I’m still antsy over this Fifty Shades business. It seems like the whole “mommy porn” phrase keeps turning up every time I turn my head. (You know what we should call porn intended for moms?? “Porn.” Full stop. Or possibly, “woman-oriented porn,” or “porn intended for a female audience.” Then I won’t have to stab anyone in the eye.) But I’m still reluctant to speak in greater detail on something on which I feel very ill-equipped to discuss as an expert, i.e., dirty books, good recs for people who enjoyed Fifty Shades, that perhaps don’t cause as much hair-pulling from long-time enthusiastic readers of dirty books. (I would, however, like to invite reader submissions for well-written M/F and menage BDSM erotica or erotic romance in comments or via my Tumblr ask box; I really would like to make a list, and I will happily read all the porn in the land curate. Ahem. Yes, curate.)
But in the meantime, let’s talk about places to buy sexy stuff. Like, lube, and sex toys, and safe sex supplies!
I am not going to give recommendations for specific items, because everyone’s junk is a unique and special flower of nature and what works for one of us almost certainly will not work for all. However, here are some places where you can go to read about things! And possibly have someone ship them to you in discrete wrappers:
Like most California girls of a certain age, I grew up with Good Vibrations, and I think Good Vibes is a massively important entity, but it’s also gone downhill since its sale in 2009. My number-one pick is therefore…
- Babeland, which is a Seattle fixture that also has three stores in New York, as well as events all over and a first-rate online store that ships internationally, though not everywhere. They have tons of sex education info on their website as well and are (in my experience) not unnecessarily gender-specific in terms of the quality of their advice and customer service. This may vary by location and when you visit, but the Seattle location was much more welcoming to trans* people than is the case for a lot of other sex stores I’ve been in.When I lived in Seattle, I knew a handful of people who worked in Babeland’s retail shop, and I legitimately can’t imagine a more open and nonthreatening group of people with whom to discuss your unique and special flower of nature. Their website is packed with product user reviews, and you can also chat online with a salesperson if you need some advice but can’t make it into one of their brick-and-mortar locations.
Also worth a mention: The Pleasure Chest, which has locations in Chicago and New York, Feelmore in Oakland, and Come As You Are in Toronto (Canada), all of which I recommend on the strength of second-hand reports and, in the case of The Pleasure Chest and CAYA, their online stores. (Feelmore’s online store is attractive, but doesn’t have many reviews yet—perhaps we can help out?) I’ve also heard good things about Sh! in London (UK), but haven’t ever visited them, and I find their website a little off-putting because I don’t like their color scheme [I’m sorry :( ]. Sh! is woman-focused and requires that men clients be chaperoned by a woman except for a two-hour window on Tuesday nights (which is either a pro or a con, depending on who’s reading this).
I also want to point out that while I think it’s better to support the indies when you can, Amazon has an enormous “Sexual Wellness” store, with the usual problem with Amazon reviews, but still: huge huge huge selection. Lubes, condoms, bondage gear, whatever. Personally, I probably wouldn’t buy from them unless I was purchasing a consumable product like lube or condoms, but your mileage may vary, and Amazon ships almost everywhere.
What about you all? Any suggestions for good spots to stop for supplies? My recommendations are obviously geographically biased!
(As usual, I don’t work for any of these places or get paid money for you clicking on those links.)