Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Sex ed is critical to the under 18 set

When we teach sexuality workshops or visit classes at University of New Mexico I always survey students on their sex ed experience. I ask how many had sex ed in schools. The response ranges from 5% to maybe 25%. These are adults, born in the late eighties, mostly having attended abstinence only sex education.

Then I ask, "How many of you learned something in school sex ed that actually helped you on a date or with an intimate partner later on?" Hands go down and they all laugh. Young people find sex ed today laughable in terms of relevance.

This is probably not a shock to anyone reading this... or breathing. Of course we all know where kids get information about sex- friends, the media, and mostly, the internet.
Of course with all the regulations about who can access sex toys and information, selfservetoys.com is officially 18 plus only. But we find it critical to offer resources to younger folks. This under 18 resource page is very important to us. And the top site is struggling to stay afloat.

Scarleteen has been my favorite under 18 sex ed website since I can remember. The site is fun, hip, down-to-earth and full of reliable information. Within the first paragraph on their homepage, they cover curious topics such as gender identity, the foreskin, female and male anatomy and vaginal discharge. So many things we wonder about daily.

So help this awesome sex website stay strong and kickin'! Donate, volunteer or at least explore Scarleteen for the first time, no matter how grown up you are.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

The Pornotopia Community

It's pretty amazing how much work it is to put on a porn festival. The 3rd Annual Pornotopia Erotic Film Festival takes place in nine days according to the countdown clock on our website, and I continue to be grateful for all the individuals and organizations making Pornotopia 2009 possible.

Tickets are about to be printed, Pornotopia T-shirts are being designed, flyers are being distributed, sponsors are preparing their screen ads, all so we can enjoy a unique weekend of excellent porn on the big screen. It truly takes a village to produce a one-of-a-kind film festival. I love that our committee of volunteers includes married couples, LGBT women and men, kinksters, swingers, and people of various ages, ethnicities and backgrounds. A cross-section of sexual preferences and desires all unified in pursuing good porn and a sex-positive community.

I laugh and think of a sticker I saw yesterday on a presumably conservative car bumper: "Freedom is Not Free." I agree. Your right to go see porn on the screen of the last independent cinema in Albuquerque is hard work. More than thirty volunteers have watched good and bad porn and argued about its merit for the Pornotopia audience. The brave folks at the Guild Cinema join us at Self Serve in risking all sorts of silly zoning violations to exercise our first amendment rights. A UNM class is studying the politics of pornography, attending the festival, and even writing papers on feminist porn. The size-positive group Brickhouse Betties, which started at Self Serve, raised over $250 in support of the festival at the Curvy Carnival. Eight core volunteers have been strategizing for months on everything from showcase selections to printing and marketing. The ACLU works tirelessly to defend our constitutional rights. The staff of Self Serve and event volunteers do all sorts of organizing and coordinating with sponsors, filmmakers, vendors,and community members. Award-winning sex toy manufacturers are donating raffle items worth hundreds of dollars for our Sexy Silent Auction. Most of our featured filmmakers are donating their films and charging no rental fees. Members of Fetlife are donating time and money to help bring feminist pornographer, writer, and sex educator Tristan Taormino to Albuquerque. Local businesses support the film festival with their already-limited funds. Superstar performers Saywut, September Smith, Burlesque Noir, Gender Offenders, Eve and others are donating their time to put on spectacular live shows at Vintage & Vaudeville.

The freedom to see porn is certainly not free, and Matie and I are ever so grateful for the liberated, sexy, proud people of New Mexico exercising their right to enjoy Pornotopia. There are only a handful of erotic film festivals in the country, and we know why. It's not easy. But the people of Albuquerque have a special opportunity to take a deep breath, giggle or smile, and sit down to watch indie porn with complete strangers in nine days. In our too-often sexually repressed society, this is one freedom you don't get to exercise everyday.

If you are in the Albuquerque area and wish to join us for an exciting weekend, check all the details and film schedule
online. Tickets will be available starting this weekend at Self Serve. Don't miss our kick off party November 5th, 6 pm at Self Serve. We'll celebrate indie porn, drink locally-brewed Marble beer, introduce the sexy silent auction and have a whole lot of fun. You must RSVP to attend- so sign up now!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Sex Toy Care & Maintenance

You may already know about giving tender loving to your new toy, but we can help you learn the “caring” part. Sex toys can last a long time and give you months to years of pleasure if you treat them right. People often regret that a toy breaks or wears out too quickly, but ignore the care and maintenance of toys while they are not being used.

Some general rules that always help toys survive a long, active life:

  • Take batteries out of any toy not in use.
  • Clean toys soon after use (do not kick under bed.)
  • If something is not designed for that, don’t do it.
  • Store your toys in a safe place so they don’t become pet toys.

