Blow-Job Lessons and Aphrodisiacs at NYC’s Pleasure Chest

Last night, I went to a highly aroused Valentine’s party at the Pleasure Chest, on Manhattan’s Upper East Side. The party was celebrating the 20th anniversary of Fun Factory, an innovative sex toy company that I have to thank for many of my recent orgasms. I wore my new favorite outfit—a leopard print skirt with a pink puffy top and my festive heart handbag. My inspo was “Elle Woods at a sex toy party” (however some guy at the event told me I reminded him of Heidi Montag… sigh).


Party goers were greeted by hot go-go dancers in the store’s display windows. Inside, we were served various aphrodisiac hors d’oeuvres and wine (aka my preferred aphrodisiac) while being given instructional talks about sex toy. So basically, a sexpert would hand you a farm-to-table beef taco and champagne and then be like “are you aware of the transcendental pleasures of this environmentally friendly buttplug?” Sort of a strange combination… but def strange in a good way.

You may remember the Pleasure Chest as the store where Miranda takes Carrie and Charlotte to buy the “rabbit” vibrator, after which Charlotte becomes addicted to it… (as side the whole world, basically). But beyond that iconic pop culture moment, the Pleasure Chest is definitely worth a visit. For one, they give totally FREE sex-ed workshops! Every Wednesday! (But actually, for V-day, they have now workshops every single day.) They have everything from feminine-dominance classes, to advanced rope bondage courses. But apparently their most popular class is the blow-job workshop. Makes sense. At the party, I had a chance to talk to the store’s manager, Victor Tobar, who told me, “The focus of our programs is to offer pleasure-based sex-positive education, which pushes back against the sex-negative abstinence-only sex-ed that most of us get in school.”


But besides offering free degrees in deep-throating, what makes the Pleasure Chest special is that it’s very inclusive, and just a really chill vibe. Like, you know how a lot of times when you go into a sex store it’s like in a basement, and is sort of creepy? Well this store isn’t like that—it’s way chic. Also, a lot of sex shops tend to focus primarily on female sexuality, but PC is very inclusive of all genders and sexual orientations. “The Pleasure Chest is everyone’s sex shop,” said Tobar. “We get our neighbors here on the Upper East Side coming in, who are sometimes straight couples in their 80s; we have young LGBT folks coming from downtown; we get beginners who have never been to a sex store before, and pros who have been in the BDSM scene for decades, so it’s a super diverse mix of customers.” Plus, the store is an NYC sex-scene staple. The store’s original location (which still exists) opened in the West Village in 1971.

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Fun Factory—the sex toy company that the party was in honor of—also has a really cool history. It was founded 20 years ago by two engineers, Dirk Bauer and Michael Pahl, after their lesbian friend told them that the sex toys on the market for women were tragic, basically. “Fun Factory were really pioneers in the sex industry,” said Kristen Tribby (director of marketing and education at Fun Factory) at last night’s party. “They were the first to make a rechargeable waterproof toy, and also the first to make sex toys out of medical grade silicone. Other companies do this now too, but we’re still the only company where the material is regulated. In Germany, where our factory is, sex toys are considered a health product, so it’s a regulated industry. Everything else on the market comes from China and isn’t regulated at all, which is why a lot of sex toys say ‘for novelty use only.’”

I was told by multiple people (Tribby included) that the most exciting new toy in the store was the Bi Stronic Fusion, which is special because it basically thrusts in and out of your vaj, but it also has an extended arm that vibrates to stimulate your clit at the same time. Sounds future. Currently, I’m a single bisexual and using the Miss Bi.

slutever-22 slutever-44Me and Zhana!

Obviously, the archangel of sex positivity, Zhana Vrangalova, was at the party. (You know Zhana, who does the Ask a Sex Researcher column for Slutever.) In between caressing the abs of the topless bartender in the main image, she was broadcasting the party live on her periscope channel. When I asked Zhana why she loved Pleasure Chest, she told me, “It’s just the most beautiful, sexy, classy sex store ever. Often, the first few times people go into a sex store it’s this dingey, sketchy place that makes you feel gross or awkward. But the Pleasure Chest is the opposite of that. I want to live here.”

