A friend and I were recently discussing local sex shops—we're both currently single in Athens and not gettin’ much action lately. Pray for us!—and I thought you might have some helpful insight. While I know there are a few sex shops in town, I haven't visited any for fear of stumbling into a creepy and/or cheeseball nightmare.
Before moving to Athens, I lived in a town with an awesome, sex-positive, feminist-oriented shop run by badass women, and having had that type of accessible, professional, inclusive and comfortable consumer experience, I suppose I've become a bit of a sex-shop snob. I'm all about #buylocal as much as it is financially feasible, yet haven't explored sex shops in Athens because the ads I see around town don't really portray the attitude or atmosphere I'd want to patronize. They seem to be about mainstream, straight vanilla folk, and that ain't me.
But perhaps I've misjudged. Are local sex shops welcoming and respectful to a broader consumer base than just the stock-photo, white, cis-het couples represented in their ads? I'd appreciate any info you can share.
Still in Babeland
P.S.: Love your column! Appreciate you, what you do, and how you do it. Shine on!
Thank you so much for the feedback, and for being so supportive. We’re more similar than you’d think. I’m also single right now, and yeah, it’s been a minute since I had my back blown out, too. I’m still recovering from My Worst Year Ever, and only recently have I begun to start feeling like I’m really living my life again, as opposed to just hangin’ in there.
Onanism is central to any healthy sexuality, and it was pretty much my only sexuality back when I was selling plasma to keep my lights on. But no matter where any of us are in life—single, taken, playing the field or otherwise—self-love is key, and sex shops are there to fill in the gaps (hehe) that partnered sex can’t.
And I do love a good sex shop. I worked at one in the Northeast, and my favorite patrons ever were a mother and her adult son. Her car was in the shop, and they both needed supplies, so to speak, so they rode together. They shopped on opposite sides of the store and checked out separately, avoiding each other like it was choreographed. She probably still has no idea that her son bought a tentacle hentai DVD, and he doesn’t know that his mom bought the biggest, blackest “Steely Dan” we had in stock.
As far as local shops go, the one I’m most familiar with is Sexy Suz out on Atlanta Highway. I applied to work there when I first moved here, and I’ve shopped there several times. It’s got a great selection and a clean, upscale layout. It’s brightly lit and doesn’t feel shady at all, and the staff was very diverse the last time I was there. They are known for hiring people of all sizes, races, orientations, ages and genders. (Personally, I like to see men working at adult boutiques. It challenges the idea that sex shops are only for single women, and diversity of any kind just helps the public feel more welcome in your place of business.)
Sexy Suz’s selection isn’t so much geared towards straight couples as it is for all kinds of people looking for fun. Sure, there are fuzzy handcuffs and edible panties, but they also have G-spot vibrators, double strap-ons (Google it—I only get 700 words a week), packers and other items that speak to all the flavors of human identity and sexuality.
I’ve never been to Elations on Lexington Highway, but its parent company is Starship, a well-known chain out of Atlanta. There used to be a dancewear shop beside Homewood Social, but it’s closed. In any case, I’ve had the most experience with Sexy Suz, and I can personally vouch for their sex positivity, queer vibe and overall welcoming attitude. It’s nowhere near downtown, but I’d say that it’s worth the trip to the edge of Athens.