Local Online Sex Store “Curious” First to Offer Body-Safe Toys
Bake Me Happy owners Letha and Wendy Pugh are teaming up with local sexperts Chelsea Varnum and Kristin Torres to bring the first-ever body-safe sex shop to Columbus.
“If you want to know if a toy is body-safe or not, you can smell it,” said Varnum, who earned a degree in human sexuality education. “Most toys smell like new car, shower liners, you know that smell. And that is the smell of phthalates.”
As an industry, sex toys go wildly unregulated. They’re usually made from plastic, softened using chemicals called phthalates. These chemicals have been linked to cancer, and are heavily regulated in children’s toys.
Varnum and her business partners’ online store, Curious, sells toys made with medical grade silicone or stainless steel, making them easy to sanitize. Varnum said they can be placed in the dishwasher or boiled clean, and, being non-porous, there won’t be any bacteria left behind.
Curious officially launched in January with the purpose of providing these safe toys while also educating the masses on various sex-related topics. The first popup class since their launch will be on March 16 at It Looks Like It’s Open art studio in Clintonville. It’s called Sex Toys 101, and it sets out to educate the community on phthalates, as well as how to choose the right toy. Other classes, like Viva La Vulva, Booty Basics and Revolutionary Relationships address anatomy, anal play and non-traditional relationships like non-monogamy and polyamory.
Each $20 class looks at topics through an inclusive lens, keeping in mind all relationship types, orientations and gender identities. Varnum said it’s part of their company values to be welcoming and trustworthy, using “best practices, but also using our own experiences, too.”
“We are a queer-owned company, so all of us identify as in the LGBTQ group,” Varnum added. “We want to make sure that all of our classes are reflective of that, and that we’re able to bring our community into those as well as anyone who wants to show up.”
On site they’ll have sample products that people can order and receive in roughly a week and a half. Once they build their own inventory — after they’ve raised enough money through their classes — people will be able to purchase toys on their website or walk away from Curious classes with them.
By providing these safe alternatives, Curious does the work for their clientele, researching businesses and their practices, and handpicking toys so that “they don’t have to run around figuring out whether or not these chemicals are in their toys and lubes.”
After Curious is established online, Varnum said they look forward to opening their own brick-and-mortar location, hopefully in the next year or two.
For more information, visit www.curioustheshop.com.