Buying sex toys should be an all-round positive experience. Whether you’re looking to go bargain hunting in the sales, or to supplement Santa’s gifts, or even to shop yourself out of the post-holiday blues, you have a couple of shopping options. Online is the obvious choice but I am writing from the dark heart of London’s Soho. Sex shops abound and this got me thinking. What are the benefits of heading into the shops for IRL experiences?
Take this anecdote for instance.
Late one January, after many cocktails in an underground bar, my boyfriend and I decided to explore the nearby sex shop. We had a vague plan to get some lube because we had run out, and he had always wanted to compare cock rings. It was too good an opportunity to miss. Upon entering the warm shop we left the door accidentally ajar. The owner comically exclaimed, ‘shut it, will you gorgeous! Were you born in a barn, otherwise spanky spanky!’
As my boyfriend turned to ensure it clicked shut, he bent over cheekily, and invited the guy to do his worst with a handy paddle. We all dissolved into giggles, as enjoyed the relaxed atmosphere. We chatted to the man about the joy of owning one of the oldest sex shops in London. We covered conservation issues, licensing and the police, the porn industry, changes in sexual tastes, and the peccadillos of regular customers.
We left with a recommended lube which turned out to be the best we’d ever had, and the merits of various sex toys had been discussed. The man was helpful, knowledgeable and we had gained an understanding of what it takes to run a shop like this. It had been a memorable experience which we would have missed if we’d simply gone online.
Regardless of the real experience in a physical shop, there are clearly benefits to online. If you know exactly what you want, you can do your research. You can look about for the best deals, as well as take advantage of any coupons. You have a world of product choice and availability. You can also explore feedback from other customers about the product, and whether it is satisfactory.
If you’re shopping online you can do it at any time, at your own convenience. Websites also guarantee privacy and discretion with anonymous packaging and careful bank statement labelling. No one will know your sexual tastes unless you explicitly share it with someone. An online service wants all their products to arrive in perfect condition, therefore if something is defective, you can return products within 30 days of receipt for a refund or exchange.
Physical shops have a downside as they are often more expensive and have less choice. But in my view there is room for both. When part of a city is renowned for adult entertainment and sex shopping, the character of the venue and quality of the service is crucial. The personality makes for a positive consumer experience. But as I’ve outlined, the benefits of online sex toy shopping make it irresistible to many people.