Following our post about sex positivity, today we’re going to talk about being HERE and QUEER!
But not just Here for Queers: Here are 5 ways a queer sex shop benefits everyone – regardless of sexual orientation.
1. The story is broken (you’re not)
Boy meets girl. Prince saves princess. Bride marries groom.
There are lots of different ways in which the heteronormative story is told but the basics of the story tend to be the same.
Queer people are usually left out of this story – which can feel pretty bad – but it also gives us a different perspective on the narrative. Knowing that sexual attraction between a man and a woman is one way – not the way – invites a healthy skepticism about other sexual norms.
Monogamy? One option! Sex leads to orgasm? Sometimes! Penetration = pleasure? Maybe – maybe not!
Queer sex shops can offer a window into other ways of perceiving and experiencing ourselves, other people, and sexuality in general. For those who aren’t surrounded by queer people and queer culture, or who feel constrained and boxed in by the flurry of sex-negative messages out in the world, queer sex shops can be an important way of accessing ideas which aren’t part of the straight world order.
The mainstream, sanctioned story about sex denies so many people’s desires – and this includes straight people. But it’s the story, not the desire, that is at fault.
Part of being a queer sex shop, for us at Other Nature, is about opening up as much space as possible for all the different stories out there. In short, we’re a “Choose your own adventure”- type of place.
2. People – not genders – experience pleasure in different ways
Toy designers often market their toys as “for him” and “for her”. But the fact is, as long as you’ve taken some safety basics on board, toys can be used any way you want – regardless of your gender.
A “clitoral vibe” is a vibe for the balls if you use it on your balls; a prostate massager is a g-spot massager if you use it to massage your g-spot! And pegging isn’t necessarily about “role reversal” – the pleasures of penetrating and being penetrated are open to everyone.
As a queer sex shop, we let people know what the toy designers originally had in mind, but we also give space for curiosity and creativity. Each body is different and the possibilities are almost endless!
3. Letting go of goals = opening up to pleasure
The idea that sex is a linear and goal-oriented pursuit has long had a strong grip on our collective sexual imagination.
The Hollywood version usually looks like this: brief period of making-out + wordless penile-vaginal penetration = simultaneous orgasm. Meanwhile, most mainstream porn moves toward the goal of a cis* man’s orgasm, (often with ejaculation happening outside – usually on – a cis woman’s body).
Queer people are obviously not immune to the cultural norm of goal-oriented sex – nor do we have a monopoly on a more pleasure-focused approach! But queering sex means questioning prevailing doctrines – including the race to the finish line.
So when we’re asked “What’s the best sex toy you sell?”, this could mean “What is going to get me to orgasm fastest?”, but it might also mean “what toy can I use to build pleasure over several hours?” or “how can I bring my whole body – not just certain parts of it – into my erotic experience?”
Ironically, letting go of goal-oriented thinking can be the beginning of more intensely rewarding sexual experiences.
*Cis or cisgender refers to people whose assigned gender at birth matches their gender identity. Check out our gender identity & expression info page.
4. There is power, humour, and healing to be found in community
Sex-negative culture, narrow norms about sexuality and the assumption that sexual know-how is innate can leave you feeling alone in your sexual reality. Whether you have a concern or are itching to talk about a joyous experience, feeling isolated is no fun at all.
Queer spaces have a long and proud history of providing connection, conversation and support about issues that are taboo elsewhere. We aspire to continue that tradition, by creating a space in which all kinds of sexuality – and conversation about all kinds of sexuality – are normalised.
Wondering if it’s a myth that folks with vaginas can ejaculate? Not entirely sure where the clitoris lives? Curious about prostate pleasure? Think you might be asexual? You are most definitely not alone! Not only have other people shared your experiences, someone’s probably written a zine about it. If not – write a zine about it, and be part of the creation of community.
5. Sexuality is worth celebrating
Sometimes it might seem like the world is sex-saturated, but take a closer look and the actual messages we’re getting are often pretty sex-negative. At best, sex is taken for granted – it’s just a thing people do. Inherent in queerness, on the other hand, is a conscious engagement with sexuality.
And if you’ve ever been to a pride parade, then you know that the queers know how to celebrate.
A queer, sex-positive position doesn’t just allow but actively encourages a joyful, defiant and proud celebration of this rich area of human experience. For some people, sex isn’t that interesting, or is distinctly unappealing – and that’s a-okay. For others, it’s a playground, a spiritual practice, an expression of love, or a whole lot of fun. Whatever your individual relationship with sexuality is, it’s yours – and you have every right to nurture, explore, invest in and celebrate it.
And this goes for EVERYONE.