Feelmore’s LGBTQIA+ Founder and Owner Nenna Joiner edifies their approach to Pride.

(Note: This story appears in the April 2023 issue of SE Magazine)

The world is not a mirror, an exact reflection of; it isn’t glass, transparently pure, and it isn’t opaque, as in isolation. The world is a prism: light moves through the world, each of us dispersing that light through the many colors of the rainbow. 

Oakland, California was named “the most diverse city” per the United States Census Bureau’s American Community Survey this year — perhaps this is why, or how, Nenna Joiner, Founder and Owner of Feelmore, and an embodiment of diversity themselves, has devised a space that any human person can feel welcome. Joiner is sure to represent all kinds of persons in their store, not just as an ethics, but as a prism of Oakland’s light.

“What do we do for LGBT people?” posits Joiner, “We just make sure that everybody can be comfortable in [Feelmore]. And if you’re not comfortable here, you’re not supporting the LGBT community, because the foundation is diversity at its finest.”

Especially to LGBTQIA+ people, Joiner comments that they serve this customer base by: “just being an African-American, LGBT owner — that I have made sure that I’m active in the community, not just in health education, but in the economic education of the LGBT community.”

Feelmore’s relationship with the LGBTQIA+ community is necessarily vigorous, especially in light of Oakland’s imperative. Joiner’s sex shop has assumed a valuable role in guiding queer adolescents through their educational awakenings over the last decade.

“We bolster support systems and have services set up,” says Joiner, “which Oakland has yet to experience, so I would think that Feelmore has been that resource center for people to find those systems and services that are out there in the community.”

It’s a burden most commercial sex stores wouldn’t take upon themselves, as Joiner comments: “A lot of times people think about LGBT issues as a health aspect, and I think that there’s a lot more to it than just health. I would say economic education: being on board in different cities around the areas we have stores (one in Oakland and one in Berkeley) is a crucial point many people are missing.”

Joiner is personally involved in local politics; in fact, they are currently in the race for District 4 City Council. They have also served on commission boards in the cities of Oakland and Berkley which concern small businesses, working within those communities to highlight the LGBT businesses, like Feelmore and many others, to aide in their acquisitions of greater funding and other resources within the community.

Of course, in addition to sharing an abundance of educational materials, Joiner’s sex shop, Feelmore, is a pleasure haven for people of all kinds. As to the products best designed for the LGBTQIA+ community, Joiner has a fondness for the Envy by Wildflower as well as the FTM Stroker by CalExotics. But education is never far from Joiner’s mind: they explained that while these products first-and-foremost provide sexual pleasure to the LGBTQIA+ community, there are unexpected lessons in catered products such as these, which additionally serve the store as educational material — at the assistance of a well-trained staff — for those customers coming from outside of the queer community.

“Those products that say things like ‘FTM Stroker’  — a lot of people are like, ‘What does that mean?’” shares Joiner. “And so I think it’s not just about the products being for the LGBT community, but they’re a part of education for everyone else, as well.”

So which product lines are best serving LGBTQIA+ community? 

“I think they’re all serving it, honestly,” says Joiner. “I don’t think we could coexist without one another in this in this diverse sea of pleasure. Because here’s the thing, everybody is different. And you have to understand that as you make a product for one community, it may be you think it’s singularly-interested, but it’s serving a body type. And it may actually take off into other sectors you hadn’t intended.

“Like, for example, Svakom is a great product line we do very well with. They’re probably one of the few lines that actually continues to make slender products, such as the CC or the Trysta, which happen to be really nice for trans women who have just had surgery and need to keep up with their routine, which can involve vaginal insertions. We have plenty of trans people who come in looking for a slender insertion, for which we often recommend Svokom. And sure, there are communities who are looking for certain things to be marketed in certain ways. But Svakom didn’t make these products for the trans community, and yet they accomplished that inclusion.”

So what is “Pride” for a store like Feelmore?

“Pride Month is Pride Month around here,” says Joiner. “But we have that flag up year-round. We want to make sure that we’re supporting that diversity no matter what day of the year, so that people understand at all times that we’re supporting people who are different than us, sexually, mentally, physically and so on.”

If a sex store is a foundation for freedom and diversity of all kinds, but especially sexual, it’s sensical that any adult store would promote Pride at its core.

“And I think that’s also part of the LGBT celebration,” concludes Joiner. “It’s not just about who you love, but it’s who you love and how they love who they love. It has nothing to do with sexual orientation for me anymore.”

For more information, call (510)-529-4347, email info@feelmore510.com or visit feelmore510.com