We believe that female sexual pleasure should be celebrated, not ignored, so we're blowing open the conversation around sex.
“I grew up in an environment where sexual pleasure was never a hot topic of discussion.
We didn’t delve into it over tacos at the dinner table and at school, sex education focused on condoms on bananas, sketches of fallopian tubes and genitals riddled with STI’s. Nobody sat me down and said ‘Jasmin, sex isn’t just about making babies and protecting yourself from syphilis; it’s also about pleasure and your pleasure is important. Masturbation is important, exploration is important, fantasies are important. It’s all important, healthy and natural.’
I remember my first visit to a sex store when I was 17. It was called “Barbarellas” and I snuck in there one summer’s afternoon with my boyfriend. While I can’t recall if we bought anything, I do remember leaving the store with feelings of shame and guilt - a smear of dirtiness that was hard to wash off.
I knew this feeling was wrong but I found it hard to understand why. I spent the first half of my twenties unsure of how to own my sexual pleasure, unsure of how to communicate my sexual needs to my sexual partners. I was guarded and felt like I had to put on a show; I’d fake an orgasm just to “please” a partner.
And then I realised the power of exploration and the importance of taking your sexual pleasure seriously and while I was lucky enough to stumble into awareness and undergo change, I realised so many others weren’t, they were still as I had been – unsure, ashamed and unable to prioritise their own pleasure. And this is what drove me to start House of Theodora, which I named after a lesser-known Byzantine Empress who tirelessly championed women’s rights.
The aim of HOT (as we’re affectionately known) is to blow open the discussion on sex because the worst thing you can do is encourage silence. We’re trying to boost sexual expression in two ways - one online, the other offline. Online we are building a directory and community of women who make, create & design for sexual wellness. We currently have nine categories: some women paint, some create film, some craft lingerie and accessories, others help women through tantra and others produce insightful, and at times hilarious, podcasts. The website is about celebrating and creating a safe space where these women can openly share their work & ideas free of the confines of the censorship embedded in current social networks.
Offline we have intimate, long table discussions about sex and intimacy for women. These are run fortnightly out of a quaint room in a French wine bar and have proved to be an incredibly powerful space for sexual expression. Ten of us sit around a table, drink wine and discuss the topic of the evening We leave judgement at the door and sit down with open hearts, thoughtful discussion and a wicked sense of humour. We’ve covered an array of topics such as monogamy, sexual fluidity, BDSM, anal sex, masturbation, mental illness and love.
If you have any comments or questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact us by using the form below. We love to hear from you!
Jasmin (founder of House of Theodora)
We're named after the Empress Theodora, a badass Byzantine Empress who believed in herself and from poverty, underwent a spiritual and physical journey to become an empress and a champion for womens' rights.