Window shopping

Women’s pop-up sex and health shop coming to Birmingham.

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 Thursday 22nd March 2018, from 11.30am to 7pm, 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.

Dr Keeley Abbott, Lecturer, Birmingham City University added: “We rarely talk about the sex and relationship education needs of adults. We need to start discussing the needs of women, and in a way that acknowledges desire and pleasure. We want to hear about women’s sexual, menstrual and reproductive health needs.”

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.