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Jul 13 2011

Sex Shop Studs in 80s Pleasure Chest Porn

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by thepleasurechest

"Did you see the basket on that guy?"

One of our neighbors dropped off a disc of Fantasize, a gay porn feature shot at our West Hollywood store 27 years ago. If you’re curious about what our store looked like back in 1984 (we were!), take a peek at this video, with all the naughty bits removed for You Tube. Yes, it’s only five minutes long with the action missing, cause this movie had a lot of action!

The plot of Fantasize revolves around a group of hot dudes fantasizing about some hands-on customer service. All of the sex scenes were apparently shot elsewhere, though a bathroom encounter sure seems like it was done in our store. Enjoy!

A customer of ours dropped off a disc of Fantasize, a gay porn feature shot at our West Hollywood store 27 years ago. If you’re curious about what our store looked like back in 1984 (we were!), take a peek at this video, with all the naughty bits removed for You Tube. Yes, it’s only 4 1/2 minutes with the action missing, cause this movie had a lot of action!

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Jul 06 2011

Beyond Gender with Genesis & Lady Jaye

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by thepleasurechest

Many people have described love as the experience of becoming one with another person. Few have tried to express this quite so literally as pioneering performance artists and soulmates Genesis Orridge and Lady Jaye. In the 1990s,  the couple, already famous in underground art and music circles, embarked on a radical project to express their profound connection to one another.

Drawing inspiration from “cut ups,” an experimental art practice, popularized by William Burroughs, in which bits of text or audio are cut up and rearranged to create something new, they set out to explore the mutability of the body, gender and identity itself. Orridge and Lady Jaye invented a third being, which they called “The Pandrogyne” and began a series of surgeries and transformations to realize their vision. Neither male, nor female, the Pandrogyne is an expression of their utopian ideas of love, change and liberation from the body.

As Orridge said,

My project is not about gender. Some feel like a man trapped in a woman’s body, others like a woman trapped in a man’s body. The pandrogyne says, I just feel trapped in a body. The body is simply the suitcase that carries us around. Pandrogyny is all about the mind, consciousness.

When Lady Jaye passed away in 2007, Orridge continued the project, and a documentary about their lives was finally completed.

Is the Pandrogyne the unique expression of one couple’s love? Or a radical assault on gender norms and the limits of the body?

Our LA readers will get a chance to decide for themselves when The Ballad of Genesis and Lady Jaye premieres at the 29th Annual Outfest on Saturday.

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Jun 16 2011

1, 2 & 3! Working Out with Ami

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by thepleasurechest

Liz from our NY store gave her PC muscles a workout with the Je Joue Ami Vaginal Exerciser Kit. Here’s a progress report…

While I can’t claim that after a month of using these that my PC muscles are strong enough to break glass, I can say that they’re a lot of fun. I love that this is a system. Although I scoffed at the cute little Ami 1, (ahem, I am NOT a beginner) I gave it a whirl. If you bounce and jiggle around, or are just a general spazz like me, you can definitely feel the little rumbling of this toy inside you. It’s subtle, but enough to add a fun twist to your day. I also did some of the recommended exercises in the manual. I’ve never actually done Kegel exercises with a toy to intentionally add resistance so that experience was… interesting.

“You can definitely feel the little rumbling of this toy inside of you.”

Slightly smaller and heavier, Ami 2 is my new best friend. I wore this around for close to three weeks. The experience was essentially the same as the Ami 1– a little rumbly, a little fun, but nothing too crazy. I did the recommended exercises with this one, too. It was slightly more difficult but I could see how this might be fun for someone who is concerned with their PC muscles being uber-toned.

On to Ami 3. OK, this little fucker kicked my ass. Ami 3 is totally heavy and much smaller; it practically fell out when I jumped up and down to test it. It also doesn’t have the same “rumble effect” as the other two Ami weights do. I tried to do the exercises with Ami 3 and couldn’t; it pulled right out. I wore this for a couple of days but then my paranoia kicked in and thoughts of it falling out on the train sent me back to Ami 2. Sigh. I guess I have some work to do.

Finally, I’m a sucker for the little inserts that come with the toys we carry. To my delight, the Ami manual is full of little tidbits of info. Not only does it have product knowledge about the toy, but also about the female body, Dr. Kegel, the benefits of strong PC muscles and how to find and exercise them. All in all, I think this is a great product.

