LOVE & SEX ‌ Down and Dirty 

The ins and outs of sex toy shopping

Sex shops are no longer relegated to the nether regions of society, a place only truckers and straying preachers would dare go for a fix of porn or a naughty sex toy to use on their girlfriends. Sex has made its way into mainstream culture. Indeed, porn has become so mainstream, the industry has its own awards show in Vegas. It won't be long before E! and Isaac Mizrahi are on the red carpet of the Adult Video News Awards.

But some folks feel left out of the party. Maybe they grew up with strict religious mores, or perhaps they're just not that comfortable with their sexuality. Can you imagine someone who does it with the lights out walking into a sex shop to buy some "marital aids" to help spice up their sex life? Well, guess what? It happens all the time. Sex shops these days don't just cater to guys who like hardcore anal sex videos (although they definitely have those), they also provide a service to couples, single women, and lonely people looking for a little companionship (or a fake twat).

But how do you buy a sex toy? What do you look for? Is bigger always better? Let us guide you through the wonderful world of sexual pleasure. If you're easily offended, please stop reading now (if you haven't already).

How To Buy A Sex Toy

1) Find the nearest sex shop. If you've never been into a store that caters to the world of sex, you should check it out. At Fun-4-2 in West Ashley, the setup is clean, unassuming, and somewhat respectable (you probably wouldn't want to go here with your mom). The real fun is hidden behind an "adults only" door, where there's a room with an astounding array of vibrators, bullets, dildos, and dolls. This is a family-run establishment, and the husband and wife who own the place are happy to guide you to your pleasure. Feel free to browse the goods on your own, or ask questions, and they'll answer them as matter-of-factly as if you're talking about a recipe for artichoke dip. And you should ask questions, because a lot of these toys don't come with very good instructions. Some are self-explanatory, but others (like the Dolfinger) may require some inside information on how to get the pleasure you desire.

2) Throw a Joygirl Party.If you're too shy to be seen going into an adult establishment, a sex toy party may be the thing for you. If you host one, and invite your girlfriends over, you could even make some money. Joy Ribisi runs Charleston-based Joygirl Parties, an affiliate of Passion Parties, "where every day is Valentine's Day." She'll come to your house and bring her toy box with her. She'll introduce you to some of the toys and let you touch and hold them (in a platonic sort of way). She'll also give you fun, lighthearted directions on how to incorporate these items into your bedroom shenanigans. Her products have been known to save a few marriages. She'll take your orders and leave you alone with your new toys (and a 10 percent cut of the sales). It's easy, discreet, and fun for you and your friends, and all the products get put into a sleek, black bag so your neighbors

will be none the wiser. (For info, call 364-3820)

3) Order online. What did we do without the internet, when to get your porn fix you had to ask the girl at the Lil' Cricket for the magazine in the brown plastic wrapper? The anonymity of the net gives us the opportunity to let our freak flags fly. So if you're a little hesitant to buy that life-size doll from someone you could run into at the grocery store, then the internet might be the best place for you to do your browsing. Just be sure you're the one who accepts the package. You don't want your roommate or neighbor getting their hands on Gigi, the masturbation sleeve modeled after a real vagina!

4) Make your own. Sex toys can be pricey. There aren't too many bargains and you're unlikely to find a sample sale anytime soon. Before there were silicone pussies in a box, there were melons, cucumbers, balloons, and any number of household goods that could be converted into objects of pleasure. For more DIY sex toy info, visit It'll be good for a laugh, if nothing else.


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