Queer Dating, Sex, Love, and Everything in Between! - a SHAG Mini-Workshop - PART 3!
June 15, 2023
Next, I'm going to focus briefly on a couple of ways for anyone who is not queer to support their queer friends in their romantic and sexual endeavors. And then lastly, I will mention a couple of great resources we have here at SHAG. Let’s start with some do's and don’ts for supporting your queer friends and family.
If someone comes out to you, starting to talk about dating or exploring queerness, I would advise against saying, no matter how well-intentioned, this idea we talked about earlier, that “love is love,” that it doesn't matter, or that you love the person just exactly the same. While that's certainly a very tolerant and accepting way of viewing queerness, it is also a sentiment that can shut down the conversation or feel dismissive. For someone who's coming to you and sharing that they are queer, it's taken a lot of courage for them to come to you with this information and share this piece of themself. This reaction can feel dismissive because it can feel like you are saying that their queerness does not matter, to you or in general. In reality, ideally, it should matter to you because it does matter. It's actually a really big deal and it's something to explore and interrogate and be curious about and celebrate. I would advise, once you have asked them for consent to do so, to ask them follow up questions. If they are excited to share their story with you, you could ask them, “Tell me what this means to you?” or “What were the roots of this journey?” And what I mean by roots here are the moments in time, the milestones, when they realized more about themselves. An example could be, “I watched this movie and, oh my god, I had a big reaction!” or “I actually had a crush on this person growing up and now I'm comfortable to share it,” and so forth. Expressing celebration and curiosity are probably the best things that you can offer.
I hope this workshop has given you some tools and ideas for feeling affirmed, confident, and playful, in and out of the bedroom and that you can practice some of the skills that we talked about. As promised, I also want to highlight some of the great resources we have here at SHAG. First and foremost, we have a ton of wonderful books. I'm just going to point out a couple:
For folks who are bi or pan or curious, I recommend Bi: Notes for a Bisexual Revolution by Shiri Eisner. It's highly historically contextualized. If you're nerdy and bookish like me, this is a really great one.
If you're more artistic, we have the wonderful Queer Heroes Coloring Book by Jon Macy and Tara Madison. It is a fun collection of illustrations from queer cartoonists, featuring 40 influential LGBTQIA+ heroes and icons. That’s also a way to kind of learn about queer history!
If you’re interested in more technical learning, we have several great books on butt stuff basics like Anal Sex Basics by Carlyle Jansen and Tickle My Tush by Dr. Sadie Allison. And that is just the beginning, we have lots more titles to explore no matter what you’re looking to learn about.
Besides books, we have toys for everyone! A lot of people who come in the door here who are super well-versed in, for example, strap-ons, have been using them for years, and just want an upgrade. But, equally, we get people who come in bright-eyed, never having used a toy before, and really curious. We welcome you all, and we have a number of styles and types of strap-on harnesses and toys to fit in them in stock here! I wanted to highlight a couple of different ones that we have, especially the great starter strap-ons, to give you an idea of what to look for when toy shopping. Function versus beauty is most definitely a thing. All the strap-on harnesses are pretty hot but some, as you can see, were designed more with aesthetics in mind than others. This – the Joque – is a highly, highly functional one.
It's almost like a strappy rock climbing harness, super strappy and stretchy. It has a pocket for a bullet vibe and provides a lot of back support. One of our co founders here often calls it the Cadillac. Let’s compare that to this super aesthetic one, the Flamingo Low Rise.
Being leather, while it’s comfortable, it’s a bit more stiff and doesn’t have a stretch to it like the Joque does. That is another thing to consider besides function versus beauty: vegan versus leather. You should also make sure the harness is adjustable, and doesn’t need to be worn on the tightest or loosest setting, if possible, because our bodies change over time, or in case you wanted to let someone else wear it (if that’s something you’re comfortable with).
Of course, we have a whole bunch of toys that you could pair with your harness, and you're welcome to come and explore them here at SHAG, in-store or online. For any Harry Potter fans out there, I always say “the wand chooses the wizard, Harry” because there are so many different colors and styles, and it’s just highly subjective.
It's really all about what you're looking for. Here are some things to consider when shopping. First, look at the density of the toy. Is it soft and flexible? Is it firm and rigid? Next, you’ll want to look at the size, obviously: girth and length. Most importantly for strap-on play, you’ll want to make sure your toy has a flared base (suction cup bases work very well!) to allow for easy fit in a harness. With a suction cup, you can connect two dildos to create a DIY double-ended dildo.
both from Blush's Avant line
When toy shopping, you will always want to consider the material of your toy! Here at SHAG, everything is 100% medical grade, body safe toys, which is so, so important. You may also want to think about if you want a toy that vibrates or has the ability to vibrate. Some harnesses have a space for a vibrating bullet, some dildos have an opening for a vibrating bullet, and then some dildos actually vibrate, so there is a lot of variety.
Finally, of course, you can take a look at the aesthetic and color. We really do have something for everyone here!
Besides our in-store resources, I also want to give one other bonus resource for anyone who's interested more in the pop culture of queerness. Maybe you’re thinking, “oh, I'm queer and I don't really know where to look. How can I see myself on TV or in the news?” Autostraddle is one of my favorite publications.
It's all online. They're fantastic. Some of the headlines are super whimsical. One of their posts from this week was “Kristen Stewart and Fiancée are going to gay Third Base by writing a movie together,” which was hilarious. They have more serious articles about being gay at work, queer people in the labor movement, or how to have sex, like with a trans masculine partner.
As I mentioned, you are welcome to come in here at SHAG and talk to us in-person. We are women-owned and fully queer-operated. Our customers range from zero to 100% experience and we welcome you all. You can also follow us on Instagram, and if you send us a DM, we are happy to answer questions you may have or give you more resources. Last but not least, let’s give another thank you to Exsens, our workshop sponsor.
Our next workshop will be hosted by the amazing Dirty Lola. She’ll be talking about sex toys and travel for the summer. Thank you for reading!
**This text was transcribed from SHAG’s live Mini-Workshop on June 15, 2023 and edited for clarity. This opinion piece is not intended to constitute licensed expert advice; all content is for general informational purposes only.**