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Sep 06 2016

Legendary For 45 Years: Pleasure Chest’s Growing Legacy

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by Sarah Tomchesson

This post was written by Sarah Tomchesson, Head of Business Operations

The conventional image of a sex shop conjures up dim lighting, frosted windows and embarrassed customers darting from aisle to aisle.  Not so at the Pleasure Chest.  Warm, radiant light fills the space, elegant floral arrangements greet your entry, splashes of red catch your eye and an energized and knowledgeable staff welcomes you in and guides you through your journey.  A Pleasure Chest experience is simultaneously disarming and relaxed, a balance that is very carefully crafted.  Pleasure Chest stores surprise many who are new to the brand in their conscious embrace of sexuality in all of its forms.  Pleasure Chest unapologetically incorporates niche products into the mix.  You may encounter a life-sized, black silicone fist in view of introductory plugs barely the size of a finger – the fist suggestively placed as if to say to onlookers “you may someday be coming back for me.”  While the product selection may nudge some customers out of their comfort zone, the Pleasure Chest does not overlook that sex can be silly and playful, scary or new, and deliciously tender.  The stores are, most importantly, designed to put people at ease with beautiful displays, wide aisles, plentiful testers and a staff trained and tested to meet every customer where ever they are on their sexual journey.

Downstairs

The Pleasure Chest has had decades to perfect the business model and this fall celebrates 45 years in business.  The company’s first location, which opened in a 47” x 12’ long space in the West Village in 1971, challenged convention by refusing to block out the store windows with XXX, which was standard for any store with adult material.  Founders Duane Colglazier and Bill Rifkin aimed to create a department store feel.  “We treat our customers just as though they were walking into Gimbel’s to buy a table and chairs,” said Bill Rifkin in an interview in 1972.  This simple principle continues to guide and set the Pleasure Chest apart today, now under the leadership of Duane’s nephew Brian Robinson.

They began by selling waterbeds and quickly came to serve a diverse clientele: from the housewives of Nixon’s moral majority to the gay men of the neighboring West Hollywood. By refusing to block out their windows, they refused to be a secret space for secret desires. They instead embraced a “sex positive” movement. Huffington Post, 2011.

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Pleasure Chest’s Original location in the West Village, 1971 and Los Angeles location in the 80s

Pleasure Chest’s bold embrace of sexuality, particularly alternative sexualities, as a healthy part of life has garnered loyal fans along the way such as Joan Jett, who has been quoted saing she bought her leather ringed belt from the Pleasure Chest’s Los Angeles store, and gave it to Sid Vicious. The belt can be seen in many photos of them from the 70s.  Pleasure Chest even inspired Queen, whose 1978 song “Let Me Entertain You” contains the lyrics:

If you wanna see some action

We get nothing but the best

The S & M attraction

We got the Pleasure Chest

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Joan Jett outside our Los Angeles location. Photo by Brad Elterman

From the 70’s on, the Pleasure Chest has been at the center of our culture’s ongoing sexual revolution.  Just as Deep Throat made its mark on the world of porn, the Pleasure Chest opened its first location.  As the celebrations of sexual freedom of the 70s were tempered by the brutal reality of the AIDS epidemic in the 80s, Pleasure Chest faced its own heartbreak at losing many of its leaders to the disease.   By the 90s, Pleasure Chest had become the go to Hollywood spot for all things fetish, such as when Pulp Fiction designers were looking to dress the famous Gimp character and rented the costume from the Pleasure Chest.  In the early 2000s when Sex in the City took the world by storm, no other store would do for their famous Rabbit episode. Today, mainstream icons such a Gwyneth Paltrow, the Kardashians, Queen Latifah, Victoria Beckham and Halle Berry all proudly identify as Pleasure Chest customers.   At its founding, Pleasure Chest’s assertion that everyone had the right to pursue sexual fulfillment was radical.  45 years later embracing sexuality is practically analogous to embracing a healthy lifestyle, or as Halle Berry herself said “make regular visits to the Pleasure Chest! You can’t forget your sexuality. You can still embrace your body by going to the gym or [going to] The Pleasure Chest.”

For nearly five decades Pleasure Chest has continued to embrace sexuality in all it forms and has positioned inclusivity at the heart of all business decisions – from hiring practices and product selection to community engagement and design.  As a result, the shopping experience continues to have extensive appeal.  Pleasure Chest’s roots in the gay community have held even while also creating a safe space for straight couples to explore.  Both the convenience-minded consumer, who can enjoy the ease of stocking a friend’s bachelorette party while upgrading their pleasure collection to the newest toy in one stop, and the luxury shopper, who is looking to indulge in one-of-a-kind pleasure objects, share a love for the Pleasure Chest.   As the Wall Street Journal wrote in 2014 after the opening of Pleasure Chest’s Upper Eastside location:

The chic 6,000-square-foot outpost, now Manhattan’s largest erotic boutique, is titillating a traditionally vanilla neighborhood […] The timing may finally be right to open this Sephora of sex toys a stone’s throw from Bloomingdale’s. Between the boom of ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ and vibrators on sale at Duane Reade and at mall gadget chain Brookstone, sex is selling more than ever.

