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Jan 31 2014

Role Play, Burlesque & More! Free Workshops in Los Angeles

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by thepleasurechest

Embrace romance this February by learning some new seduction skills! As always, attendees get 15% off all of their purchases.

My Smutty Valentine: Role Play & Dirty Talk with Kate
Wednesday, February 5th @ 8-10pm – FREE!

Who says that Valentine’s Day has to be all about hearts and flowers? This class will teach you how to please your partner using dirty language, prurient pillow talk, and filthy fantasies, for a truly salacious celebration of love. We’ll help you find the scenarios that make you the hottest, move past giggle fits gracefully, and embody an extra-sexy alter ego.

sex workers uniteSex Workers Unite with Melinda Chateauvert
Monday, February 10th @ 8-10pm – FREE!

Activist Melinda Chateauvert will be reading from her new book, Sex Workers Unite: A History of the Movement from Stonewall to Slutwalk, a provocative history that reveals how sex workers have been at the vanguard of social justice movements for the past fifty years while building a movement of their own that challenges our ideas about labor, sexuality, feminism, and freedom.

Bedroom Burlesque with Kitty Cadillac
Wednesday, February 19th @ 8-10pm – FREE!

Learn how to take it off like a pro! Join Sex Specialist Kitty Cadillac as she shows you how to tantalize and tease your lover in the bedroom. Put on a private show they won’t forget. She will guide you through hot exotic dance moves, sensual glove and stocking peels, and how to give a sexy lap dance. It’s role playing at its finest!

Performance Anxiety – Comedy Night at The Pleasure Chest
Tuesday, February 25th @ 8-10pm

Get your laughs and lube in the same place. Join us for the return of the ever popular Performance Anxiety, a comedy night hosted by Eli Olsberg. For seven bucks, you can enjoy free beer, 15% off your purchases and live performances by some of the best comics working today.

Jan 31 2014

Porn 101

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by thepleasurechest

porn 101

Have you considered working in porn?  The Adult Performer Advocacy Committee, a group that includes some of the best-known porn stars out there, has put out a video for prospective performers. In it, working performers cover everything from on-set etiquette to consent, to STIs, to income, to what you can expect from your agent. Even if you have no interest in working in the adult industry, it’s definitely worth a watch.

Sep 13 2013

A Less Awful Sex Ed

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by thepleasurechest

condom banana

Did you get sex ed in school? If so, you’re very lucky if was better than the usual scripts:

Fourth or fifth grade:

“Soon, you will start to grow hair in places. Your body will change in some ways. Do not be afraid. Here are some artfully-depicted naked grown-ups with no genitals. Also, here is some deodorant and/or enormous pads. Never, ever show them to anyone.”

Sixth or seventh grade:

“Here are some diagrams of fetal development.”

High School:

“This is a condom. You should use one if you have sex, except you should not be having sex. If you have sex, you will get lots of deadly infections. Here are some close-up photographs of all of the terrible, horrible, confusing things that will definitely happen to your genitals. Also, do you really think you’re ready to be a parent? Think of your future.

If you’re cringing with the memory of your own sex ed horror story, we suggest washing it down with The Frisky’s list of “10 Things Everyone Should Learn in Sex Ed.” We would love if schools implemented safer sex curricula that focused on empowering students to make informed choices about barriers, partners, and what they actually want to do. Still, even if your main source of sex ed was that one friend who told you that the hymen grows back every time, it’s never too late to learn.

How about you? What do you wish you’d learned? What would you add to a sex ed curriculum?

Jul 23 2013

Hookup Roundup

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by thepleasurechest

In case you haven’t yet had your daily dose of heteronormative moral panic, here’s the New York Times’ take on “college hookup culture”…

She Can Play That Game, Too

Until recently, those who studied the rise of hookup culture had generally assumed that it was driven by men, and that women were reluctant participants, more interested in romance than in casual sexual encounters. But there is an increasing realization that young women are propelling it, too.

[...]In this context, some women, like A., seized the opportunity to have sex without relationships, preferring “hookup buddies” (regular sexual partners with little emotional commitment) to boyfriends. Others longed for boyfriends and deeper attachment. Some women described a dangerous edge to the hookup culture, of sexual assaults and degrading encounters enabled by drinking and distinguished by a lack of emotional connection.

