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Pleasure as Priority: An Interview with Inclusive Sex Shop Founder Beth Hankes of Earth & Salt

Hey friends! I did an interview with Momotaro Apotheca, one of the apothecary brands that I carry, and wanted to share it with you. Excerpt below, and you can read the whole interview here!

We love a good origin story. Why “Earth & Salt” and why now?

Earth and Salt was inspired by the landscape of Burlington, and by the elemental and sensual aspects of the body. Earth and Salt is us and our world. It’s soil, salt, water, forests, rocks. And it’s our bodies; we are earth, we are salt. We smell and taste of it. This deeply natural and elemental nature that exists in each of us is what I hope to help people return to.

Launching this business feels so timely because we have so many things in our daily lives that separate us from our innate selves; grind culture, racism, health crises, sexism, emotional neglect. It’s easy to treat sex and sensuality as something we’ll get to when we have time, but treating sex as a silo separate from the rest of our lives is unnecessary, limiting, and harmful. My goal through Earth and Salt is to help people contextualize sex and sensuality as something both important and possible as part of daily life.

What makes Earth & Salt different from other sex shops, or online stores?

Earth and Salt as a business takes a holistic and inclusive approach to sex and pleasure, one that is more expansive than other sex shops. Through the business I am very interested in offering products that enable a connection to pleasure, no matter someone’s age, ability, race, gender, or identity. Pleasure is possible for everyone, but it looks different from person to person.

Once I launch our sex ed content we will also be sharing stories and creating workshops that offer a contextualized view of sex and pleasure. Think burnout and its effects on desire; how to find a sex therapist; the scarcity mindset and how it shows up in relationships; sex during end of life. There are so many aspects of life that interplay with sex, and bringing those into the conversation will hopefully inform and empower people to live healthier and more joyful lives.

Your “ultimate goal is to see all people free to live in their pleasure.” What does pleasure mean to you? Are there limits to who or what we define as pleasurable?

Pleasure to me is simply joy, and it can be physical, emotional, or mental. It’s important to think of pleasure in an expansive context like that, because there can be so many complexities to truly feeling pleasure in any of those types of experiences. Knowing how to access pleasure mentally when you might not be able to do so physically, and vice versa, can be deeply uplifting and comforting. So no, I don’t think there are limits to what can be pleasurable. It’s all about figuring out what works for you individually, in this period of time, and how to experience it in a healthy and confirming way. There is SO MUCH joy available to us, and I am so excited to help people access that for themselves.

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