As a forward thinking girl who is all for equal rights, I loved talking to Sophie Hollloway from teaseware designers HollowaySmith Noir. These girls are stalwarts on the burlesque scene, have made nipple tassels and teasewear for Coco De Mer and most recently have launched a diffusion line with ASOS under the name Gigi Noir. This is a bold move for ASOS and it makes total sense that they make it together with the Holloway Smith Noir team.
This line is aimed at a slightly younger market and so alongside their new range they have launched a campaign for pleasure based sex education. The title of this campaign is Ladies Come First. Halleluiah! It is taking sex education from a completely different angle, taking it out of a biology book and into the real world. It deals with gender roles and is something they are really passionate about. They have been around longer than the 50 shades (yawn) phenomenon that won’t go away. They aren’t just jumping on the bandwagon – these girls are the bandwagon!
I asked Sophie a few questions on the campaign:
What inspired you to rip up the old rulebook and write your ‘Ladies Come First’ guide?
Currently we teach the male orgasm through procreation education and ignore the female, the male sexual anatomy in biology ignoring the clitoris. We are unwilling to sit by any longer whilst this and added pressure from widespread access to pornography continues to shape the way women understand sex and pleasure. We want to be the antidote and offer women the opportunity to learn about their pleasure through what we see as 4 key principles.
Territory – Understanding the female sexual anatomy
Because in principle our anatomy is more or less the same but in practice we are all a bit different we feel this section needs to be discussed in great detail so that we can learn and understand how best to gain female pleasure.
Pleasure – To be discussed from a genital and extra genital perspective.
It is important to us that sex is viewed not just as penetration any longer and that the intimate experience as a whole needs to be discussed and appreciated, highlighting pleasure that isn’t solely orgasmic.
Boundaries – Giving permission for females to explore their own bodies to gain greater understanding of their own sensitivities and desires. Putting importance on being aware prior to sexual activity what you want and are happy with. This can change of course but something that is valuable to think about.
Communication – This principle is split between better communicating about sex with friends, the ability to communicate desires and instruction to sexual partner and teaching Good Consent.
How do you want to change people’s perceptions on pleasure?
By shifting focus to a more rounded view on what sex with a partner is, we hope to allow for pleasure to be perceived in a multiple of ways. Although the campaign title suggests we are fixated on female orgasm we actually want to discuss the pleasure of stimulating many senses and how that has a positive effect in our sex lives from a female perspective. It seems that the greatest opposition to pleasure based sex education comes from a place where the opposer is achieving orgasm almost 100% of the time. It is of great importance that we prove our theory through building blocks towards an equality between men and women when it comes to pleasure.
What is next for the campaign?
We are currently building a community of supporters through crowd funding a ‘Guide to the Female Orgasm‘ we wish to distribute at 3 University ‘fresher’s week’ this September. We hope to build relationships with the Universities Women’s Associations to continue with our grass roots activism through a programme of workshops and events.
We will be continuing to build our own hub of pleasure based sex education and discussion at ladiescomefirst.co.uk and continue in our quest highlighting this issue through the media and community support.
If you want to support the crowdfunded programme you can do so here