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May 27 2013

Should You Go Bare Down There?

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by thepleasurechest

shave

Whether by shaving, waxing, plucking or electrolysis, Americans have become increasingly obsessed with taming and  eliminating pesky pubic hair. The era of the 70s porn bush is long gone, replaced by the fashionable Brazilian and “boyzilian” wax. While shaved and waxed naughty bits can certainly be sexy, few of us consider the evolutionary advantage to having all that unsightly hair. By going bare, we may be increasing our risk of transmitting STIs, injuring our most sensitive parts, and sending confusing messages to young people. Alternet’s April Costa looks at the downside our current “battle against pubes.”  Check it out!

May 23 2013

Illinois Dumps Abstinence-Only Sex Ed

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by thepleasurechest

condomsLast week, our own Sarah Tomchesson made the case for a sex-positive alternative to the abstinence model of sex education. Yesterday, Illinois lawmakers took a big step in the right direction, by mandating discussion of birth control in all sex ed classes in the state’s public schools.

Gawker reports:

Previously schools had three options when it came to sex ed: abstinence-only classes, comprehensive classes covering both abstinence and safe sex, or no sex ed classes at all. Thanks to the new measure, which Governor Pat Quinn is expected to sign into law, schools will now have to either teach the comprehensive sex ed courses or avoid sex ed altogether.

It’s a start. In the meantime, those young people in less enlightened states can always find help at Scarleteen.

May 17 2013

Sex After 502 Chances to See Joan Price in LA

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by thepleasurechest

joanpriceOur Los Angeles store is honored to host author and educator Joan Price this coming Sunday and Monday for a pair of workshops on sex and aging. Price is the author of two acclaimed books, Better Than I Ever Expected: Straight Talk about Sex After Sixty and Naked at Our Age: Talking Out Loud about Senior Sex.

Price will present Sex After Fifty this Sunday, May 19th from 2PM to 4:30PM in a free workshop at our LA store. Geared to people over 50, the class will help attendees take home new tools, techniques, and attitudes to help them experience sizzling and satisfying sex –with or without a partner. She’ll follow up on Monday night from 6PM to 8PM with The 5 Biggest Myths About Sex & Aging, a discussion and release party for her new book, Ageless Erotica, a senior sex anthology.

As educators, we are committed to promoting healthy, pleasurable and fulfilling sex at every stage of life, and Joan Price’s workshops are invaluable to our mission. If you are 50 or over or plan to be, these workshops will help you understand the issues surrounding sex and aging. Both events are open to adults of all ages, regardless of gender, orientation, experience level or relationship status. We hope you’ll join us.

 

 

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. 

Apr 30 2013

Joan Price, Ducky Doolittle & MoreMay in LA

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by thepleasurechest

Spring is in full swing, and our schedule is packed with free workshops for frisky folks of all persuasions. Our resident Sex Specialists will share tips on everything from oral sex to bedroom burlesque. We’ll also host visits with senior sexpert Joan Price and guest educator Ducky Doolittle. Read below for our complete lineup for the month of May.

kittycadillacBedroom Burlesque with Kitty Cadillac
Wednesday, May 1st @ 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!

Photo courtesy of David Gueringer.

Impact Play: Spanking, Flogging & More with Mistress Mary
Wednesday, May 8th @ 8-10 PM FREE!

Do you want to know more about striking your partner or being stricken as a form of erotic discipline? Learn the finer (and rougher) points of impact play at this workshop. We’ll cover negotiation, safety, types of hits, and the hows, whys, and wheres of floggers, paddles and whips.

Performance Anxiety- Comedy Night at The Pleasure Chest
Tuesday, May 14th@ 8-10 PM $7

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. Guests TBA.

Blowjobs & Beyond with Larkin & Alicia
Wednesday, May 15th @ 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.

Joan Price_facebook1Sex After 50 with Joan Price
Sunday, May 19th @ 2-4:30 PM FREE!

Yes, sex after 50 has its challenges, but it can also be hot and joyful. Join author Joan Price as we celebrate the joys and tackle the problems of older-age sexuality, sharing experiences and learning from each other in a spirit of candor, acceptance, and plenty of humor. Take home new tools, techniques, and attitudes to help you experience sizzling and satisfying sex –with or without a partner! If you are 50 and above– or you plan to be– here’s everything you wanted to know. All genders & orientations welcome.

The 5 Biggest Myths About Sex & Aging: Discussion & Book Release Party with Joan Price
Monday, May 20th @ 6-8 PM FREE!

Joan Price shatters the myths and shares the most common questions that Boomers, seniors, and elders ask her. You’ll be surprised! Yes, she’ll answer those questions, too — in the candid, upbeat manner that led the media to dub her “senior sexpert.” Join Ms. Price, author of three indispensable books on sex and aging, for a special discussion and release party for her new senior sex anthology “Ageless Erotica.”

duckySex for Survivors with Ducky Dolittle
Wednesday, May 22nd @ 8-10 PM FREE!

Do you find it difficult to be present during sex? Tuning out? This is a very common coping technique for anyone who has survived domestic violence, sexual assault, and other forms abuse. Join Ducky Doolittle, a sexual assault & violence intervention counselor, and herself a survivor, to discuss common issues we face and discover ways of growing beyond the trauma. We’ll learn how to become more conscious in our bodies, build confidence, bond with our partners, embrace desires, and explore healing through touch in a safe and non-judgmental environment.

