Queer-owned Self Serve is spreading the message of body and sex-positive education and products
Entrepreneur Matie Fricker is an absolute juggernaut of positive energy. I've witnessed this first hand after meeting Fricker in person two years ago. Her no-nonsense and no judgment approach is accompanied by a deep appreciation for self-love, self-acceptance, and social justice. It makes total sense that Fricker is behind Self Serve, Albequerque's sex-positive, health-and education-focused adult shop and resource center. Not only does Self Serve offer a wide variety of adult-focused toys, accessories, and classes, everyone on staff is a trained sex educator. The result is a queer and sex-positive environment, and not only a business but a resource for the entire community. Fricker was kind enough to answer a few questions about Self Serve, which ships across the country. on
Queer Media Matters: How did Self Serve get its start?
Matie Fricker: Self Serve opened in 2007 when me and Molly Adler opened Self Serve's doors in Albuquerque, New Mexico. We had worked at another sex shop in Boston and wanted to open up our own shop in a new place. We did some market research and decided that Albuquerque was a good fit. Since 2007 we've hosted porn festivals, expanded our staff, I bought out Molly's half of the business and became sole owner, moved into a bigger space, and now we've managed through a pandemic. Self Serve is born out of a community of amazing people who have offered up their time and resources to keep us going. Between micro-loans to start the store to a GoFundMe for when our store was being targeted/vandalized, we've always been as strong as the vast community that surrounds us.
QMM: What makes Self Serve different from other adult-focused stores?
MF: Self Serve is different from other adult shops because our mission believes that all bodies are good bodies deserving of love exactly as they are right now. We test and review all of our products before we decide to sell them, so we have bad sex, so you don't have to. So much of what's in the adult industry can have unsafe materials, packaging/names based in stereotypes, and bigotry. We work to only carry products we feel good standing behind. We only carry body-safe, non-toxic products, and we know what makes our inventory good and which toys might be a good fit for different people. We strive to create a consent education-focused approach to our employee training so that you will feel supported in exploring yourself and your pleasure in a way that feels good for you.
QMM: Why is education so important to you and Self Serve?
MF: Education is important to Self Serve because we know that most of us received inadequate and often harmful messages around sex, bodies, sexuality, gender, and relationships. We're often left feeling like we're broken in some way because of inaccurate education. We think that as long as you're being safe and consensual with yourself and your partner/s, you can have a much or as little sex/intimacy as you want without feeling shame, fear, or guilt. With education helps empower us to know and advocate for ourselves, we think we can create a more healthy and just landscape for us to be who we are.
QMM: How did and has Self Serve dealt with the Covid crisis?
MF: Self Serve has handled the COVID crisis by being adaptable and prioritizing the health and safety of our staff, customers, and community. We have ceased our in-store operations and, for several months, were only offering orders shipped to customers' doors and virtual classes. Recently we've expanded into doing curbside pickup as well, and that has helped us continue to prioritize the safety of our staff and customers while also reaching more of our customers. The pandemic has given us the opportunity to grow our online shop more and explore new and different business models.
QMM: How can people purchase items from Self Serve, and do you have any recommendations for items you think are really wonderful right now?
MF: People can shop our online store and have their items shipped, or if they're in Albuquerque, we can offer curbside pickup Wednesday - Sunday. We always encourage people to think about what will bring more pleasure into their life right now. We make really amazing massage oil candles that work both as a way to set a mood and a gently warmed massage oil you can pour onto your or someone else's body for a sensual rubdown. We also always recommend finding a few lubes that you love. We offer miniature sizes of some of our lubes, so you can try water, silicone & oil-based to see what lube works best for your body, safer sex supplies, and toys. Sex tech is always evolving, and one of the new trends we see are suction toys intended for people with a vulva. The suction toys provide a different sensation from a vibrator, and they are becoming very popular with us and stores like us, as people explore new pleasure sensations.