Little fun fact about me is that back in university I worked at an adult store part time for about a year. I think that working in the store was a large proponent of my inspiration to start The Sex Fairy.
While I learned a lot about the world of sex toys and started my personal collection using my employee discount, I also learned a lot about the world of human beings.
In any retail job you get quite the mix of people. Customers from all demographics. Okay, well all adult demographics in this case. And I wanted to share some of my observations and give some etiquette advice about shopping for sex toys.
Just ask for a recommendation
“What’s your best seller?”
This is probably the most common question I’d get, and honestly it just comes down to which toy companies have the best advertising or are the most well known. Womanizer, Fleshlight, Hitachi Magic Wand etc. (Actually a surprising number of people came in wanting handcuffs.) Just because a toy is advertised well or is well known doesn't mean that it is a good toy for everyone.
“What’s your favourite toy?”
Don’t ask this. Please. I know that for the most part, especially coming from other women, this is another way of asking for a recommendation. But the rest of the time, especially from men, it just comes off as creepy. That’s a really personal question, and if other shops are anything like the one I worked at, we had a policy about not sharing personal info with customers. Just because I like a toy does not mean it will work for you. Or your “girlfriend”.
We really are there to help you, and most of us know what we are talking about. Tell your salesperson what you are looking for. You don’t need to come in having done all your research and ask for an exact manufacturer and model, just think about what you enjoy with a partner and/or on your own. Do you enjoy internal stimulation or external stimulation. Are you more sensitive or would you prefer more intense? Check out my post on Picking Your First Sex Toy to get you thinking in the right direction. And if you still have no idea what you want, then just ask your salesperson to walk you through a few options and see which one stands out to you the most. A sex toy can be a big investment, make sure it’s one suited to you that you are more likely to enjoy and not just something you saw in a porn once.
Don’t make inappropriate phone calls
I shouldn't have to say this but it happens way too much. People call sex shops in the middle of the afternoon on a tuesday to try and get phone sex or make prank calls. It’s not funny. You’re the one with nothing better to do than waste the sex shop worker’s time.
Do not bring your children into the store with you. Sure some stores do not ID, sure some salespeople won’t tell you to leave. But even if you are okay with your child seeing dildos and naked people, there are still other people there that are uncomfortable seeing a child in an adult store. There is no need for you to expose your child to this stuff, and there is no reason to ruin other customers’ experiences.
“What no toys for men?”
It’s amazing how much I used to get this question as a joke. Which is why I always had satisfaction leading those guys over to the male toy display and showing off every single last one and watching their expression go from smug to terrified. If you legitimately are looking for boy toys that’s fine. But don’t be an asshole.
We are sex shop workers, not sex workers.
This is the most important one and I could probably write a whole post just on this. (Comment if you would like to see that. Maybe hear some of my stories.) Do not ask sex shop girls to ‘demonstrate toys’ or try on the lingerie for you. Even if it’s a joke. Just don’t. It’s not funny and it makes us really uncomfortable. Just because someone works in a adult store does not mean it’s okay for you to sexualize or objectify them. This also includes trying to take their picture and propositioning dates or sex.
Bottom line, just treat sex shop workers how you would treat any other retail employee. (Granted for some people even that isn’t great but I digress.) Don’t do or ask anything that would make you uncomfortable if you were in their shoes. Adult store employees are people too.
Be good to one another, the world is harsh enough as is.
Have fun, stay safe.