During my continuing sexual health and pleasure education, few sources have been as influential as my friendly neighborhood sex toy store. Despite the vintage misconception of these places as seedy and the modern stereotype of intense lesbians shouting at you about dongs, the truth isn’t even near that unfortunate. Sure, I’ve got plenty firsthand experience with both of those experiences. Still, that doesn’t change the fact that sex toys stores are simply fun.
I don’t know about you, but I love being able to just look, touch, learn, and maybe buy something. Sure, you could do that at Target, any mall, a park, library, Hands On Museum, the beach, or basically anywhere else. Those places are all cool – I’m sitting at the library now in fact – but one doesn’t usually come across a vibrator shaped like Obama, a discussion on vaginal discomfort, or a butt plug that seems like it’s personally challenging you to a duel at any of those places. In fact, even the discussions transplanted to nearly any of those other locations might result in a visit to the police station – where fun goes to die.
Sex toy stores are unique in that they’re perhaps the only place where you can be fully human, vulnerable, sexy, and cool outside your own home and head. You walk into a Smitten Kitten, Babeland, or any other home of excitable shouty lesbians and it’s suddenly ok to want a cheeseburger and to get banged over the counter at Mickey D’s. Suddenly, that aching to want to desire sex is ok. Suddenly, you don’t have to feel the need to remark upon the scandal of being sexual, because it isn’t one.
In the beginning of my advocacy for the normalcy of sexuality, I had a long discussion about why sex should be less of a scandal/more integrated into every part of life. My main point then was: why not? These days, my answer is a more definitive: because, for fuck sakes, sex isn’t dirty and doesn’t “have its place.” We try to put it in a place, but it’s everywhere always. Facing it head on, like everything else, will make the world better. Better is a word which here means more comfortable, smarter, safer, healthier, cummier, more relaxed and better able to exist in life.
When we step into a sex toy store, suddenly that world exists. Even if we aren’t ready to discuss the merits of Crisco vs coconut oil, we should recognize the merits of living shame free and being able to do so if we wish. Honestly, as a gosh darn tax-paying, constitution-loving American citizen, the concept of a world of more freedom from constant compartmentalizing huge swaths of that which makes us human really appeals to me.
The older I get, the more I realize finding/expressing one’s true self is mostly about honoring your likes/dislikes and rediscovering who we were before the world told us we couldn’t be loved if we’re like that. Even when we deny or deny by omission we are still that person. When we’re 6, we may be a person who’d sell our soul for a fruit roll up, but we become more complex. As an adult, we may still love fruit roll ups, but perhaps it’s a spanking that’s got you fixated these days. That’s ok. That’s still pure. That’s still innocent. That’s still simple fun in the truest of ways.
Yeah, sex toys stores are pure wholesome fun in a brick box. I said it and stand by it.