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Issued:06/09/17

A new book released today explores the contradiction of how women experience sex shops as consumers.

The book, Consumer Sexualities, by Dr Rachel Wood from Sheffield Hallam University, explores women’s experiences of shopping in sex shops and using sexual commodities in their everyday lives.

Part of the Sexualities in Society series, Consumer Sexualities gives an insight into what sex shopping is really like for women, through an analysis of data from one-to-one interviews and accompanied shopping trips with participants.

Dr Wood shows that the idea of the sex shop ‘for women’ has become an established one in consumer culture, from the high street to designer London boutiques. While this has banished the idea of the backstreet sex shop, it has also created new pressures for women to be confident and ‘empowered’ sexual consumers.

The book shows that sex shopping is understood in many different ways, and that sexual consumer experiences can sometimes be stressful and difficult for women, from trying on unflattering lingerie to introducing a sex toy to a relationship.

Dr Wood, a postdoctoral researcher in the department of psychology, sociology and politics at Sheffield Hallam, said: "This book is not about empowering women to go in to sex shops. The research I carried out captured a real contradiction with the experience of being a sexual consumer.

There is a lot of pressure attached to being a 'modern woman', which often dictates that women should be empowered, knowledgeable and confident about their sexuality. Of course, that can feel great for lots of women, but I want to draw attention to the pressures it can create, and the many women who might be excluded from performing their sexuality in that way.

"I also wanted to show that, for all the sensationalism and titillation that often comes along when we talk about sex shops and sex toys, the experience of sex shopping and using sexual products is just as often a really everyday, routine behaviour. A favourite vibrator can be just as mundane and ordinary an object to a woman as her favourite hairbrush!"

Click here for more information about Consumer Sexualities.

For press information: Please contact Martin Webb in the Sheffield Hallam University press office on 0114 225 2621 or email m.webb@shu.ac.uk