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    She Bop’s “Redefining Success When Polyamorous Relationships End”, a class review

    She Bop’s “Redefining Success When Polyamorous Relationships End”, a class review

    Dr. Eli Sheff led She Bop with a lecture and discussion on an aspect of relationships that affects all of us: breakups.

     

    Dr. Sheff explained her background in sex education, gender and sexual minority studies and research in polyamory that she has been dedicating her life to since 1996. Her years of research did give us answers, but raised more questions. Her dataset has been very specific within the polyamory community. The voices in her research come from those who have stayed in nonmonogamous relationships. Within that, Dr. Sheff is specifically interested in breakups and transitions in families. We were given an explanation of how those interactions are affected.

     

    “Breakups in conventional society are usually associated with failure.” Dr. Sheff insisted. Through her research, she has noticed a much different experience with polyamorous couples. Because the status quo, monogamy, is questioned, other aspects as well as habits of intimacy are questioned.

     

    Frequently in the healthy polyamorous relationships Dr. Sheff studies, the people transitioned rather than cut off communication entirely. Through one form of relationship to another, does not mean the end. Everything is not erased completely. This allows for fluidity and flexibility, two traits Dr. Sheff finds essential with human interaction. Sheff finds that It makes sense for many people to open up flexibility for relationship types because of our current nonstop access to people, life expectancy is long and you’re able to let go of shame and guilt when you give yourself that freedom.

     

    It’s inevitable. Everyone grows apart. Things must be explained per situation per person

    People with higher sex drives are more drawn to poly relationships, although there is less sex happening in many polyamorous relationships than conversation. Communication is key.

     

    Dr. Sheff peaked my interest in how we move on. I walked away, inspired to create a modern narrative on our process and experiences that deal with breakups, not just in the polyamorous community. If you would like to be a part of that and answer questions about your experiences, please email media@empirelabs.com.

     

    You can find more information about Dr. Sheff through the links below:

    https://elisabethsheff.com/

    https://www.psychologytoday.com/experts/elisabeth-sheff-phd-casa-cse

    Bon Appétit: The Fine Art of Cunnilingus

    Bon Appétit: The Fine Art of Cunnilingus

    There have been two polarizing experiences that have defined my approach to eating pussy. The first was during one of the most emotionally intensive relationships of my life. My partner and I would reach an impasse through talking issues out often, but physically we would communicate wonderfully. Except for eating pussy. Despite having a developed comfort with one another’s bodies, she would never let me eat her out. She practically hated the act, saw it as mildly disgusting, and felt bad for anyone that would want to spend such time performing. Since we were never great at traditional communication, we were never to hash out the origin of why she felt this way. It occurs to me now that she was possibly ashamed of her own pleasure, something that culture has reinforced by making cunnilingus appear something unenjoyable for the ones performing it. We never confronted that fact, so in turn we never engaged in the act.

    The second defining experience was from a completely opposing perspective. This person loved being eaten out and it was often the only way in which she could come. But it required work and dedication from both of us. These would be marathon hour long sessions of evolving move-sets, focal points, intensifying pressure and focus. For both of us, her pleasure had to be earned. It taught me to truly value putting forth the effort to give a partner that satisfaction and it showed me that sex was not so much an act of intense release, but a mutuality in which two (or more) people try to make one another feel as good as they possibly can. Being able to figure out what worked best meant I was going down on her every chance we got.

    Bon Appétit: The Fine Art of Cunnilingus, as guided by Amory Jane, did well to assuage the underlying machinations behind these experiences. Not simply a class built upon communication and cunnilingus’ societal perception, but on anatomy, technique and comfort as well. I found a new addition to my vocabulary with the fourchette (the skin on the bottom of the vagina) which not only sounds like an Italian culinary delicacy but, in some instances, can also be treated as such. With the aid of a 3D printed clitoris, Amory was able to effectively show that its anatomy was much larger than previously believed. There were also a wealth of effective positions that emphasized comfort for both givers and receivers that ranged from utilitarian to practically elegant. Amory passed around a wealth of toys that could enhance the pussy-eating experience from pocket vibrators to pulsing finger nodes that send small electrical pulses on touch. The toy seemed not only incredibly effective but also invoked reminders of Minority Report, which I would not rule out as a great science fiction niche kink.

