By M.A. Rahman
Published: April 3rd, 2019
Representatives of the Sex Toy Shop “Babeland” presented their annual workshop to promote ‘Safe Sex’ before a gathering of students at the Brooklyn College Women’s Center in coordination with the BC LGBTQ center.
Founded in 1993, the sex apparatus boutique now known as “Babeland” has since 1998 supported several causes related to sexual health, education, and civil liberties that according to their website values because “you can’t enjoy a healthy sex life in a vacuum.”
“If you wanted to go to a sex shop, you would have to go to the back of a video store and go behind beaded curtain and there’s some guy in a trench coat who has no information about it,” said Sam Light, describing the typical circumstance for persons that desired for a sexually arousing novelty before the advent of their store.
Light along with Lisa Finn, both representatives from “Babeland” and self-declared “sex educators,” presided before a throng of BC students at the Women’s Center. With detailed explanations on particular ‘acts’ utilizing puppet genitalia, they showcased how students should go about having safe sex, topics ranging from consent to commitment.
“We chose the Women’s Center because we needed a private and inviting space for students to come in and speak honestly from their mind on this topic,” said Sami Binder, a graduate, and representative of the BC LGBTQ center.
Throughout the guided discussion, presenters opted not to attribute any particular pronouns to any genitalia, a point of distinction in their view. Light noted doing so would lend validity to their assertion of being inclusive in their products, a discussion they considered is what separated themselves and their competitors.
“Consent can’t be just a yes, it has to be an enthusiastic yes, and if you want to try something new, have them consent to that too. They have to be like ‘hell yeah I want my hair pulled,’” Light exclaimed to students before distributing an actual ‘consent’ paper for students to review with their partner.
Light, who led most of the discussion, elaborated on particular areas one might wish to fully ‘explore’ to their full satisfaction.
“You’ll never really know what you want until you try it and as you try different things, your partner and you will get better,” Finn said to encourage students.
In her view, one of the reasons why one might consider engaging in these types of ‘play’ is to “fully explore themselves,” a means of breaking away from otherwise aimless repressive, dogmatic taboos.
“You might be into something that I’m not and I’d be like wait, really,” Light said emphasizing needed respect for individual, personal preferences.
During the meeting, students were fully captivated by the information they received, save for the occasional question concerning the varying sex acts. Some viewed these as somewhat redundant.
“What’s the difference between bondage and domination,” asked one student, who was met by a pause. What followed was a highly-detailed answer describing the minimal difference between said acts.
The organizers retorted the idea that the event might be an elaborate advertisement for their company, noting how they opted not to disclose the names of particular products in their presentations.
“We’re just telling you how to use these tools. I could stand here and tell you that this [product], its water-proof and has eight speeds, I can do that but I’m just gonna tell you about the shape since this shape is great for ‘g-spotting’ since it has a curve and that’s the information we want to provide,” Light said in justification.
Attendees of the event overwhelmingly voiced their satisfaction with it.
“I thought it was very productive because I actually go to their place and they really are conscious of the gender spectrum and that people have different bodies, you can ask questions that other places might consider ‘stupid’ to ask,” said Narline Borno, a senior majoring in anthropology, cherishing an apropos representation of gender and valued sex education.