Cleaning depends on what it’s made of. . .

Silicone dildos without motors can be sterilized by boiling for 3 minutes, washed or even put in the dishwasher to clean. These toys are non-porous and great for people with latex allergies and other sensitivities. Keep in mind that if your silicone toy has a motor, that motor should not be submerged in water when cleaning.

Plastic and Acrylic toys can be wiped clean with rubbing alcohol for a bacteria-free surface. Remember that some plastic toys can become scratched easily, and the surface may acquire nooks and crannies. These nooks and crannies can acquire bacteria, so use condoms.

Glass and Metal toys feel fabulous, don’t they? This is because they are absolutely and utterly smooth. The surfaces can be easily cleaned to remove all bacteria. Simply wipe with rubbing alcohol or wash with soap and water. Don’t drop when wet.

Any toy made of jelly rubber is porous and cannot be sterilized once used. If you’re sharing toys, always use a condom on rubber toys. Store rubber toys by themselves, as their material may react to other rubbers and plastics. This is because the material is less stable, cheaper and of suboptimal quality.

Rubber toys sometimes contain latex. While some toys on our site are made of rubber, all our toys are phthalate-free. Phthalates are a rubber softener used in manufacturing that is a carcinogen if absorbed in large amounts. Any person with chemical sensitivities or latex allergies should avoid jelly rubber.

So why do we carry rubber toys?

Rubber is still the most prevalent material used to make sex toys, often making rubber toys the most affordable options for customers. The adult industry is unfortunately unregulated, so the research is still very new in the safety of sex toys. Fortunately, the industry is improving thanks largely to people that demand safer sex toys.

If you seek less expensive toys, look for elastomer and phthalate-free rubber options. Elastomer toys do not contain phthalates, but are often high quality bargains.

Keep in mind, Self Serve carries only bodysafe sex toys, and NONE of our toys contain phthalates! Read more about phthalates and how Self Serve celebrates earth day every day. Learn more about toxins from the

Coalition Against Toxic Toys.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Tristan Taormino, serendipity & a female ejaculation contest

It's exciting to me when the world feels small, and the universe seems to say, "you are exactly where you should be."

I didn't know attending a G Spot workshop would be so serendipitous and foreshadow events three or nine years later. I didn't think about the next time I would run into someone I met at that Michigan Womyn's Music Festival workshop in the woods. I didn't know I'd start a sex shop with a woman also at that workshop, a woman I wouldn't meet for another three years. I didn't have any sense that it would be nine years until I saw Tristan Taormino in person again. But there are certain times in life when you look back and it seems life shifted just then, in that moment.

In 2000, I attended and worked at Michigan Womyn's Music Festival. I was a baby (bull) dyke (in a china shop) -- a big, empty sponge- absorbing culture, music, traditions, craft, community, sex-positivity, herstory, inter-generational art and adventure. I saw first hand how positive and radical a self-created women's space can be. I loved how women from all over the world taught workshops and shared skills.

I hadn't learned much about sex toys, the g spot or female ejaculation. I had heard of Tristan Taormino, the sex writer and sex advice columnist in On Our Backs. I knew the female ejaculation workshop sounded like the sexiest workshop at Michigan, so if I could only attend one workshop as a worker -that was it. So I went.

I had no buddies beside me, and sat next to a friendly, quiet, middle-aged woman. My eyes were surely big and my world was rocked as I learned how to find a g spot and watched women learn first hand. Literally. It was so radical seeing sexy, gloved volunteers gently show women where to find their g spots. The workshop ended and then began the only female ejaculation contest I have had the pleasure to see. Women won in categories like quantity, distance and single-handed-job. The quiet woman next to me won for speed. Little did I know when I sat down next to her, but she clearly could ejaculate in 45 seconds flat. It was a talented group. The workshop was one of the most exciting experiences for me- not just the live sex demo, but the brilliance of women showing other women new ways to find pleasure. I didn't know it then, but I found my passion...

Three years later and after lots of travels, I found myself living in a share house in Lower Allston in Boston. There I met my best friend and future business partner, Matie Fricker. Sometime in the first year of getting to know each other, we figured out that she, too, was in that crowd of women at Tristan's workshop in the woods. Lo and behold, in looking through my Mich Fest photos, I found one with Matie in the crowd.

Now in 2009, Matie and I are about to host the 3rd Annual Pornotopia Film Festival and Self Serve is almost three years old. It feels like a milestone and a re-connection that Tristan Taormino is coming to be part of this year's festival. It seems the first time Matie and I unknowingly crossed paths was when we both sought out accessible, hands-on sex education with Tristan Taormino. Now we can share her brilliance with the rest of Albuquerque. Full circle.

