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    To Shave or Not to Shave?

    To Shave or Not to Shave?

    First things first when it comes to body hair: you should decide what’s sexy. You could find yourself in a deep, dark hole of thousands of articles explaining why it’s best to keep or best to get rid of your pubic hair. When using the Clone-a-Willy or Clone-a-Pussy kits, you could shave or trim to help the replica come out closer to looking like your body parts.

     

    A General Guide to Shaving

    • Utilize grooming scissors to trim the area you’d like to keep. If your hair is longer than ¼”, trim before shaving.
    • Soak in a tub or shave last while in the shower. It will give your hair follicles a chance to soften, lowering your risk for irritation.
    • Exfoliate the area gently beforehand to get an even closer shave and ward off ingrown hairs.
    • Use a shaving cream without heavy fragrances.
    • Always use a fresh razor.
    • Avoid too much pressure while shaving.
    • Never dry shave. At the very least, use a warm washcloth to bring moisture to the area before shaving.
    • Wear 100-percent cotton underwear after taking off body hair. It’ll give your skin a chance to breathe and recover, preventing ingrown hairs in the process.

    Pros of Shaving

    • Skin can be more sensitive to sensation.
    • Oral sex can be more enjoyable for all involved.
    • There is a lower risk for odor build-up without hair.



    Cons of Shaving

    • Hair acts as protection from friction during sex and a cushion for forms of exercise that put pressure on your pubic area.
    • The importance of hair in sweating. There are two types of sweat glands: eccrine (secretes sweat with no odour) and apocrine (found specifically in the armpit and pubic area). The apocrine gland uses the follicles of pubic hair as a way to secrete sweat that’s rich in proteins, lipids, and pheremones.
    • Regrowth, ingrown hairs, itching, tiny cuts through which bacteria and viruses can penetrate are never fun.



    References:

    http://metro.co.uk/2016/03/17/heres-why-you-shouldnt-shave-your-pubes-5757915/

    http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation-now/2016/12/07/why-you-might-want-think-twice-before-shaving-your-pubic-hair/95081856/

    https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2016/jul/11/should-groom-pubic-hair-shaving-trimming

    http://www.glamour.com/story/how-to-shave-your-pubic-area

     

     

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    Whoopee! A Sex-Positive Variety Show review

    Whoopee! A Sex-Positive Variety Show review

    The Secret Society transformed into a space that I never would’ve imagined on my own, thanks to Amory Jane. The Portland-based sex educator, comedic storyteller, feminist filmmaker and creator of the podcast Sex on the Brain hosted Whoopee! A Sex-Positive Variety Show.

    Whoopee featured twelve different acts: a storyteller, comics, a provocative lecture on rope bondage, burlesque, a film and the most memorable performances that transcended human beings into their characters of various sexual deviants.

    The crowd was first welcomed by Eric Snyder, who recounted his first love with a Microsoft paint woman. We all laughed together, as we bonded over the outrageous ideas we realized we had from our first orgasms. Jasmine Rain prowled the venue in her animal costume and comic Jenna Vesper laid the phrase in my mind,


    “What the dick do?”


    The audience, myself included, gasped and held our breaths in a marathon of breathing exercises between the following acts. Valentine gave a performance only visuals could accurately describe. Stella Harris climbed the stage with her assistant, and they gave an exceptional demonstration and instruction on rope bondage.


    All it takes to make someone vulnerable is to have control of their wrists.”

     


    I relearned femininity through Ivana Mandalay’s burlesque performance. Amory Jane told a story of a race to orgasm, the hand versus the machine. A film followed, featuring mostly obscure visuals layered on top of one another. It was an appropriate break in the constant flow of the experience. The break didn’t last very long, as Syringa Vulgaris broke the moment of calm. Daniel Martin Austin provided the last moment of calm with his relatable sex positive jokes until Lady Coquine waltzed through the crowd with laser pointers for eyes and a cape hiding everything else. While dancing to what I think was RHCP, she invited two men onstage. She cut the hair of one and the ass of another.


    Intern Courtney closed the show while the others slowly joined her for the grand finale. We had all of the performers lined up in front of us. Maybe they gathered to see if we would have our mouths permanently open. I know that I didn’t close mine until I fell asleep that night. There’s a reason this show sticks in my mind. It’s difficult to recount all of the specifics within each performer, and easier to understand how important it is to experience something like this once in your life.


    Do not miss the next show February 25th at 8pm at Dante’s.