And lastly, here’s a not-totally-readable flyer with all the upcoming free sex-ed workshops at Pleasure Chest! Or you can just go to their website :)

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Words by Karley Sciortino. Photos by Aria Eastwood. (Follow her on Insta yo)

This post was brought to you in Partnership with Pleasure Chest <3

The Cutest, Weirdest and Most Tragic V-Days Ever


And…. the winners of the Vagina Valentine’s Day Contest are….?!!?

Last week, I asked people to send me their stories about the best, weirdest, most romantic, grossest or tragic thing that ever happened to them on Valentine’s Day, in exchange for one of my Slutever Vaj Tees. I finally picked the winners!  Also, I hope you’re having a good V-Day. Mine so far has been awful, actually, but I hope seeing Fifty Shades this afternoon will make it better (I pre-bought tickets obvi).

  1. The strangest:

Valentine’s 2014 was my best. My wife and I are in an open marriage. My wife was 1,000 miles away in Colorado with her ex. I was back home in Seattle. She skied all day followed by epic sex against a wall, and peppering me all day with loving texts of gratitude for a marriage with the space and trust for a magical mingling of her past and present.  –Cameron Leeds

  1. The cutest

Never one for grand, expensive gestures, the most romantic gift I’ve ever given was one of my dresser drawers. I put it in wrapping paper and gave it to my girlfriend for Valentine’s. Nothing says romance like “Here’s a place for you to put your shit when you’re sleeping over.” –“Win, Lose, or Drawer”?

  1. The funniest

My girlfriend and I celebrated by buying Our First Strap On (neither of us have ever fucked a guy). Lights down low, sexy playlist, etc. Then we put the lights back on full. Then we opened our laptops. The night ended with the two of us googling “how do straight people have sex” and confusedly watching heterosexual porn. Turns out dudes have a lower centre of gravity than women, which enables them to thrust easier, but seriously, I can’t make it work unless the person getting fucked is on top. –by, Wonj

  1. The most extreme:

Small cities are notorious groanzones for gays. Valentines 2014 found me tied to the bed of a group-sex-obsessed friends-with benefits. When my hot (previously assumed straight) cousin walked in, my obvious reaction was to calmly explain, in a room of erect strangers, that his uncle isn’t actually my biological dad. #BestVDayYet

  1. The most tragic

​We had arranged to come to my house to eat shrooms together. I had picked them in advance but the psilocybin through my skin made me prematurely trip. When he rang I thought I was an alien. I didn’t feel ready to abduct him. ​The V-day was a disaster, given that we were on different planets. — Dinosaur Godfrey

Valentine’s Day: A Non-Cheesy Gift Guide


Mystery Train <3

On Valentine’s Day, you should suck, but your gift shouldn’t.

Personally, I’ve always preferred being given a gift that’s useful, rather than something that feels like a thoughtless gesture (especially when that thoughtless gesture has like 40 grams of fat in it). Sure, flowers are pretty, but when your date shows up with flowers on a special occasion–an anniversary, V-day, a birthday, etc–that’s a surefire sign that he or she put no thought into your gift at all. Flowers are a nice gesture at random times, like, “I was walking home from work and impulsively bought you flowers” type of thing. But on V-day, you want to make a little bit more of an effort, ya know? (And that does not include chocolate–are you literally trying to sabotage me? WTF?!) Below are some gift suggestions that your Valentine will actually be able to use, and/or will at least trick them into thinking you’re somewhat sophisticated. 

1. How to Think More About Sex

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This book, written by the philosopher Alain de Botton, is an insightful, non self-helpy look at the intimate and exciting experience that is s-e-x. It makes a great gift because it’s both thoughtful and erotic, and the book itself looks very chic and festive. To quote de Botton, “The more closely we analyze what we consider ‘sexy,’ the more clearly we will understand that eroticism is the feeling of excitement we experience at finding another human being who shares our values and our sense of the meaning of existence.” 