So glad the stars aligned the way they did.

p.s. I blurred all the faces (except Tristan's) in the Michfest photo. Your secrets are safe with us...

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Prostate Pleasure By: Bettie Templeton

Hello Friends of the Prostate!
If you've decided to read this, you're either playing with the prostate already and want to know a little more, or you may be thinking about trying it for the first time. Either way, we hope this information helps you to relax and have some fantastic fun!

Finding the prostate - diagramThe prostate is a small gland tucked below the bladder, and is commonly compared to the size of a walnut (the author who most likely enjoyed a Fancy Nut Assortment amidst an intimate date). The prostate surrounds the urethra (which is why swollen prostates can make one need to pee more frequently) and can be massaged somewhat outside the body but the strongest sensation comes from an internal massage.

Yes, internal...which means its time to start relaxing your rear!
Start with some foreplay by gently rubbing around the anus. Use a smooth, thick lubricant like Maximus or Slippery Stuff Gel. Keep in mind your butt provides no lubrication, so add your own! Start soft and if it feels nice you can always make it a little more vigorous. Think of relaxing the muscles in and around your butt. You might be surprised how much tension you feel. Those muscles help hold us upright all day and are one of the first places we squeeze when we're stressed or nervous. Your butt deserves a relaxing vacation. That's what this is all about.
Once your butt feels sufficiently romanced (which could be a while... be patient and enjoy!), it's time to try some internal fun. Just slide your finger (or a small toy like the Butty plug, the Joy Stick or Nexus Glide) in slowly.

Don't rush things! Breathe deeply and calmly. You may feel a few jumps in tension, especially if you've never done this before, but just remember that you're doing this for fun and for yourself. If it hurts, stop and try massaging yourself a little more and adding some more lube. This shouldn't be painful!
Purchase Prostate Sex Toys at our online storeThe prostate isn't very far inside your body. Generally speaking it can be found within two to three inches if you press gently towards the front of the body. It might take a moment or two to find, so make sure you do this at a time when you don't have to rush anything. If you are doing this to your partner, you should be searching for a walnut-sized firm bump and always keep talking to your partner to find out how he's feeling. You might know when you find it by a sudden gasp, which is always fun! If you're trying to do this to yourself, look for the same signs but you'll probably know when you've found it.

So now that you've found it, what do you do? Go out for ice cream? I suppose you could, but you may find a gentle massage a little more rewarding. You can always get ice cream, after all.
Exploring your butt and prostate fun may be something for many future encounters or only special occasions - you decide. A simple, gentle, lubricated anal massage may be a new relaxing activity for you and stimulating that prostate may be a whole new way to reach rocking orgasm.
When playing with your butt or that of a friend, remember the three tenets of anal play:
  • Relaxation
  • Lubrication
  • Communication
Your butt does not lie. If something hurts, stop it. If you want smaller, gentler, harder, wetter, bigger or whatever -make sure to share that with your playmates! Most of all remember to have fun.

Explore anal sex toys and lubricants online...

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Fun with Cock Rings!

Cock rings are a fun way to add intensity to an erection and accessorize your johnson. Cock rings (also called penis rings) bind the penis and testicles. This traps blood in the penis, which can result in added engorgement, greater sensitivity, and a firmer erection. Many men report that orgasms are more intense and explosive. While wearing a cock ring can make erections firmer or last longer, cock rings are a sensual accessory and not a "cure" for erectile difficulties. Every person is unique, and what works for one person may not be as fun for another.

Buy a Cock Ring through our online storeFeatures & Benefits

Cock rings come in many styles, from stretchy latex or silicone to some that vibrate for playing with others. Vibrating cock ring toys can be wonderful additions during anal or vaginal sex for arousing a nearby clitoris or anus. Good styles to try are easy to remove and adjust. These cock rings can be put on at any time during an erection.

The How To’s

To use a cock ring, strap it around the base of the penis and behind the testicles. Secure the strap as snugly as is comfortable. If you are using a cock ring that is not adjustable, put it on when your penis is flaccid. Use some lube around the ring so that your short and curlies don't get pulled. Hold the ring under your balls and insert your testicles one at a time. Now push the penis through. The only way it will come off is if you lose your erection. We don't recommend the metal rings for cock ring newbies.

We recommend removing the cock ring after a maximum of 20 minutes. Spending too long with a cock ring on can damage the capillaries and bruise the penis, leaving you sore for a few days. Cock rings aren't recommended for anyone with vascular disease, such as diabetes, or nerve disease. Like any activity, if something hurts or you feel uncomfortable, stop and remove the cock ring.