The entry room and “kink” room in Pleasure Chest’s Upper Eastside Boutique, 2014

The entry room and “kink” room in Pleasure Chest’s Upper Eastside Boutique, 2014

Even those seeking to simply upgrade their pleasure IQ can partake in Pleasure Chest’s free, weekly sex education program, PleasurEd, which also happens to offer the most range of topics of any pleasure-based education program.  Since 2008, PleasurEd has offered nearly 1500 free classes on topics ranging from oral sex tips and tricks to bondage as meditation and queering your sex to over 30,000 attendees and has trained 60 Pleasure Chest educators.  By marrying a vibrant legacy, a mission of inclusivity and an unmatched adaptability to the growing and changing pleasure market, Pleasure Chest has persisted as the oldest sex-positive retailer in the country.  With 5 locations in New York, Los Angeles and Chicago and a new e-commerce platform launching in 2017, Pleasure Chest is not only legendary after 45 years but also still evolving.

 

 

 

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Sep 02 2016

Celebrate September with a Jimmyjane Form 1!

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by Chelsea

This September, we’re celebrating with giveaways from our friends at Jimmyjane!

UPDATE: CONGRATS TO CRISTIN, OUR WINNER!

 

lucille

 

This week we’re giving you a chance to win the Jimmyjane Form 1:

form1

Surrender control with this powerful, wearable vibrator and Bluetooth-enabled FLIRT remote control. With a range of up to 32 feet, this vibe features 5 power levels, 5 vibration modes, and 5 special tease modes. Made from Platinum Silicone, this toy is great for couples or solo play. Comes with FLIRT remote and stay-in-place panty sleeve.

Want to win? Here’s how: This month, The Pleasure Chest celebrates their 45th anniversary! We’re taking you back in time to our O.G. 1970’s catalog, with some of our fav vintage toys. Check out the toy below and come with a name and a tagline for it in the comments.

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*US Residents only. Comment posts are subject to approval and may take a day or two to post.

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Aug 30 2016

Toy Crush Tuesday: The Oxballs Tunnel Plug

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by Chelsea

Anal August is almost over, but have no fear: the Oxballs Tunnel Plugs are here!

 

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Oxballs has updated its popular Pighole plug, making a tunnel plug that’s better than ever. Available in two sizes, the Tunnel fits comfortably into the receiver’s ass. Unlike most plugs, this one is hollow, with a ribbed tube running through the middle that’s the perfect size for a penis.

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Aug 26 2016

Win a Free Tantus Perfect Plug Plus!

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by Chelsea

UPDATE: Congrats to KC, our winner!

It’s the final week of Anal August, and we’re wrapping up this bootiful month with one more giveaway from our friends at Tantus!

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This week, we’re giving away a Tantus Perfect Plug Plus:

Tantus Perfect Plug Plus

Enjoy anal vibration from a small-to-medium plug! Tapered at the top, smooth and slim on the bottom, this plug is perfect for a beginner who thinks they might like a little vibration. The rounded base fits perfectly between your cheeks, for extra comfort. When you’re done, you can pop the bullet vibe out for easy cleaning.

Want to win? Here’s how: We love the Perfect Plug Plus because of the extra buzz it adds to our butts. What is the one thing that someone can do in bed with you that pushes you over the edge, or gives you that extra “buzz”? Share in the comments to win!

*US Residents only. Comment posts are subject to approval and may take a day or two to post.

 

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Aug 18 2016

Win a FREE Tantus Little Flirt Plug and Sliquid Sea!

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by Chelsea

UPDATE: CONGRATS TO KARI, OUR WINNER!

We hope everyone is having an ass-tastic Anal August! To sweeten up your cheeks, we’re giving away a bootiful combo pack of buttly delights:

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This week, we’ve got the Tantus Little Flirt:

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Flirting with the idea of anal play? This little plug is the perfect fit for beginners. The Little Flirt combines a long neck and a tapered base for a comfortable and satisfying experience. Best of all, it’s made of soft, body-safe silicone, so it’s boilable, machine-washable and hypoallergenic.

BUT WAIT! THERE’S MORE!

Since lube is essential for any kind of ass play, we’re throwing in a bottle of Sliquid Sea:

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This water-based formula contains seaweed extracts, to promote your body’s natural lubrication. Infused with carageenan, which has been shown to reduce the transmission of HPV, Sliquid Sea is odorless, tasteless, PH balanced and paraben free.

Want to win? Here’s how: In honor of Anal August, we want you to Butt a Movie: change any movie title to make it anal-centric and post yours in the comments below. We’ll pick our favorite!

