Sustainable Funding for Community Sexual Health

People like pleasure.

People also have healthcare needs.

Sometimes those healthcare needs arise from pleasure we engage in with fellow community members.

As much as we're sharing with each other, it's time we start sharing with our community health centers.

The Revolution Will Be Lubricated

Over the past two years, we found ourselves inside and isolated a bit more than usual and, after running out of things to watch on Netflix, we finally turned to books.

One doomscrolling day, we came across a magical little idea — Bookshop.org.

Bookshop is an online bookstore with a mission to financially support local, independent bookstores.
We believe that bookstores are essential to a healthy culture. They’re where authors can connect with readers, where we discover new writers, where children get hooked on the thrill of reading that can last a lifetime. They’re also anchors for our downtowns and communities.
As more and more people buy their books online, we wanted to create an easy, convenient way for you to get your books and support bookstores at the same time.

 

Every local bookstore suddenly had the inventory of Amazon!

For many of us, our community health centers are even more important than the local bookstore (though it's certainly not a competition). In many places, they are the driving force behind inclusive spaces, particularly for people of minority sexual or gender orientation.

For the better part of a year, we mused about why nothing like Bookshop existed for pleasure products and community health, until one day, we decided to give it a go ourselves.

On Valentine's Day, 2022, we're opening our [digital] doors to see if we can't build a business that creates a sustainable and symbiotic funding stream for community health centers, particularly those focused on LGBTQ+ communities.

How This Works (Today)

To being, Kalamos is simply using pleasure product wholesalers to dropship orders to customers. That means we've selected a few of their products we think might be interesting to customers and making them available for online purchase.

We'll send orders to the appropriate wholesaler and help our customers track their purchases and manage any issues.

Once we've paid for the products and our minor expenses to keep the site up and running, we'll cross-reference shipping zip codes with CenterLink's directory of LGBT Community Centers and send donations once a month.

We've got big dreams like letting Centers run their own shops, but for the time being are keeping it simple.

What Comes Next

If customers like our mission, we'd love to expand our product selection and start to personalize the experience.

In addition, we'd like to invest in tools for community health centers to both magnify their mission and accomplishments, as well as generate more funding.

As of now, there's only two of us behind the scenes, but we'd love to grow the team and the mission.

Aside from buying some lube or condoms, the two things that would be most helpful are to provide us with constructive feedback about the experience, the products, whatever, and the tell your friends about our work.

Here's to many more years of pleasurable community healthcare!

PS - Why did I keep using pleasure instead of s-e-x? Two reasons.

  1. In our experience, many of us narrowly define the S word with pleasure activities involving insertion. That leaves out a big swath of activities, and we're all about inclusion at Kalamos!
  2. It's been well documented that tech and finance industries are not enthusiastic supporters of the "pleasure" business. We're hoping to fly under their paternalistic radar and do some good.