(New York Times)

 …and some responses that just might make the sky stop falling:

The Hookup Elites

So what we are seeing on college campuses is the same dynamic we see outside of colleges.  People with privilege—based on race, class, ability, attractiveness, sexual orientation, and, yes, gender—get to set the terms for everyone else. Their ideologies dominate our discourses, their particular set of values gets to appear universal, and everyone is subject to their behavioral norms. Students feel that a hookup culture dominates their colleges not because it is actually widely embraced, but because the people with the most power to shape campus culture like it that way.

(Slate)

It’s Time for an End to Women’s Stories

It’s not hard to see why these stories succeed: They are about very young women having lots of sex with multiple partners. They’re a lot like porn, except that instead of an orgasm you get a vague sense of free-floating anxiety.

(Salon)

What We Write About When We Write About Hookups

We need to change the way we talk about casual sex. It needs to be more inclusive, both of people and of narratives. Writing the exact same story again isn’t just boring; it’s bad journalism.

(Brute Reason)

Hookup Culture Story Old News

 It may in fact be a phenomena that doesn’t have to be explained or accounted for or culturally deconstructed or politically analyzed. It may be much murkier—a moment, a phase, a situation, an evening, a mood—in an irreducibly individual woman’s life.

(Slate)

Casual Sex Meets Cognitive Dissonance

So, if the game is rigged in favor of inculcating second-guessing and insecurity (which can be further stoked by consumer culture cures purporting to put the control back in your hands, natch), what are your options in the face of damned if you do, damned if you don’t? You can refuse to play. You can refuse to let your personal become their political. You can take your sexual decision making out of their system. You can get all ahistorical on their asses and decide to prioritize the context of your own life and circumstance over figuring out whether or not you’re in line with the sexual attitude du jour (cloudy with a chance of promiscuity!). It isn’t easy, but neither is attempting to live by a system that rewrites the female sexual code of conduct at will and only deigns to tell you about it after you’ve transgressed.

(BitchMedia)

What else is missing from the conversation? Add your own thoughts on hookup coverage in the comments below. 

 

 

Jul 08 2013

Upcoming Events in Our LA Store

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by thepleasurechest

The 4th might be over, but the fireworks don’t have to end. Drop by our LA store for free workshops to learn dazzling tips and techniques to make your sex life hotter. From simple bondage techniques and burlesque to blowjobs and spanking, we’ve got a little something for everyone.

How Feminism Makes Sex Hotter
Wednesday, July 10th @ 8-10 PM FREE!

Join “Sexy Feminism” authors Heather Wood Rudúlph and Jennifer Keishin Armstrong for a free workshop on how feminism can empower your love life. In addition, special guest Moushumi Ghose, MFT, one of LA’s premiere sex and relationship therapists, will offer practical advice and answer your questions.

Jay_WisemanOne Minute Bondage with Jay Wiseman
Wednesday, July 17th @ 8-10 PM FREE!

“Doing all that tying takes too long!” is a common lament of BDSMers. Join Jay Wiseman, one of the nation’s leading experts on rope bondage, to learn how to accomplish almost any bondage effect you want by using techniques that take less than one minute to apply. People of all experience levels are invited to come learn in this special hands-on workshop.

Bedroom Burlesque with Kitty Cadillac
Wednesday, July 24th @ 8-10 PM FREE!

Learn how to take it off like a pro! Join Sex Specialist Kitty Cadillac as she shows you how to tantalize and tease your lover in the bedroom. Put on a private show they won’t forget. She will guide you through hot exotic dance moves, sensual glove and stocking peels, and how to give a sexy lap dance. It’s role playing at its finest!

Blowjobs & Beyond with Sex Nerd Sandra & Andrea
Wednesday, July 31st @ 8-10 PM FREE!

Want to have him squirming in his seat? Our Sex Specialists will show you how to use your mouth, hands, and more to give mind-blowing blowjobs. We’ll cover male anatomy, tips and tricks, the truths and myths of “deep throat” plus other sexy secrets that are sure to have him begging for more.

bettieSpank Someone Happy with Mary & Koko
Wednesday, August 7th @ 8-10 PM FREE!