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May 09 2011

Bowling for Orgasms: A review of the Form 4

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by thepleasurechest

This month, we’d like to welcome Jess our new Los Angeles store manager to The Pleasure Chest family. We’d also like to announce the release of the Form 4, the newest luxury vibe from Jimmyjane. We sent Jess and the Form 4 home together. Only one of them came back to work.

“It was all strikes, all of the time.”

Upon first glance of the Form 4, I wasn’t quite sold. My previous experience with the Form 2 left me numb, even on the lowest speed, and despite the sleek design I couldn’t see the Form 4 as anything but a miniature bowling pin. However, once I brought it into the bedroom, I’ll have you know there was nothing gutter ball or 7-10 split about it. It was all strikes, all of the time!

The head of the Form 4 is where the ultra powerful motor is located, so unlike other super strong vibrators, this one will not make your hand go numb (anyone looking for a little “stranger” action afterward is out of luck). It also has a slight bit of bend in the neck, which means it contours to your body wonderfully. In addition to all of this, it gives a great “full” sensation when inserted and the slight taper of the neck to the body of the toy feels incredible at the vaginal opening with some gentle (or not so gentle) thrusting action.

I feel like the range of speeds on the Form 4 is more broad than on previous Form models, which is great news for the very sensitive, the “Hitachi lover,” and everyone in between. It’s rechargeable, waterproof, made of a high grade silicone, has a three year warranty, and it makes me and my partner come every time? I couldn’t recommend this toy any more highly. It’s like it was sent straight from Heaven!

On a side note, the Form 4 is outstanding even when off and has replaced a bevy of “can’t live without” dildos in my house. If only it was harness ready… Oh! It’s also great for full body massage! Bravo, Form 4!

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Apr 28 2011

Pleasure Chest: Hollywood’s Kink Consultants

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by thepleasurechest

Have you ever seen Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy’s Revenge? The sequel is famous among horror fans for its barely concealed gay subtext. Yesterday, we learned from the awesome culture blog Dangerous Minds that the campy homo horror movie is finally coming out of the closet. In an upcoming documentary on the Freddy franchise, the creators and star of Nightmare 2 discuss how they ended up making the gayest fright flick ever.

But that’s not what caught our attention. It seems that when the filmmakers cast producer Robert Shay for his cameo as a bartender in a leather bar, they sent him to the Pleasure Chest for his wardrobe. (Jump to 3:40 for the anecdote.)

We’re honored to play a part in Hollywood’s gay horror history. And, in this tradition, we heard a rumor that the latest Rihanna video, appropriately-titled “S&M” features some kinky gear sourced from our LA store.

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Apr 01 2011

Q & A with Liz Canner, Director of Orgasm, Inc.

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by thepleasurechest

Liz Canner

Starting tonight, Los Angeles and San Francisco audiences will have a chance to see the documentary Orgasm, Inc. The film has been described by ABC News as a “a serious, but sometimes comical look at the medicalization of women’s sexuality.” We were honored to discuss the movie with its director Liz Canner, on the eve of its Hollywood premiere.

I understand you researched this subject for nine years. Could you please explain a little about the background and at what point you decided to make a movie about it?

After over a decade of producing documentaries on human rights issues such as genocide, police brutality, and world poverty, the violent images from my movies were giving me nightmares and making me depressed about the state of humanity.  In order to change the script in my head, I decided my next project would be about something that was not painful. Pleasure itself seemed like a safe topic, specifically, the history of the science of female pleasure.

Then, strangely, while I was in the middle of shooting the movie, I was offered a job editing erotic videos for a pharmaceutical company that was developing an orgasm cream for women.  The videos were to be watched by women during the clinical trial of their new drug.  I accepted the job and gained permission to film my employers for my own documentary.  I thought the experience would give me access to the secretive world of the pharmaceutical industry and insight into the latest scientific thinking about women and pleasure.

I did not set out to create an exposé, but what I uncovered at work compelled me to keep filming and investigating.  This insider perspective allows the film to scrutinize the culture within the pharmaceutical industry which has been perverted to place the drive for profit above our health. So much for pleasure…

Has there been any response to your film from the pharmaceutical industry?

There have been quite a number of responses from the pharmaceutical industry. One of the most immediate ones was when we showed Orgasm Inc. at Lincoln Center in New York. A woman who works for the pharmaceutical industry stood up and denounced the film.  The audience grew annoyed with her and booed her down. It was quite a tense moment.

Do you believe that there is such a condition as female sexual dysfunction (FSD)?

