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The Carletonian

The Carletonian

Smitten Kitten brings sex toys to Carleton to educate students

<ay in Cassat’s main lounge, a group of Carleton students passed around a plethora of sex toys as a part of Alicia Steele’s Smitten Kitten workshop. Steele came to Campus with a box full of toys and the passion to explain the nuances of sex toys to the gathered group. The Gender and Sexuality Center brought the workshop to campus as part of Pride Month.

Smitten Kitten, with stores in Minneapolis and Denver as well as online, strives to offer “high quality sex toys and equipment for people of all Genders and Sexual Orientations” in a safe environment. “[Smitten Kitten] is a sex positive sex shop,” said Steele. When the store was founded in 2003, the store only employed women, making it an inviting environment for first time female shoppers.  Since then, the store has hired male employees but it remains an inviting space for all genders.

Steele brought this safe environment to Carleton, opening the workshop with a discussion of the language she uses. To include all genders and sexes, she uses “male or female-bodied persons,” understanding that not all people with the same “parts” identify with the same gender.

When buying a sex toy for the first time, the amount of options can feel overwhelming, but the best way to find the best toy for you is to ask questions. And at the Smitten Kitten, questions are encouraged.

The workshop offered a survey of sex toys, and strived to explain the differences between the types and the various options within the type. Steele covered everything from dildos to butt plugs and of course, lube and condoms.

“A lot of sex toys are toxic,” Steele informed the group, while holding a glass jar filled with melted sex toys that are currently being sold in stores around the country. They are often made with PVC and plasticizers like Phthalates. These toys degrade, and when stored together, melt into blobs of silicone. Even worse, they are carcinogenic.

As sex toys are considered a novelty item, there are no laws to protect buyers from these toxic toys. However, Smitten Kitten has been selling body-safe toys since first opening. When buying a sex toy, the best way to determine whether a toy is body-safe is to smell it. Steele explained that if a toy smells like a shower curtain, it contains toxic materials. As she began passing around examples of toys, she encouraged the group to smell each one to confirm they are non-toxic.

Steele reminded the group throughout the workshop that every body is different, and that everyone will have different sex toy preferences. In order to find the right toy for you, you have to experiment with the different toys available. But what could be more fun than experimenting to find your favorite sex toy?

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