Monday, 19 May 2014

Sh!'s Lovely Manager & ETO Award Nominee, Renee Denyer, Talks About Erotica

Firstly, may I take this opportunity to congratulate Brit Babes KD Grace, Kay Jaybee and Lucy Felthouse on their ETO Awards 2014 nominations! Team Sh! were absolutely buzzin’ to see no less than three of our favourite authors on the shortlist – though it makes voting so much harder; we’d really like to see each of the afore-mentioned Brit Babes romp home a gong each!

I was delighted when the Brit Babes not only invited me over to their blog, but also gave me free rein. I knew what I wanted to write about – what the Brit Babes themselves do best - erotica!

The erotica genre absolutely exploded after the bestselling 50 Shades trilogy hit the shops (I purchased my copies in Sainsbury’s – fancy that!), and we saw an upswing in sales of both erotic books aimed at women, and the products mentioned in these books. And when I say ‘we’ – I should explain that I work at Sh! Women’s Erotic Emporium, the UK’s best sex shop for women.

Sh! is a place that encourages exploration and play, and what we offer is so much more than just a shop in which to buy sex toys – Sh! is a safe space for women (and their lovers) to  browse, shop and receive honest advice. We even offer cups of tea whilst you do your shopping!

As an avid and (very) enthusiastic reader of erotica, I spend a lot of time researching new titles and suggesting reads to customers who are new to it. During my many years at Sh!, I have found that women often find it easier to read erotica than to watch porn. Erotica plays out in your head; you can set the scene and edit out things you don’t enjoy. Porn is right there on the screen in front of you, complete with socks, hairy balls and pretend orgasms. It’s not for me. I much prefer anthologies like Best Women’s Erotica, where I can get my sexy fix, dipping in and out of carefully selected stories as and when the mood takes me. I’m a connoisseur – I know what I like, and more importantly what I don’t like.  In order for a book to receive a 5-star rating from me, it needs to fulfil the following criteria:

They say never chose a book by its cover… I’d like to dismiss this straight away – you need a sexy cover. Of course you need a sexy cover! It can be discreet and demurely titled like the Secret Library series by Xcite Books (especially if the only time you have to enjoy your book is during your daily commute), but really – a cover hinting at what lies inside is an aphrodisiac. I like it to grab my attention, draw me to it, and make me pick it up…

Have you felt Making Him Wait by Kay Jaybee?  It even feels sexy! Picking up a potential purchase and finding that it feels good to touch is seductive, to say the least!

Nothing beats the smell of a book hot off the press. Sizzling with newness and hot scenes, it’s difficult to ignore the scent of untouched. Sexy!

An exquisitely written sentence, cleverly punchy lines and a constant stream of filthy language – yep, it all floats
my boat!

I’m going to be bold and throw in a sexist comment here, and I absolutely own this one; erotica for women needs to be written by women. I have come across a fair number of stories supposedly written by women (read: men in pretend female persona) and the writing becomes clumsy and just not sexy. I find women write sex scenes more instinctively – the language flows and there is very little (if any) of “putting the big cock in her hole”.  I don’t know about you, but the only thing that does for me is making me frown at the page. (I’m frowning even as I’m writing this!)

Yes, sound. Hearing an author reading her own story in her own voice, as it was intended, is incredible sexy. We regularly have the Brit Babes over to the shop for evenings of erotic book readings, and each event is like foreplay in a public space. The room is usually so quiet that you could hear a pin drop (the quieter it is, the more the audience are enjoying the stories). I’ll never forget the first time I heard KD Grace read her story “Vegging” – I’m pretty sure I was blushing bright pink due to the hot flush it brought on! I hadn’t particularly considered the erotic potential of a veg plot before, but now I’m unable to past a carrot patch without thinking about what one could get up to in the midst of all the fresh produce! Now, if you are unable to join us for one of our aural evenings, I would recommend downloading a free audio book.  This, of course, has the added benefit of leaving your hands free for other things!

Reading is escapism – it offers time out from day to day life, and when coupled with one (or more!) of the amazing sex toys for women we sell here at Sh!, well..! It’s an (almost) guaranteed orgasm waiting to happen! To find vibrators and other sex toys that’ll complement and enhance you reading sessions, head over to our website to see our full range. They all come (ahem!) highly recommended…

Thank you for having me, Brit Babes ~ it’s been a pleasure! But before I go, may I just mention that Team Sh! are up for *two* ETO Awards and we’d be thrilled if you took a few minutes out of your day to vote for us. Us Sh! Girlz, we work hard, we play hard ~ and we do so like shiny, new awards!

Renee xx

Sh! Women’s Erotic Emporium
57 Hoxton Square, London, N1 6PB
T: 020 7613 5458
Qype Business of the Year 2012 & Best Shopping Venue 2012
ETO Most Innovative Retailer 2011, 2012 & 2013
Time Out 100 Best Shops in London

Twitter: @Shwomenstore
Facebook: Sh! Hoxton


  1. Renee - wow it is so good to have you come to our place for a change it's usually us invading Sh! and whirling into the shop like an erotic literary hurricane * hides fancy handbag I know you're still lusting over behind my back ;-) *

    I love reading your thoughts on reading erotica! And I am with you 100% on KD's vegging story in Best Women's Erotica 2010, that's was the first piece I'd read by her and I was blown away by the imagination and the rudeness that could occur at a vegetable patch.

    Thanks again for visiting, please come and play another time - hope to see you soon in real life :-)

    Lily x

  2. Ooo fabulous Renee! And good luck with the ETOs - now get your votes in people! x

  3. Sigh. I want to visit Sh! And I want to have a sex shop in Dublin, with also cupcakes.

  4. I love Sh!! I have never been a shop quite like it- so welcoming, so kind, and so much fun!! Plus cupcakes!! Fabulous blog hun!! Thanks for mention of MHW- it does feel gorgeous- and the cover pic was designed by someone who'd actually troubled to read the novel first so it actually fits the story- a rare thing these days! Hope to see you at ETO- huge congrats on nomination hun. Fingers crossed for u xxx


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