Things I Learned From Going To A Sex Shop With My Boyfriend

Sex toys can bring you closer to your partner.
PHOTO: istockphoto

The idea of going to a sex shop may make some of us uneasy. We might have our prejudices against sex shops: dirty (literally), full of crazy stuff, or a place only for kinky or sexually unsatisfied people. Following that logic, going to one is likely unthinkable, if not also embarrassing, for a prim girl. You wouldn’t want to bump into someone you know there and send the wrong message.

I can’t speak for you, but everything I just said has applied to me. Growing up in a religious environment, I have my conservative side. I can be extremely shy when it comes to expressing my sexuality, and I was just plain ignorant when it comes to sex shops. But I still went to one with my boyfriend. It wasn’t so much out of curiosity about what’s inside a sex shop, as it was because this was a couple experience that was worth trying. And I’m glad I did. Since it was so new to me, I couldn’t help picking up a few things from having my sex shop cherry popped.

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~*On Sex Shops*~

They’re not filthy.

The sex shop my boyfriend and I went to wasn’t dirty, disgusting, or sketchy at all. Pretty clean and well-lit, it looked like any other personal care store—just stocked with a whole bunch of sex toys ranging from dolls, silicone vaginas and silicone feet with a vagina, rabbit- and pen-shaped vibrators, among others, for nearly every kink.

There are probably dirty sex shops out there, the same way there are fast food places or restaurants that are dirty. But that doesn’t stop us from eating out; instead, we look for better places. In other words, “filthy” and “sketchy” apply to other establishments, so these shouldn’t be reasons for not checking out a sex shop.

To come to think of it, it’s in the best interest of any shop to look inviting, so there are sex shops that in fact do.

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The saleslady helps a lot; welcome her.

Like any other retail store, the sex shop has a salesperson who’ll assist you in finding an item that might interest you. One approached me and my boyfriend as we began looking through boxes of sex toys. At first, we didn’t like that she was hovering just an arm’s length away from us. We felt that she was invading our privacy as she eyed and listened to us goof around.

Soon enough, though, we realized we needed her because we hardly knew a thing about the sex toys on display and how they worked. It was greatly humbling to be taught about the different devices. More importantly, it was a breath of fresh air, because it’s not every day that someone talks to you professionally and accommodatingly about kinky things (or plain sexual things) out loud and in public. I even ended up wishing people talk more openly about sex without any hint of judgment, like what the saleslady did for me and my boyfriend. And I wished that people, myself included, wouldn’t suddenly be prudish when it comes to talking about sex, as though sex were wrong.

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~*On Sex Toys*~

They’re not just for people who have unusual kinks or unsatisfactory sex lives.

It’s easy to think that those who have good sex lives don’t need sex toys. If the sex is already great, why tinker with it, right? But sex toys can also be for the vanilla couples among us. For instance, my boyfriend and I saw devices that were great for couples in LDRs—or just couples who don’t go home to each other but want to feel like they’re together. (How they work: You and your partner have your own devices, and you can feel on your sex toy what he does to his, and vice versa.)

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It’s hard not to be amazed by how useful sex toys are and how they can boost one’s sex life. For example, the LDR sex toys bring couples closer to each other in a more physical sense. Others, like anal sex toys, bring couples closer by making them more playful but still caring. (Anal sex can hurt and make the rectum bleed.)

They’re an opportunity to become more intimate with your partner.

Upon seeing a whole variety of sex toys before us, my boyfriend and I felt that we were invited to rise up to a new level of intimacy. Just when we thought we were already very open to each other since we talk about a broad range of subjects, have hot sex and romantic sex, it turns out there was another way we could connect.

Opening up to each other about our kinks, what turns us on, and what we find sexy on ourselves and on one another was something else entirely. No one is going to know me on that level except for him, and no one is going to know him on that level except for me.

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What makes it more special is that after being vulnerable from revealing a deep-seated fantasy or part of ourselves, there was no judgment and we both wanted to please each other accordingly.

~*On Sexuality + Love*~

It’s not wrong to have fantasies.

Psychologists believe that many of our fantasies are rooted in or are picked up in childhood: what we were exposed to, what we wanted but was deprived us, and so on. If that is truly the case, then sexual fantasies are natural things we pick up as we interact more with the world.

Some fantasies are taboo. Consider being attracted to kids. Now while pedophilia horrifies us, the attraction is nothing like sexually harassing or abusing kids—the latter actually harms and hurts people. But fantasies don’t have to be taboo to potentially be hurtful. Consider acting out a cheating fantasy by cheating on your partner. That said, what’s wrong isn’t having fantasies, but hurting other people or violating their rights when we act out our fantasies—especially without consent.

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As we have thoughts we don’t act out in real life, our attractions and fantasies don’t necessarily lead us to act on them. If some of us decide to do something about them, it’s done on a sex toy or we masturbate.

Having fantasies doesn’t mean you’re unhappy with your partner or your relationship.

Fantasizing can be a result of dissatisfaction. But having fantasies is one thing, and being unhappy with your partner and your relationship is another. That means we can be perfectly happy and settled, and fantasize about other things. As stated earlier, our fantasies come to us and are often influenced by our childhood experiences.

We can, of course, fantasize about our partners. You can look at this in the way a pessimist would: That there is something lacking in the relationship, because you’re imagining things that the relationship doesn’t have.

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However, the more positive outlook is that fantasizing about our partners can add more spice into the relationship. There are those of us who are aroused by the thought of our partners fantasizing about us, for instance. If you and your partner are very open to new experiences, fantasizing can be a gateway to them. If you guys just enjoy feeling desired, fantasizing about each other is a way to want and be wanted.

But what about fantasizing about other people? Is it bordering on cheating? Perhaps the important thing to examine is if the thoughts are out of curiosity (in which case you’re just curious about sex in general rather than sex with X, so it’s not cheating) or if they lead you to distance yourself away from your partner (in which case it’s bordering on cheating).

The relationship must be solid before you and your partner can share your fantasies to each other and feel comfortable and safe.

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There’s always that risk of being judged when you share something sexual to anyone. And when we confide to our partners what some of our fantasies are, we not only not risk being judged. We also risk being rejected, fought with, and broken up with. So before you consider revealing your fantasies, see: 1) how open you and your partner are to each other; 2) how much you trust him; and 3) how much you trust yourself that when he tells you his fantasy, you won’t judge him or be upset.

Whether you want to share your fantasies to each other, it seems that trusting and being more open to each other are something to work towards. After all, those are the cornerstones of a healthy, loving relationship.

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