Amory Jane, the frank, funny sex education coordinator at North Portland’s “female-friendly” sex boutique She Bop, lends a guiding hand in the art of self-romance.
1. Shed your assumptions.
“Humans have been making and using sex toys for centuries. We’ve found ancient stone dildos; in the Victorian era, “health aid” toys were sold door-to-door like Cutco knives or Tupperware. We use the word ‘sex toy’ for a reason—because we’re encouraging of adult play, of having fun and exploring. When you take your sexuality in your own hands it can feel empowering. It gives people more confidence in their career, meeting friends, or finding partners—all sorts of things.”
2. Think about what you really want. “Ask yourself: ‘What do I want to explore? Do I want to learn more about my body, bring my partner closer to orgasm, have a sexual adventure?’ Then our staff helps by asking more questions—it’s like a mini sex therapy session.”
3. Explore your options. “Tech is merging with toys. There’s a toy that works with a video game app, like a vaginal Fitbit. One toy vibrates to the beat of music. You can preprogram another toy’s vibration patterns. [On the flip side] many sex educators and porn stars love the Njoy Pure Wand. It’s a curved, heavy, stainless steel dildo that’s awesome for G-spot and prostate stimulation.”
4. Get educated. “The sex toy industry is unregulated, and often toys contain toxic phthalates, which are banned all across Europe (and banned in US kids’ toys). We research and carry only phthalate-free, nontoxic toys [as well as] ethically made, not coercive, porn. We’ve also got a huge book section on gender, sex, and we rent instructional DVDs. And our classes are super-rad—communication in the bedroom, rope class.”
5. And don’t forget the lube. “There are many different types to try: water-based, silicone, oil.... I recommended a paraben-free lube to a customer who was having an allergic-type reaction to her [usual] lube. She came back, pain-free, and told me: ‘You’re my vagina’s angel.’”