Park Slope

This Is Not Your Grandmother’s Sex Toy Design Workshop [NSFW]

sid azmi
Sid Azmi, owner of Please, shows samples of dildos made of borosilicate glass. (Photo by Donny Levit / Park Slope Stoop)

By now, you’ve surely stopped in to Please (557 5th Avenue at 15th Street), our neighborhood’s sex-positive store which opened about 14 months ago.

If you haven’t stopped in, someone you know surely has. That someone may not have told you, but they’ve visited.

However, you (or your neighbor) may not have stopped in just for a sex toy, or neck collar, or wrist cuffs, or under-the-bed restraint system. Your visit likely included thoughtful and intelligent conversation about a product with owner Sid Azmi. Please may be about pleasure, but it’s about educated pleasure.

With that in mind, the upcoming collaborative workshop by local businesses Please and Brooklyn Glass (142 13th Street, between 2nd and 3rd Avenues) serves as a strong example of how our local experts and artisans can come together to offer some of the most stimulating opportunities you’re going to find in all of New York City.

This Friday and Saturday, Melt A Lover: Dildo Design At Brooklyn Glass will provide an opportunity for participants to work with glass-blowing professionals on crafting a custom sex toy idea for your body. The first session will begin with a comprehensive lecture by Azmi and a demo by resident Brooklyn Glass artisan Jordan Smith.

dildos
A selection of aesthetically pleasing dildo samples made from borosilicate glass. (Photo by Donny Levit / Park Slope Stoop)

“I want to encourage people to get to know their body,” says Azmi, as we discuss the upcoming workshop during a recent afternoon. “People don’t understand their anatomy, and I hope this [workshop]  will be of help.”

In addition to selling products at her store and hosting a slew of intriguing classes and workshops, Azmi has been teaming up with other local businesses in the area. Last February, The Sexting Variety Show with Tina Horn took place at nearby Excelsior Bar (563 5th Avenue, between 15th and 16th Streets).

We asked Azmi how the idea came about for the dildo design workshop. “David [Ablon] approached me about working on a project together,” she says.

Brooklyn Glass owner David Ablon was excited to have a chance to collaborate with Please. “This is an opportunity to help a small business in the neighborhood as they are getting started,” says Ablon. “It’s popular in the glassblowing industry nowadays to make sex toys, and it turns out we have a master scientific glass blower [Jordan Smith]. It all just came together.”

Jordan Smith will be working with the class on customizing dildos made out of borosilicate glass. For those who may raise an eyebrow about the safety of using glass material for a sex toy, this particular glass is non-porous and completely body safe. And Azmi points out that it’s both recyclable and eco-friendly.

glassblowing
Photo via Brooklyn Glass

Azmi pulls out a box of the sample dildos that she’ll be using as teaching tools in order to assist student on their personal fit. “There are so many things to discuss when it comes to preference: girth versus length, straight versus curved — and the G-spot is the key,” says Azmi.

At one point, a customer walks into Please and approaches Azmi. “I called a little while ago about the cock ring,” he says. Azmi has set it aside at the counter. “Of course” she says. The two speak about the product for awhile, and then Azmi returns to our conversation without a beat.

One of the elements of Azmi’s approach that works so well is her ability to blend well-researched information with a great sense of humor. At one point, she picked up three rather large dildos and asked me which one I preferred.

Admittedly, the floor samples she cradled in her hands were a bit frightening due to my novice background. But that doesn’t stop Azmi from explaining them intelligently in an attempt to assuage my alarm at the generous amount of inches placed in front of me.

While Azmi is showing the details of each sample, she explains the subtle variations not readily available to a newbie. “If I want there to be ridges to stimulate my clitoris, I’d suggest this one,” she says. “Now this one is also great because flat tips hit more surface area of your g-spot.”

While the workshop certainly focuses on design, participants will actually be able to spin the molten glass to create their own dildo, leaving with the satisfaction that they’ve played a major role in the development of the toy they will take home and test drive.

While Azmi is surrounded by a store full of sex toys, she always has a calendar full of upcoming events as well. From rope bondage to learning how to talk with kids about sex, Please has demonstrated the importance of creating a safe space for sexual pedagogy.

The glass dildos clink gently as Azmi places them back into a box.

“I’m not just pro-product, I’m pro-process,” she adds.

The Workshop Rundown: Melt A Lover: Dildo Design At Brooklyn Glass
What: A 2-day class with local businesses Please New York and Brooklyn Glass
Where: Brooklyn Glass, 142 13th Street (between 2nd and 3rd Avenues)
When: This is a 2-day workshop. Friday May 20, 6:00pm-8:30pm: Lecture and Demo.
Saturday May 21, 5:00pm-7:30pm: Enjoy the hands on experience.
Class Fee: $235 for the two-day workshop. Purchase tickets online. You must be 18 years or older to participate.

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