Britain’s first sex shop for women is still badass
There are a number of ways that women can buy sex toys these days. In 1992, things were a little different.
Before female-friendly toys became available, Kathryn Hoyle went out and bought one.
What she found, however, was alienating, intimidating, and suspicious. The dark and gloomy sex shops owned by the porn lords were all run by male staff – dealing only with male sexuality.
In the middle of the DVDs and the itchy panties, were the “toys”, all as phallic and graphically “realistic” as each other, locked in grimy windows.
The other customers followed her everywhere, often standing too close for comfort.
Three months later, in April 1992, and with a budget of £ 700 and a big box of fun and ironic pink paint, Hush! opened in London.
The revolutionary, award-winning shop tells Metro.co.uk that the name is a playful commentary on society’s silence on women’s sexuality – with the exclamation mark sticking its tongue out at it all.
‘Shhh! was the UK’s first sex shop for women, and it was also the UK’s very first boutique-style erotic store. Ky (Katheryn) set out to create a place where the individuality and complexity of sexuality was celebrated; a place where women could explore and discover their own, true sexual selves.
“Demonstration toys were arranged on tables, all equipped with batteries so that customers could manipulate the vibrators to feel the intensity and listen to the volume before making their decision. At that time, it was unheard of. Before a customer left the store with her new purchase, staff religiously tested each vibration to make sure it was working. This made Sh! the first store to offer guarantees on all electric toys, and to return defective waves to suppliers.
‘Shhh! was born out of passion rather than business acumen.
The sexy retailer, also the largest producer of silicone dildos in the EEC, has a one-door policy; men are only allowed accompanied by a woman. This is to ensure that women have a safe and free space to navigate.
In the summer of 1992, founder Ky came across a Roger Rabbit vibrator in a warehouse in east London. She wanted UK women to know, but knew the male-centric name was going to go away, so she called it Jessica Rabbit.
Six years before the rabbit’s famous appearance in Sex and the City in 1998 and long before it became known as the “Rampant Rabbit”, Jessica Rabbit from Sh! appeared in hundreds of women’s magazines and mainstream television shows.
People with vaginismus who may experience pain or fear vaginal penetration are now advised that they can also use Sh! products because they created a flexible silicone vibrating expansion kit, after working with the NHS.
As the first place in the UK to offer an erotica course (in 1999 by Jo King, the ‘burlesque queen of striptease’), they now regularly offer classes and workshops on many topics of sexuality. feminine.
Hush! also want women victims of domestic violence to regain their pleasure, which they want to do with their support group Café V, every two months.
Here are some creations from the revolutionary boutique that continues to redefine female sexuality: