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Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Local shop promotes healthy sexuality

SelfServe
By Zach Gould / Detroit Softworks Demo

Self Serve co-owner Matie Fricker displays the store’s most popular product, the “We Vibe,” on July 21. Self Serve offers classes to help patrons to have better, safer sex.

You don’t have to be afraid to talk about “doing it” at Self Serve.

The sexuality resource center on Central Avenue offers help to people who want to improve their sex lives.

The shop is focused on providing information about how to have better and safer sex, said co-owner Matie Fricker.

“We named the store Self Serve because your primary sexual relationship is with yourself, and you have to take care of yourself before you take care of anybody else,” she said.

Self Serve has a wide variety of toys, from eco-friendly vibrators to massage oils and candles, and everything in between, Fricker said. Self Serve also offers a variety of classes each month.

She said the store opened in 2007, and since then she and her business partner, Molly Adler, have given patrons a place to find answers to their sexual questions.

Student Liz Harper said Self Serve is a great resource for people who want to learn more about sexuality in a non-judgmental environment.

Harper said she refers her friends to Self Serve because of the laid-back vibe in the shop.

“I think it’s a really good idea to go to the classes, and I would if I had more time,” she said. “So much stuff is taboo, and girls don’t even know what they’re doing, and neither do the guys. I think it’s unnecessary for us to feel ashamed about something that everyone does. Self Serve is probably the best place to be able to open up like that.”

On Wednesday, July 29, Self Serve is hosting a class called “Beginning Burlesque.” Fricker said to check the store’s Web site because many of the classes are offered each month.

“(The class) is $30, and you get a set of handmade pasties with tassels,” she said. “The teacher is a burlesque star that has recently stopped dancing in favor of teaching. There will be women of all different sizes, shapes, colors and age ranges.”

Other classes at Self Serve include “Anatomy of Male Pleasure,” “Lay of the Land: From Anticipation to Orgasm,” “Cunnilingus 101: Going Down on the Ladies” and “BJ 101.”

The class prices range from $15 to $30. Self Serve also offers a free class every month. Fricker said the classes change from month to month, so be sure to check the Web site for the latest calendar.

Fricker said Self Serve wants to promote a healthy self-image for all women who take the classes, and she’s heard patrons say they’re more confident in themselves after they take the classes.

If taking a class is too embarrassing for you, the selection of toys could still be useful, Fricker said. Whether you want some natural lubrication made with Horny Goat Weed, which helps increase blood flow to certain areas, or you want to stock up on condoms, Self Serve can meet your needs.

The “We Vibe” ($130) is Self Serve’s best selling product, and they have a hard time keeping it in stock, Fricker said.

“This has G-spot and clitoral sensations at the same time,” she said. “If you think about what we think of as sex, there is a lot missing from it, especially sensation for females. One side is inserted and then when the partner comes in, there is the sensation of the vibration so they like it, and it puts pressure on the G-spot, and then it does clitoral (stimulation) at the same time.”

Another popular product, which originated in Las Cruces, N.M., has become the top-selling male sex toy in the world, according to fleshlight.com, and Fricker said she sees the trend in her store. Unfortunately, production for the Fleshlight has moved out of state, but Self Serve still has them on the shelf for $75.

Harper said she didn’t feel awkward or weird when she went into the store, which is important when it comes to being comfortable with your sexuality.

“It was surprisingly intimate compared to most porn stores,” Harper said. “It seemed more like a living room than a store. I have only gone to one other porn store, and the guy there just stared at me, and when I went to Self Serve I was immediately greeted and the girl who worked there asked if I had any questions.”

Harper said she was at ease when she came to Self Serve and didn’t feel like the employees were pushy.

“I’m not a person who likes a lot of attention when I shop, so the girl working there actually did really good with that,” Harper said. “She answered any questions I had but wasn’t overbearing or creepy. She just asked if I had questions and helped me if I didn’t know what a particular piece of machinery did.”

Fricker said people of all ages and genders come into the store, but she would like to see more men in the classes.

“One of our problems here is that women sign up for classes to please men, and we don’t get as many men signing up for classes to please women,” she said. “We don’t get a lot of women to sign up for classes to please themselves. In all of those classes we want to make sure that women walk out knowing how to please themselves.” Self Serve also offers toy parties for anyone who feels so inclined to browse the toys with a group of friends and get some sex tips from the staff.

“For the parties you get a group of people together and either you come to the store or we can go to your home,” Fricker said. “We spend an evening talking about sex and going through safer sex and talking about the anatomy of the clitoris and how it works and where the G-spot is. They’re kind of like Tupperware parties, but with a buzz.”

“Beginning Burlesque”
Self Serve
3904B Central Ave. S.E.
Wednesday, 7:30 p.m.
$30
SelfServeToys.com