Some months ago I took on a new job at a little sex shop in Alexandria. Now, firstly, this was “some months” ago, and if one is going to blog about a new job, it’s probably a good idea to get on and do that. Also, if one is going to start a blog, allowing it to languish as long as I’ve allowed this one to languish is pretty criminal. That said, it’s about time I dusted off my blog and put this puppy back to work.
The little sex shop is Lotus Blooms . It’s open 7 days a week on King Street in Old Town Alexandria, and it’s a very special little place. Lotus Blooms is different from ordinary sex shops. [Let’s take a second to imagine what sex shops are like; dark, intimidating, chock full o’ pornos.] There’s nothing wrong with sex shops of any sort, however, this particularly one is extraordinarily interested in sex ed. It’s as much about helping people get the most of out of their bodies, their sex lives, and their relationships as it is about selling intimidatingly huge plastic dongs [note: we don’t have any intimidatingly huge plastic dongs, but if that was your bag, we could order you one.]. The other very special thing about Lotus Blooms is that the vast majority of products are body safe and body friendly. No nasty chemicals, no weird toxins you can’t even pronounce, and no plastics which will steadily leach chemicals into your body.
Turns out the FDA does not monitor, or regulate the production of lubricants or sex toys. This means that the bottle of KY in your local CVS is not monitored by any regulatory body (and some of that stuff heats up – I think it’s safe to assume that a chemical compound that heats up can be describes the same way as Diet Soda and fat free cream, it’s a “chemical shit show”). The people who manufacture sex toys and intimate products can put anything they want in there, whatever is cheap and effective. I think in 2013, we’re all starting to realize that cheap and effective isn’t what we want in our mouths, and by extension, any of our other orifices. [The question of why the fuck the FDA doesn’t regulate sex toys is a sticky one, perhaps it’s because this is a sexually oppressive government who refuses to acknowledge sex as a part of the consumer market.]
Beyond the safe products, you can also take classes at Lotus Blooms. That’s right, you can come down to King Street, go to dinner, and at 7pm settle in comfortably and learn all about BDSM, or blow jobs, or anal sex, or a myriad of other things. Classes are usually $15 or $25 and you can find a schedule here! Now, so far this may seem like a shameless plug for the cute place I work, but what I’m really here to write about is my first class.
Last week Friday I taught 6 total strangers how to have anal sex. There’s a moment in your life when you’ve said “sphincter” like 15 times in 4 minutes where you really wonder how you got yourself into such a situation. Before I taught the class, I nervously told my friends, and many people asked, “what’s that all about?”. The answer is simple. It’s about preventing people from hurting each other during sex. That was the long and short of it, I drew a diagram, discussed a bunch of misconceptions, some anatomy (it’s like an obstacle course of sphincters in there.) and answered some very intimate questions. While that was scary, because people in a class are relying on their teacher to give good at advice, it was also edifying. It was a good feeling to be able to look a total stranger in the eye and make them feel confident about something which can often be overwhelming. That’s what teaching is really all about.