Buy a Cock Ring through our online store

What’s out there…

At Self Serve we carry Simple Single Strap rings made of leather with snaps or velcro. These go on or off easily and are adjustable in size. Stretchy rubber rings are forgiving and are great for first-timers. Keep in mind stretchy cock rings are not appropriate for use in strap-on harnesses. Non-stretch latex rings are inexpensive, too, but less forgiving for first time users. Metal cock rings are sexy, shiny, and hard and definitely for experts only. Prices range from $1.95 to $11.95 each for rubber, silicone and leather cock rings.

Vibrating and textured cock rings are available and make excellent partner toys. Self Serve has many options for nubby, soft, stimulating textures & vibrations. Our stretchy silicone ring has a finger-sized area of soft little bumps to rub up against the clit during sex. It's only $12.95 and feels lovely covered in your favorite lube. The stretchy elastomer Neo Ring ($39.95) vibrates every time it's pushed or up against somebody. This makes for hot hands-free vibration! One of our most popular, powerful partner toys is the Joy Ride ($44.95). This bullet vibrator has 6 fun settings -with adjustable vibrations, speeds and pulsations. The elastomer, phthalate-free cockring is soft & provides a wide areas of vibration in between bodies.

More sex tips online...

Friday, October 9, 2009

Sex just keeps getting censored

It still ceases to amaze me. People are so very afraid of sex. Why else would there be so many censorship battles? Self Serve is just two and half years old, and we've had more than our share of brick walls, closed doors and unwanted editing. All in the name of preserving what? Some puritanical fantasy of an asexual, totally repressed world?

Why now do I bring this up? Thanks to an abundance of recent inspiration:
  • Google Checkout, of the all-amazing (and all-powerful) Google, shut down our account after a mere 48 hours of having selfservetoys linked to their shopping results.
Rhode Island deserves sexual pleasure and health!

Seriously? I keep thinking of the SNL weekend update with Amy Poehler and ... where they just get more and more astounded by the stupidity of the actual news. Well, so am I! Megan Andelloux in Pawtucket, Rhode Island, wants to open a welcoming, safe space to learn about sexuality and improve relationships. Megan Andelloux is supported by sex educators, sex therapists, the American Association of Sex Educators, Counselors, and Therapists and all her potential business neighbors. But the city is using zoning (as usual) as an excuse to keep her from doing great work. Now she has an expensive legal battle on her hands.

What are you so afraid of, people?! I have to admit, it reminds me of the cold-hearted adult children on Grey's Anatomy last week. I was so proud of the 82-year-old character for pursuing his penile implant. Sure it's not a liver transplant, but if that man wants to enjoy his good health with a new love, that is a beautiful thing! Yet his middle-aged children were embarrassed, critical, condescending and judgmental.

Sex is healthy and pleasure is good for you. This concept is apparently still radical. What a pity.

The first time I got really mad at the all-mighty Google.
How Google felt justified closing our Checkout account is a whole other story of hypocrisy. Self Serve uses Google. We typically love Google. We use Gmail, Google Docs, Picasa, Blogger (apparently) and we were excited to start using Google Checkout. We had our web programmer lady work for hours on setting up a new Google Checkout account. I was so excited for the new visibility for our site. The account went live, and within hours we had new orders. Then within three days, Google closed our account and claim their policies do not allow the sale of adult items.

Well guess where you can find over 5 million pages of shopping results for even one vibrating item in Google Shopping results? Oh, silly me. I thought that policy was bunk since all the most gigantic online retailers seem to be selling adult toys through Google Checkout.

Hmm, how odd. Little companies like the Center for Sexual Health and Pleasure and Self Serve are fought tooth and nail for the basic right to teach healthy, happy sex education, while Amazon, Walgreens, Drugstore.com, Buy.com and others can go on undercutting prices of independent retailers and get away with ignoring Google's anti-adult policies.

Unfortunately, we're not new to this whole censorship thing...

If you are new to the world of Self Serve Sexuality Resource Center, here are a few more reasons we get fed up with censorship:

  • Banks won't lend to any sex education business. Even with the economy in a slump, no SBA loans for new businesses teaching sex education. Even when we won an award for our business plan, no institutional lender would touch us. Instead, we found 9-plus amazing real people willing to help fund our start-up.
  • Four landlords in Albuquerque said no to us before we found a retail space.
  • Our Pornotopia independent erotic film festival is awaiting another court decision about zoning violations in 2008. We'll keep you posted as this year's festival approaches.
  • We once had to fight to publish a subtle picture of a bunny when designing a $700 magazine advertisement.
  • Online merchant service-providers say no to adult web sites of any kind.
  • After paying hundreds of dollars for insurance for over a year, our provider gave us 30 days to find a new underwriter -- because of what we sell.
  • We once donated a silent auction item worth $50 to support continuing education for teen moms. The auction organizer rejected our donation. We found out only after the fundraiser.
So how do we cope without pulling our hair out?

