Women often turn to online shopping rather than a sex shop when they're looking to explore the wide world of sex toys, because embracing one's sexuality in public is still irksome to most. But what if I told you there was a sex shop that's more like a health spa than a grubby back room?
Well, if you live in or are visiting New York City this weekend, you'll have the opportunity to check it out and walk away with so much more than a sexy new toy. It's the pop-up prototype of The V Store, a new sex store designed by art student Maia Kaufman to be a one-stop sexual health and sexual pleasure shop.
Kaufman, 30, came up with the idea while attending New York City School of Visual Arts’ Design for Social Innovation Program. It was in part a reaction to the increasingly restrictive laws surrounding women's reproductive health over the last several years. "I was just starting to be politically engaged, and the more I paid attention to these issues, the more I felt compelled to act,” Kaufman told Fusion. As such, she came to this design program specifically to help realize her activism dreams.
While there is still so much work concerning women to be done on the political and governmental levels, Kaufman is noticing the public conversation surrounding women's health has grown by leaps and bounds. The purpose behind her sex shop is to give women a safe space to continue those conversations while simultaneously offering them sexual health and pleasure aids. "I want to take all the innovation I see happening in these different places and bring them together in a space that encourages open communication,” she told Fusion.
While she won't be able to offer full gynecological services (at least at first), the shop will be replete with medical professionals and sex experts ready to sit down and answer questions. There will also be plenty of supplies available for women at all ends of the sexual development spectrum, including contraception, vibrators, fertility aids, post-pregnancy products and postmenopausal aids.
To encourage people to ask questions of the staff, Kaufman has designed the space with plenty of comfy places to sit and conversation-starting placards on the walls. While the store definitely caters more to women, she doesn't want to dub the store "gender exclusive" and thus hopes men will feel comfortable coming in and joining the conversation. After all, they're an important part of many sexual equations, so their input is just as worthy.
The point of this weekend's pop-up shop is to get feedback and see what aspects worked well and what didn't. Kaufman knows this is a constantly evolving idea and just hopes to come out of the weekend with a detailed plan for moving forward. Ultimately she hopes to open brick-and-mortar V Stores in Portland or New York. Oregon would be ideal, because currently it's one of the only states where pharmacists can prescribe birth control, but hopefully that law will expand to other states soon too.
Having all things involved with female sexuality in one place would definitely make life for us ladies a lot less stressful. It would also likely help reduce the shame factor around buying sex toys if they're located next to the pregnancy vitamins and books on menopause.
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