Archive | December, 2011

Grand Rapids Area Adult Stores: A Review

22 Dec

While going to school in San Francisco, I had the privilege of shopping at the fantastic Good Vibrations store. Founded on education and quality, Good Vibes is much more than your average adult retailer. The entire staff is knowledgeable and well versed on all aspects of sexuality. They offer classes and workshops to help educate the community.

Upon returning home to conservative West Michigan, I was bound and determined to visit all of the adult stores in town to see what kind of atmosphere, education, and products were being offered. And what I found was shocking. We’ve got a long way to go Grand Rapids…

I asked two questions at each location:

-Do you offer classes or workshops?

-Do you have a business card?

 

Stop #1 – Adult XXX Superstore

2007 S. Division Ave

Absolutely disgusting. Besides not having a discernable sign outside, let alone on the door, the interior left much to be desired. As soon as I walked in, I was greeted with many shades of outdated linoleum and dirty carpet. It smelled of stale smoke, was dusty, and had horrible lighting. The toy selection was abysmal and I questioned the age of condoms on display. When I inquired about classes or workshops, the worker told me no. She went on to assure me that children learned all they needed to know in school these days. Her son recently had sex education. I asked her if it was comprehensive sex education and she said yes it was. That’s where he learned CPR. Umm what?! I left soon after that and sanitized my hands when I got back to the car. I would NEVER recommend going to this “store.” Oh, and a business card? No.

 

Stop #2 – The Velvet Touch

845 28th St.

This store had a shifty exterior and was not very inviting. Once again I was greeted with the scent of stale smoke and dust. This store had a sparse selection of exotic dance attire and many novelty toys. DVD’s were displayed behind Plexiglas with cutouts large enough for your hand to go through but not large enough to extract the video. They had a small collection of lubes, some with brands I’d never heard of, and condoms by the register. I asked the worker if they offer classes or workshops and he seemed shocked at first, but then replied no. He seemed mystified that there could ever be a need for classes. And as far as a business card, no. I wouldn’t recommend this store because there are far better options to patronize,

 

Stop #3 – Cirilla’s

3835 28th Street, SE, Suite 100

Oh happy day! Upon entering the store, I was greeted by a well lit, organized, clean smelling store! The store was very inviting and I didn’t have the feeling of not wanting to touch anything for fear of catching something. They had a wide array of exotic dance wear, DVDs, toys, and novelty items. Also what impressed me was a free safe sex pamphlet by the register. It was the only one I had seen on the field trip. This is the ONLY store I would recommend in Grand Rapids. I asked the worker if they offered classes or workshops and she said they currently did not. But, they did have a business card!

 

Stop #4 – Classic Lingerie & Video

427 Bridge St. NW

Not in a very good location, nor was there a very good sign. The store smelled very strongly of incense and the lighting was OK. They had a huge selection of DVDs in the back and a modest toy display up front and there was an extensive lubrication display with some mainstream brands. I asked the worker if they offered classes or workshops and he said no. He did comment that it would be a good idea if someone offered them somewhere. I concurred. He offered me a business card when I asked. This store is alright, but the selection is very limited.

 

Stop #5 – Erica’s Erotic Accessories

234 Market Ave. SW

This store was very clean and well lit, but because of the expanse of the room, it looked a little sparse. They had a wide selection of DVDs and a modest display of toys. They seemed mostly for novelty use. This store also shared its floor space with many glass pipes and bongs. I asked the worker if they offered classes or workshops and she said no. She felt that there was no need because all of the customers at the store already knew about safe sex. I didn’t follow her logic. When I asked for a business card, she said that they don’t have them. This store is alright, but you’d be better off going elsewhere for a wider selection.

Hopefully this insider information has been beneficial and you now know, if you didn’t already, that Cirilla’s is the premiere adult retailer in our area. Happy shopping, and when it comes to sex, everything is OK here.

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Lube 101: Wetter Is Better

14 Dec

It’s time once and for all to finally dispel the myth that lube is only for older women! Sorry Superbad, but Evan was right to be packing some lube for his sexual adventure with Becca.

Biologically we naturally lubricate when we are sexually aroused. The lubrication produced helps facilitate sexual intercourse by reducing friction between the vagina and penis. But we don’t only have PV sex, and not all of us are having sex just to procreate. We engage in all kinds of sexual activities and most of the time our natural lubrication can’t keep up with the duration of our sex sessions. The use of lube is NOT a sign that you aren’t turned on enough or a cop out. Lube is a great staple to include in your solo and partnered sex life.

Like the colors of the rainbow, lube comes in many different varieties. Lubes can be water, silicone, or oil based and each of these has their benefits. Some things to keep in mind while lube shopping-

Flavored lubes, usually water based, are great for oral sex although I would caution you to try them before you buy them. You don’t want it to taste like cough medicine, unless that is your thing. You can usually find small sample sized packs of lube, flavored and regular, in stores. Think of it like bulk candy, buy a bunch and see which ones you like!

I would not recommend pairing oil based lubes with latex condoms because it can compromise the latex leading to breakage. Not good. Use water or silicone based.