The media talks about female sexual dysfunction as if it always existed – when in fact it was a term that came about in the late 1990s. When Viagra was released it was such blockbuster drug for men that companies like Pfizer began to think that there was also a big market for women for Viagra.   The problem was, in order to clinically test a drug, the FDA required that there be a clearly defined disease. Pfizer and a number of other drug companies sponsored the first meetings on FSD.  In the end, 18 of the 19 authors of the definition of the disease had ties to 22 drug companies.  This definition is extremely broad: Almost any sexual complaint you have, whatever causes it, will fall into this disease category.

It’s a bizarre disorder because you have to self-diagnose and you have to be distressed by it. So in other words, if you never felt an iota of sexual desire in your life but it didn’t bother you, you don’t have the disease. If you never had an orgasm, but it didn’t bother you, you don’t have the disease. There are real physiological conditions that can cause sexual problems such as hysterectomies and diabetes. I think that we can’t ignore that. But for the most part,  most of women’s sexual problems are caused by socio-cultural conditions like past sexual abuse, relationship problems and stress due to over work.

What are your feelings about Viagra and its popularity? Do you see a difference between the ethics behind Viagra and the rush to market a comparable product to women?

In Orgasm Inc., I followed the pharmaceutical industry over a period of nine years as they raced to develop a female Viagra.  They kept claiming they were developing a magic bullet but most of the products did not work much better than a placebo (sugar pill).  In fact, when I filmed the hearing for Procter and Gamble’s testosterone patch Intrinsa, one of the doctors on the FDA panel suggested to P&G that they should consider developing a placebo for women instead.  He said that it worked almost as well and there were no awful side effects.  Jokes aside, unfortunately, many of the drugs under development have had potentially horrific side effects including breast cancer, and cardiovascular problems.  Many of the drugs that I began following a decade ago either were not approved or dropped out of the race because they did not work.  It’s interesting to note that the only thing that has been FDA approved for female sexual dysfunction is an over-priced sex toy that sucks and vibrates your clitoris.  You can only acquire it through a prescription from your doctor.  Or you can go to your local sex toy store and buy a similar device that costs much less and you don’t need to have a disease to get it.

What is the strangest “solution” or product you encountered to treat so-called FSD?

The Orgasmatron was the most extreme product that I encountered to cure FSD.  Unfortunately, it was not the machine from Woody Allen’s Sleeper but an electrode inserted into the spine and controlled by something that looked like a remote control.

How do you think women can best promote their own sexual health and happiness?

First of all, it is important to know that 70% of women need direct clitoral stimulation in order to have an orgasm during sex.  This speaks to the importance of using things like vibrators to enhance sexual experience.  If women feel uncomfortable with sex toys, there are sex coaches like Betty Dodson and sexperts like Kim Airs that can help them.  Also, sex therapists such as Dr. Leonore Tiefer in New York City have helped women overcome trauma from past sexual abuse and given them tools to communicate better with their partners.  There are lots of good books that provide lots of valuable information about sex such as Our Bodies Ourselves.  The key is to take the time to find out what makes you feel good.  Sexual experience is very individual and like with art or dancing – there is no “normal”.

In the press you read, “men have their Viagra, women want theirs too.” I’d love to know which PR firm came up with this slogan because it is very effective. The question is what do women need Viagra for?  As I’ve mentioned most of women’s sexual problems are not caused by a physical medical condition but are the result of socio-cultural issues.  So, I think the only way that most women will be satisfied with their sex lives will be if they can take a product that makes them feel comfortable about their bodies; that ends sexual abuse towards women; that creates equality in the workplace; that creates equality in relationships; that gives women good sex education so they can fully know about the clitoris and about how their bodies function. Why can’t we take a pill like that?

Orgasm Inc. opens tonight at the Laemmle Sunset 5 in Los Angeles and at the Roxie Cinema in San Francisco.

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Apr 01 2011

Does the N-Spot Exist? Only the Nose Knows.

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by thepleasurechest

Chinese scientists claim to have discovered a new erogenous zone– in your nose! Translated from a report today in the Singtao Daily:

In a study to be published next week, Yun Zhang,  Professor of Otolaryngology at the Southwest China School of Medicine Sichuan University claims that he and his fellow researchers have discovered a highly sensitive bundle of nerves located in the right nostril of the human nose. The so-called “N-Spot” was found in the columella, the fleshy outer part of the septum. To locate the N Spot, Zhang suggested inserting your finger into your right nostril to the midpoint of the septum, and then gently rubbing the cartilage to awaken the nerves.

