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Toy around in these local sex shops

September 25, 2014

Walking into a sex shop in Manhattan, one is typically faced with a colorful display of penis-shaped gag gifts. It’s not hard to find sex toys in the city, but not every erotica shop offers the refined experience that puts customers at ease. For those seeking a less intimidating environment to browse paraphernalia, New York presents plenty of affordable, high-quality boutiques to help spice up your sex life. Whether you’re in the market for a new vibrator or just want some helpful information from a knowledgeable staff member, the following boutiques offer all the necessary tools to explore your sexuality.

Babeland

With three locations in New York and famous customers like Jay-Z and Beyoncé, Babeland is easily one of the city’s most popular sex shops. This friendly boutique boasts modern decor and a welcoming staff — a refreshing alternative to the obscure and cluttered erotica shops one usually finds in downtown Manhattan. Babeland offers paraphernalia of all shapes, sizes and materials, allowing shoppers to find the products that best fit their budgets. For the environmentally conscious customer, the store provides a selection of sustainable, eco-friendly sex toys, like the Solar Bullet Vibrator ($34). While Babeland ensures the quality and safety of each item, perhaps the shop’s most appealing aspect is its focus on sex education. The boutique not only provides an impressive selection of books and DVDs, but also hosts a variety of free sex-ed classes. The shop is also ideal for those looking to keep their sex life private on their bills — transactions at Babeland are encrypted and appear as “TIB” on your bank statement.

Lower East Side: 94 Rivington St. SoHo: 43 Mercer St. Brooklyn: 462 Bergen St. babeland.com

The Pleasure Chest

The Pleasure Chest made its TV debut when “Sex and the City” character Charlotte went shopping for her first vibrator. Now, while the boutique is a stop on the SATC New York tour, the Pleasure Chest is a go-to destination for locals seeking new ways to express their sexuality. The shop presents a limited but enticing selection of items, including an array of sexual health products to suit individual needs. While many sex toys come at a steep price, a helpful staff is available to help you find affordable novelties for any occasion. Some of the Pleasure Chest’s bestsellers include the Magic Wand Original ($55) and the Jimmyjane Afterglow Massage Candle ($29). In addition to providing high-quality products, the famed boutique aims to promote sexual growth in the community by offering free workshops and kinky classes like “BDSM for Beginners.”

West Village: 156 Seventh Ave. South, Upper East Side: 1150 Second Ave., thepleasurechest.com

SHAG

In typical Brooklyn fashion, this Williamsburg boutique more closely resembles an indie art gallery than a sex shop. SHAG functions as a retail store, fine art gallery and event space — aiming to unite sex and art to explore sexual boundaries in a comfortable environment. All the classic tools and toys are available, but a considerable amount of SHAG’s inventory consists of original products made by local artists. These items include one-of-a-kind pieces of jewelry and erotic art, as well as a selection of edible treats. Among the notable products are the Marquis De Luna Artisanal Truffles — chocolate confections infused with South American Aphrodisiacs ($14 for four pieces). SHAG also hosts a variety of events for sexual education, though most are pricier than those in other boutiques. However, the shop does offer some fun and affordable options, like the “Everything Butt…” workshop coming up on Oct. 16 ($20 per person, $30 per couple).

Williamsburg: 108 Roebling St. weloveshag.com

A version of this article appeared in the Thursday, Sept. 25 print edition. Email Cicek Erel at [email protected]

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