Sex Shops in the City: New York
When I was 16, I scoured the streets of New York City, looking to land my very first job. I walked into The Pink Pussycat Boutique on West Fourth and within five minutes I was hired. I wasn’t a prude by a long shot, but I certainly wasn’t in any way experienced enough to sell butt plugs or 24″ black rubber dildos. Keeping a straight face with customers who needed instruction on how to use the vibrating eggs was difficult. Highlights: strapping on a studded leather dong holster to show a lesbian couple how to make the best of their time together.
One week later, I quit, but not because of the crazy antics that befell a 16-year old sex shop employee; I quit because in order to work there, one had to attend their mandatory EST meetings at 6 AM, every morning. Edible panties I could handle — but bad coffee, well, nobody should have to endure that.
So, where does one go today to find the best in sex toys, adult videos and naughty-naughty items for purchase in New York City? Let’s cruise and find out.
First in Women-centric thinking is BABELAND. Located in Park Slope, Bklyn, Soho and on the Lower East Side, Babeland boasts:
For 12 years, this chain has been one of the most accessible resources for sexually adventurous New Yorkers, selling body-safe toys and organic lubes, and hosting parties and workshops geared toward guys and gals. Collectively, its three local stores throw about 20 events per month, including the always-popular “Art of the Blowjob” (Park Slope location; Mar 24 at 7:30pm; $35). During your visit, keep your eyes peeled for less conventional items like the Solar Bullet ($34), a dildo that requires eight hours of sunshine to yield 60 minutes of eco-friendly fun.
On Christopher Street, there’s THE LEATHER MAN
With three in-house tailors churning out a full range of men’s and women’s, erm, attire—zipper-front black bodices ($195 and up), studded and spiked jockstraps ($99.95 and up)—this West Village boutique has remained a go-to for Manhattan leather lovers since 1965. Upstairs is devoted to male chastity devices, pants, jackets, boots and shorts—as well as specialty items like a full-size red leather apron ($295)—while downstairs has two entire walls dedicated to fetish accessories both flirty (fleece-lined blindfolds, $29.95 and up) and kinky (steel shackles, $79.95).
Good times, good times.
And speaking of, there’s the classic shop, THE PLEASURE CHEST
Bachelorette-party gag gifts such as “I Owe You Sex” coupon books ($5.95) sit alongside sex toys by top brands (Rocks-Off, Lelo, We Vibe) at this friendly Village store. Stop by on Wednesdays at 8pm, when staff members lead free two-hour workshops like “Bend Over, Buddy,” which focuses on (duh) anal play. 212-242-2158, thepleasurechest.com – 156 Seventh Ave South between Charles and Perry Sts.
PURPLE PASSION, in Chelsea, is your place to go for fetish.
Not that I would know anything about that. Ehem.
Whether it’s your first time handling an 18-inch-long elk-hide flogger ($115–$225) or your twentieth, you won’t feel judged by the welcoming employees here. The Chelsea fetish supplier offers a huge range of S&M and bondage accoutrements, including adjustable nipple clamps ($14–$22) and sculpted leather masks by Cecilio Castrillo Martinez ($87 and up), who has designed pieces for Lady Gaga and Madonna. The shop even boasts its own in-house latex designer, ready to whip up a pair of custom briefs for as little as 50 bones. – 211 W 20th St, (between Seventh and Eighth Aves)
Over in Williamsburg, Bklyn., you can wander into SHAG BROOKLYN and get totally tied up.
This homey Williamsburg spot successfully straddles the line between sex shop and local-and-DIY-promoting boutique, selling all-natural massage oils, jewelry, perfumes and lingerie by 70 NYC artists and designers. Besides stocking handmade white ceramic G-spot dildos ($68), Shunga oral-sex lipgloss ($16) and penis-decorated wooden nesting dolls (set of five, $100), Shag also holds monthly events and workshops ranging from Couple’s Massage to Intro to Rope Bondage (each $100/couple). – 108 Roebling St, (at North 6th St)
Dildos, latex and masks — Oh my! We’re certainly not in Kansas anymore, Dorothy.