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Sex Shop Reviews

Recommended Sex Shops Around the World

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Updated November 03, 2011

One of the first things I do in any town or city I visit is to check out the sex shops. I do it, because I love people who work in sex shops -- sometimes I like the owners too. Plus, I’m a complete sex toy nerd and love checking out the selections in different cities and countries. I also do it so I know where to send someone when they need a sex shop recommendation.

Recently, though, my referral list has been seriously challenged by About.com’s global reach, and I often find myself trying in vain to answer an e-mail request for a great sex shop in Des Moines or Albuquerque.

To remedy this, I’ve turned to the experts, those who for personal and professional reasons have traveled the world visiting the best and worst sex shops on the planet. I asked them to share their favorites with About.com readers along with a few of their thoughts. Most contributors prefer to remain anonymous, but if you scroll to the end of the list, you can check out the websites of some of our more famous reviewers.

Do you have a sex store you’d like to recommend for this list? To add your recommendation or comment on any of the stores listed below, send me an e-mail and share your thoughts with the world.

Babeland – New York; Brooklyn, NY; Seattle
“Highly recommended” for their “stellar staff” and “beautiful boutique design” that is “comfortable for female shoppers” and [has a] selection of “high-quality products.”

Coco De Mer – London, Los Angeles
This “very posh and elegant” export from the UK offers “hand-crafted, heirloom-quality" sex toys and art and is known for creating “elegant events” and “educational salons." The LA location features “peek-a-boo” dressing rooms for couples and a “beautiful back garden."

Come As You Are – Toronto
The world’s only co-operatively owned sex shop offers a “wheelchair-accessible” location, “kind staff” and a “very thoughtful collection of products” at “great prices, if you’re Canadian!” (Disclosure Note: The Sexuality Guide is a former member of this co-operative).

Early to Bed - Chicago
A woman-owned shop open to “individuals of every gender and orientation” and featuring a “cool underground DIY sensibility." “Friendly” staff and “good workshops.” (Ed. Note: Plus an owner with a commitment to disability issues!)

Eve's Garden – New York
North America's “first woman-owned and operated” sex shop was once known for being “unwelcome to men” (current status not known on that front). Not easy to find, their “discrete location” will likely be desirable for “the most shy shopper.”

Good Vibrations – Berkeley, Calif.; San Francisco; Brookline, MA
This “role model to many sex-positive stores” continues to have “friendly” and “knowledgeable” staff and “great classes” -- special notes were made by many of the Brookline location.

Love Piece Club - Tokyo
This sole “feminist sex shop in Japan” may be “tiny,” but it’s “culturally way ahead of the curve” in Tokyo. It’s also “the only place” to find many “high-quality U.S. brands.”

Mail & Female - Amsterdam, Netherlands
Founded in 1988, this “pretty shop,” featuring “fun and exotic toys,” was the first “political and sex-positive” woman-owned sex shop in Europe. Offering a “different sensibility” than its North American counterparts visiting from the United States, it makes for “an interesting cultural exchange."

Nomia - Portland, Maine
Despite a website that’s “a little underdone,” Nomia is the first woman-owned and operated sensuality boutique in Portland. Run by a “friendly” and “enthusiastic” proprietor, Nomia features a “respectable” selection of “better quality tools and toys."

Pleasure Chest – Los Angeles, Chicago, New York
This “historic” sex toy retailer recently “updated” their image and product line to make it “prettier and women friendly.” Locations range from “vast” to “very small” in size but all offer “great classes” and “lots of variety."

Self Serve Toys - Albuquerque, New Mexico
Opened by former workers from Grand Opening! in Boston, this “very friendly” duo are committed to sex-positive retailing, including being “the only sex store I know with a cde of ethics.”

Smitten Kitten – Denver, Minneapolis
This “women-oriented” sex shop is “very much of a social gathering place” for like-minded sex-positive folks looking for a “great selection” and “good prices” in a “nonthreatening” environment.

Sugar - Baltimore, Md.
Opened by a former Babeland worker, Sugar “won Best Sex Shop in Baltimore” and is a “lesbian-owned, women and trans-operated” shop that describes itself as “for profit” and a “mission-driven sex space.”

The Tool Shed - Milwaukee
Milwaukee's first “lady-owned sex toy store” gets high marks for originality, because it is “the most creative sex shop I have ever seen.” “Helpful staff” offer a range of traditional sex toys and “handmade sexy items,” such as “ties with condom pockets” and “sexy soaps.”

Sex Shops Recommended Without Descriptions**

Aphrodite's Toy Box - Scottdale, Georgia

A Woman’s Touch - Madison, Wisconsin

Oh My - Northampton, Mass.

Venus Envy – Halifax, Nova Scotia and Ottawa, Ontario

**Please feel free to send in reviews so we can add these shops to the full listing.

Thank you to our professional reviewers who have visited and shopped in more sex stores than most of us will even hear of in our lifetime. Many offered anonymous reviews, but if you're looking for more opinions and insight visit some of our reviewers: Ducky Doolittle, Jamye Waxman, Midori, and Ruth Neustifter.

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