The Daily Northwestern

SHAPE holds first ‘Sex Shop Fair’

A+vendor+from+Taboo+Tabou+discusses+sex+toys+with+a+prospective+customer.+Sexual+Health+and+Assault+Peer+Educators+hosted+its+first+%E2%80%9CSex+Shop+Fair%E2%80%9D+at+Norris+University+Center+on+Monday.
A vendor from Taboo Tabou discusses sex toys with a prospective customer. Sexual Health and Assault Peer Educators hosted its first “Sex Shop Fair” at Norris University Center on Monday.

A vendor from Taboo Tabou discusses sex toys with a prospective customer. Sexual Health and Assault Peer Educators hosted its first “Sex Shop Fair” at Norris University Center on Monday.

Daniel Tian/Daily Senior Staffer

Daniel Tian/Daily Senior Staffer

A vendor from Taboo Tabou discusses sex toys with a prospective customer. Sexual Health and Assault Peer Educators hosted its first “Sex Shop Fair” at Norris University Center on Monday.

Daria Lenderman, Reporter

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While many students in Norris University Center were studying or grabbing a bite to eat Monday afternoon, others were browsing a range of sex toys from vendors at the first “Sex Shop Fair” hosted by Sexual Health and Assault Peer Educators.

The fair was part of SHAPE’s “Take Me or Leave Me” week, a series of events focusing on developing healthy relationships. Vendors offered a variety of products, including various vibrators, lubricants and condoms. SHAPE also offered workshops on topics — such as sex toys and fetishes — throughout the day, said Communication sophomore Phoebe Fox, the event’s organizer.

Northwest Center Against Sexual Assault, a Chicago-area center that provides counseling and crisis intervention to survivors of sexual assault and their families, will receive 10 percent of the overall event proceeds, Fox said.

Weinberg sophomore Sharon Wang, SHAPE’s events chair, said sex toys are often stigmatized, and the fair aimed to combat that trend.

“Sex toys can be a part of a healthy relationship or even self care and self love, which are really important too, so that’s why we decided to include it in this week,” Wang said.

The event featured products from three Chicago stores: Early to Bed, Taboo Tabou and The Pleasure Chest.

Wang said the fair benefits both the shops and the students who took interest. Vendors meet new customers, while students get an accessible and informative setting to learn about sex toys, gaining information they might not otherwise seek out themselves, she said.

“There are a lot of people who don’t really know how awesome sex toys can be, and they kind of shy away from it just due to lack of access and knowledge,” Wang said.

Bienen freshman Victoria Lynn, who attended the fair, said she appreciated having the toys sold on campus, rather than having to seek them out.

“I don’t feel comfortable walking into regular shops, and I don’t really know how to get to them,” Lynn said. “It was interesting to see what it would be like.”

Fox said the response from students has been positive so far, and that Northwestern students are generally “fairly open about sex positivity and talking about sex.”

SHAPE plans to make the “Sex Shop Fair” an annual event, Wang said. The event will continue to offer products and information available to all students, regardless of gender or sexual orientation.

“As a whole, Northwestern is pretty sex positive,” Wang said. “Something that we can improve on is the lack of knowledge on the intricacies of sex positivity. People don’t really have knowledge of how to introduce sex toys into the bedroom and how to have a healthy and communicative conversation with their partner.”

Email: darialenderman2019@u.nortthwestern.edu
Twitter: @lend_er_man

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