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Your Guide To Navigating Sex Shops

Your Guide To Navigating Sex Shops

Odds are you’ve walked past a sex shop in your lifetime—but have you ever taken the leap and gone in? If not, no worries. We know it’s harder than it looks! TBH: Walking into a sex shop can be intimidating, especially if you’re not clear on your needs or what you’d like to buy before going in.

And even if you’re more into browsing sex shops online, the abundance of options can sometimes feel overwhelming instead of exciting, no? That said, you’re not alone in your confusion. Plenty of people feel confused about navigating a sex store online and IRL, whether they’re single, coupled up, or just plain curious. 

Below, sex and relationship counselor Dr. Martha Tara Lee unpacks all the details for you, so that next time you walk by a sex shop you’ll have the confidence to actually stop by.

What will you buy?

Before entering a sex toy shop, it's helpful to have an idea of what you're interested in exploring. This could be a specific type of toy, material, or sensation. It's also important to consider your comfort level and boundaries. Are you looking for something discrete or something more adventurous? Knowing what you want to explore can help you navigate the shop more confidently. Do research beforehand, look up different types of toys and materials, read reviews, and educate yourself on what might be a good fit for you.

Ask for help!

Seriously: Don't be afraid to ask for help from the staff. They are there to answer any questions you may have and provide recommendations based on your preferences. That said, have your budget in mind beforehand so you’re able to tell them what’s in your price range.

Online vs. IRL

Shopping in person allows you to see and touch the products before purchasing them, which can be helpful in making a decision about what you think will feel best for you in the bedroom. However, if you value privacy during this experience, shopping online is probably the more convenient option that also might offer more product variety. 

Should you shop alone or with an S.O.?

As you can imagine, shopping with a partner can be a fun and intimate experience, plus it gives you a chance to fantasize about ways you can use the toys together. That said, it's important to communicate openly about your interests and boundaries before you go in, no matter how comfortable you two are together! Shopping alone, on the other hand, means you can take your time and naturally explore your own desires without any external pressure. TBH: There are pros to both options.

Are sex shops new for you?

Then start with a simple vibrator or dildo made of body-safe materials such as silicone or glass. Water-based lubricants are also a great addition to any sexual experience as they can enhance pleasure and reduce discomfort. 

Cleanliness is key! 

Sex toys should be cleaned thoroughly after each use to prevent the spread of bacteria or infection. Consider how easy it will be to clean your toy before making a purchase, and look for products that are advertised as “easy to clean” or come with their own cleaning instructions.

Note *this* before you buy

Check the store's return policy! Some shops may not accept returns on certain items, so it's important to know what your options are in case you change your mind or the product is defective. And if you’re concerned about people seeing your purchase, you can ask the store if they have discreet packaging to ensure it's not easily identifiable.

Remember: exploring sex toys and shops can be a fun and exciting experience when approached with an open mind and a willingness to learn. Prioritize your comfort, and you should be good to go. You've got this!


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