Over the past year or so, I have visited the few sex shops that exist in the D.C metro area, in addition to the one I consider supreme in New York City. This review does not include every sex shop in the area, but it’s a start.
I used several standards in reviewing the local sex shops.
A good sex shop should have a comfortable and inviting environment. One would think all sex shops are inherently inviting because—c’mon—it’s a sex shop! What could be more alluring and intriguing than a store full of temptations?
This is not the case for all sex shops. While there is always something sketchy about sex shops, some seem sketchier and more awkward than others.
There needs to be a variety of merchandise. This is probably the most important gauge of the quality of a sex shop. A sex shop should have a wide range of items at various costs. In other words, there should be something for everyone.
The merchandise should be displayed in a user-friendly manner. Given that there is a variety of merchandise, there should definitely be some “try me!” items on display to touch and feel. If you plan on inserting something into your vagina, you want to know how it works and feels before you buy it, because sex toys tend to cost a pretty penny.
A good sex shop should have friendly employees. Obviously, this is important and relevant to the comfort of the customer. Buying sex toys, condoms and other sex related items is already somewhat awkward. An awkward salesperson would just make buying things from a sex shop impossible.
I do not take the price into account in my reviews because the prices in each store are too similar to make a difference. Sex toys generally fall within the same price range at any retailer.
On the other hand, the price of condoms can vary more from place to place. If you’re looking for well-known brands, such as Trojan, you’re better off buying condoms at Wal-Mart, where they’re the cheapest. If you’re looking for higher quality condoms, such as Kimonos, I recommend paying the higher price at a sex shop because it is worth the money.
The Pleasure Place is located 1710 Connecticut Avenue NW, in the DuPont area of D.C.
While the employees were extremely kind and helpful, the shop was a bit stale. The store was bland, aside from the sexual objects in it. The variety of items was neither horrible nor exceptional.
Moreover, many of the sex toys were placed behind a glass shelf. In order to touch some of the vibrators, I had to ask an employee to get it out of the glass case. Granted, many of the items behind glass were the most expensive ones; however, most other sex shops keep them on display despite the price. If you’re a night owl like myself, the hours at The Pleasure Place are definitely the best in D.C.; the shop doesn’t close until midnight Wednesday through Saturday.
As for the website, it feels a bit archaic and plain to me. There is a good chance that the store has been recently renovated but I am not entirely positive. The website and reviews do not explicitly mention it but the picture on the website looks much better than what I saw last spring when I visited the shop.
In my opinion, Secret Pleasures is the best sex shop in D.C. It is located at 1510 U Street NW. The environment is warm and inviting. Sweet scents and a smiling, welcoming employee greeted me as I walked into the shop.
Overall, Secret Pleasures is a classy establishment with a decent variety of sex related items: from lubes, to edible undies to bachelorette party supplies. My only complaint is that the sex toy section was crammed into one tall shelf area.
No more than two people could look at the vibrator section.
Their website is also quite nice. If you see something you like there but can’t buy it, you can shop their online store.
The best sex shop I have ever visited is Babeland, which is a well-established, small chain sex shop with three locations in New York and one in Seattle.
Babeland is the epitome of an inviting, informational and exploratory environment. There are multiple employees available to assist you and answer your questions. All of the sex toys are on display and spaced out over a long counter and wall so that many customers can touch and explore the toys at once, unlike the small D.C. shops.
Moreover, the condom selection and display was beyond exceptional. Not only did the store offer an expansive selection of condom brands, Babeland displayed the condom in inflated form so that one can see what the condom would look like on a penis.
Needless to say, touching and observing the inflated condoms was quite interesting and informative.
They also had a wide variety of lubricants, including their own Babeland brand. Like Secret Pleasures, Babeland has an excellent website, where you can order items from their diverse selection of all things pleasurable.
Do you think you’re too bashful for sex shops or that it would be awkward? Think again.
The employees are incredibly friendly and want to make you feel comfortable. Chances are—you will never see or encounter the people in the sex shop again, whether they are employees or customers.
People in sex shops are not judging you. After all, everyone is there to see, touch and buy sex related items.
Once you get over your initial fear of entering a sex shop and explore all of the fun items, you won’t regret it.
The only thing you’ll regret is not bringing enough money to spare on that amazing, new rabbit vibrator.