Yes, of course the first obvious answer is therapeutic masturbation. But after you finish your nap- then what? The world is slowly changing, minds are opening and powers-that-be are recognizing the possibility of healthy, empowered sexuality for all. But change will not arrive without speaking out and taking action. Here are some suggestions.

  • Pay attention. Speak Out. When voices are not being heard -anyone's voice- free speech is being censored. As Audre Lorde famously stated, "Your silence will not protect you."
  • Support small, local and minority-owned businesses. Your money is exponentially more likely to stay in your community.
  • If you believe in the right to a sex-positive life- support free speech and sex education.
  • Support Megan's effort to open the Center for Sexual Pleasure and Health in Pawtucket, RI. We're getting more action steps from her soon!
  • Attend Pornotopia Erotic Film Festival in Albuquerque, NM!
  • Support your local ACLU!

Friday, October 2, 2009

One of the easiest ways to improve sex all the time...

Keep your Fluids Topped Off!


One of the easiest ways to make any sexual activity more comfortable and more pleasurable is to simply add lube! Many women experience discomfort during intercourse and other insertive sex due to vaginal dryness. Many things affect how much we self-lubricate. Hormone levels, many prescription drugs, common anti-histamines, being pregnant, getting chemotherapy and a whole lot of other normal situations cause a lack of lubrication. Just because you may be ‘turned on’ does not guarantee that natural lubrication will ‘turn on’ and flow.

It is the 21st century, and that means there is no need to ‘make your own’ anymore! Lube can make lots of activities more fun; both by yourself and with a partner. There are many brands and types of lube out there. Some have ingredients that are good for your body, some have tasty flavors, and some might not be so good if you have sensitive skin. Keep in mind that any oil lubricant can deteriorate latex and is not compatible with condoms, gloves and dental dams. Among the many choices, there are a couple basic types of lube out there. Shop wisely and try samples to see what you like. Use the info below to narrow down your choices, then experiment and take home some fun homework assignments!

Water-Based Lubricants

Many lubricants are water-based, which is why after awhile you may notice they seem to get absorbed or dry out. These lubes tend to dry up sooner, but clean up quickly. Some water-based lubes contain glycerin, a type of sugar. Glycerin often makes lubricant taste better, but unfortunately causes lots of yeast infections for sensitive folks.

Some water-based lubes are more creamy and realistic, some may be light and watery, and some are thicker, heavier gels. Thicker lubricants tend to last longer and coat the body better.

Popular glycerin-free water-based lubes include Liquid Silk which is creamy and light. Maximus is clear and thick like hair gel. Lubes like Maximus are a smart choice for anal sex and longer activity. Natural options include Sympathical Organics in original and raspberry or peach flavors. Using old-fashioned lube like KY is not recommended, as their products are full of sugars.

Silicone-Based Lubricants

Silicone is the wave of the future! These lubes feel like massage oil, but are condom compatible, unlike oil products. If you like the slick feel of oil, silicone may be great for you. Both thick and thin silicone lubes feel like microscopic ball bearings, creating almost friction free sensation. It barely gets absorbed, so it lasts a long time. Silicone even stays put in the pool or hot tub! Keep in mind that means you need more soap and water to get it off for good.

Silicone is a good choice for hand jobs and anal sex. And because it feels like massage oil, it is a safer choice for all-over body massage when condoms, dental dams or gloves are used. For a fun new activity, drip some silicone lube onto any body parts and rub together! You’ll have a whole new idea of “slip and slide.” If you use silicone toys often, then silicone lube is not compatible and could damage your toys. The silicone lubricant may be impossible to get off the toys, so stick to water-based lube or use condoms!

A great thick silicone lube is Pjur Eros – made by the first experts in silicone lubricants.

Safer sex and Other lubes…

Vaseline, lotions, petroleum based products, etc.

Back in the day, people may have used the Vaseline in the cabinet when nothing else was available. That use of Vaseline should stay in the past, because any petrolatum or petroleum-based product is bad for your body! Gasoline puns are fine, but do not be using gasoline products in or on your sensitive parts!

And if you are in a bind and want to use your body lotion as a lube, it is not the safest choice. Body and face lotions are designed for the outside of your body. These products are designed to quickly absorb, and are not tested for internal use. Even for a little self-lovin’ there are lots of sensitive mucus membranes in and near your genitalia that will quickly soak up such lotions.


