When discussing Valentine’s Day, romance and sex are the main themes marketed and celebrated. Sex is popular all year, but the truth behind it is often tucked away from the public eye. Sex shops are one of the very places where one might feel condemned to avoid eye contact.
Sex shops may go by numerous aliases including “erotic shop” or “adult boutique.” Nevertheless, they house sexual entertainment that is implemented all over the world. These outlets are comprised of vibrators, pornography, lingerie and other products related to sprucing up one’s sex life.
For the average sexually active person, sex shops might still seem like a place for the depraved. For Angela Lieben, the Content Manager at Atlanta’s sex shop Liberator, that is far from the truth.
“The misconception is that sex shops are tawdry spaces to rendezvous when actually it’s regular, everyday individuals that are looking for something to enhance their pleasure,” Lieven said. “The ideal way to view sex shops is to look at their website and the materials that they offer. My personal opinion is that the sex shop needs a huge overall in the aesthetics department and the way customer service is handled. Mixing drug paraphernalia such as bongs and smoking materials causes an intermingling of different clientele.”
The Liberator Flagship Store is located off Bankers Industrial and is an extension of their 140,000-sq. foot factory. However, their primary business comes from online sales. Within Liberator, the unique environment is set up with products divided by category in an open floor plan. This allows potential customers to see and touch what they could possibly bring home with them.
To differentiate themselves from the “novelty shop,” Liberator provides a wide variety of high-quality brands and specialized products like LELO, Tenga, Jimmy Jane and Aneros.
If a sex shop has been off the table before and you’re looking to begin exploring, make a safe bet with products done, tested and raved. These items have been positively reviewed and tame enough to be of interest to the least bold.
Wedge Ramp Combo
“We are known for the Liberator Wedge/Ramp combo,” Lieber said. “The Ramp was featured in the Cohen Brother’s movie, ‘Burn After Reading’ and the Combo was featured on ‘Meet the Fockers.’”
The Wedge/Ramp are used for added support and height lift for any and all positions.
Along with the mill of various toys, Liberator houses a selection of BDSM gear such as restraints and blindfolds. They feature bedding, oils, lubes and hand created glass toys.
Valentine’s Day may spark an interest in getting yourself comfortable with sex shops and inevitably yourself. Whether the day is about romance or about sex to you, both themes encourage the average person to look into sex shops.
“What better way to express your love and passion for someone than with an item like this? Our products can be whatever the customers want,” Lieber said. “If it’s lusty they want, then we will cater to that. If it’s romantic love, we have that as well.”
Despite living in a society doused in sexual images, many are still skittish about being open and embracing products such as these. Tawdry images come to mind and the level of easiness is at a minimum while perusing the shop. Sex is arguably celebratory for men and shameful for women, so the environment expected in a sex shop might not be the most women friendly.
“I can personally say that in the past, when going into a sex shop, it felt uncomfortable, like I was being judged and watched, especially being a woman. The stigma associated with sex shops is all in perception and what we’ve been shown through movies and television,” Lieben said. “The seedy neon riddled shop full of novelty items and back room booths and sweaty palmed men groping at a selection of X-Rated films. All I ask [of other shops] is to get rid of the blaring neon signs and make sex more approachable.”
The stigma does not stand alone with just the subject of sex shops but of sex itself. Sex can be often seen as a shameful, delicate and a guarded thing that we keep to ourselves and need not to embrace in open spaces.
“The stigma about sex is resounding and never goes away. Exploration of sex has to be comfortable for you and if going out in public to purchase pleasure enhancing items makes you feels anxious, we always have a very informative website. There’s no judgement,” Lieber said. “But for someone that wants to explore, there are so many sex positive websites that discuss all types of sex. When you’re ready to come to the store, we will be ready to serve and make the experience all worth while.”