How Do I Find The Right Toy Store To Visit?

Dear Thalia,

My girlfriend and I have been talking about spicing up our lovemaking routine with a toy. Neither one of us has any experience with any toys so we're totally overwhelmed.  Where do we start?

Sincerely,

Treasure Chest


Dear Treasure Chest:

First of all, let me congratulate you on having a wonderfully open and intimate relationship with your girlfriend. Just bringing up the subject of toys can be difficult in some relationships. So you're already a step ahead and that is awesome!

You don't mention any embarrassment about shopping in a local toy store, which is great, so I'll leave that as an option.

I'll take your question in two parts.  First, how do you find a reputable and safe store, whether local or online? Second, once you've found the store, how do you know what toy(s) will please you and your girlfriend.

So, how do you find a reputable and safe store?

As with anything you are hoping to purchase, references from people you know and trust are the best source of information.  Ask your friends where they've shopped and their experience.  Make sure you ask both gay and straight friends and ask about local stores as well as online stores.  If you are lucky enough to have a really good friend who has a favorite store, then plan a shopping trip together. Don't forget to check out the website of the local stores you plan to visit. And it's perfectly fine to go old school and call the store and ask questions such as:

  1. Are there females on staff?
  2. Do you cater to a particular type of clientele?
  3. Do you have toys specifically for lesbians?

There are also companies such as Pure Romance whose business is based on having you host a party for you and your friends.  This can be the best of both worlds since you get to see the toys in person, with friends you trust, in a safe environment and have a party all at the same time.

Now that you have some idea where to shop, what do you buy?

There is no question this is a very individual and couple-driven decision, but I can give you some guidance.

  1. Don't go crazy buying every shape, size, and elaborate toy right away.  Purchase one or two items that you and your girlfriend both find appealing. Not only might you waste your money, but getting rid of unwanted toys can be interesting.  After all, they aren't returnable.
  2. Keep it simple. I remember a scene from Sex and the City where Samantha went to a Sharper Image store to get a replacement for the "vibrator" she'd worn out.  The sales clerk informed her that Sharper Image didn't sell vibrators. The camera panned around the store to the women shopping for a "massager".  One woman turned to Samantha and held up one of them and said, "This really is a massager."  To which Samantha replied, "Not if you mount it on the wall." The point, if something simple will add the spice you're looking for, don't waste energy trying to make it more complicated. Some toys seem like a good idea in the package but don't work so well in actual use.
  3. Go a little crazy.  Not with your money, of course.  But make one of those two items you purchase something that stretches your experience and imagination and allows you to explore a fantasy you and your girlfriend are willing to explore.