The Tulane Hullabaloo

Sex sells: Dynamo strives to de-stigmatize, encourage sexual health

Dynamo%2C+a+sex-positive+sex+shop+in+New+Orleans%2C+aims+to+encourage+safe%2C+fun+sexual+practices+while+de-stigmatizing+the+topic+of+sex%2C+a+message+that+can+be+particularly+impactful+on+college+students.+
Dynamo, a sex-positive sex shop in New Orleans, aims to encourage safe, fun sexual practices while de-stigmatizing the topic of sex, a message that can be particularly impactful on college students.

Dynamo, a sex-positive sex shop in New Orleans, aims to encourage safe, fun sexual practices while de-stigmatizing the topic of sex, a message that can be particularly impactful on college students.

Cadence Neenan | Senior Staff Photographer

Cadence Neenan | Senior Staff Photographer

Dynamo, a sex-positive sex shop in New Orleans, aims to encourage safe, fun sexual practices while de-stigmatizing the topic of sex, a message that can be particularly impactful on college students.

Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.


Email This Story






Dynamo does not fit into the old archetype of New Orleans sex shops. It’s not a stone’s throw from the shambles of Bourbon Street, there’s no loud neon sign outside announcing its presence and, even after a thorough look through the store, there appears to be no penis-shaped candy on the shelves.

It’s perhaps this level of normality that allows Dynamo to serve its purpose of challenging the typical sex-shop model. The owners consider it to be one of New Orleans’ only sex-positive sex shops.

Dynamo opened as an online store and pop-up shop in 2013, and since November of 2017, it has been housed in a small brick-and-mortar shop in the South Seventh Ward. Driving down St. Claude Avenue, you could almost miss it – a small white shotgun house with lime green doors and a small sign proclaiming that Dynamo, “an independent, female-run, female-friendly romantic boutique,” is open.

At first glance, the store feels more like a quiet boutique on Magazine Street than a sex shop. The space is flooded with natural light, antique-looking bookshelves and, well, a try-it-yourself lube station right at the entrance of the store.

Cadence Neenan | Senior Staff Photographer
In an effort to promote an open, accessible attitude toward sexual health, Dynamo offers a lube testing station.

This was the intention of store creators and owners Hope Kodman and Nico Darling when they opened Dynamo’s brick-and-mortar location.

“We really wanted our shop to be welcoming, beautiful, kind of artistic and just be a place that people would feel proud to come in and feel proud to leave with a bag or two in hand,” Kodman said.

The inventory at Dynamo is also different from what you might expect to find at a more “Hustler Hollywood”-esque shop. Where you might expect to find unpliable plastic pleather, Dynamo stocks locally-sourced leather harnesses and restraints. And while there aren’t many copies of “Fifty Shades of Grey,” there are titles like “The Ultimate Guide to Orgasm for Women,” “Curvy Girl Sex” and “The Adventurous Couple’s Guide to Strap-on Sex,” on display.

Cadence Neenan | Senior Staff Photographer
Dynamo’s sex-positive attitude goes beyond just toys and accessories to include books and other resources.

This, too, is intentional on the part of Kodman and Darling. The pair works to carefully curate the inventory of the store based on how safe it is, how well it works and feedback from store patrons.

“Sex toys are an unregulated industry,” Kodman said. “They can put things in sex toys — in terms of chemical materials — that you can’t put in children’s toys and that you can’t put in dog toys in some states. And so we really, really are careful to make sure everything we sell is what we call ‘body safe.'”

The culture at Dynamo goes beyond the inventory itself. According to Kodman, the true reification of a “sex-positive sex shop” comes from the conversations held within the store. Both Kodman and Darling are devoted to providing a space where their customers can come in with just about any question they might have about sex, be it kinks, relationships or sexual health.

“The overarching question behind almost every question we get is, ‘Is this normal?'” Kodman said. “And the answer is, 99.9 percent of the time, ‘yes.’ Normal is relative. Everybody has their own desires, has their own pasts that they bring in, and it’s really just giving permission to people to express themselves and feel comfortable in their sexuality.”

Cadence Neenan | Senior Staff Photographer
Dynamo takes the opportunity to educate patrons on safe sex in addition to offering products to put them into practice.

This is why Dynamo has the potential to serve as such an important resource for Tulane students. In an environment where “sexual education” is often limited to a bin of free condoms in a dorm lobby, a sex-positive, educational resource 20 minutes off campus is a big deal.

Both Kodman and Darling have interacted with Tulane’s campus to some degree. Darling has taught a few undergraduate and graduate classes in Tulane’s public health and gender and sexuality studies departments, and the two hosted a “toy party” in one of the dorms on campus, bringing some of their inventory to Tulane and taking anonymous questions about both the toys themselves and sexual relationships.

One of the main objectives of Dynamo is working to erase the stigma around sex. The store’s website expresses its mission, stating, “We believe that sex is a lot of things — it’s beautiful, it’s natural, it’s silly, and it’s fun. It’s important. What it shouldn’t be is shameful.”

This rings true in the calm, quiet energy of the store itself. Where most sex shops in New Orleans can be overwhelming, wrought with fluorescent lighting and Pitbull blaring from the speakers, Dynamo provides an environment to safely talk about sexual practices, and maybe buy a vibrator or two.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Leave a Comment

If you want a picture to show with your comment, go get a gravatar.




Student newspaper serving Tulane University, Uptown New Orleans
Sex sells: Dynamo strives to de-stigmatize, encourage sexual health