When you see ads for clitoral stimulating cream, vaginal tighteners, stay-hard creams, penis growth lotions or anal easing lotions, please be wary. These products are designed to fight your body’s natural intuitive response to pain, discomfort and pacing. There are no magic buttons or lotions that will give anyone an instant orgasm, make their cock larger or harder, or make anal intercourse immediately comfortable. These creams use steroids, muscle tighteners and anesthetic to function. When your body says something hurts, stop or take a break it is best that you listen. There are other ways to have a tighter vaginal squeeze or make anal sex enjoyable. Your body already has the potential for amazing sensations and experiences so don’t waste money on these unhealthy, unsafe and unreliable novelties! Keep in mind any stimulating creams that contain L-Arginine may cause herpes outbreaks.

Read more about smart, safe sex here.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

What we want every adult to know about sex toy manufacturing...

Have you heard of phthalates?

Phtha- what? Right. It's a scary word. But toxins in sex toys are even scarier!

We are putting safety first. We want to raise public awareness about phthalates -- toxins commonly used to manufacture adult toys -- by introducing Toxic Toy Awareness Month every April. We are all about pleasure, and we don't think anyone should have to worry about the safety of their sex toys. We see April -- with Earth Day and the arrival of spring -- as the perfect time to educate all sexy people about the importance of buying body safe sex toys and green machines.

Phthalates (pronounced "thay-lates") are plastic softeners used in the manufacturing of jelly rubber toys and known to contain carcinogens. Operating in a largely unregulated industry, many adult toy manufacturers continue to use phthalates, despite incomplete data about their safety, for consumer use and in their factories. All of the toys at Self Serve are non-toxic, body safe and phthalate-free.

As part of Toxic Toy Awareness Month, we offer a free workshop in honor of Earth Day to raise customer awareness about the hazards of phthalates, sex toy toxins and the importance of buying body-safe sex toys. We also issue a call to manufacturers asking them to improve the quality of information they disclose about how their toys are produced. We at Self Serve believe there should be complete transparency about the safety of sex toys for consumers. If a sex toy is body safe and non-toxic, the manufacturer should proudly say so. Our goal is for every adult who visits our website to leave knowing more about the safety of the adult products they're playing with. It's important to buy sex toys from a company you trust.

We advise customers to seek out platinum-grade silicone, glass, and metal adult toys like toys on our site. We are highly selective about the safety and quality of our products, we test everything on the shelf, and have the disappointing sex so you don't have to!

Check out our green, eco-friendly, bodysafe sex toys and gifts...

Friday, September 18, 2009

Safety is about more than condoms!

Use Lube…

When it comes to sex the rule to live and love by is—THE WETTER THE BETTER! Not only does a good lube make sex feel marvelously better for all parties involved—it actually makes sex safer. Lube cuts down on friction and irritation and reduces the risk of Sexually Transmitted Infections. If you’re using condoms lube reduces the risk of breakage. Lube makes sex last longer and feel better—so keep it slippery!

Leave the handcuffs for the professionals…

We can’t tell you how many people ask for handcuffs. They seem to be the perfect sexcessory; they’re hot, familiar, and inexpensive. they can cause nerve damage, which is totally not hot! The bones in your wrist are fragile and delicate and are covered in very little padding. A cop scene might be fun until your wrists start feeling numb and you realize you’ll have to explain your injuries to a physical therapist. If you have visions of being handcuffed to your bedpost try using leather or fabric restraints instead. They feel better and you can be a bad girl all night long.

Butt seriously…

If you're going to put something up your butt—make sure you can get it back! If you are into backdoor action (and right on for enjoying ALL of your body—you enlightened stud) than you need to be smart about your choice of sexcessories. Unlike the sweet cul-de-sac of the vagina your butt is a two lane highway. The sad truth is that once something starts traveling up your butt, it might not be inclined to come out the way it came in. Specifically, if you don't use a toy with a flared base or flange than you might end up in the ER explaining that the buzzing is NOT your cell phone ringing. Make sure you use the proper toys for the job because you have to take care of your prized assets: yourself. We encourage creative play, butt please choose toys that are meant for your booty.

If something hurts—stop it

A lot of people believe they should "ride it out" and that sex hurting or even feeling uncomfortable is normal. Some even use products that numb or desensitize, such as analeze, to cause a disconnect from their bodies during sex. This can be incredibly dangerous, not to mention a waste of time. Pain is your body's way of telling you that something is wrong and that damage is being done. Sex should never hurt. Trust your body's messages to you and sex will be a safe and enjoyable experience. It might take a bit more time, patience, and communication but sex will be much better for everybody. Instead of focusing on when sex is less painful and less dysfunctional, try thinking about the potential for more exciting pleasure, relaxation and passion in your life. You deserve it!

