If your idea of a sex shop is a dark, taboo place you feel you need to enter in disguise (cue James Bond theme), you haven’t visited The Pleasure Chest. The erotic store with locations in Chicago, NYC, LA and online has been championing sex-positivity for decades. And it’s seriously one of the most welcoming stores of any kind I’ve experienced.
From the well-lit, colorful interior to the friendly, specially educated staff, it would be tough to have anything but a fun and positive shopping experience.
Last week, I visited the LA location for a chat with Sarah Tomchesson, a longtime sex educator and Head of Business Operations for the company. She shared awesome toy recommendations, answered listeners’ questions and more.
Listen to the full episode on iTunes or down below. In the meantime, here are a few of my favorite takeaways.
When sex toy shopping, a little prep can go a long way.
Rather than wait until you’re actually shopping to consider what you might want to purchase from an adult store, which can feel overwhelming, Sarah recommends asking yourself a few questions.
“We often ask folks to think about what they have tried before, whether it’s a toy or not,” Sarah said. “What sensations have you tried. What did you like and what didn’t you like?”
Are you looking for something you’ll use solo or with a partner? For internal pleasure, external pleasure or both? Consider what’s felt comfortable before, and what made the experiences you hope to recreate so appealing.
All vibrators aren’t created equal.
If vibrators haven’t done much for your Girl Boner, Sarah said you may want to try another type. Inexpensive and hard plastic vibrators apply really direct sensation, which may feel too intense. Instead, go for a vibrator with various speeds and a more rumbly vibe.
One really popular, if poorly named, option is the Womanizer—which vibrates, but also creates suction.
“The idea is that you would use it directly on the clit,” said Sarah. “It sort of simulates oral sex, in that it does more suction than it does vibration. So for someone who tends to get off from external vibration more so than internal vibration, the Womanizer’s a great fit.”
Thrusting toys are groovy—and a thing!
Yes, there are actually toys that thrust all on their own, given proper battery power. (Take my squeals of excitement you’ll hear as I held one as proof! ;)) The Fun Factory’s line of pulsators thrust at different speeds and patterns. The internal and external portions have separate motors, so you can set each to whatever speed and pattern you like.
“I think it’s something people have been asking for for a really long time,” Sarah said.
The various speeds and patterns also allow time for arousal. This is particularly important for estrogen-based bodies, which tend to require more time for turn-on than testosterone-based bodies. You can gradually increase the speed and intensity, which helps prevent any initial “tickly” or “that’s too much!” sensations.
With or without toys, relaxation is key.
To get the most bang for your buck (I couldn’t resist), prioritize relaxation and self-TLC. When I asked Dr. Megan Fleming to add thoughts on pleasure, she said that relaxation and addressing life overwhelm are vital—and tend to fall to the wayside for many women.
The biggest pleasure takeaway from her 15-plus years as a sex and relationships therapist, she said, is that it’s important to give ourselves explicit permission to explore, play and discover. “Allow yourself to be curious,” she said. “What is it that you want or desire? What is it that you can allow?” The answers won’t merely ensure a more helpful toy shopping experience, but a lot more bliss at home.
To start perusing toys now, visit ThePleasureChest.com!