2. A Lover’s Discourse


This book, written by Roland Barthes, is of course a classic. But classic isn’t bad! I think this is a good gift for someone who you’re on the brink of getting serious with–it feels romantic and genuine, and it’s also one of Patti Smith’s favorites, which makes it #cool. The book is a series of “fragments,” some from literature and some from Barthes’ own philosophical thought, on a lover’s point of view








3. Bedding


Bed are generally where people bang, so gifting bedding for V-day is sort of relevant, yet simultaneously extremely functional. Bedding is randomly expensive! It’s also the type of thing that people are often less likely to splurge on for themselves, so when someone else buys you really glamorous or cool bedding, it’s always exciting. I happen to like the prints of the bedding at Urban Outfitters, because I’m a hipster stereotype with an indie sensibility.

4. Bad Behavior


This book of short stories, by Mary Gaitskill, is one of my favorite books ever. (I once wrote an essay about its influence on my early writing.) Bad Behavior is largely about sex–it’s honest, brutal and beautiful, and never cheesy or cheap. (Also, FYI, the darkly erotic film Secretary, starring Maggie Gyllenhaal, was adapted from a story in the book.) This is a great gift for someone who you’ve recently started dating, but with whom you haven’t yet reached your kinky potential.







5. Tenga Iroha vibrator


What is better than the gift of orgasm? The Iroha is my fave vibrator of all time.

6. The Ethical Slut


This book is a practical guide to polyamory, open relationships and other open adventures. So basically, if you’re trying to hint to the person you’re fucking that you don’t want to be monogamous, this is the perfect gift for you!










7. American Ecstasy


This hot and beautiful photography book, by Barbara Nitke, is compiled of artistic photos taken behind-the-scenes on porn sets in the 80s. This is the perfect gift for the slutty and/or perverted Valentine.


Vagina Valentine Contest

Karley_Sciortino-37Look how cool I look! All the cool kids are wearing vaginas on their chests these days. You should too! Luckily for you, I’m giving away three Slutever vaj tees to the winner of the Slutever Vagina Valentine contest, yay!

Here’s what you have to do to enter:

1. Email a few sentences to about the best or weirdest or most romantic or tragic or grossest or lolzest thing that ever happened to you on Valentine’s Day. It can be a story about a V-day gift you gave someone, a romantic V-day evening you had, a story about how you spent V-day alone with your cats–whatever! However, it has to be 50 words or less. I’m very #busy and #important and don’t have time to read a Valentine’s novel.

2. Sign up to the Slutever newsletter HERE! I promise not to spam you! I only sent them out like twice a month (if that). But you have to be signed up to get a free shirt.

Submissions must be made by the end of this Sunday, Feb 8th. Next week I will publish the 3 best stories on my blog, and the winners will get a vaj tee! If you want to submit but you don’t want your real name published with your story if you win, that’s OK, but just let me know what pseudonym you want to use when you email you story.


An Anti-Valentine

Feeling sad and/or anxious about Valentine’s Day? Well this might cheer you up: my new Breathless column for Vogue, published yesterday, is about how V-Day day is a bit traj… and I also wrote about love a bit too, so it’s not all bad :) You can read it HERE! 

Bullett Heart

The new issue of Bullett Magazine is the Romance Issue, and I acted in a short film they made in honor of its release. The film was made by Peter Spark, Adri Murguia and Noah Paul, and you can watch it above. GOD, shooting this film was REALLY hard for me, but as a professional, I managed to push through.

Also, if you’re unfamiliar with Bullett mag, you should check it out! The issues are themed, and I’m currently OBSESSED with their recent ‘Obsessed’ issue. I’ve taken some pics of the inside of it, to show you what I’m freaking out about.

It has pages that look like this.

It has a page of celebrity head stickers, including hotties Christopher Owens from Girls, Jesse Eisenberg, and Honor Titus from Cerebral Ballzy.

It has cut-out paper dolls of Tavi and Alexa Chung. Actually.

And–brace yourselves–there is a feature in which six of our favorite film and TV characters of all time are resurrected by the actors who played them. So basically Melissa Joan Hart, Rose McGowan, Heather Matarazzo, Rider Strong and James Van Der Beek each write an essay about what happened to, respectively, Clarissa, Courtney Shane, Enid Coleslaw, Dawson, Shawn Hunter and Dawn Wiener, and take up their character’s stories from where the original writers left off. FINALLY… CLOSURE!

And that’s just a taste…