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Jul 11 2013

Get Lucky (Updated)

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by thepleasurechest

daftpunk

Update: Durex claims they had nothing to do with these. 

A few weeks ago, we showed you some of our favorite condom designs. And now, we have a new favorite rubber: the Daft Punk condom.

The French dance duo partnered with Durex to make these promotional prophylactics hyping their ridiculously catchy single “Get Lucky.” (Push “play” up above to hear it just one more time.)

No word yet on whether the public will be able to get their hands on these condoms. So far, Diplo is one of the lucky few.

 

Jul 10 2013

Jessica Drake Speaks Out

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by thepleasurechest

jessica-drake

“As a woman, I don’t like someone telling me what to do with my body, and as a performer, I feel very much the same way.” 

That’s our friend and occasional guest educator Jessica Drake in a wonderful profile on CNN.com (!) Read about how Drake got involved in porn, her feelings about California’s Measure B and the stigma associated with being an adult film star on CNN’s site. Also, be sure to check out the behind-the-scenes photo gallery shot by Chris McPherson.

Jul 01 2013

Prostates, Pegging, Bondage & MoreJuly in Chicago

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by thepleasurechest

Hey Chicago. How was your Pride? Did you party as hard as we did? Rest up and join us in July for free classes on safer sex, bondage and G-Spotting. We’re also hosting  guest educators Dr. Charlie Glickman and Aislinn Emirzian with back to back workshops on prostates and pegging. Read on for our complete schedule in July and beyond.

charlie_aislinnThe Ultimate Guide to Prostate Pleasure with Dr. Charlie Glickman & Aislinn Emirzian
Wednesday, July 10th @ 8-10 PM FREE!

Curious about prostate play? We’ll discuss the common concerns that prevent people from exploring it (and how to overcome them), tips for easy and pleasurable anal penetration, prostate massage, choosing the best toys, pegging, and much more. Whether you’re just starting out or you already enjoy prostate play, come learn some new ways to make sex even better.

Pegging 101 with Dr. Charlie Glickman and Aislinn Emirzian
Thursday, July 11th @ 8-10 PM FREE!

“Pegging” (women using strap-on dildos with men) has become very popular, but it’s much more fun when you have the info to make it easy. We’ll discuss the different options for dildos and harnesses, how to pick the right lubricant, positions for prostate stimulation, ways to include hand jobs, roleplay and much more. You’ll learn everything you need to make pegging your new favorite way to play!

Performance Anxiety- Comedy Night at the Pleasure Chest
Monday, July 15th @ 8-10 PM FREE!

Get your laughs and lube in the same place. Join us for Performance Anxiety, a comedy night hosted by Caitlin Bergh and featuring live performances by some of the best comics working today. As a bonus, all audience members get 15% off their purchases on the night of the show. Comics TBA.

sloane cigarSafe is Sexy with Sarah Sloane
Wednesday, July 17th @ 8-10 PM FREE!

Regardless of how much sex you have, what kind, and with whom, there are many ways to be super sexy while still playing safe. Learn how to negotiate for the safer sex you want. Discover the perfect toys and barriers for sharing the fun. Explore how to keep yourself physically and emotionally happy as you play the field. We’ll share all and bare all. Bring your questions and your ideas to this event, held in conjunction with the PORAE professionals retreat.

 

Basic Bondage & Sensation Play with Antoinette
Wednesday, July 24th @ 8-10 PM FREE!

Learn the essentials of bedroom bondage and sensation play. Our kink connoisseurs will show you the ropes, including how to communicate and negotiate for what you want. You’ll discover quick and easy bondage techniques and how to use blindfolds, feathers, massage candles and other items to play with your partner’s sensations. People of all experience levels and orientations welcome.

G-Spot & Female Ejaculation with Ash
Wednesday, July 31st @ 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!

Coming up…

8/7- Butt Sex Basics with Antoinette

8/12- Performance Anxiety- Comedy Night at the Pleasure Chest

8/14- Down & Dirty with Antoinette

8/19- Warm Cheeks, Warm Heart with Janet Hardy

8/28- Advanced Anal Play with Sarah Sloane

9/4- The Ultimate O for Him with Sarah Sloane

9/11- Tantra Techniques with Antoinette

9/16- Performance Anxiety- Comedy Night at the Pleasure Chest

9/18- The Ultimate O for Her with Ash

9/25- Blowjobs & Beyond with Ash

10/4- The 3rd Annual Art of Sex Show

Jun 21 2013

Supreme Court Ends Anti-Sex Work Restriction On AIDS Funding

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by thepleasurechest

gavel

While many of us anticipated a historic ruling on marriage equality yesterday, the Supreme Court weighed in another issue, vital to the concerns of sex workers and global health advocates.

The Supreme Court, in its 6-2 decision, said the federal government cannot require HIV outreach groups to sign an anti-prostitution pledge in order to get government funding. Chief Justice John Roberts, writing for the Court, stated that such a requirement violated the First Amendment. “The policy requirement goes beyond preventing recipients from using private funds in a way that would undermine the federal program,” he wrote. “It requires them to pledge allegiance to the government’s policy of eradicating prostitution.”

For the past 10 years, the controversial policy has complicated efforts to provide HIV/AIDS services to sex workers around the world.  The ruling is seen as a huge win for sex workers and health advocates.

Can we expect more good news from the court next week?

 

Jun 13 2013

Sex Work & the Global War on AIDS

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by thepleasurechest

SexWorkersRates1

Ten years ago, the United States dramatically ramped up AIDS funding, but the funding came with this dangerous string attached: in order to qualify, non-governmental organizations must adopt an explicit policy opposing prostitution.

The US provides nearly 60% of the funds to fight the global AIDS epidemic, but as you can see from this infographic, aid is often prohibited from going where it is most needed. Namely to female sex workers in the Global South. Can the US fight a war on sex work and a war on AIDS at the same time?

More at The Nation.

Jun 10 2013

Plan B is Now OTC

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by thepleasurechest

planb

“The government intends to file with the Circuit Court notice that it is voluntarily withdrawing its appeal in this matter.”

With that single sentence, the White House and the Department of Justice have ended their legal challenges against Plan B, paving the way for the emergency contraception pill to appear on drug store shelves without a prescription. This is a big victory for reproductive freedom.

 

Jun 03 2013

Brooklyn Cops Stop Condom Busts

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by thepleasurechest

condoms

As we reported back in March, the NYPD has been arresting people on suspicion of prostitution simply for carrying condoms. The practice is especially problematic since the same city also distributes free condoms to help combat STIs. Now there’s some good news out of Brooklyn where prosecutors, bowing to pressure from sex worker advocates, have ordered the police to stop collecting condoms as evidence.

Prosecutors will continue to use condoms as evidence in trafficking cases, a policy that remains controversial among sex worker advocates. Still, this new rule should help to reduce the number of arrests and reduce fears of getting arrested simply for carrying protection.

h/t @Melissa Gira Grant

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.