‘It’s not about flogging sex toys, we help women find their sexuality’: Inside London’s first ever sex shop for women

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Back in 1992, in a nook of pre-gentrified, less-trendy Hoxton, Ky Hoyle had a grand concept to open the UK’s first ever sex shop totally for women.

At the time, sex outlets had been largely seedy institutions stuffed with blow-up dolls, cheesy X-rated movies and male-focused leisure which had been alienating for women, providing nothing designed for feminine pleasure.

Add that to the continuing influence of the AIDS epidemic stoking a tradition of worry round sexuality for all genders and sexual orientations, and it is clear that the panorama of sexual pleasure in London was fairly bleak.

READ MORE: London sex expert on the benefits of ‘Santa roleplay’, and why partners should never buy sex toys as gifts

“After a few glasses of wine I skipped off to Soho, and I discovered it to be the ickiest, alienating, male-focused place to go,” Ky stated.

“It’s modified a lot [now], however none of it was directed in direction of any girl’s actual sexuality, it was all very fantasy[-focused].

“I mainly stomped again from that purchasing journey [and thought] about how there must be someplace for women, and about three months later I opened Sh! in a bit road in Hoxton.”

Ky stated that she named the shop Sh! as a result of it was immediately countering the notion that women’s sexuality needs to be ‘hushed up’.

The shop was – and is – completely women-focused, whereas additionally celebrating the truth that gender and sexuality are fluid, and that “not each girl has a vagina nor each man a penis”.



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Ky Hoyle began Sh! after realising the dire want for a female-focused sex shop that helps women uncover and embrace their sexuality

The pandemic pressured Sh! to shut the doorways to its shop in East London, but it surely’s nonetheless open on-line – serving to women all around the nation to attach with their sexuality and be taught about their personal pleasure.

While Sh! shares a complete vary of female-focused sex toys and equipment, Ky says that the true influence comes from the free, one-to-one, personalised recommendation supplied by workers, and Sh!’s on-line programs in specialist topics.

“Education is completely what we’re about, it is not about flogging toys in any respect,” she stated.

“The toys are secondary to exploring your sexuality and proudly owning your true sexuality – not what the telly tells you or the magazines inform you.”



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A rope class at Sh!

‘It’s okay to ask questions’

“Selling sex toys is, in fact, a lot of enjoyable and we chuckle so much, however my most important cause for working at Sh! is not the dildos or vibrators. It runs so much deeper,” stated Renée Denyer, Sexuality Educator at Sh!.

“It’s an honour to have the ability to provide help and recommendation to women and {couples} who’re maybe visiting a sex shop for the very first time, or who have not but skilled their first orgasm.

“I work with women who’re prepared to like their our bodies after sexual violence, women who’ve survived FGM, HIV+ women, LGBTQIA teams together with providing free pleasure workshops to asylum-seeking lesbian women, and am at the moment concerned with two completely different most cancers and sex initiatives.”

Sh! has a variety of recommendation articles on its web site in addition to three in-depth programs exploring orgasms, oral sex and constructing sexual confidence.



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Renée Denyer, Sexuality Educator at Sh!

Customers may e-mail or use the web site’s chat field to contact Renée immediately, asking questions about no matter’s on their thoughts regarding sex and sexuality.

“We give very tailor-made recommendation,” defined Renée.

“It’s not generic, one-size-fits-all – if something, I’d relatively communicate to the particular person, have them e-mail me so I can ask questions that can help me gauge what could be appropriate for them.

“I do ask some private questions, however I do it in a really light method, and I attempt to make the expertise as mild and as enjoyable as I can – I would like it to be enjoyable for them as effectively. I wish to make them really feel that it is okay to ask questions.”



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‘I taught 80-year-olds the best way to spank’

While Renée usually helps women and their companions navigate some very tough and difficult topics, she additionally helps convey a lot pleasure to the lives of individuals of all ages.

She has helped a survivor of feminine genital mutilation (FGM) reclaim her sexuality.

“Despite dwelling with deep trauma, she wished to discover pleasure,” Renée defined.

“She was married to a person, however their tradition would not approve of feminine pleasure or sex toys. She wanted one thing that she might use when he was at work and that he would not suspect of being a sex toy if he discovered it.

“It was an absolute honour to help her decide simply the factor.”

Sh! has additionally helped a pair in their early 30s from strict non secular backgrounds be taught about sexual pleasure after a yr of being unable to consummate their marriage, helped a lady in her 70s discover her sexuality in a brand new relationship after a sexless first marriage, and assisted a ‘butler’ who was despatched in by a lady to purchase her toys from a purchasing record.



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A girl tries out a lipstick vibrator in Sh!’s Hoxton retailer, earlier than the shop went solely on-line through the pandemic

Needless to say he was not an actual butler, and relatively loved the entire state of affairs…

Renée additionally recalled: “I used to be as soon as booked to present a spanking workshop to a World War One group in West London.

“80-year-old Mary did not wish to be spanked, however she laughed a lot, she virtually fell off her chair.”

While Sh! shares an in depth vary of sex toys and equipment, all deliberately designed for feminine pleasure, it importantly presents a rounded expertise for women seeking to discover their sexuality and be taught extra about themselves and their our bodies – irrespective of their age, sexuality, expertise stage or data base.

Ky stated: “It’s largely round empowering. Yes, we’ll train you the guidelines and tips, but it surely’s very a lot about giving women the arrogance to essentially personal what it’s they love to do, their fantasies, and what actually provides them pleasure.”

To communicate to Renée for your individual private recommendation, or to find out extra about the programs, toys and equipment on provide at Sh!, go to their web site at sh-womenstore.com.

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