Looking to make your sex a little naughty? Let our Sex Specialists bring you into the wonderful world of erotic spanking and roleplay. We’ll show you how to combine spanking with sex in a fun and consensual way. This workshop is perfect if you’re feeling curious, need help getting started, or just want to fine-tune your technique.

Jul 02 2013

How Feminism Makes Sex HotterJuly 10th in Los Angeles

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by thepleasurechest

sexyfeminism

Want to learn how feminism can make your sex life hotter?

Join Sexy Feminism authors Heather Wood Rudúlph and Jennifer Keishin Armstrong for a free workshop at our Los Angeles store on Wednesday, July 10th from 8-10 PM.

They’ll host a provocative and proactive discussion on sex, relationships and feminism.  In addition, special guest Moushumi Ghose, MFT, one of LA’s premiere sex and relationship therapists, will offer practical advice and answer your questions. Join us!

Jun 25 2013

Epic Pro-Choice Filibuster in Texas

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by thepleasurechest

For advocates of abortion rights, all eyes are on the Texas legislature right now. In case you haven’t heard, State Senator Wendy Davis is in the middle of an epic 13 hour filibuster to block a bill that would dramatically restrict abortion services within the state. Davis’ filibuster can be watched in the live stream above. Supporters are also asked to send their personal testimonies for Davis to read on the floor.

May 16 2013

Consent is Sexy: How Pleasure-Centered Education Can Help to Dismantle Rape Culture

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by thepleasurechest

Tomchesson picThis is a guest post by Sarah Tomchesson, The Pleasure Chest’s Director of Business Development and Strategy.

Introducing the concept of pleasure into sex education geared toward young adults has long been frowned upon and rarely implemented with the exception of a few progressive models. Instead, the United States has largely adopted risk-focused education since the federal government’s first allocation of funds for sex education after World War I, when the spread of syphilis and gonorrhea posed a real public health issue. The HIV/AIDS pandemic of the 80s and 90s reinforced the need for sex education as a public health necessity, specifically STD-focused education (more appropriately known now as STIs).

As we know, some contemporary sex education curricula teach that abstinence is the only viable means to avoid pregnancy or contracting an STI. And, wow, nothing is sexier than abstinence! As if taking anything remotely sexual out of the teaching will make young folks ignore their own budding sexuality. This method of sexuality education is misguided. Ignoring the amazing plethora of nerve endings in our genitalia and throughout our bodies, avoiding discussion of self exploration and skipping over how to talk about sex with a partner, does not make kids want sex less. It does not empower them to make healthy choices about their or their partners’ bodies; it does not equip them for their first time (or their first 20 times) and I think it most definitely contributes to the prevalence of rape culture in our society.

abstinence

This pleasure-denying approach to sex education in the US suggests that we are trying to socialize physiological urges out of young folks’ bodies through fear tactics. This method may be helping some of our youth avoid pregnancy and STIs, but ultimately it is putting a lot of them at risk. We are not providing young people with a healthy alternative to the powerful and often disparate messages they receive about sex and sexuality through the internet, music, sports-culture, celebrity-culture, politics and religious institutions.

Sluthood is simultaneously exalted and stigmatized in mainstream media. Similarly, virility and “manliness” is glorified. Viagra and Cialis commercials are now ubiquitous. Politicians are regularly caught cheating. Female professionals are still judged by looks and sex appeal first, effectiveness second (Kamala Harris IS the best-looking Attorney General after all, right?). Professional athletes get sexual assault cases dropped left and right. Stuebenville High School has just extended their football coach’s contract for two years even while the grand jury has convened to determine his culpability in a 2012 sexual assault case (!) In this context, where sexuality is omnipresent but rarely meaningfully discussed and where there is limited access to sexuality education, particularly on the topic of consent, objectification, rape and sexual assault have become normalized. Unfortunately, most sex education curricula do not provide a viable alternative to the disempowering and pervasive model of sexuality provided by our culture.

skirt

Pleasure-centered education can provide our youth with meaningful tools to help them navigate one of, if not the most, vulnerable parts of their identity. As a sex educator, who teaches from a pleasure-based perspective I understand how complicated and loaded the concept of pleasure can be, even to adults. However, to embrace a healthy model of sexuality in which consent is a key piece one must be able to wrap their head around the vast pleasure possibilities consent unlocks. The model of sexuality that our culture constructs is unattainable because within it exists an irresolvable conflict between repression and overstimulation. I believe that introducing the concept of pleasure is essential to educating on consent and can offer a significant alternative to the current “one size fits all” model of sexuality. Empowering people to understand their sexuality and showing them the ways their bodies are built for pleasure, encourages them to seek out the sex that is right for them and to reject sex that hurts or is unsatisfying.

