How to Overcome Your Anxiety of Going to a Sex Shop for the First Time, by Emma London

How to Overcome Your Anxiety of Going to a Sex Shop for the First Time

6 Tips for making your first trip to a sex shop less intimidating

For many, going to a sex shop for the first time can be intimidating. Some might fear meeting someone they know, others might feel embarrassed about questioning the salesperson about sex toys, lingerie or other sexual complements.

You might think you’ll get judged, either for your lack of knowledge or for your sexual preferences (for instance, for preferring big or kinky sex toys.)

Despite your fears being valid, you shouldn’t feel like that. Going to a sex shop doesn’t have to be intimidating or a negative experience. On the contrary, it can be a fun and enriching one. As long as you chose a reputable shop, I’m sure you’ll be very happy with your first trip to a sex shop (more about this further on.)

Before I present to you my suggestions to make your first trip to a sex shop a pleasurable one, let’s start by looking at the advantages of buying your sex complements in a physical store, instead of online:

Advantages of buying in-store

You have professionals available to help you

You can find anything online, and sex products aren’t an exception.

However, going to a physical shop has advantages over virtual ones, being the main one, having expertise people around, available to answer your questions, and help you with your doubts or curiosities.

The salesperson’s job is not only to inform and to support you but also to ensure you’ll have a comfortable buying experience. The staff in the sex shops are trained to deal with all types of customers, including the shy and insecure ones.

Sex shop professionals are trained to answer your questions in an informative and non-judgmental way.

The salesperson can advise you on what sex toys will better meet your preferences and give you all the information you need to make an informed decision. They will also clarify any doubts you might have, namely on how to properly clean your sex toys or what lube to use with each one.

You can see and touch the sex toys

If you’re truly uncomfortable with the idea of talking with someone about sex toys or any other item you have in mind buying, you can make the purchase on your own, without asking for help.

My recommendation is for you to have an idea of what you want before you go to the store, so you won’t have to ask for support. 

Even so, if you ask the professional to point you in the direction of what you’re looking for and clarify you don’t need additional help, you will have the privacy you wish.

I bought my first vibrator online and when I got it, I was petrified: I had bought a massive vibrator! I misread the product information and didn’t take into consideration the measurements.

Being able to actually see the product and to touch it, is another advantage of buying in a store instead of online.

Not only you’ll have the real information of the measurements of the toys as you’ll be able to feel their texture and vibration patterns.

If you’re looking for lingerie, you’ll be able to try it and see how it fits you. Maybe not during the pandemic, but you can use a mirror to have a better idea of how it will look in you.

You can freely explore the store (and potentially find new things to play with)

Sex shops rarely sell only sex toys.

You’ll find lingerie, complements (like lube or edible lingerie), games, condoms, massage oils, and sex toys.

Depending on the sex shop, besides the mainstream vanilla sex toys, you’ll also find a variety of kinky sex toys, from candles (for temperature play) to whips, or other props to engage in sensorial plays.

So, if you go to a sex shop with a specific product in mind, have an open mind and take your time to browse the store. You might be curious about other things and, who knows if your sex life doesn’t get a new dynamic!

Now that I’ve presented the advantages of buying sex toys in a store, allow me to guide you through your first trip to one.

6 Tips for making your first trip to a sex shop less intimidating

1. Go to a reliable store.

Nowadays, it’s easy to get information about a service provider. If you google the store you have in mind, you will for sure find reviews and comments from the customers.

You can also look at apps like Trustpilot, where people rate services and lots of them specify what they liked and what displeased them.

Unbiased sex bloggers (reviewers) are also a great source of information. I rely on them a lot for buying new sex toys.

2. Before going to the store, try to have an idea of what you want.

For someone to help you, they will need to know what you’re looking for.

You don’t have to have all figure it out, but at least knowing if you want an anal play sex toy or a nipple play one will be a great help for the salesperson.

If you’re a vulva owner that goes to a sex shop and asks for “something that will make me orgasm easily”, it will make the salesperson’s job hard, as they don’t know if you prefer a penetrative sex toy or a clit stimulating one, or a butt plug. Or all of them.

The choice available is immense, so the more information about your preferences and what you’re potentially looking for you give to the salesperson, the best they will support you.

Think about what you’d like to try. Is it a dildo, a bullet vibrator, a prostate massager, a cock ring? From there, think about what you’d like to know about it. Or, if you’re not sure what to ask, simply say that to the professional.

They’ll get the information they need from you and show you the toys of the category you chose, informing you about their specifications. From there, you can decide what you think you’ll like the best.

3. Go with a friend.

If you’re too shy or nervous about going to a sex shop for the first time, why not making it a friend’s activity?

For sure it will be fun and educative, for both of you.

Being with someone you trust will make you feel less nervous and exposed. And you can share your thoughts and doubts with them before formulating the questions for the salesperson.

If your friend is more extrovert, ask them to pose the questions for you.

4. Don’t ask the salesperson for their personal opinion.

As much as you might think that asking for their personal opinion is ok — for you, it will be only to validate your opinion about a specific sex toy — you shouldn’t do it.

Not only you’re being invasive (it’s not your business knowing what sex toys the salesperson uses and how they feel about it), even if they say they love it, what does that do for you?

Their sexual preferences might be completely different from yours. I bought a bullet vibrator where many reviewers stated the vibration was too intense for them, but it worked wonders for me because I don’t have an ultra-sensitive clit.

Instead of asking for the salesperson’s personal opinion, ask for their professional one — they’re in front of you in that category.

By answering their questions, they will be able to recommend the best sex toy for your preferences.

5. Ask and answer questions.

In order to help you, the salesperson will ask you questions, some of them intimate. But to ensure you get what you’re looking for, they have to ask it.

You don’t have to worry about them feeling uncomfortable with your answers; they are trained, and they are used to all kinds of things.

If you don’t answer their questions honestly, you might end with a sex toy that won’t satisfy you.

If you’re worried about other customers overhearing your conversation, ask to go to a private place. I’m sure they can arrange it.

The same way you need to answer the salesperson’s questions, you also need to ask them yours. Make sure you leave the store knowing how to work with the sex toy, how to clean it and how to safely store it.

The same goes for any other product you buy: collect all the information you need about it.

6. Take all experience as going for a normal shopping day!

I understand, going for sex toys shopping isn’t as standard and easy as going to buy a pair of trainers. Definitely, it won’t feel so intimate. But, in the end, the result is the same: you go to a store to buy something you want.

The salesperson in both stores are there with a purpose: to make your purchase a positive experience.

If you enter the store with a mindset of shame or that people will judge you, the experience is doomed to be negative. Instead, if you adopt the posture that, yes you will have to talk about private matters, but you’ll do it with trained, non-judgemental people, there’s nothing that can go wrong.

Take it as a learning opportunity.

Not only you’ll learn about the (wonderful) world of sex toys, as about yourself. The salesperson will ask you key questions you might never have thought about, that will make you discover more about your pleasure.

There’s nothing to be ashamed of

I know it’s easier to say than done, but I can’t say it otherwise, can I?

There’s absolutely nothing wrong with wanting to spice your sex life or to add novelty to it with a sexy set of lingerie or a new sex toy.

What happens in your private life respects only yourself.

You’ll be just another customer. And even if your fetish or your sexual preferences might seem “unusual”, the sex shop staff is trained to deal with everything in a professional and informative way.

And if what’s stopping you from going to a sex shop is to run into someone you know, well, my friend, here’s the answer for you: they are there, aren’t they? Like them, you have nothing to be ashamed of!

I sincerely hope you overcome your fears of going to a sex shop. It can be a very pleasurable (pun intended), fun and enriching experience.

© 2021 Emma London. All Rights Reserved

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