A caution about jelly rubber - phthalates-free and latex-free
sex toys:

Any toy made of rubbers is porous and cannot be totally sterilized once used. Rubber sometimes contains latex or phthalates, softeners used in production. Research shows that phthalates may cause cancer. Any person with chemical sensitivities and latex allergies should avoid jelly rubber. These toys are often less expensive, but are often of lesser quality. Store rubber toys by themselves, as their material may react to other rubbers and plastics.

Keep in mind, Self Serve carries only bodysafe sex toys, and NONE of our toys contain phthalates! Read more about phthalates and how Self Serve celebrates earth day every day. Learn more about toxins from the Coalition Against Toxic Toys.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Don't be afraid to travel with sex toys!

You are not alone in traveling with toys! Many people travel with sex toys and take precious vibrators on vacation. Many people always travel with LOTS of toys, too. People that work at sex shops, kinky folks, sales people, toy manufacturers, swingers, and many other normal folks take toys with them all over the world. It's a universal desire to use toys and an almost universal fear of embarrassment. Take pride and know that the airport TSA agent is way more embarrassed than you are! Here are a few tips so you can breathe deeper and blush less:

  1. The airport TSA agent operating security is trained on travel with adult toys and should be sensitive to peoples' privacy.
  2. Until the regulations change again, keep lubricants and massage oils (and any liquids) under 3 ounces in a carry on. Pack them all in a quart size bag before you get to the airport. Some airports provide baggies if you do forget.
  3. Take all batteries out of your toys. Not only will this prevent accidental public vibration, but it saves power and keeps your toy strong, too.
  4. Put all intimate accessories in plastic baggies. This way if your bags are manually searched no one will touch your toys.
  5. Have a great trip, wherever you're going. I guess we don't have to ask if it's 'business or pleasure!'

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Anal Sex Can Change Your Life...

Matie and I taught the Backdoor Lovers: Intro to Anal Sex class last night. It was so fun. I think it's the beginning of the Prostate Pleasure Revolution :) Yay!

Seriously, it felt good to debunk taboos, empower men and women to explore new territory, and prevent more rampant bad sex. Our society is pretty anal-retentive, and that just needs to change. How many times a day do you squeeze and release your sphincter muscles- as exercise, not just taking care of business? When's the last time you had a rosebud massage?

Well here are some ideas to increase anal pleasure in your world:

There are plenty of enjoyable ways to explore anal sex play. Hands, lubricants, massage oils and toys can all be great ASSets. Follow our top anal sex tips and check out ideas for the best anal sex toys. Anal Sex Tips
  • Don’t rush anal sex ever. Wait until your ass is ready, even if you're really, really excited!
  • Communication is key! Verbal and non-verbal communication is truly important, not just so it feels good, but so that no one gets physically hurt and stays safe. Communicating your needs = safe sex!
  • Lubrication is something you must provide. Unlike during vaginal sex, your ass does not provide comfy lubrication. And you certainly need lubrication even more during anal play. The tissue around and in the anus is thin and sensitive. That means if you feel good, happy sensations they are wonderful, but if you feel sensitive to pain it is easy to get hurt. Lubrication prevents tiny cuts and tears from happening, which feels better and reduces the chance for sexually transmitted infections.
  • Relaxation is so important. If your anus is tightly, tensely closed for business, nothing and no one is getting in there. We often hold lots of stress right there in our asses. Take a deep breath and relax (then repeat). Deep breathing, taking it slow and relaxing your sphincter muscles will do wonders for your sex life and your anxiety!
  • Massage is a great way to start. Just a lovely, little rosebud massage on the anus will feel fantabulous for most people. Use a condom-safe lubricant or your mouth! Dental Dams are recommended for safer sex! Try massaging his perineum, too. Pressure up behind the balls will stimulate his prostate gland (P Spot) internally.
  • Anal sex does not have to involve a penis going inside an ass. Remember it's way more comfortable and easy for beginners to enjoy fingers, anal sex toys, massage or butt plugs first. Make sure when you talk about anal sex, all parties involved know whether you plan to enjoy toys, a penis, a finger or whatever.
  • For many people, insertion is a BIG deal. Wait until the ass invites you in! Do not push into the anus, but allow your partner to fall onto your finger, cock or toy. Go slow and the reward is great!
  • Safer sex is more fun and guilt-free for everyone! Prevent spreading bacteria with gloves or finger cots. Go down with less risk of Hepatitis with dental dams. Use condoms on guy parts and dildos before inserting anywhere else. And remember, lubricant helps your latex supplies feel super silky and smooth.
  • Good anal sex positions include: doggy style, any position when receptive partner is on his or her back = more relaxed muscles
  • Great toys include: For a slim and long dildo that's strap-on friendly, The Mistress Vibe Kit; For a big Prostate stimulating curve; For graduated bumps, the Pro Touch or Pi; Beginner Butt Plugs, The Buddy or Ace Plug
  • Make sure any anal sex toy you use has a flared base! If you stick little, mini sex toys into someone's ass you risk not getting it back! We hear stories all the time (unfortunately) about people going to the emergency room for a sex toy retrieval. Good anal sex toys have something to hold onto or a flared base that won't get sucked into a happy tush.
  • Avoid numbing creams and harmful de-sensitizing gels. When you cut off your body's ability to tell you something is wrong, you put yourself at risk for harm or injury. Plus you miss out on all the good sensations!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Wedding Season is Upon Us...

