get in the right mindset, since it gets the anus ready for some type of interaction. In Tristan Taormino’s Expert Guide to Anal Sex she talks about the importance of lubricant, and repeats many times that you can never have enough. Therefore, my third tip would be to use lots of lube! A good water-based gel will help lubrication for insertion as well as provide a protective cushion for the anal walls. In addition to lube, I would recommend using safer sex items such as gloves or condoms when inserting things like fingers or toys. They create an easy cleaning opportunity in case things get dirty, or you do not want to have to rush from the room to clean. Just slip them off and throw away!

5) A customer wants to buy her first dildo and harness. What are two things that you would tell her?
The first thing I would tell her when picking a dildo is to think about what she and her partner would like. This may seem like an obvious answer, but many times what one partner likes is not in fact what the other person does. A toy can be too large or too realistic looking, or not something that one partner finds very sexy. Communicating with your partner about what type of toy you are looking for can really enhance your experience. For example, if you specifically want to explore prostate stimulation, I would suggest picking out something curved in order to hit the prostate. The same goes for g-spot stimulation. In The Adventurous Couple's Guide To Sex Toys picking out toys is seen as a couples activity, and can be seen as a type of foreplay for later sexy encounters.
For buying her first harness I would recommend a style where you can switch out rings as well as choose whether or not to have a back panel and one that has adjustable straps. The reason behind this is because you can switch up different toys as well as explore and adjust where you want the toy to sit on your body. I would also suggest trying on a harness and seeing how you like the fit! Harnesses are like pants, and you can’t tell how you look or feel in them unless you actually try them on.

6) What are two common sexual concerns or issues faced by older people? What would you suggest to someone who is facing them?

In the book Still Doing It many of the stories involved the concern that as one ages, they will become less sexual. Many of the writers disagree with this statement, stating that they are still sexual and sexually active and enjoy many, if not all of the same activities as they did when they were younger. Some do note that sex does seem to change as the body does, but it doesn’t mean that sex is not fun. Certain positions or action may be a little more difficult, but with negotiation and discussion sex can still remain just as fun! Sex is evolving, and though it may change, it is still sex and the person is still a sexual being, no matter what their age. What I would suggest to someone who is facing this problem is to explore various forms of sexual arousal, whether during solo play or with a partner. Honestly I would also suggest books like Still Doing It where there are personal stories that the person may relate to.
Another common concern is around the embarrassment of the body not performing the same functions are they used to do. For example, an ageing male-bodied person may not be able to have erections quite as often or at all. This can cause embarrassment, which can lead to him avoiding having any sexual interactions at all. What I suggest to someone who is facing them is to talk to their partner as well as other people their own age. These “problems” are not unique, they are just not discussed. Looking into other forms of sexual performance, like instead of having an erection, using a dildo on a partner, would also be something that I would suggest

7) Many of our customers have questions about Tantra. How would you describe Tantra to them?

Tantra is a spiritual sexual connection between and mind and the body. Its actual definition varies depending on the person and their background with the topic, but a majority of the time it will be related back to spirituality and sexuality. In Tantric Sex for Women the author discusses how Tantra can be both a partner experience, as well as an individual one. One of the reason Tantric practices is great is that they are not meant for specific genders or sexual orientations. Tantra can be practiced by anybody and to whatever level one aspires to. A large part of Tantric practice is focused on the movement of energy, whether it is through your body or from one partner to another. Sexual energy can be found all over the body, and is not just focused on the genitals. This is a great practice for people who want a spiritual connection to sex and who want to incorporate meditation and relaxation into their sexual lives.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

We are people too

Recently I had a bit of an uncomfortable situation having to do with my job.

I found a yoga studio near my work and introduced myself to the instructor as well as told him where I worked. He smiled and welcomed me, and I joined the group for some sweaty, bendy, out of shape fun. While we were doing a position where I was standing with my legs spread, bending over he started walking around doing a punching massage motion into class members gluteal muscles. When he got to me and started punching my butt (which felt awesome) he chuckled and asked "Do you guys have spanking benches downstairs?"


There are many factors that bug me about this situation, and believe me I have been mulling over this interaction for days. Here I was in this very physically vulnerable position and a stranger who I trusted to be my instructor came over and made a very inapropriate comment. Making a sexual comment towards a yoga student whilst touching them in an intimate area is not okay. The instructor was in a position of power and the as a student I trusted him. Yoga is a place to relax and meditate on the day, it is a safe space, not a place to feel uncomfortable. I understand that he was making a joke, and probably didn't mean for it to come out as sleazy as it did, but I can't fight the felling this this was not an okay situation. Some people will argue that since I work in the sex industry, it must be okay to say sexual things to me. After all, isn't that part of my job?

Bottom line? No, it is not okay. Sex shop workers, sex industry members, porn stars, prostitutes, all of us deserve the same respect as everyone else. Like everyone else, when we are off the clock, we are not working and therefore should be treated as such.

I wrote him an email explaining all this, and then told him I was finding another studio. I don't know what I expect to get out of the email, but I feel like he needed to be told that sex shop workers are people too.