UNIVERSITY NEWS LAST UPDATED : 08 MARCH 2018
In a UK first, academics at Birmingham City University are opening a pop-up sex and health shop as part of International Women's Day celebrations this month.
Vagina Quotient, or ‘The VQ,’ will bring together some of the country’s best female-led independent sexual health businesses and organisations to Birmingham’s city centre, providing a fun, safe and sex-positive space for women, of all ages and backgrounds, to learn and talk about their sexual health and wellbeing needs.
This free, one-day event will be held on the 22nd of March 2018, from 11.30am to 8pm, in the Great Western Arcade; a hub of award-winning, independent retailers, located in a Grade II listed arcade.
The project is co-led by Dr Annalise Weckesser, a medical anthropologist whose research explores issues of gender and health, and Dr Keeley Abbott, a critical social psychologist who specialises in sexuality, gender and sex education.
Dr Annalise Weckesser, Senior Research Fellow at Birmingham City University, said:
“We have communication taboos around menstruation, sex and menopause in Britain. Time and again, research shows that this silence and stigma leads to negative consequences and health risks for girls and women."
“With this initiative, our hope is to create a space for open conversation where we can help begin to break down these taboos.”
Visitors to ‘VQ: A women’s health, sex and pleasure shop’ can speak with sexual health and women’s health experts while they discover and purchase unique sex and health products. Such products include the latest sex apps and toys, alternative sanitary products (period pants, mooncups and more) and aids for menopause.
James Roberts, centre manager at Great Western Arcade, said: “We are always eager to partner with unique events and refreshing projects, and this is no exception. VQ is a fantastic initiative and serves as a great way to push the boundaries surrounding women’s sexual needs. We are really looking forward to welcoming VQ and its visitors to the arcade.”
Many products available at the VQ are only available online; the pop-up shop offers visitors an exclusive chance to see these products in-person and to learn more about them from the experts.
The line-up includes:
- Sh! Women's Erotic Emporium, the UK’s longest running, multi-award winning female-focused sex boutique from London.
- WUKA, luxury period underwear, will offer visitors a chance to see and purchase these special pants before their launch date.
- OMGYES,a research-based app (championed by actress Emma Watson) that teaches different techniques women use to find pleasure, which can be trialled and purchased on the day.
- Precious Stars, eco-friendly reusable sanitary products - a social enterprise started by Bryony Farmer who runs a popular YouTube channel on menstrual health for young people.
A unique opportunity to take part in an original art piece with Kaye Winwood Projects. Women may make casts of their hands in the positions they use to masturbate. Anonymised casts will be used to make a display representing the diversity of women’s pleasure techniques.
Birmingham LGBT’s Well Woman's Sexual Health Clinic offering sexual health information, free STI screenings, and giveaways.
A raffle will also be taking place on the day which includes prizes such as limited edition Eros candles, gift vouchers, Spa vouchers and a voucher for two macaroons and a glass prosecco for two people at Miss Macaroon’s patisserie in Great Western Arcade.