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Sex is “an ordinary part of life”

The #sexpositive series from Ooh by Je Joue

Ooh chats to Claire Cavanah, Babeland co-founder and co-author of Moregasm: Babeland’s Guide to Mind-Blowing Sex 

The pink clitoral stimulator is the perfect size for pinpoint stimulation, and the cock ring is flexible and stretchy enough to provide constriction without being uncomfortable.

Lisa, UK

September 2015

Ooh by Je Joue London love-in Pleasure kit

Because you are a one-off

What does Sex Positive mean to you?

Sex-positivity is about dissolving the shame around sex and gender expression. Shame is such a buzz kill! You can’t connect with your own feelings of desire and pleasure if you judge yourself unattractive or unworthy of pleasure. Or if you think your desires are unusual and wrong.

Why do you think that Sex Positive is an important idea?

Sex positivity shines a light on sexuality as it really is – vast and varied, and basic to human connection. In validating all of the ways people express their sexuality, sex positivity makes room for everyone, ideally without judgment or valuing any way over any other way.

What changes would you like to see in the dialogue around sex?

In some ways I think it would be helpful to treat sex as a more ordinary part of life, like playing or eating, maybe, like another thing we do that we enjoy and is good for us. That could take off some of the pressure to have outstanding sex all the time. Pressure is another buzz kill.

From your experiences as Babeland’s co-founder, what are the most common questions you’ve been asked?

Back when I worked the floor: What’s the best toy? What’s the most popular toy? How can I have an orgasm? Is what I like normal? Now that I don’t work with customers as much it’s “when are you going to open a store in my town?” via our website.

What part can sex toys play within the sex positive movement?

Sex toys already have played a major role in sex positivity. The movement would grind to a halt without vibrators. Maybe that’s an overstatement. But a lot of female-bodied people don’t have orgasms without them. Sex positivity has its roots in feminism, and women’s understanding that they deserve the same sexual autonomy and agency as men. Vibrators are right there in the fabric of sex positivity.

Why do you think that some people still find toys embarrassing?

In the vacuum of information about sex and pleasure, people think if they need something other than their partner to have truly satisfying sex, they are broken or perhaps in the wrong relationship. Usually if they get a toy that satisfies, the embarrassment fades quickly!

What’s the most important factor for choosing a sex toy?

Openness to your own sexual response, I think. If you know how you get turned on, and what kinds of stimulation you need or want, you can most likely leave the store with something you’ll like and use.

What advice would you give people when they’re shopping for a sex toy?

If you’re brand new at all of it, nothing beats experimentation. Buy something that catches your eye and start exploring! You can narrow down the choices by eliminating categories of toys you are certain you don’t want, then stay open to everything else.

How can people overcome their embarrassment around sex and sex toys?

As I mentioned above, having a good experience with a toy goes a long way toward curing embarrassment. I think taking a risk and talking to friends about sex can help a lot. Going to a workshop at Babeland, really. Learning about sex in a room full of people who are there for the same reason is powerful, even transformative for some folks.

You won the ZAGAT award for best shopping experience twice – how do you create a welcoming environment for your customers?

An inviting aesthetic, and knowledgeable and non-judgmental sex educators help normalize the experience. Pretty much every American adult knows the basics of how to shop. We try to make sure it’s a familiar experience. Then we back that up with the best toys we can find and the most helpful staff possible.

What are your five tips for a great sex life?

  1. You can’t really become a good lover without feeling good about what you’re doing. Shame leads to a lot of mistakes and not so great sex.
  2. So, find out about yourself, accept and love yourself, then you can seek companionship from a good place.
  3. Also, prioritize sex and you will have more of it. The more you have the more you will want to have – a virtuous cycle!
  4. Keep a good sense of humor about it, you’re going to need it.
  5. Also honor yourself as you grow and change.

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