When I began to speak to friends, both male and female, about the idea of opening a feminist sex shop, they all looked at me with the same dog-trying-to-understand-calculus look and said, “what’s a feminist sex shop?” So, we should probably get explanations out of the way. Firstly, it’s important to understand that feminism, at its core, revolves around the notion of who holds power: the power-to do something, to manifest one’s will; the power-over something or someone, to subvert someone else’s will; the power to make decisions that affect others as well as oneself. Feminists look at how this power is gained and distributed and whether its equal or imbalanced. Sex and sexuality in our modern western culture is still largely governed by a puritanical and male-dominated morality derived from centuries of religious, political, and social oppression. The ideal of women’s sexuality from our society’s perspective is still based on the Madonna/whore dichotomy which over-simplifies women’s sexual nature as being either promiscuous, and therefore simultaneously reviled and desired, or as a holy, clean untouched vessel to be worshipped and never touched.
Not only does this false dichotomy oversimplify women’s sexual natures, but it serves to keep them oppressed. It treats them as having existence and purpose only in relation to sex with men. Women are sexually complex. Our sexual natures are as varied as stars in the sky and can change, sometimes in the same day. Women need to take control of their sexual destinies, not just their reproductive destinies, though this is essential. It is time to explore our sexual power and refuse to be limited by outdated and narrow definitions of what we are allowed to be. We need to insist upon our power and support one another.
So…a feminist sex shop is a place where women are free to explore their sexual natures without judgment, intimidation, or fear of recrimination. It is a safe space where nothing consensual is wrong. We encourage self-exploration and self-acceptance, body positivity and sex-positivity. So I hope you stay to look around, feel free to be who you are, and enjoy yourself!
–Dr. Doss, Founder and CEO of Free the Vs, LLC.