A GUIDE TO SMALL-TOWN, FEMINIST-FRIENDLY SEX SHOPS
THESE DAYS, THERE are vibrating cock rings for sale at your local drugstore and vibes abound on Amazon, but if you prefer a more intimate and guided experience, small boutique shops should be your first stop. Unfortunately, not everyone can just pop into Babeland or Good Vibrations on their lunch break. What should you do if you want to support independent, female-owned, brick-and-mortar shops, but you live in a small town? Well, you’d be surprised what you can find—and we’re here to help. Here are seven feminist-forward, sex-positive shops in places you might not expect.
The O!zone: Boise, Idaho
1615 S Broadway Ave, Boise, ID 83706
In addition to offering a wide variety of high-quality condoms at her store, founder Caryn Thompson works with cancer treatment clinics in Boise to provide special products, resources, and information for women being treated for cancer, especially those who are no longer producing estrogen or vaginal lubricant after breast cancer treatment. “We’re a conservative state,” Thompson explains. “There are a lot of people who never bought anything for their own intimacy until they were in pain. Pain finally got their attention.”
Thornes of Concord: Concord, New Hampshire
140 N Main St, Concord, NH 03301
Thornes is too small to host workshops, but the staff works hard to educate customers as they browse. “When we hire here, we are looking for people who are nonjudgmental and open-minded,” store manager Cristie Williams says. Thornes also carries many organic, phthalate-free, and medical-grade products.
Blue Boutique: Ogden, Utah
3365 Washington Blvd, Ogden, UT 84401
Founded by a husband-and-wife team, Blue Boutique has four locations and offers body piercing at the Ogden store. They have a robust Instagram presence that will give you a sense of what the store is like IRL, including the luxury toys they currently have in stock.
2083 Pine Ridge Rd, Naples, FL 34109
Intimates Boutique, founded by Lorene Sizemore in 1983, is a family affair; she left the store to her son and daughter-in-law Tim and Ally Sizemore, who now share ownership with employee Sonia Williams. Over time, Intimates ditched magazines and DVDs in favor of a more welcoming experience that focuses on female pleasure and health.
Groove: Gilbert, Arizona
1044 North Gilbert Rd, Gilbert, AZ 85234
Phoenix-area residents have their pick of not one but two local Groove shops at their fingertips. The husband-and-wife-owned stores sell a wide range of books on everything from rope play to female ejaculation, an eye-opening variety of toys that go beyond basic vibrators (e-stim, anyone?), fetish gear, and more.
Suit Your Fancy:
280 Second Ave, Kalispell, MT 59901
Amy Jaeger, who opened Suit Your Fancy in 1997, says Montana “is conservative, so we have been very careful in the way we present ourselves. We focus on women and couples.” Staff members teach customers about new products when they come in, and they carry unique jewelry made by Jaeger’s silversmith husband.
Sultry Adult Boutique:
11531 Memorial Pkwy SW, Huntsville, AL 35803
Tiara Trudeau-Gullotta opened Sultry Adult Boutique to bring sexual health education and products to Huntsville. The shop’s standout offering is Sultry Sunday, a private, guided experience that can be tailored to a customer’s needs. Shoppers can get one-on-one advice about which supplies to buy and how to use them, lingerie fittings, consultations on BDSM, post-menopausal intimacy guidance, and other tutorials with wellness coaches.
Story by Cecilia Nowell
Illustrated by Sofie Birkin
This article originally appeared in the March/April 2019 print edition of BUST Magazine. Subscribe today!
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