I became convinced of the need for a female-friendly, welcoming and upscale sex shop when I felt the full force and consequences of being a post-menopausal woman. The usual treatments for loss of sensation, libido and general shrivelling up are hormonal, and as I can’t take oestrogen (due to having had an oestrogen feeding breast tumour in 2017), there was simply no solution. The hospital could not offer any way forward; indeed I was told that no-one else had ever mentioned it. Of course every woman in my position I’ve spoken to since has shouted ‘yes! That happened to me’ in recognition and support. But few women want to talk to their oncologist – or anyone else for that matter – about their shrinking clitoris.
It was my GP who suggested going to a sex shop for advice. But instinctively I knew I simply couldn’t bring myself to go into one. The flat-roofed Adult stores punctuating the sides of A roads held no appeal whilst the blacked out windows of peripheral Private Shops did not feel like the place to talk about the unspoken downside of breast cancer. The more I talked with other women of all ages, the more I became convinced that there is a gap in the market. I found just one sex shop in the whole of the country aimed at women. Whilst it didn’t fully meet what I wanted, it provided a glimpse of what could be possible. The downside of course was that it was in London. So for me, and the many women who would struggle to get there, it is of little help.
Margo’s then is the result of my own indignation and frustration fuelled by the overwhelming support and enthusiasm for for the concept from the women and men I talk to.