Babeland

So yesterday, halfway through my shift, I started singing Salt ‘n’ Pepa’s song “Let’s Talk About Sex” Pitch Perfect style. I sang it to myself, to my coworkers, and to no one in general. Why, you might ask, was I singing this specific song and why is it so important that I mention it? Well, me tormenting my coworkers with random, catchy songs isn’t abnormal. I bring it up because I was excited about going to a local sex store with a school club – the Sex-E Collective (Sex Education Collective).

I have been to a handful of sex stores – on in London (with my parents), one in Syracuse, NY (with my ex), and one in Greenwich (Pleasure Chest). The only one that I was impressed with was Pleasure Chest. It’s clean, the staff are open and friendly, it’s woman positive and definitely queer friendly (it got its beginning in the gay community in NYC), it’s well lit, and it’s 1000% not seedy. I highly recommend Pleasure Chest, it’s where I got my first rechargeable vibrator. My favorite part of Pleasure Chest though, is the buttons. I have a whole collection of them – “Cock – the breakfast of champions” and “Anal sex – not just for your parents” are two of my most coveted.

But right now I am a little enamored with this SoHo gem, Babeland.

Babeland is a feminist, queer-friendly sex store with open and friendly staff who receive forty hours of training. Just like Pleasure Chest the space is open, well lit, spacious, and 1000% not sketchy. Our tour guide led us through every display, answered all our questions, and invited us to pick up all the toys as she explained them and passed them around.

We started all the way in the back with the strap-on harnesses, dildos, and “kink stuff.” They have a wide variety of harnesses because one of the reasons the store was started (in Seattle) was because the owners wanted women to have a safe place where they could buy harnesses, strap-ons, and other paraphernalia without feeling judged or being asked uncomfortable questions.

Leather harnesses are considered the “classic” style, they are sexy and durable, even more so if you’re into leather. The downside is that, because they are porous, you cannot completely disinfect them and they should not be used with multiple partners. The cloth harnesses are safer with multiple partners and some can be adjusted so completely they can fit two totally different sized people. The final type of harnesses they offered were underwear style harnesses that allow people who want to pack a more natural feeling harness.

There was a selection of binders for people who might want to flatten our curves (breasts and hips) and a nice variety of packing, both soft and hard. Packing, for anyone who might not know what it is – I didn’t until last night – is when a person wears a strap-on dildo (soft or hard) to emulate the bulge of a penis in hir pants.

My favorite part of the kink stuff, and the entire store, was this totally badass belt by Aslan Leather (queer owned Canadian leather crafters) that looks like your average belt, but can be turned into cuffs. I wanted it so bad. They do not have a very large kink section and recommend their patrons to go to Purple Passion on 20th Street between 7th and 8th Ave for a more comprehensive selection of kink needs.

They have an impressive selection of glycerin- and parabens-free lubes because glycerin (sugar) can cause yeast infections and parabens might possibly cause cancer (?). As our tour guide said, “Lube is our favorite sex toy” because it makes everything a lot more awesome and cuts down on the bad friction. Silicone based lube is good for sensitive people because it can’t be absorbed into the body, but it shouldn’t be used on plastic/silicone toys. Water based lube is recommended for toys and anal sex (because it’s thicker which creates more of a cushion).

There were also toys for people with penises – masturbation sleeves, pumps (they don’t make the penis bigger, but they do feel similar to oral sex), and cock rings. We then moved on to the anal sex toys and learned about why anal sex can be enjoyed by everyone! The opening to the anus as more nerve endings than the opening to the vagina. For people with penises there is the prostate gland and for people with vaginas if you don’t have anything in your vagina, anal sex can indirectly stimulate your G-spot!

Speaking of the G-spot, I have some good news on that too. Babeland has an awesome selection of G-spot stimulating toys (some even made of hand blown glass). I asked for some further elucidation on the G-spot because it is, as of now, still unknown to me. All people with vaginas have G-spots, not everyone will like G-spot stimulation, and you won’t find it unless you’re aroused. The G-spot has to become engorged with blood (caused by arousal) for it to be able to be stimulated. It’s about 1-3 inches inside the vagina and up towards the bellybutton. The best type of stimulation for the G-spot is firm pressure either from fingers or a very curved, hard toy.

That’s all I got for now people. Go get sexy if you’re sexual.

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