Creating a bigger network for sex positivity
Beyond being a sex store, Oh My also operates as a space for others hoping to further the conversation around sex positivity. In the past, the store has opened its doors to events such as BDSM rope tying workshops, erotic writing classes and classes on how to create your own adult film.
Unfortunately, the events didn’t turn out to be as popular as Beth had hoped.
“We’ve tried over the years to have classes and stuff, it’s never really worked out great for us,” she said. “I think that’s because the colleges these days are offering so much, and there’s local rope groups and local kink groups. Education exists already –– more, thankfully.”
With universities like Smith College and groups like the Northampton Sex Therapists Association providing higher levels of education, it has become difficult to attract people to the store for those types of events. So, eventually the store stopped putting them on.
But every now and then the store will host a fellow retailer or person in the sex positive community to showcase their work.
With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, Oh My decided to open their doors to local lingerie maker Emily Rose Pequin, whose upcoming clothing store, OpalSutra, aims to change the conversation on who gets to wear what.
“There are a lot of body types that are underrepresented in the lingerie industry, like it’s not even a conversation – it’s a fact,” Pequin said. “But I really want to shed light more on how beautiful everyone is and that’s cheesy to say, but when you’re in it and you’re experiencing that, it means a lot to a lot of people for sure.”
In the back of the store, beautifully colored robes, bodysuits and lingerie sit delicately on a rack. A few customers circle around the clothing, touching it’s fabric as they talk to each other about the design.
In particular, Pequin draws a lot of attention to their bodysuits, which feature fully adjustable tops that allow people with different chest sizes to find them comfortable.
“These are specifically designed to look good on every body type,” Pequin said as they held one up from the rack. “I specifically designed these bodysuits so that they would great on people with curves.”
In addition to bodysuits, Pequin also designs robes and bralettes, both articles of clothing that don’t have a specific structure, so they are also able to accommodate all body types.
Another big staple of the young designer’s work is gender inclusivity. Prior to founding OpalSultra, Pequin had worked at a lingerie store in San Francisco, where they were met with a lot of transgender women looking to try on bras for the first time. According to Pequin, the experience for the women were “emotionally charging,” which in part inspired them to create clothing for all genders.
In the past, Pequin stated they’ve had men, women and non-binary individuals purchase their work, whether for the benefit of wearing something that identifies with them or just putting together a costume for drag. Pequin wants to create lingerie that makes people feel good about whoever they are.
Wanting to spread their market and ideas to Northampton, it wasn’t hard for Pequin to find the perfect place to showcase gender and body inclusive lingerie. After months of planning and talking with Beth, Pequin was sure Oh My was the atmosphere for them.
“I really like a lot of the customers who come in here and the customer base around here, just because Northampton is such a queer-friendly little town,” Pequin said. “It just brings in the right type of people who really appreciate what I do and kind of see the same value in what I make and in what I’m trying to get out there.”
Oh My Sensuality Shop remains the only sex store in Northampton, and although the stigma around sex toys is still prevalent, the store still aims to change the conversation on sexual pleasure, one vibrator at a time.
Alvin Buyinza can be reached at email@example.com and followed on Twitter at @abuyinza_news.