In a pleasure-based model, exploration of one’s own body is at the core of the ideology and anatomy is taught from the perspective of the potential of the different nerve endings in the body. Anatomy lessons serve as a tool for individual empowerment. Education on the ways our bodies are wired for orgasm is especially important for young women who are discouraged by society’s messaging to enjoy sex, and who have largely been denied permission to be sexual or to have sexual needs for fear of being labeled a slut.

vaginalodor

Also, women are not taught to have pride for their genitals in the same way that a lot of men come to love and readily explore their penises. Just watch any feminine hygiene or douching commercial and you will see the deep shame that we as a society feel about the vulva. Likewise, the inherent power of the penis is ingrained in young men, but we are not teaching them that possessing a penis does not entitle them to pleasure any way they want it, whenever they want it.

Pleasure-based curriculum approaches sex from the perspective of mutual pleasure, through detailing the body’s pleasure map and also by laying out a framework for safe exploration in relationships through strong communication. Demonstrating how to negotiate sex with a partner, what you like and don’t like, provides an excellent opportunity for meaningful discussion about what consent means and what it looks like in practice. The affirmative consent model where only “yes” means “yes” is perfectly positioned in pleasure-centered education. Introducing consent in this context, where the goal is greater pleasure for both partners, makes it sexy and helps elucidate how sex with a consenting partner is always more satisfying.

consentissexy

The problem with risk-focused or abstinence-only sex education is that the concept of mutuality is absent; the curriculum has been disinfected of any remnants of sexiness. Young people know that when sex education focuses solely on negative outcomes that something is missing. In the absence of comprehensive and affirmative education they will seek out information where none has been provided. The sexuality resources that are most readily available and accessible are not promoting consent, sex-positivity or contributing to a rape-free culture.

Don’t get me wrong, I am not arguing that “Blow Jobs 101” or “The Ultimate O: Achieving Multiple Orgasms” is appropriate curriculum for teenagers.  However, recent events at Occidental College, USC, Amherst, Stuebenville High School and in the military demonstrate that rape culture is alive and well. These events highlight that people are entering their sexually active years with little to no understanding of what informed consent is.

sexed

There are age-appropriate ways to sexually empower our youth and it is a priority that we do so. One great example of progressive education is Planned Parenthood Los Angeles’ pilot health program, which includes an educational curriculum for students and parents that is paired with health resources and peer advocacy on high school campuses. Another is Dr. Laura Berman’s Sex Ed Handbook for parents (PDF), which encourages discussion in the home from a young age. Young people are confused about their sexuality and their bodies and are becoming confused adults. Hopefully, some will find their way to a sex-positive or pleasure-centered workshop in adult life but many will not.

Our sex education has sheltered young people by focusing on risk and denying pleasure while the rest of society bombards them with a precarious model of sexuality. This combination is not working for us anymore. It is time that we introduce pleasure, and with it sexy consent, into more sex education curricula.

To read more about how young people are combating rape culture, read our previous post on the Know Your IX campus movement. 

May 10 2013

Mother’s Day Cards For Everybody

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by thepleasurechest

mamasday

As you probably know, this coming Sunday is Mother’s Day. If you’ve scanned the “Mother’s Day” card selection at your local store, you might have noticed a lack of diversity. Hallmark hasn’t caught up with the rest of us. That’s why the folks at Strong Families designed these beautifully-illustrated, colorful and inclusive “Mama’s Day” e-cards.

Strong Families calls itself “a home for the 4 out of 5 people living in the US who do not live behind the picket fence—whose lives fall outside outdated notions of family, with a mom at home and a dad at work.” The organization supports families defining themselves “across generation, race, gender, immigration status, and sexuality.” Cool!

You can read more about their work and pick out a card for mom on their site.