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|Articles - September 2013|
|Monday, August 19, 2013|
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A University of Pittsburgh-led study recently found Good Clean Love among a small handful of “safest” lubricants. But while this recognition of her work to make lubricants greener and safer to use is gratifying, Strgar isn’t quite satisfied with how the sex industry is developing. Her concerns spotlight another stage in the evolution of Oregon, and the nation’s, pleasure sector. We are inundated with products, Strgar says, many of which are mainstream enough to be sold at Fred Meyer or Walmart. However, much of the imagery used to sell the products is without context, or with a “sex anytime with anyone” ideal that she doesn’t think necessarily leads to healthy relationships.
That is the conundrum with the culture of sex in the U.S. and, by extension, the sex industry: We seem to ping-pong between an idealized “sex should equal love” philosophy on the one hand, and what Oregon author Sallie Tisdale would call catering to “cultural adolescents” on the other. Tisdale, who delved into our sexual appetites back in 1994 with her book Talk Dirty to Me, will soon issue a 20th-anniversary issue.
“When I say Americans are cultural adolescents in terms of sex, I mean we hold the dissonance of desire and shame at the same time,” Tisdale says. “Presenting images without context is one way to avoid that dissonance, but it also fuels it.”
While it may fall short, Club Sesso in downtown Portland is a uniquely Oregon-inspired attempt to have both a healthy business and a new model for sexual exchange and connection. Entrepreneur Paul Smith opened Sesso in 2009 in the midst of the economic recession, yet he says the club has always been profitable because he’s taken an old concept, sexual “swinging,” and updated it for a new audience.
Sesso’s business model is completely different than that of a strip club, where half of revenues come from the selling of dances, onstage or in a patron’s lap. At Sesso, it is membership fees, entrance fees and drink sales supporting the business. Everything else that happens, whether on the club’s dance floor, in its “couple’s room” or in its warren of glass-doored or glass-windowed bedrooms, happens between consenting adults.
Kim L., a recent transplant to Portland from a large Midwestern city, had her first visit to Sesso in the last six months. “It was similar to my first Grateful Dead concert,” she says. “It’s both glorious and a little grotesque. I think it’s a great thing that it exists, a semipublic space where I felt safe enough to have a [first bondage] experience.” Kim says in her exploration of her own boundaries, Sesso feels both welcoming and even homey.
Smith says from Sesso’s start he was determined to chase a younger demographic. Sesso patrons have a median age of 33, he says. Single females pay the lowest entrance fees to Sesso events, single males the highest and couples somewhere in between. There are parties and specialty events for bisexual and bondage-interested Sesso members, and it is one haven for Portland’s “sex-positive” community, which combines an open policy to different types of sexuality with consent and safety as high ideals.
Monday, January 26, 2015
BY JACOB PALMER
Fittingly, Light at Play — a business whose sole purpose is to create mesmerizing ambience — was conceived at Burning Man.
Sunday, February 15, 2015
BY LINDA BAKER | OB EDITOR
As the investigation against the governor moves forward, those of us in the news business should reflect on our own potential for subverting the democratic process.
Tuesday, January 27, 2015
BY LINDA BAKER
Researchers in a multitude of disciplines are searching for ways to soak up excess carbon dioxide, the compound that contributes to global warming.
Monday, February 23, 2015
BY JACOB PALMER | OB DIGITAL NEWS EDITOR
Power Lunch at Swagat in Hillsboro.
Monday, January 26, 2015
BY KIM MOORE
After more than a decade of wrangling, construction on a convention center hotel in Portland is slated to start this summer. But debate over project financing continues.
Tuesday, February 24, 2015
BY KIM MOORE | OB RESEARCH EDITOR
A partnership of a grassroots environmental organization and a youth group is striving to build community and business support for carbon price legislation.
Friday, January 23, 2015
BY DAN COOK | PHOTOS BY JASON E. KAPLAN
A real-estate developer and a Lithia Motors executive aim to revamp the city's forlorn downtown.
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Generations of students and graduates have been plagued by the question: What is my true calling in life? Four alumni from Corban University’s Hoff School of Business who graduated in different decades say the school helped them find the answer by giving them a practical, well-rounded education.
It’s happening whether anyone’s ready or not. Businesses here in Oregon and across the U.S. are already experiencing the effects of the largest generational shift in recent history, and these changing tides will impact every level of the workplace — from a company’s executive leadership to its cultural core.
Success stories spotlight meaningful career opportunities in Oregon's diverse and lucrative tourism industry.
Parkinson's Resources of Oregon (PRO) is pleased to announce, long standing Intel manager, Kelly Sweeney has joined the agency’s Board of Directors as a member at large.
Local businesses interested in offering retail items, food and beverage, or passenger services at Portland International Airport are invited to attend one of two meetings on March 17.
The Firm was recognized for the strength of its case matters during 2014, including precedents set or verdicts with notable high dollar amounts at stake.