Performance Anxiety- Comedy Night at The Pleasure Chest
Tuesday, May 28th@ 8-10 PM $7

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. Guests TBA.

G-Spot & Female Ejaculation with Sarah
Wednesday, May 29th @ 8-10 PM FREE!

Looking for an all-over orgasm? Seeking the ever-elusive female ejaculation? This class will provide you with tips and techniques to expand your orgasm, both with your partner and on your own. For years the existence of the G-Spot has been rejected while some have hailed it as the ultimate pleasure center; come find out what the buzz is about!

Apr 29 2013

Know Your IX

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by thepleasurechest

In 2010, a study by the Department of Justice found that 1 in 4 women will become a victim of rape while attending college. Given this reality, it’s disturbing that so many universities seem unwilling or unable to address rape culture on campus. Student activists from around the country are starting to push back, demanding more education about rape, more support for survivors and better training for people handling sexual assault claims.

Their cause got a boost in 2011 when the US Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights sent a letter to all colleges clarifying that “sexual harassment of students, which includes acts of sexual violence, is a form of sex discrimination prohibited by Title IX.” The 1972 law has been at the center of numerous battles over equality in college sports, but is now fueling anti-rape organizing on college campuses.

ixThe activist collective Know Your IX has launched a national education campaign to help students understand their legal rights. They’re currently raising money to launch a website, a social media campaign and print advertising in student newspapers, before the start of the fall school year. If you’d like to help, check out their Indiegogo page and share the link to this video.

 

Apr 23 2013

Meet Tatyana, the Woman With the World’s Strongest Vagina

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by thepleasurechest

tatyana

This is Tatyana Kozhevnikovam. She is a Russian gymnast. Tatyana holds the Guinness World Record for “vagina weightlifting.” According to Cosmo, she “can lift a 30 pound kettlebell” with her genitals. Clearly, Tatyana has been doing her Kegels! Tatyana has a remarkable website promising to teach you the art of “Intimate Gymnastics.”

Here is an amazing video of Tatyana demonstrating the powers of her unusually strong vagina. Her site also has a section of “Erotica” videos, should you want to want to get a closer look at her technique. Pretty damned impressive, but we don’t recommend you try this at home. If you want to tone and strengthen your vaginal muscles, a good set of Kegel balls will do the job.

 

Apr 22 2013

Wearing a Kilt Might Be Good for Your Sperm

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by thepleasurechest

kilt

Going commando might be good for your sperm. That’s the claim of one researcher, who argues that men who wear kilts may be more virile.

Kilts, worn as they were meant to be worn, without underwear, lets our laddies swing freely in the breeze, creating, according to researcher Erwin Kompanje, the “ideal physiological scrotal environment.” Exposed to the bracing Highland coolness, testicles will make robust sperm.

Today’s hipsters wear tight pants, which keep their balls close to their body and its usual 98.6 degree temperature. But according to Kompanje, the optimal temperature for sperm is about 3 degrees Celsius lower, meaning that if your balls hang low, you’ll have healthier and more abundant sperm. Though he hasn’t found definitive scientific proof, the free-spirited scientist argues that there are other benefits to wearing a kilt.

“A kilt will get you noticed no matter where you are. Research indicates that men wearing a kilt experience a strong sense of freedom and masculinity…The kilt gives a man a sensuous awareness of his own body and how it will be seen by others.”

We can’t argue with that.

h/t The Awl

Apr 18 2013

Wacky Impotence Cures of the Past

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by thepleasurechest

impotence

Men faced with ED have a lot of choices nowadays. There are penis pumps, cockrings, herbal pills and good old Viagra. But in the old days, treating impotence could involve everything from drinking garlic milk or stuffing fennel and ginger in your belly button to strapping on an electric belt. The Awl’s Michael Magnes describes 11 of the oddest cures from the historical literature. Read them at The Awl. 

Apr 17 2013

Do Men Fake Orgasm?

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by thepleasurechest

whymenfakeit

Men fake orgasms too. Or at least that’s one of the claims of a new book by Dr. Abraham Morgentaler, a professor of urology at Harvard Medical School. Salon has a fascinating interview with Dr. Morgentaler, the author of Why Men Fake It: The Totally Unexpected Truth About Men and Sex. The discussion touches on everything from changing gender roles to erectile dysfunction, but it’s the claim about men faking orgasm that has drawn the most attention. He cites examples from his own practice and mentions an online survey in which 31% of men claim to have faked it, at some point in their lives.

“It turns out the reasons men fake it are actually pretty similar to the reasons that women fake it. In their minds — and we can argue whether or not it’s productive thing to do — but in their minds, it’s actually a form of kindness. They’re kind of letting the other person know that they’ve done a good job.

Fair enough, but you might be wondering how men fake it. On that point, Morgentaler is quiet, suggesting you buy his book. Our friend Reid Mihalko has some thoughts on this topic in the video below.

So we’d like to ask our male readers. Have you ever faked it? If so, why? And how? Feel free to tell us in the comments below.