In this day and age it seems people have all sorts of Opinions about weddings.

Weddings are so exciting. Invite people you never see who invited you to their son's wedding. Gay folks should be able to marry. Destination weddings cost too much. Bachelorette parties cost too much. There are lots of rules. Can I wear black? How does one ethically buy a diamond? Is it still cool to register? Will people know we're getting married for the booty? How naughty a gift can I buy them?

I jest. But seriously... I am attending a high school friend's wedding this weekend, and I am so excited. When I break it down, it's simply a huge, happy party celebrating two people finding each other and falling in love. I truly believe that is still the bottom line. Or at least it should be.

Yes, it sucks to spend lots of money on travel or gifts, but can't we all just take a minute and be happy for the lucky couple? At Self Serve every day, we hear about people looking for love. So many fascinating, brilliant, cute, sexy people walking around hoping perhaps they could find a new crush, fall in love again or for the first time, or recover from a first (trial?) marriage. So when two people (or more...) create a home together, make each other smile or even help each other orgasm - I think we should celebrate it.

I see more and more women and men rejecting the bridal industrial complex, and creating unique, personalized celebrations that represent their relationship or values. All the Opinions and Politics aside- let's define our own rules.

Yes, LGBT folks should be allowed to marry if we want. Heck, I love the couples that are now "power-wedders." They travel around the country getting same-sex marriages in every bloomin' state that begins to de-criminalize it. If you roll your eyes at virgin white dresses- wear black! If you roll your eyes at dresses- wear the pants. If you don't want to support blood diamonds, then skip the damn stone! If you feel entitled to get an entire coordinated kitchen and bath from Macy's or Target from your friends, just register already. (But I personally recommend registering for items at local, independent businesses.)

And seriously, it shouldn't be so scandalous to give sex toys or romantic gifts to a couple that's engaged to be married for the rest of their lives. If you are scared to "go there" I challenge you to just go for it. If a couple of people are gonna be together for the Rest of Their Lives, shouldn't they start stocking up on ways to keep the flame going? I mean if we can't grant pleasure to even married couples, what is this world coming to?

Friday, June 5, 2009

Femme Identity and Passing...

Around LGBT Pride time every year, amidst Self Serve pride planning, building a float and attending lots of fun events, I find a time to reflect on my own identity as a queer femme who passes most of the time.

I have a transgender FTM partner who passes as male, and I'm feminine looking and people assume we're straight. I had an interesting conversation with a friend about passing. If you are not "out" to those around you, is it dishonest? Is it your responsibility to come out, educate or explain yourself to those you meet? I think most people vary day to day on this question.

We were talking about how "out" you are in your identity- whether you have a chronic illness, you're gay, you're transgender, you're a breast cancer survivor, you're HIV positive or any number of identities. There are lots of parts of yourself you can hide, and some you can't. Many a person with a visible disability knows the responsibility and, often, fatigue of coming out.

On one hand, my partner and I enjoy privilege by passing for straight, avoiding questions. On the other hand, I don't want to pass most of the time, and I want people to know I'm queer and proud. My ability to pass is often an open door. It's an opportunity to have someone assume they can relate to me as hetero, only to have their perception flipped on its head thereafter. That's a plus. Having a trans partner means often either having no questions asked of us (when we pass) or complete bombardment of every personal and inappropriate question you can think of (when we come out).

As a sexuality educator, I want to educate, share, and relate most of the time. I want my experience to be one others can learn from. On the other hand, I know the feeling of just wanting it to be easy.

I still look forward to the time when we are surrounded by accepting, loving people who know us. Where people don't require explanations of gender and transition and surgeries and genitalia. In LGBT communities and many other accepting diverse communities, we find those safe spaces where we don't have to work at it all the time. Where we can just be. In this moment in my life, I appreciate coming out, sharing those 'ah-ha' moments with a stranger who's never met a queer dyke or never heard of an FTM. But I admittedly love and need those moments where we can just love each other, be respected by others, and not have to explain ourselves.

Comfort and respect. It seems it takes just a little discomfort of some closed-minded individuals to get there. Well Happy Pride. xo -Molly

So for those that read this and of course have questions :) some resources: