If you’re new to buying sex toys, you might not know where to start looking. Whether you’re buying online or in a brick and mortar adult toy store, there are ways to make sure you’re shopping somewhere reliable and trustworthy. Here are my guidelines for choosing the right shop to make your sex toy purchases from.
Stay off Amazon
A lot of people who don’t know where to buy sex toys will often default to Amazon. It’s an online megastore that gives you access to almost any product imaginable, so why wouldn’t you buy sex toys there? The truth is, when you’re looking to purchase something that’s going inside your body, you need to make sure you’re buying something safe and legitimate. Unfortunately, Amazon is full of third-party shops that sell unsafe toys and counterfeit Hitachi Magic Wands. In fact, a lot of sex bloggers have blacklisted Amazon entirely as a source of sex toys because of how prevalent this issue is. There are even reports of people receiving open or even used sex toys from third-party sellers on Amazon.
Since the sex toy industry isn’t regulated under federal law, there really are no laws protecting you in case you buy an unsafe or used sex toy off Amazon. Counterfeit toys can be made of any material, regardless of its toxicity to your body, so be aware of the materials that sex toys are made of and buy only from trustworthy retailers or manufacturers.
Search for reviews
The easiest way to find sex shops that are truthworthy is to do your research before buying anything. Look up names of local sex shops or online retailers and read Google or Yelp reviews of the company. You can usually find online reviews of any company, whether it’s an online-only operation or if they have a physical store. See what other consumers are saying about a shop before deciding to make your purchase with them.
You can also check out your favorite sex blogs to see if they post shop recommendations. In addition to a sidebar of trusted affiliates, I run an article series called Sex Tour where I travel to different sex shops and sexuality conferences and write about my experiences with them so if you notice any shops in your area that I’ve been to, check out my article on them.
Check out local shops in person or the stock of an online retailer
I highly recommend doing an online search for a list of sex shops in your city that you can go to in person if you have a reputable sex shop near you. There are a lot of reasons why going to a physical location is preferred if you’re new to sex toys, so you should be aware of what makes a good sex shop before you make your first sex shop visit.
However, if you prefer to shop online to avoid embarrassment or merely for the sake of convenience (or, you know, COVID-19), you can check out the stock an online retailer has from the comfort of your own home.
There are sex shops out there dedicated to selling only body-safe toys and I highly recommend you shop from stores that are conscious about the materials of the toys they sell. Since toys made from PVC are porous and toxic to your body, avoid any online stores that stock these translucent jelly dildos.
Pay attention to the language/images companies use
While doing your research–either on a shop’s website or in their physical location, be sure to look out for the words and images they use to promote their products and discuss sexuality. This includes things like noticing unnecessary gendering of sex toys, looking for sexual, racial, and body diversity representation in their advertisements, and noticing what kinds of educational material they put out there (if any).
Sometimes businesses will use pornographic material to highlight their products. I really do advise caution when you see this happening because a good shop, in my opinion, doesn’t need to use super explicit advertisements to showcase their products. Instead, they’ll focus on the product’s design and features and keep things strictly professional. Your comfort is really important, so if you’re being bombarded with pornographic material you didn’t consent to see from a retailer, you should take your business elsewhere.
You also want to pay attention to the social media accounts of the manufacturer or retailer you’re researching. Notice how they interact with customers and what kinds of content they’re posting. If you see anything that doesn’t sit right with you, trust your gut and find another shop to support.
Have you had a really negative or positive experience with a sex toy company or shop? Tell the internet! Writing reviews online or posting about your experiences on social media is really helpful for guiding others to make the best decision of where to make their sex toy purchases.
This article was sponsored.
As always, all writing and opinions are my own.