Thursday, December 11, 2014

Shopping for Sex Toys

So many dildos, so little time!

Yes, sex stuff sells, and carnality and capitalism have proven to be a winning combination. What was once an underground trade, advertised in the back of naughty magazines, has turned into Big Business. Want a jack-off sleeve with an aperture shaped like an asshole? Just the right lube for fisting? A buttplug hung like a horse? A super-duper sling? Inescapable restraints? The perfect flogger? Just hand over your credit card and bigger, better orgasms can be yours. (Though if you live in Arizona you’d better curb your compulsive shopping, since you can’t legally keep more than two dildos in your domicile.)

Sure, guys can have plenty of fun with no paraphernalia beyond hands and a hard-on.  But good times—especially good, kinky times—can be even more gratifying if you have the right equipment. Let’s face it: your palm can get awfully sore from administering a bare-bottom spanking. Wouldn’t you prefer a swell leather paddle that makes a gratifying WHAP while it blisters his butt? Or wrist restraints that absolve you of the responsibility of learning rope bondage?

In these high-tech times you can shop online for just about any sexy apparatus, from anal beads to a zip-up body bag, but there’s really nothing better than checking out the goods in person. Salespeople who can point out what you might enjoy, and what kind of lube to use with it, are infinitely more valuable than the hype of online adverts. And fortunately, most major metropolitan areas feature truly pleasant sex shops. Not those jack shacks out on the interstate, the ones that advertise “Bachelorette Party Supplies” and are often as not staffed by skeevy guys who look like they work traveling carnivals…though those places have their place, too.

To be sure, the lower depths can be fun. Sleazier stores often include “video arcades” featuring porn-viewing booths suitable for solitary masturbation….or more. But that’s a topic for another day. Given the choice, why not patronize clean, well-lighted shops stuffed with quality goods and staffed by knowledgeable pervs like you and me?

Going sex shopping with the one you love (or lust after) can be loads of fun, especially where trying on fetishwear is concerned. And the wonderful world of sadomasochism, with its leather and shining steel, is especially merchandise oriented. I can recall taking a self-described “slave” shopping at San Francisco’s premier emporium for leatherfolk. (And yes, it was his idea.) It was delightful to see his acquisitive little eyes light up at the sight of all that cowhide, and equally lovely to watch him try on harnesses and naked-butt chaps. But given the sad state of Sir’s bank account and the swoon-worthy price tags, it was just as well that he’d previously told me he was willing to foot the bill. When shopping for adult knick-knacks, the basic guidelines for buying anything still apply, even to tit clamps.

First, know something about what you’re shopping for. Silicone dildos, for example, are the Cadillacs of fake phalluses. They’re pricier, but they feel great and you can throw them in the dishwasher next to the Fiestaware.  (They do tear more easily than latex, though, so keep the chainsaw away.)
Second, don’t overbuy. Sure, your anal aperture may be able to accommodate that super-sized buttplug one day. But if you’re just getting into bondage, plunking down big bucks for a set of cast-iron manacles maybe a kinky case of too much, too soon. Why not start out by buying some rope from the hardware store and find out first whether restraint is your forte?

Do keep safety in mind. Cheaply made or badly designed toys can actually be hazardous. If you’re going to buy a vibrator for your butt, make sure it has a sizable flanged base or a pair of balls. Going to the emergency room with a buzzing sex toy lodged crosswise in your colon can cast a pall over Saturday night. Make sure that whatever you put on or into your body is non-toxic. And a dildo with a wire core? Uh-uh.

And just like Mom always told you, it pays to buy quality. Don’t cheap out by buying cheesy restraints that will fall apart when the going gets rough. A bargain-priced penis pump that doesn’t properly pump a penis is nobody’s idea of a smart purchase.

Buying a surprise present for that special sexy someone? Keep in mind the message that your gift will convey. If your boyfriend always wanted to be a cross-dressing slut, those plus-size crotchless panties might be just the ticket. A thoughtfully intended gift of a deluxe cock ring, though, might inadvertently say, “I know you have trouble keeping it up, so here’s a little something to help.”

A final parental note: When browsing at sex stores, a degree of politesse is called for. Just like the clientele in the clap clinic waiting room, the folks you run into at the ball-stretcher counter may be assumed to have a certain interest in sex. Discreet cruising of your fellow shopper is thus hardly out of line, but don’t expect more. And don’t harass others, no matter how horny the smell of leather makes you.

All that being said, there’s a whole wide, wonderful range of sexy stuff out there to choose from. Just remember that the body and the mind are the very best sex toys of all, and even a big drawerful of tchochkes won’t turn a dud into a stud. Now, about all those dildos….

by Simon Sheppard

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