    An evening At The Portland Night Market by Kat Salas

    An evening At The Portland Night Market by Kat Salas

        Walking through the doors to the Portland Night Market I was met with giant hearts hanging from the ceiling accompanied by all the adornments of Valentine's day that toe the line between overwhelming kitch and perfectly romantic.
        It seemed that there were an endless amount of people crowded around local vendors’ booths; a handful of white individuals selling “mexican textiles” quickly had me feeling some type of way as I bumped through shoulders standing on my toes to see what other items were being sold. After several minutes of this I found myself in the back corner where Empire Labs had set up a table for products Clone-a-Pussy and Clone-a-Willy, complete with nine colors of Willy Kits, the silicone Clone-a-Pussy, as well as a milk chocolate version of both. It seemed like a perfect fit for valentine's day especially in a self proclaimed sex positive city like Portland, I mean who wouldn't want a cast of their partner's genitals made out of chocolate? I’m being serious!


        The majority of individuals making their way up to the booth were in their 20’s or 30’s and either blushing or awkwardly poking the silicone vagina cast. While it is important to emphasize that everyone’s relationship with genitals and sexuality is personal and valid, I couldn’t help but wonder why this booth made such a diverse group of typical seeming Portlanders act like teenagers in a Sex Ed class? Have we not normalized conversations on sexuality in a city where we have more per capita strip clubs than Las Vegas?
        At this point it occurred to me that as a queer latinx woman I have always been aware of sexuality, and whether those dialogues were external or internal the concept that my own sexuality deviated from the norm and that my body was objectified and exotified from a young age  made it impossible to forgo these conversations if I hoped to live a healthy life.
        As I stood in front of the glow in the dark dildo kits and silicone pubic mound casts, I was hyper aware that this was a privilege that many individuals around me did not have and, as Valentine's Day seems to go, my heart broke a little.  Not because they weren't going to make chocolate replicas of their genitalia but because conversations about sex were intimidating them.


        Recognizing and normalizing human sexuality is one of the imperative steps in opening up conversations about consent, trauma, gender, heteronormativity, reproductive rights, the list only grows. If someone  can’t see a vibrator without nervously giggling then how are we supposed to have serious and necessary conversations about cis male violence and dick-culture? How do we advocate for trans rights without being interrupted by ignorant questions on who has what? I am sure it may have been at times uncomfortable, even frustrating, but  Empire Labs used their booth as a tool  to proactively start talking about these complex issues.
        As the night progressed I continued through the labyrinth of vendors, sampling gin and having the pleasure of meeting and chatting with members of multiple local business. It was a powerful experience to witness such a different side of the PDX community, but even after seeing every booth in the building I didn’t find anything I loved more than Empire Labs or anything more beautifully Portland than local companies paving the way for a more progressive future.

     

    Written by local bad-ass babe, activist, and sex educator Kat Salas
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    Photography by Colette Pomerleau

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    Portland Featured: Fräulein Couture

    Portland Featured: Fräulein Couture

    We were able to chat with Vanessa Froehling, owner of Fräulein Couture, before one of the sexiest and most interesting events takes place in Portland: Unmentionable: a Lingerie Exposition. Fräulein Couture is exclusive handmade by Froehling, who dives into evening wear, business couture and costumes in addition to lingerie. You can read more about the brand and Froehling’s process below.

    What inspired ​Fräulein Couture?    

    Fräulein Couture was inspired after I participated in a designer challenge in Eugene, OR called Metamorphose; where designers competed to created outfits constructed from discarded/upcycled materials. I was sewing for my organic knitwear line at the time, and for one of the challenge requirements, we had to design and create an evening wear look. I decided to test my skills and design my first Trumpet style gown which took first place in that category! From then on, I was inspired to focus on a line that specialized in more intimate, couture pieces.


    ​How do you keep up with modern trends? Do you set them?  

    For me, designing is a lot of research and mood boards. I do pay some close attention to current trends, but feel my designs resonate with more classic silhouettes that have a modern perspective to them. I try to produce statement pieces that define the wearer's self-expression. So in a way I create new trends that are unique to the individual themselves.   


    What are your goals with each piece?  

    Goals I set for myself with each new piece I create, is to make sure they have special details embedded within that stays true to their own uniqueness. That they're pleasing to the eye at first glance, but at a closer look they have lovely additions that make them their own.


    How do you evolve in your design?   

    For me, evolving my designs is always a main goal and I absolutely LOVE to create 'illusions' within them. I'd have to say my current obsession is to create 'two-in-one' looks where they have a sense of multiple layers or can transform into a completely different garment!


    What is your favorite material and colors to work with?  