But wait, there’s more:

Professor Zhang speculates that, if confirmed, the N-Spot could explain yet another evolutionary purpose for the presence of mucous membranes in the nose. The mucus may act as a lubricant for probing fingers, seeking to stimulate the erogenous zone.

And just how sensitive is the N-Spot?

At least 24% of study participants were able to achieve an orgasm-like experience, by rubbing this area. An even smaller percentage reported significant amounts of mucus during stimulation of the N-Spot, sometimes ending in strong ejaculations of mucus from the nasal passage. This phenomenon was described in the American English colloquialism as a “snot rocket” by the Western-trained Professor Zhang.

If true, the existence of an N-Spot could lead to more mainstream acceptance of nose-related fetishes, known collectively as nasophilia. So-called “nose fetish” websites exist on the internet, but have escaped the notice of most sex researchers. A cursory look at these sites confirms the existence of “size queens” who privilege larger noses, presumably because the wider nostrils offer easier access to the N-Spot, the pleasure center of the nose.

The existence of the N-Spot might also explain evidence of nasophilia in ancient art, including this sculpture of the Buddha in Saitama prefecture near Tokyo.

If more curious people discover the pleasures of the N-Spot, we may see nasophilia achieve mainstream acceptance. As it stands, public displays of nasal eroticism are subject to mockery and scorn.

Until the N-Spot achieves widespread recognition, nose fetishists seeking the ultimate gushing nasal orgasm will be at the vanguard– revolutionaries blazing a trail toward the next great step in erotic freedom.

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Mar 04 2011

We Dare. Turn On or Buzz Off?

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by thepleasurechest

In our last poll, we asked readers to sound off on the Pangao Breast Enhancer. The infamous vibrating bra got very little support. Most of you hated this gadget, and couldn’t wait to get it off of your chests! Only a pair of voters were hooked. So long, Pangao Breast Enhancer, and thanks for the… (No, we can’t even go there. Some puns are unmentionable.)

This week’s contestant on Turn On or Buzz Off is for the swingers among you.  Wanna put the “game” back in non-monogamy? Sick of the same old key parties? Check out We Dare, an adults only game for the Nintendo Wii and PS3.

Here’s the come-on:

“We Dare is a sexy, quirky party game that offers a large variety of hilarious, innovative and physical, sometimes kinky, challenges. The more friends you invite to the party, the saucier the game!”

“Use the Wii-mote and PS3 Move controller in unbelievable ways, as you’ve never imagined before…wave it around to the beat of your favourite tunes, old and new…put it in your pocket and act-out flirtatious actions…balance it to navigate precarious challenges…sometimes co-operative hugging helps, and it certainly doesn’t hurt. Enjoy the unique gameplay designed for the use of these motion controllers exclusively for We Dare.”

Ah yes, “cooperative hugging”– the first step to a successful orgy. Whatever happened to a couple bottles of wine and a game of strip poker?

Judging from its now infamous commercial, We Dare is aiming for a demographic that doesn’t already hang out at swing clubs or poly munches. It’s apparently being marketed to straight, vanilla couples as a fun way to ease in to partner swapping, with some light spanking, sofa snuggling, trivia and other games. In this sense, it reminds us a lot of the old school “icebreaker” board games like 7 Deadly Sins or Sexy Slang.

Even though the ad looks a bit cheesy (OK, like a big hunk of cheddar with a slice of Velveeta on top), the truth is we can imagine playing We Dare with the right group of friends. But what about you? Whether you’re a novice at non-monogamy or a seasoned swinger, we want to know what you think. Would you swap Pictionary (and your partner) for a night with We Dare?

Editor’s note: We realize that we’re playing fast and loose with some different terms here. For an excellent primer on the difference between polyamory and swinging, we recommend this video by Ms. Nina Hartley.

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Mar 03 2011

Is cunnilingus obscene? Facebook says yes.

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by thepleasurechest

As many of you know, The Pleasure Chest hosts free educational workshops at all three of our retail stores. The workshops are an opportunity to share practical information about safer sex, from kissing and masturbation to oral sex and BDSM. We’ve been posting our workshop announcements on Facebook, without a problem, ever since we started our account on the social networking behemoth.

Yesterday, we received a disturbing notice informing us that the event announcement for one our workshops had been removed, for violating Facebook’s Terms of Use agreement. Here’s the key passage:

“The event ‘Pleasure Her Perfect: Going Down’ has been removed because it violated our Terms of Use. Among other things, events that are hateful, threatening, or obscene are not allowed.”

The notice also warned that:

“Continued misuse of Facebook’s features could result in your account being disabled.”