    Yet, despite all the useful knowledge of physiology and technical practice, the cornerstone of the class is built upon communication. As with She Bop classes I’ve attended, these things ultimately come down to discussing and being open with your partner. Amory demonstrated this wonderfully by covering The Four Fears (Am I normal? How do I smell? How do I taste? Am I taking too long?) and how to properly confront them. As I have experienced, these thoughts can run rampant for some and being able to console a partner and make them feel comfortable with their bodies are tantamount to sexual pleasure. The class was opened with a couple of quotes by Margaret Cho:

    “Every (vagina) has its own architecture.”
    “Eating pussy is a metaphor.”

    The quotes aren’t meant to be obtuse or just good sentiment but, rather, to reinforce that eating pussy is not simply defined by an act. It is defined by what your partner is expecting from the act. It made me reflect on the experiences I mentioned previously. One was neglected from lack of communication, the other was bolstered by it. Sunday’s class made me feel confident in being able to better navigate experiences such as these and for that, it was incredibly valuable.

    written by Androo Meyers

     

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    HUMPFEST 2016 //
    Portland's Favorite Amateur Porn Festival

    HUMPFEST 2016 //<br> Portland's Favorite Amateur Porn Festival

    This year at HUMP! Film Festival we felt right at home in a sea of penises displayed at the nations hippest amateur porn festival, calling Portland and Seattle it's home. Our favorite part of sponsoring HUMP, besides the celebration of sex positivity, kinks, and Dan Savage turning us all into fan girls, is always the shenanigans we get into with the amazing crew at The Portland Mercury! Thanks to everyone for a great porn fest this year, we're already looking forward to the next! XO

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    The Mystery Box Show : a review of Portland’s most honest storytelling series

    The Mystery Box Show : a review of Portland’s most honest storytelling series

      Last month, we were lucky enough to catch one of the most interesting events happening in Portland: The Mystery Box show. Six narrators shared their personal experiences to a full house of wide eyes and curious attendees. The hosts and curators couldn’t have picked a more diverse group.

     

      The first storyteller was introduced as an aerial yoga practitioner and queer writer. She told the audience details about her first visit to the Egyptian room, a place Lonely Planet advertises as “Portland's main lesbian hangout”. Her story was focused around her disgust with fetishization of brown skin, subverting the patriarchy from within and experiencing a stranger extend an opportunity to connect in the most surprising way.

     

      The second storyteller easily transitioned the theme of connection, stating that “sex is the most meaningful to me when we express the symmetries between us.” She carefully retold her experience of having sex with a partner where she had a phantom cock and he had a phantom vagina. The takeaway? Find someone who is game and suspend your own beliefs as often as you can.

     

      The third storyteller gracefully recounted his gradual decline with his ex-wife, as eloquent as that can be told. Their no sex for six years “secret” escalated when he found someone he fell in love with. His prior era as a lonely pastor turned into a dramatic adventure into acceptance, vulnerability and starting brand new...with everything. He emphasized the importance in being honest from the beginning.

     

      The fourth storyteller and co-host of the night shared her experience of growing up in Germany and masturbating with a rusty nail in the Black Forest. She concluded with explaining the importance in setting healthy boundaries for yourself.

       

      The fifth storyteller moved to Oregon and, due to circumstances, was left without a job. She decided to try stripping and almost gave up before an experienced dancer reached out to her. She found community and sisterhood. The really good moments make time hustle, not stop.

     

      The sixth storyteller is a senior sex ed blogger who could “go without sex and be just fine”. She was rigid and avoiding sex with her husband. They attended intimacy workshops in California and tried to work their marriage out through this. It took a handful of events for Jane to realize what was holding her back: trauma from her childhood. She found solace in a stranger who held space for her to work out these realizations and no longer let her pain influence her current love.

     

      I walked away from the Alberta Rose theater not only feeling more thoughtful about my own experiences, but realizing that we all feel so much of the same things.

     

    December 11th, The Mystery Box Show will be back at the Alberta Rose Theatre for more intimate and true stories.

    http://www.mysteryboxshow.com/

    https://www.youtube.com/user/MysteryBoxShow

    Buy tickets for the next event:

    https://albertarosetheatre.com/?Page=https://public.ticketbiscuit.com/AlbertaRoseTheatre/Events/283591