The second installment of our America Unzipped series explored how adult stores are cleaning up their act and seducing a new crowd. So we asked readers if they would go to one of the newer adult superstores, or any other sex shop.
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Many of the readers who responded said they don't see what the big deal is. Some said they are regular shoppers.
"Walking into a romance superstore is a freedom-inspiring experience, and I have no shame in admitting I shop at them," wrote one reader.
Another said: "I go to sex shops every few months with my boyfriend to look for a new vibrator or to stock up on lube; sometimes we just go and window shop."
But some readers aren't sold. "I think searching for new ways of self-satisfaction is just another means for filling the great void that one is missing within their life," one reader said.
Read on for more responses:
Everybody does it! I admit I like going to see what is new and what can give pleasure to my wife, other than me, that is. I say if it makes you happy and doesn't hurt anyone else, why not do it?
Thomas, Plain, Pa.
I shop at Sex World about twice a year. Being a single mother, toys are safe. My toy won't give me a disease, knock me up, cheat on me or leave me. Also, I can replace it without strings attached.
Kara, Saint Paul, Minn.
Yes I would shop at an adult store even though it feels awkward and embarrassing. We shouldn't feel this way because sex and intimacy are so important in our life and whether you're a couple or single, God created us to explore as sexual human beings. This is necessary in keeping the fire in relationships, and helps with stress better than anything. We buy clothes to look good and so we buy adult accessories to feel good.
David, Costa Mesa, Calif.
Not that it's a bad thing, but if I shop through the Adam and Eve catalog, nobody has to see my face! I would prefer to do it anonymously.
Anonymous, Boulder, Colo.
I absolutely would, and do. It is a fun experience to take your partner and talk about different things each of you might like, and I've even discovered some things that my fiance wanted to try that, under normal circumstances, might have been uncomfortable to talk about. Walking into a romance superstore is a freedom-inspiring experience, and I have no shame in admitting I shop at them.
Kevin, Palmetto, Ga.
I already do! I personally think everyone should give it a try, at least once! You never know what you might find or if you'll like it or not until you try! Being experimental is part of our nature as curious human beings!
Mandy, Mobile, Ala.
No, I would not. I find it sad and disturbing. I am sure many people see it as innocent, or that I'm just intolerant or a prude. In actuality, I think searching for new ways of self-satisfaction is just another means for filling the great void that one is missing within their life.
I have shopped at various sex stores, but mostly for lingerie, as they usually have a large selection and are helpful when you need advice. My husband and I have gone a couple of times to see what type of toys they have available, and we were happy to find things that have enhanced our sex life. I think that there is nothing wrong in exploring one's sexuality, regardless of what the government thinks!
Sara, Austin, Texas
I go to sex shops every few months with my boyfriend to look for a new vibrator or to stock up on lube; sometimes we just go and window shop.
I would go into an adult superstore without giving it a thought. Of course, I used to go into the little sleazy ones, too, when I needed something they had. I always wondered what it was in the American psyche that seemed to insist that sex stores be dark and dingy. I think it was a physical manifestation of the shame and dysfunction that Americans had with regard to sex. I hope this new explosion of adult superstores is an indicator that America is finally over its Puritan squeamishness.
I've shopped at plenty of sex shops over the years. Hey, I'm an adult, I'm perfectly comfortable with my sexuality, and I really couldn't care less what anyone else thinks about it, because it's my life! America has such a weird love-hate relationship with sex: You see it EVERYWHERE, yet so many people are so hung up about it. It's the 21st Century folks, get over it and enjoy yourselves. I do!!!!!
Jonathon, Ann Arbor, Mich.
My boyfriend and I would love it if we had an adult superstore in our area, if it was like Fascinations. The only ones around here are built on the interstate and you never know what you'll find there so we don't want to go and find out. I don't see anything wrong with them. I think it's their location and the ways they present themselves on dark roads that just scream "Here's the porn perverts!"
Jamie, Marble Hill, Mo.
Absolutely, land of the free!!!!
Tracy, Charleston, W. Va.
As a Christian, I fully believe that you sometimes must do something to keep your intimacy alive and well. However, you can take it too far by purchasing pornography videos. You also should not be purchasing things in a sex shop if you are not married. This is my Christian view of things, after being educated by my church. Things in sex shops are OK to use if you are married and keeping them within the marriage, but there are also things in there (pornography) that as a Christian you should stay away from as stated in the Bible.
I do shop, online and in person, at sex shops. And I applaud the change over from the "red light district" sticky-floor store to a place where you can actually read the labels on the products and can get information without the greasy looking guy behind the counter snickering and leering at you. What consenting adults do in the privacy of their homes ain't nobody's business but their own. Period.
Kate, Deering, N.H.
I already do and have for at least a decade if not longer! I think it's great that shops are going more mainstream. What a silly world we live in that people freak out by sex toys!!
Bren, Pasadena, Md.
Yes, my boyfriend and I have visited the local Love Boutique a couple of times. Although there are quite a few things that make us a little squeamish or we would never try, I have no shame in being seen in there. It's not dirty, it's to enhance our intimacy.
Kellie, Holt, Mich.
I would love to have an adult superstore in the area; buying online is so difficult because you can't see the merchandise before buying. Also, I have a latex allergy and it's hard to find warning labels online shopping.
Terri, Bel Air, Md.
I work across the street from that Fascinations in what is an upscale part of Tempe. The store is impeccably clean and organized, so I can't imagine anyone would feel sleazy going inside. It's like walking into a Target, but with dildos.
Margot, Tempe, Ariz.
Why shouldn't I? There are shops for just about everything else. It is unfortunate that most of America has a stigma towards openly discussing sex and sexual-related activities as natural activity. America, while claiming freedom, is one of the countries most concerned about what people do in their private lives. It makes people uncomfortable here to think of sexual subjects, particularly subjects that go against conservative religious morals and values. I choose to let the schools of social thought advise me, not rule me. My sex life is mine, so I should think for myself and not be embarrassed to experiment and have a little fun with it.
Jennifer, Smyrna, Tenn.
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