We can’t imagine how an invitation to a class on oral sex, posted for the benefit of people who have opted-in to our feed, could be “hateful” or “threatening,” so we can only assume that Facebook finds the event description “obscene.”  (A screenshot of that description is below.)

If so, this wouldn’t be the first time that Facebook has targeted sex educators for censorship. Last year, both Self Serve and Violet Blue found their pages disabled by the site’s anonymous guardians of morality. And just last month, we discovered that we were unable to post a workshop announcement with the title “Anal Pleasure 101” because the word “anal” made the listing “not valid.” We solved the problem by spelling the offending word “An*l,” which is kinda funny, since the asterisk reminds us of a butthole!

It’s not just sex educators who have had trouble. Facebook is an ongoing battle with users who post photos of breastfeeding! (We’re not kidding.)

We’re really not sure why this particular event posting roused the Facebook sex police. On any given day, our Facebook feed is much racier than our own profile page. Yes, we even see a fair amount of porn, posted regularly by our friends in the sex industry. So, what gives?

Perhaps the societal doublestandard that considers cunnilingus more taboo than fellatio is to blame. An upcoming Blowjobs & Beyond workshop remains on our events tab (and y’all should definitely check it out!) Cunnilingus in the movies often gets slapped with an NC-17 rating by the MPAA, while depictions of men getting head typically pass with an R-rating.

We might also ask why oral sex is considered obscene, while this apparently isn’t. The bottom line is that we can’t read Mark Zuckerberg’s mind, and finding out which words or images triggered a specific act of content removal is all but impossible. Our only recourse is to tone it down, cross our fingers, and hope we don’t get our account disabled or deleted.

In the meantime, are you following us on Twitter (NY, LA, Chicago) yet? Because Twitter definitely isn’t trying to defriend the sex industry.

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Mar 02 2011

My Alien Friend: The Man Eater Reviewed

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by thepleasurechest

"Take me to your wiener!"

A few months ago, we ran a poll on this blog, asking if you’d let the Man Eater near your pole. This one-eyed, green space monster with a taste for human cock went down in defeat. But I remained curious. So, I asked for a specimen and abducted the Man Eater to run some tests back at my own private Area 51. Would I make a new friend like Elliot in E.T.? Or would this become an alien autopsy? Here’s what I discovered.

The Man Eater is actually pretty cool! He looks and feels like one of those collectible toys you see prominently displayed in the home of a comic book nerd or sci-fi fan. This is also part of his appeal. Assuming you keep him clean and wipe the come off his mouth, this little alien should fly under the radar of most of the terrestrial visitors to your house. He simply doesn’t look like a sex toy. The downside, of course, is that people, especially curious kids, might think he looks cool and want to pick him up and play with him. Keep the Man Eater on a high shelf if you know what’s good for you!

Just like Tickle Me Elmo, the Man Eater vibrates when you push his belly. And while the low setting is pretty worthless, the middle and top speeds are pretty damned strong. Vibration is a relatively new experience for me. Most vibrators are made and designed for women. There are exceptions– many vibes can be used anally or against the perineum for prostate stimulation– but, except for the Fun Factory Cobra Libre, there just aren’t that many vibrating toys made exclusively for male masturbation. So, at first, I just held the Man Eater’s open mouth against the underside of my cock, making sure to hit the glans. With a generous dab of lube, the area got even more sensitive, and the sensation became very pleasurable. Rather than feeling numb, all the little nerve endings felt awake and ready to party.

Even though it felt good to have the Man Eater humming against the underside of my penis, I didn’t feel like I would ever come from vibration alone. That’s when I decided to tilt my cock upwards against my belly and actually stroke the underside of my shaft with his open mouth. I’m sure I looked ridiculous, with my hand cupping the back of the Man Eater’s head, as he bobbed up and down along my penis. But I didn’t care, because the Man Eater was really working for me! The contour of his “mouth” felt really nice, in combination with the vibration. The hardness of the ABS plastic and PVC material actually helped create enough pressure to bring me to an unidentified flying orgasm!

That material also makes the Man Eater waterproof and easy to clean. After he made sweet love to me, I brought my new friend into the shower and cleaned him off with some soap and hot water. He dried on the shower caddy overnight, and was ready to be put in a safe hiding place the next morning.

While the Man Eater isn’t likely to take over the planet just yet, he’s a surprisingly effective toy given his humble asking price. He runs off of two AA batteries, cleans up well for company and feeds exclusively on your penis. I think I’ll keep him.

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