    I wouldn't really say I have a favorite type of material as much as I would say I have a favorite 'feel' of materials! If it feels to the touch luxurious, I want to work with it. And I really enjoy textured fabrics as well. As for colors, I lean towards a lot of black and pair it with a beautiful print; usually of an abstract nature.

    How do you promote body positivity within yourself and your community?   

    Promoting body positivity is really important to me. As something I'm sure all of us have trouble with from time to time, it's important to celebrate each and every form. I promote this by showcasing the range of beauty throughout my portfolio, and participating in events that also focuses on body positivity.


    How do you make everyone of all sizes feel sexy?  

    When I'm designing a look, it's my favorite thing in the world to hear someone say "I'm feeling myself!" I can see them take on a new attitude! By creating a seam-line here, by drawing your eye over there; I want to make sure I bring focus to curves and the individual's favorite part.


    What are you working on now?

    Currently I'm completing my newest lingerie collection called Nightshade, that will be revealed at the Unmentionable: A Lingerie Exposition in Portland on February 8 (a fashion show that has a huge focus on body positivity).  Alongside this, I'm also working on a specialty collection called Kaleidoscope that are ready to wear garments of day to night styles for women and men. These pieces showcase a myriad of beautiful colors through different patterns and textures, and will be revealed at the Fade to Light Fashion Show (also in Portland) on February 22.


    What are recent goals with your career?​

    I like to set small, stepping stone goals each year with my career. Mainly this year; as being an emerging designer in the Portland area, my focus is to be involved with as many industry events for networking, and obtaining boutique accounts to have Fräulein Couture accessible throughout Oregon. Currently my designs can be purchased online at www.FrauleinCouture.com and at Anne Bocci Boutique & Gallery in the Pearl district Portland, OR.

     

    All photos courtesy of Vanessa Froehling.

    Portland Featured: Lille Boutique

    Portland Featured: Lille Boutique


    We were able to chat with Sarah Wizemann, owner of Lille Boutique, before one of the sexiest and most interesting events takes place in Portland: Unmentionable: a Lingerie Exposition. Lille Boutique is located close in Eastside Portland, and was created in 2007 “to provide the women of Portland with elegant lingerie in a comfortable setting”. Lille emphasizes quality made, vintage inspired and locally made garments, jewelry and shoes.


    What inspired ​Lille?

    Lille was inspired by my passion for fine lingerie--especially bodysuits, tap pants and soft bras, which I always loved but had a hard time finding after moving to portland from NYC. I had been a ballet and modern dancer, so body conscious garments that fit beautifully mattered a lot to me.  The name comes from the French city, which had been a lace production center at the turn of the century.  It hearkens back to a time of hand-made craftsmanship and is also a nod to French undergarments, which tend to have less padding than their American counterparts.


    ​How do you keep up with modern trends?  

    We begin by focusing on excellent construction and quality fibers, then look for designs that appeal to our aesthetic sensibilities. I try to pay more attention to what's happening in the greater world of fashion rather than listening to the lingerie trend forecast. For example, if they're showing sheer tops on the runways in Paris, then we know we need to have the right undergarments to accompany that look for the season.



    What is the process in picking specific brands to sell at Lille?

    I always prioritize independent designers who manufacture in an ethically responsible manner, and I prefer to meet the designer in person. It's always better to work with nice people!  The brand roster ebbs and flows according to customer preferences, and I often have to stop carrying brands I love due to cost considerations, but I re-evaluate every season.



    How do you make everyone of all sizes feel sexy?

    This is the most important task for our sales associates. It begins when a customer enters the store with the offer to sit down, relax, and have a cup of tea. Self care cannot be rushed. Then it is reiterated in the fitting room--if the bra doesn't fit, it's the bra's fault, not yours! We also make it an absolute priority not to discriminate against anyone (sexual orientation, ethnicity, size or otherwise.)


    What are you working on now?

    I'm so excited about the Planned Parenthood Fundraiser I'm working on for our 10 year anniversary. It will be similar to the one we held 4 years ago at Holocene called Astral Bodies. Now, more than ever, we need to stand up for what we believe in and give back to the community.

    Astral Bodies: Fortnight Lingerie Fashion Show presented by Lille Boutique 

     

    What are recent goals with Lille?

    We are hosting a bra drive for a local women's shelter next month, and we are hoping to collect over 150 gently worn bras for women in need, with a substantial discount on new merchandise for donors. There will be more details soon to follow at lilleboutique.com!

     

    All photos courtesy of Sarah Wizemann.