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Apr 262011
 

I bought my first sex toy at the sex shop in my college town. Appropriately located next to a bridal shop, Cynthia’s sported shelves and shelves of colourful boxes. Cynthia herself was a coifed, perfumed, French-tipped shop-owner who seemed to specialize in rushing me out of her store. One windy day, I walked in and timidly asked about g-spot vibrators. I was handed a slim plastic toy with a curved end that looked as if it was designed to go fishing and catch my g-spot, not massage and stimulate it. My query about whether this hard, pointy presence would indeed feel good was waved off, and my purchase totaled. Not feeling as if I could ask more questions, I payed the thirty-some-odd dollars and left.

The toy was indeed too hard and pointy. I used it externally until the motor started overheating. When it became so hot after short periods of use that it threatened to burn me, I prepared to send it to the great sex-toy graveyard in the sky. My boyfriend (now husband) encouraged me to keep it for posterity. I have that toy still, stuck in the back of a drawer.

How did this happen? How did I walk out of a store without feeling comfortable that I got what I wanted?

IN the midst of our hurried discussion, Cynthia had let it slip that she’d just spent an hour with a man, helping him choose a toy for his wife. Why didn’t she spend that time with me? This was almost ten years ago, when there were fewer toys on the market, but surely there was more than one toy in that store marketted for G-spot play.

I imagine that Cynthia saw a young, blind college student, clad in jeans and a sweat shirt with fatigue circles under her eyes and wild windswept hair. I imagine that Cynthia saw this girl and reasoned that she probably didn’t have a lot of money. I imagine that Cynthia got snagged on my blindness–no, I know she did, because she spent more time worrying out loud about how I would manage to put the batteries in my toy. Yes, showing me how this was done was helpful, worrying about it and ignoring my question about pleasure was not.

What would I have liked my experience to have been? I would like to have been welcomed into the store. I would have liked to have my request for G-spot toys responded to with at least two options, laid out side by side so I could explore their merits and differences. I would have liked it to have been the kind of store where toys were laid out, ready to be handled and explained. I would like to have not felt like an interloper, to have felt instead that subtle shift that let me know I was accepted.

I left that city behind a long time ago, and no longer have a sex shop within walking distance of my home. That slightly uncomfortable, lackluster encounter is the only in-person sex toy shopping experience I’ve ever had. I’m hoping to one day soon be able to shop in person with some of the excellent online retailers I’ve used—
Babeland and Good Vibrations are both on my list.

We all deserve a positive toy shopping experience. If you are lucky enough to have a friendly toy store near you, go support them. Buy something you love and tell the store employees how wonderful their store is. If you need something different from what they’re offering you in terms of products or services, tell them; the way they respond will tell you a lot about the ethics of their store.

I love hearing different people’s experiences. What was your first toy-buying experience like? What was your favourite toy-shopping experience?

  One Response to “My First Trip to a Toy Shop”

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