Misadventures in Adult Toyland

Because I’m deeply introspective and struggle with depression, sometimes I can get bogged down with what is happening in my head and heart and this blog can get to be, frankly, a bit of a bummer for the reader. I always want to be authentic here, but I’m going to try harder to balance the darkness with levity when I’m struggling through something. So while I work on healing, here’s a funny story about trying to buy a vibrator…

My Lelo vibrator stopped working long, long ago. This wasn’t a crisis to me, because I’ve never had a problem with…ahem…self-love that doesn’t involve battery operated gadgets. Sure, they’re fun, but I know how to get the job done without them. My lover, however, seemed to think this was a tragedy. So I went online and tried to find one, reading reviews and pros and cons. I felt bogged down by the choices, so I always ended up frustrated, without making a purchase.

When he and I planned a trip together, I thought it might be fun to have a toy, so I decided to go to our local adult store and look over the selections, in person, and finally make a decision.

Flaw #1 in my plan: There’s a family BBQ restaurant right next door to the shop (what genius came up with THAT plan??). I inadvertently timed my trip to coincide with lunchtime, on Sunday, after church lets out. So, there are the nicely dressed families waiting outside the restaurant. There’s me, walking past them all, to go into the sex shop.

No worries. I’m a strong, proud woman who isn’t ashamed of her sexuality. I held my head high and went straight past them.

Flaw #2 in my plan: Thinking that seeing the vibrators in person would make it easier to choose. I gather up lingerie and massage oil for my trip, then head to the back of the store. On my way I pass the porn section, in which there are several furtive looking men browsing and casting sideways glances at me.

I’m proud and strong and not ashamed of my sexuality, remember? I ignore them.

The wall of vibrators is intimidating and I’m momentarily frozen by the sheer number of choices. It’s like trying to decide on yogurt at the grocery store–there are too many to pick from! Should I go with the thrusting rabbit? The bullet style? Long? Short? Rotating shaft?

Flaw #3 in my plan: Coming up with the brilliant idea to ask for help from the sales clerk. I quietly ask her if there is a style of vibrator that is more popular or a bestseller. She perkily says, “Want to come on a journey with me?”

She leads me back to the vibrator section, where behind me a man is looking at butt plugs, and begins to loudly rattle off the pros and cons.

“The rabbits aren’t actually that great, because they put too much pressure on the clit, which can get too sensitive. Do you like it the rotating shaft feature?” I murmur something incoherent. She continues, “What about length? Girth? What’s your preference? Oh…these are really popular right now. They have several different speeds and it has a butterfly feature for the clit, which doesn’t apply so much pressure, only pleasure.”

Butt plug man has now turned around, giving his full attention to her spiel. On the inside I am chanting my mantra: I am a strong woman who is not ashamed of my sexuality. I grab the one she was pointing at off the shelf and say, “I’ll take this one.” Not only am I relieved to make a decision, but I’m hoping this will halt the tide of words that seem to keep coming out of her mouth.

I follow her past porno men and butt plug man, up to the front counter so I can pay and then quickly leave. She says, “I always like to check to make sure it works”, while pulling batteries out of a box. Meanwhile, a much older man comes in with what looks like a return and stands behind me, waiting for service.

She proceeds to pull my chosen vibrator out of its box and put in batteries, checking every feature. Twice. She looks at me when she’s done and I nod, randomly thinking this is like the sex toy version of nodding approval for the sommelier when he pours your wine. I’m feeling a mix of mortification and hysterical amusement. I breathe a sigh of relief as she puts it back in the box. Out of the corner of my eye I see one of the porno guys join the older guy in line behind me. I whip out my credit card and hand it to her.

She takes it, then pauses. “Do you have toy cleaner?”

“Uhm…no? I just thought I’d use a gentle soap.”

She shakes her head emphatically. “No, no. That will tear up your toy. Let me get you some.”

She walks away to get the cleaner and I look resolutely ahead.

Strong woman. Not ashamed of my sexuality.

I ignore the 3rd man who has joined the growing line behind me, waiting to check out. I’m pretty sure it’s butt plug man.

She returns, triumphantly waving the foam cleaner,  and proceeds to give me a quick lesson on how to clean the toy.

“Great. Thanks.” I push my credit card back across the counter at her. She takes it, then looks up at me again.

“Wait. Batteries. Do you have batteries? After all, you don’t want to get it home, pull this baby out and suddenly realize you don’t have batteries.”

I frantically snatch a package of batteries off the tiny hooks near the front counter and throw them up there (sex toy impulse shopping?).

She nods her approval and finally, finally, rings up my purchases. I take a deep breath and take my bag, walking past the line of waiting customers (all men) and then past the Sunday after-church lunch group, finally getting into my car.

Next time, I’m buying my sex toys online.





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