Silicone lube is great for extended play and anal because it won’t dry out as quickly as water based lubricant, but the taste can be unpleasant and clean up can be a little more involved. It is latex friendly but do not pair it up with a silicone sex toy. The two together will cause your toy to disintegrate and become sticky and no one likes a sticky dildo.

Some lubes are touted as “anal specific” because they contain the numbing chemical benzocaine and I do NOT recommend the use of these. You need to know when something is hurting and being numb in the rear region can lead to injuries.

New to the market are organic and natural lubes and no these aren’t just for tree-huggers and hippies. These lubes are great if you have chemical sensitivities to paraben or glycerin. They are also good if you are prone to yeast infections because of the sugars in regular lube. And for the animal lovers, they now  make vegan lube too.

So next time you’re about to get down, reach for some lube. Whether it is a solo or partnered session, make sure you are adequately lubricated. Put a few drops inside of the condom before you put it on your partner for added sensation for them or try some warming lube to keep things hot. If you’re feeling a little dry its ok to stop and add some more lube to the party. The possibilities are endless. Find out what works for you, and when it comes to sex, everything is OK here.

Lube Websites

http://www.k-y.com/

http://stayswetlonger.com/

http://www.sliquid.com/

Not A Job You Saw On Career Day: Sexologist, Part 2

9 Dec

So before we delve any deeper into the tale of my career path, let me define for you what exactly sexology and a sexologist are. Sexology is the scientific study of sex. Essentially, it is what people do sexually and how they feel about it. It is an interdisciplinary field that encompasses such fields as biology, psychology, anthropology, medicine, sociology, and more.  A sexologist is someone who has received an extensive education and training in the field of human sexuality. And as it is an ever changing and growing field, they are someone who is continually accessing the latest research in human sexuality to better their own knowledge and to strive to provide the most accurate and up to date information. That being said, the story continues…

Sex school was nothing like I could have ever imagined. I never counted on the breadth of the education I would receive there. I was exposed to things I had never seen, let alone, heard of! But, it was all part of the education. Exposing myself to these different aspects of sexuality made me realize that there truly is no “normal” ANYTHING. Sexuality is subjective. Our culture, family upbringing, and religious convictions all go into shaping who we are and how we think. This education through exposure helped me find out what my buttons, sexual hang-ups, were and how to come to terms with them. No one is going to like everything, and I’m not saying I do either, but I have learned to be impartial to everyone else’s unique perspective on sex and sexuality, because who am I to judge?

One of the most common questions I was asked when I first started attending school was “Umm…so do you like have sex homework?” And the short answer was, “Yeah its sex school!” Like any other university we had books, videos, guest speakers, and field trips, but that wasn’t why people were asking me. They wanted to know if we had actual sex or not in class. Well in order to be well versed in anything, you have to practice it. Would a chef be able to cook without having learned how to cut vegetables and operate in the kitchen? Same notion applies here. I experienced my own sexual journey that is by no means over yet, but has opened me up to much of the possibilities of what sex can be. And I am not just speaking about PV (penis/vagina) sex. A common phrase I say to people is “Put on your own oxygen mask before assisting others.” I think it comes from having a mom who is a flight attendant, ha. If I am not comfortable and secure in my own sexuality, how on earth am I supposed to help someone else with theirs? So did we bang in class? Much of our homework was research in the form of “me-search” and self driven at home, outside of class. Very few exercises were partnered ones, sorry to disappoint. No class orgies here.

Armed with my newly acquired knowledge and bursting drive to change the world, I came home to Michigan where I asked some favors of some very good friends in the media industry. I have since been on the radio and television trying to ease my way into the West Michigan area as a sexologist. I have been met with a mostly positive response. People seem genuinely curious! But occasionally, I do get someone who completely makes a mockery of my career choice. It was just the other day that I was with one of my close friends who happened to witness me being bashed by someone. When we were alone she finally let out her rage-

“I have never seen someone get so much shit for their career choice more than you! It really pisses me off! No one would ever go up to someone and ask,

-What do you do for a living?

-Oh, you’re a garbage man?

-That must be a smelly job.

-How rude!
I loved her even more than I already do for saying that. Of course the jokes hurt, and I realize that many people deal with uncomfortable situations through “humor”, but it gets old after a while. I realize that this a sensitive subject for many people and it can stir many emotions, but all I ask of you is to respect me and my education. I worked very hard to get to where I am today. As a society we are constantly being inundated with sexual messages that can confuse, shame, and misinform us and I am trying to help shed light on the truth and make people ok with their sexuality despite what others (society, media, family, friends, etc.) may think. So please consider what I have to say before you shove me by the wayside.

One of the best and most priceless things I received from school is my amazing network of classmates. Their backgrounds are as broad as they come, spanning from medical doctors to sex workers. I always have someone I can go to when I have a question regarding sexuality or just life in general. There is a special camaraderie that gets forged when you go through this school together and it is quite a resilient bond. Even though many of us are separated by thousands of miles, we are all connected through this field in our commitment to educating others, but more importantly, because we are a family.

I can’t wait to be done with my degree early next year and to see what the future holds. Thank you to everyone who has supported me on this exciting journey. I promise you more great things are on their way and as always, everything is OK here.