Ciao From Stephanie Curtis – Adultsmart Sexologist!

I have loved my time working at the Oh Zone stores and helping so many people with their intimate lives.  One of the things I most enjoyed was tapping the keyboards and  hoping to share some useful information with the adultsmart community in my articles and stories.  For now I am off to take on sexology as my full-time profession so the articles will no longer be as frequent and the time I enjoyed meeting everyone face to face in the stores has come to an end.  This here is my final article whilst working in an adult shop.

For all those that have visited me in store, ciao, it has been a pleasure.  For everyone on adultsmart I will still publish the odd article.  But for now, farewell my life, living and love provide you with the best they can!!!!

 

What working at an adult store has taught me:

 

I cannot believe it has been two whole years that I have worked in the Oh Zone Adult Lifestyle Centres! If you had asked me 10 years ago, it certainly wasn’t a job I could have imagined I would be doing yet I am so grateful I took a chance and did something so different. As I prepare to move onto my own work as a Certified Sexologist & Intimacy Coach, I thought I would offer some of the things I will be taking away from this job which will benefit me in so many ways throughout my life

 

Communicating about sex

Talking about anything related to sexuality is such a difficult thing for so many people. We live in such a sex-centric world yet as a culture are challenged by frank, honest discussions around sexuality. Coming into this job, I knew I was a sex positive person yet didn’t realise the challenges I would face opening up to strangers very quickly about such an intimate area of their lives. Working at Oh Zone has given me incredible experience in being able to talk about sex, pleasure and genitals in a very matter of fact way.

 

Making people comfortable talking about sex

Similar to the above, working at Oh Zone has given me great experience in getting others to open up about sex. I have learnt to take note of body language and other cues to say or do the thing that will make the customer feel at ease opening up to me. I have found that finding comfort within myself puts people at ease as well as outwardly naming the elephant in the room (i.e. the discomfort around talking about sex) which breaks the ice for most people.

 

Communicating boundaries

As with anywhere in life, you will always encounter people that try to cross boundaries. There are some people that make assumptions about me based on the fact that I work in an adult store so I have had to get really clear with what is and isn’t ok. I have been explicitly asked what my personal sexual preferences are and have had countless people overshare about their own sex life which to many people doesn’t sound so bad but you wouldn’t ask the woman working at Harvey Norman what she’s into so why should it be any different for me? I get that few people have a space where they can open up to about sex & in the right context an adult store is just that but I cannot stress CONTEXT enough. I am grateful that 99% of people that have crossed some kind of boundary are apologetic when I communicate that it is not appropriate so it really has been a good lesson in communicating clearly and in a way that doesn’t shame the person because they usually just don’t know.  

 

Knowledge of Sex Toys

For those around me, I am now the official go to person for sex toy knowledge! Prior to working here, I was only aware of the very basic products such as vibrators and cock rings, thinking that sex toys were all about having an orgasm. I now know that there exist so many products out there that can be used by all kinds of people from all walks of life. From penis pumps for post-operative prostate surgery recovery to Kegel trainers to prevent vaginal prolapse, products in an adult store are about so much more than pleasure (There’s plenty of that too, don’t worry!!).

 

Awareness of the extent of sexual shame (and penis shame)

I have met countless people coming into the Oh Zone store and if there’s only thing that is extremely noticeable is how much shame we as a culture carry when it comes to sex. This plays out in so many ways, from young guys laughing and making crude jokes to mask their discomfort to people who won’t even make eye contact with me when entering the store. I also hear way too many jokes about penis size and male sex toys which is a whole other story of shaming!!  I have been in a great position to question some of these reactions at times and unburden people of the shame of sex and visiting an adult store. 

 

Happy Oh Zone Customers

For many people, working in an adult store carries with it a myriad of ideas of what it is all about as well as judgements of the sex industry. I have felt really lucky to have an insight into this work as it really is much deeper and fulfilling than an average retail job. The satisfaction you receive from seeing the effects of people opening up to you about such an intimate area of their lives compares with nothing else for me.