Co-owners Jeneen Doumitt and Evy Cowan pack a lot of pleasure-inducing products into She Bop's small Portland store, which is designed to appeal to women.
// Photo by Joseph Eastburn
Ultimately, Smith attributes Sesso’s success to three things: Oregon’s liberal free-speech laws, the club’s obsession with customer service and a rising appetite amongst a younger set for sex entertainment. “On any given night, a third of the 300 people in the club are using a [bed] sheet, so another third are here for the entertainment — we are just another entertainment venue, but one that lets you take your clothes off,” he said.
Because of the multiple conscious and subconscious ideas and ideals we all have about sexuality, talking about nudity and sex as just another form of entertainment is problematic for many people. Yet if human sexuality is enormously complex, the sex business is a business like any other, one that is driven by a variety of social, cultural and market trends.
Today greener consumers, more women participants and a younger Internet born-and-bred demographic with broad appetites are pushing the industry into the mainstream. As a result, businesses from Bunnyjuice to Sesso to the latest new arrival on the Portland strip club scene — a venue called the Kit Kat Club that adds a retro-burlesque flavor to its stripping dancers — are surviving and thriving.
In Oregon their ascent can be traced to a conducive business environment, but their success is due to yet another 21st-century phenomenon: the rise of entrepreneurialism and the ability to supply this state’s demands for innovative, alternative and, some might even say, idiosyncratic products and services.