Sex Gets Real: Episode 48

Sex toy education. It’s happening.

Here at Sex Gets Real, we adore She Bop and we’ve talked about it many times on the podcast. She Bop is a female-friendly sex boutique that is full of body safe products, and they host a plethora of amazing education events. So, when we learned AJ, one of their sex educators, was up for joining us on the show, we had to do it.

From phthalates in toys to how to sanitize silicone and stainless steel toys, we cover a ton in this episode. AJ even shares with us the urban legend of how the Fleshlight came into existence. Oh, and we talk about the ethics of non-monogamy and how to open a relationship in a respectful way.

Her anal class, Back That Ass Up, is definitely on my To Do list the next time I’m in Portland.

What questions do you have, dear listener, on toys and anal and body safe materials? We’d be happy to ping AJ for more information for you. So tune in and let us know what you think.

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Episode breakdown

  • 0:55 – Let’s meet AJ from SheBop the Shop in Portland. It’s one of our favorite sex positive stores in the world.
  • 1:51 – Just a few of the classes AJ teaches at SheBop include Beyond Monogamy, Anal Sex 101, Joy of Toys, Fine Art of Cunnilingus and more.
  • 2:41 – With so much education in her background on sex, queer issues, and therapy, AJ tells us what started it all.
  • 2:55 – She remembers a kid giggling over the number 69 and wanting to know what that meant. Her sexual curiosity started young.
  • 3:19 – Growing up with a lot of divorce in her home, she decided early on to read everything she could on healthy relationships to avoid the same fate.
  • 4:44 – Even though therapy wasn’t feeling like a good fit, during her internship, she ran a group called Moxie for teenage girls empowerment. One day they talked about sex and it really resonated with her.
  • 7:00 – We can’t stress it enough – high quality toys that are non-toxic and body safe. AJ weighs in on what to look for and what to avoid.
  • 8:09 – Phthalates have been banned across Europe and in many other countries, and yet we still find them here in the states in sex toys. Dangerous stuff.
  • 8:29 – Find out the signs of a toxic sex toy.
  • 9:37 – Phthalate (jelly) toys are porous, so they’re going to hold on to bad stuff like bacteria and can never be sanitized.
  • 10:39 – At the Woodhull Sexual Freedom Summit, the owners of Tantus toys and Njoy educated us that condoms over jelly or toxic toys don’t actually protect you because the plastic molecules are smaller than the holes in condoms, so they can bleed through and still leech into your body.
  • 11:50 – So, what does AJ recommend for a good toy?
  • 12:54 – Tantus, FunFactory, Lelo and Njoy are great brands to look for.
  • 14:50 – Internet shopping isn’t the best if you don’t really know toys. What works for one person may really not work for you, so having a chance to see a toy, feel it, and ask questions is the way to go, if you have the option near you.
  • 15:00 – Dylan tells us about her dream lesbian toy – a packy that turns into a dildo good for fucking.
  • 17:00 – AJ tells us about the Shilo from the NY Toy Collective.
  • 18:15 – How do you best clean your toys? From an Njoy (which is stainless steel) to the silicone toys, AJ tells us how to sanitize these bad boys.
  • 18:49 – Boil high-grade silicone for 3-5 minutes or wash in the top rack of the dishwasher with an air dry. You can even do a 10% bleach/90% water solution. But again – this is only with high-end, medical grade silicone toys.
  • 21:11 – Steel toys get soap and water. Nothing that scratches.
  • 21:44 – Ever seen a wood toy? Check this out. They’re coated in a non-porous substance, so they just need soap and water, too. No scratches, please!
  • 22:14 – Never use anything abrasive on steel, glass, or wood. Bacteria city.
  • 24:31 – We ask AJ for fun or wacky sex toy facts and she tells us her favorite sex toy story about how the Fleshlight was invented.
  • 27:08 – Ah…the American dream. Find a new way for men to masturbate and become a gajillionaire.
  • 27:28 – Rumor has it that the first cock rings were made from goat eyelids. You heard it here first, people.
  • 28:35 – AJ predicts that the next evolution in sex toys is wearable tech.
  • 30:33 – 3D printers making sex toys. Imagine the possibilities.
  • 31:45 – Dawn shares her wish for a sex toy – a fucking machine that syncs up with your partner’s movements so that it’s real-time sex and movements that match your partner, regardless of location.
  • 32:17 – AJ tells Dawn about the Zeus and Hera.
  • 34:02 – We ask AJ for her best tips on getting started with anal and pegging, since she teaches a class called Back That Ass Up.
  • 34:45 – Poop.
  • 35:33 – The poop shoot is a good 9-12 inches of clean, smooth canal that doesn’t store anything.
  • 36:07 – Anal hygiene and cleanliness. Anal douching with warm water earlier in the day is good (NOT right before you play).
  • 36:45 – People should play on their own before playing with a partner just to get used to anal and to learn their bodies.
  • 37:30 – AJ’s top recommendations for getting started with anal – take it slow (try her ‘ring the doorbell’ technique) and LUBE. She recommends water-based gel. Check out Sliquid’s Sassy.
  • 38:59 – Keeping the mood light when you’re trying something new, especially anal, can really help.
  • 40:33 – Trying pegging? Don’t start off like a porn star.
  • 42:05 – Anal is awesome for people with prostates because prostate stimulation is a good thing. Anal sex is healthy! (Try that one out on your partner and see if it gets them on board.)
  • 43:04 – Anal is also an awesome shift in power. And we love that.
  • 43:23 – Dawn talks about a Charlie Glickman article on the shift that happens when someone who experiences sex externally has the opportunity to experience sex as internal (via anal).
  • 46:03 – AJ recommends how to open a relationship up – starting with education about non-monogamy and polyamory.
  • 47:24 – There are SO many ways to have an open relationship. AJ outlines a few.
  • 47:34 – And she recommends Dawn’s favorite book on non-monogamy, Tristan Taormino’s “Opening Up”. Check it out here.
  • 47:43 – Also check out More Than Two. There’s a book and a blog. It’s poly specific, but a great resource that’s practical.
  • 50:37 – Getting over the fear of being honest can be so hard for people, and that’s a huge step. Time to get in touch with your inner desires and finding a way to share those.
  • 51:53 – AJ brings up a great point. You will make mistakes when you try and change your relationship dynamic, but you should always understand what’s ethical and stick to that.
  • 53:24 – When things feel scary, sometimes it’s just because it’s new and you have to work through it. And that’s OK.
  • 55:56 – Let’s brag – SheBop’s website and blog are awesome. Go to and see it for yourself.

And be sure to pin, share, and Instagram this bad boy

Dawn and Dylan talk to AJ, a sex educator from the sex-positive toy boutique She Bop about all things toys, anal play, non-monogamy, and we even get the rumor on how the Fleshlight was invented.

  • Dawn
  • March 1, 2015