*US Residents only. Comment posts are subject to approval and may take a day or two to post.

 

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Aug 15 2016

Remembering Joani Blank: A Sexual Pioneer

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by Chelsea

Last week, we said goodbye to sexual pioneer Joani Blank.

joani

Quite simply, Joani Blank is the reason many of us find ourselves working in this business. She was a model of sex positivity, feminism, education, and entrepreneurship. At a time when women’s sexual needs and desires were dismissed and decried by the medical and educational fields, Joani was a beacon of understanding and education whose influence radiated throughout the sex toy industry. In 1975, Joani launched Down There Press, an independently run feminist publishing group that gave us The Playbook for Women About Sex and introduced us to educators like Susie Bright and Carol Queen.

In 1977, she launched one of the first feminist, sex positive toy stores in San Francisco. Good Vibrations soon became a pioneer in the sexual landscape, with its welcoming, woman-friendly ethos and its focus on education. Joani worked tirelessly to bring women’s sexual pleasure to the forefront of the conversation, and to create a safe space where women and LGBTQ folks could shop and congregate in peace. Her generous spirit was legendary: she mentored countless aspiring educators and retailers, and she sold Good Vibes to her employees as a worker-owned co-op business.

An advocate for co-op housing, prison reform, and womens’ rights, Joani worked relentlessly to help those in need and shared her vast knowledge with everyone she came across. She was a role model to all of us in the industry, and her impact won’t soon be forgotten.

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Aug 09 2016

Toy Crush Tuesday: The Tantus Neo

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by Chelsea

Cool off on these hot summer days with the sexy silicone Tantus Neo butt plug!

Tantus Neo

This plug is perfect for butt neophytes! The Neo is perfectly smooth and easy to insert, with a thin base that sits comfortably between the cheeks. Made of 100% Ultra-Premium Silicone, this is a first-time plug that you can sterilize after use and it will last forever. Just remember not to mix silicone lube with your silicone toys!

neo

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Jul 19 2016

Get in the Mood with a FREE Fun Factory Moody!

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by Chelsea

Because you demanded it.

Because you lusted for it.

Because you blew up our social media.

We’re doing it all over again!

UPDATE: Congrats to Maddy, our winner!

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We have heard your requests, and are giving you one more chance to win a FREE Fun Factory Moody:

mody

Get in the mood with this swirly new sensation from Fun Factory! This girthy silicone vibe features 12 different vibration intensities and rhythms, with a soft and pliable shaft. The curved end makes it great for G and P-spot stimulation, and the textured base brings sensation to the vaginal and/or anal opening and perineum. The Moody is waterproof, rechargeable, and comes with a 2 year warranty.

Want to win? Here’s how: Tell us about your last bedroom oops…did you shit the bed? Did you plagiarize a speech from 8 years ago? Share in the comments to win!


*US Residents only. Comment posts are subject to approval and may take a day or two to post.

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Jul 15 2016

Gettin’ Bi with the Lady Bi!

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by Chelsea

Hey Folksies!

Because we had such a stong response to the Lady Bi giveaway two weeks ago, we’re doing it again!

UPDATE: Congrats to Caitlin, our winner!

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If you missed out last week, now is your chance to win a FREE Lady Bi!

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Double your pleasure, double your fun with the Lady Bi! This longer, firmer alternative to the Miss Bi features two rumbly motors and a sizable silicone body designed to hug your G-spot and clit. The waterproof Lady Bi also doubles as an anal toy, and features 6 vibration intensities and rhythms. This toy is USB rechargeable comes with a two year manufacturer’s warranty.

Want to win? Here’s how: write a funny caption for the photo below. Our favorite wins!

hotdog

*US Residents only. Comment posts are subject to approval and may take a day or two to post.

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Jul 08 2016

WE’RE GIVING AWAY A FREE FUN FACTORY MOODY!

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by Chelsea

We’re enjoying some hot fun in the summertime with our friends at Fun Factory!

UPDATE: Congrats to Dana, our winner!

Are you overcome with feels? Can’t stop riding the emotional roller coaster? Looking for a multi-action toy to fit all your moods?

condomfeelings

This week, we’re giving away a FREE Fun Factory Moody:

mody

Get in the mood with this swirly new sensation from Fun Factory! This girthy silicone vibe features 12 different vibration intensities and rhythms, with a soft and pliable shaft. The curved end makes it great for G and P-spot stimulation, and the textured base brings sensation to the vaginal and/or anal opening and perineum. The Moody is waterproof, rechargeable, and comes with a 2 year warranty.

Want to win? Here’s how: How do you let your bae know you’re in the mood? Do you put on something sexy? Pop some bottles? Fly their panties like a kite? Tell us in the comments to win!

*US Residents only. Comment posts are subject to approval and may take a day or two to post.

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