On the Importance of Queer, Women Centered, & Feminist Sex Toy Shops (Map)

When I was traveling around to toy stores and bookstores across North America for the release of Say Please, I started keeping a list of the best of the best.

And eventually, I made a map of as many as I could find.

This is a totally US-centric map! Mostly because that’s where I live & work. I’d love to add more—what shops did I miss? Which should I add? Tell me in the comments + I’ll include it!

Link to the Google map of queer, women-centered, & feminist sex toy shops (just in case it doesn’t load up there)

I came out in Seattle in 1999, and I was lucky enough to be in close proximity to the first Babeland brick and morter store, where I started attending their workshops and smut readings, and I would go in with my scrimped ten bucks and get the best vibrator I could find. It took a long time for me to fully invest in quality silicone, or a real leather harness, but eventually, Babeland (which also has two stores in Manhattan & Brooklyn), and other stores, like Feelmore 510 in Oakland, became places that I frequented and invaluable resources.

The staff at women-centric, queer-friendly sex toy stores are often not just paid sales staff, but educators. The folks who work there know about safer sex practices, what lubes are good if you’re prone to yeast infections, and what kind of toys go with what kinds of lube or condoms. They can recommend different toys based on your body and your needs. I often find that they have a lot of knowledge about people of size, differing ability, body support, and other kinds of access needs. They often have tried out the newest toys and are up on all the latest goodies, so they can recommend all kinds of stuff.

These kinds of stores are well-lit, honest, out in the open, and sex-positive. There’s no flickering florescent blubs and weird backlit rooms for previewing porn videos (I don’t know about you, but that kind of thing was the sex toy store of my youth—and the only kind of sex toy store I knew about, until I found Babeland).

These kinds of stores often have all sorts of knowledge about women’s pleasure, about owning your own desires, about sustaining longer orgasms, about whatever kind of little pickle (ha ha) you might be dealing with in your own sex life. If you bring them your sex puzzles, they will help, is what I’m saying.

Good Vibrations has a Customer Service 800 number—(800) 289-8423 M-F 8am-5pm PST—which has made it into some famous erotica stories (see: this Herotica volume 3 collection from 1994 that I may or may not have read over and over and over and over. MAY OR MAY NOT), and which is staffed by sex educators who will eagerly help you figure out what toy to buy or how to get what it is you’re looking for.

This stuff goes way beyond “retail store” and far into the purpose of “community center” and “resource center.”

Plus, there are often classes and workshops, or erotica readings, at stores like these. If one of them is in your area, I highly suggest you get on their mailing list and keep up with their goings on.

I’m hoping that creating a map like this will be an easy resource for folks who are looking for the great sex-positive sex toy stores near them, and that also it will inspire us to keep patronizing these stores. They are so important + valuable to the sex worlds, and I really want to see them thrive.

If you’re not anywhere near one of these, you could check out some of these amazing shops online, too: Good Vibrations which has many different shops around the San Francisco Bay Area, JT’s Stockroom in LA, Early 2 Bed in Chicago, She Bop the Shop in Portland, Oregon, or Babeland.

Here’s the link to the Google map of queer, women-centered, & feminist sex toy shops that I have so far. Did I miss any? Please leave info on them in the comments & I’ll check them out! Make sure that they are:

  • Welcoming to all genders
  • Discerning about what kind of toys that they carry (e.g., they don’t carry toys made of plastics that are bad for the body)
  • Inclusive of and centered around women’s sexuality
  • Bonus points if they are queer- or woman-owned!

Published by Sinclair Sexsmith

Sinclair Sexsmith is a genderqueer kinky butch writer who teaches and performs, specializing in sexualities, genders, and relationships. They've written at sugarbutch.net since 2006, recognized numerous places as one of the Top Sex Blogs. Sinclair's gender theory and queer erotica is widely published in anthologies like Take Me There: Trans and Genderqueer Erotica, and online at Feministing, Autostraddle, AfterEllen, and more; they are the editor of Best Lesbian Erotica 2012 and Say Please: Lesbian BDSM Erotica, both published by Cleis Press. Sweet & Rough: Sixteen Stories of Queer Smut, Sinclair's first book of short erotic stories, was published in 2014. They use the pronouns they, them, theirs, themself, and live in Oakland, CA with their boy.

28 thoughts on “On the Importance of Queer, Women Centered, & Feminist Sex Toy Shops (Map)”

  1. Cecilia Tan says:

    I want to say there’s a store in Florida, too, but I can’t think of the name. Google didn’t pull up anything but big chains like Fairvilla and Cirilla’s so maybe it’s no longer there. Hm.

    That Herotica 3 volume contains the story that was my first professional fiction sale. :-)

  2. Rae Stanford says:

    Forbidden Fruit in Austin TX. Has been woman owned since 1987 and is very welcoming to all.

    1. Jessica says:

      Yes!!! I was about to add Box to the list. Super awesome queer-friendly space and community resource.

  3. Marilyn Roxie says:

    Wonderful list and the lovely Good Vibes shout-out is much appreciated! One note I’d add is that the Rubber Rose appears to be closed now, alas.

  4. tuliula says:

    There’s a wonderful store in Toronto called “Come As You Are” – it is a worker-owned co-operative sex shop, very women-queer-trans friendly, has a lot of info brochures on gender/feminist/disability/ race and sex issues, and a lot of workshops are going on there.
    I was there briefly and had a very very good experience there.

    http://www.comeasyouare.com/

    1. DA says:

      I back this suggestion! Good for her and Come as you are are the only 2 sex toy shops I’ll go to in TO, and I love them both.

  5. Rachel says:

    Cs Boutique in Maine is NOT a good option. You should check out Nomia Boutique for queer, women-centric, feminist toy shop in Portland, ME. It is woman owned and operated and has an amazing relationship with the local community and the medical community.

  6. Miss Kitty says:

    There is a lovely store in Toronto as well called GoodforHer. The owner Carlyle Jansen has been the proud sponsor of the feminist porn awards and the pleasure palace events creating safe spaces for queers, trans, bipoc folks and sex workers! Amazing shop!

  7. Christine says:

    Add As You Like It in Eugene Oregon, please! They just opened last year, and they are amazing. Educated, informative, helpful staff, and all their products are body-safe. Tons of literature, bdsm gear, gender expression stuff, lube tester station… I just love them.

    http://asyoulikeitshop.com

  8. Fifi Aralia says:

    As You Like it in Eugene, Oregon! They’ve only had a store front for about a year but are so wonderful. Run by sex educators and counselors and queers!

  9. Avery Fisher says:

    Nomia in Portland, Maine – small women-owned feminist sex toy boutique with a great literature selection and sex-positive workshops.

  10. QueerWolverine says:

    S3 in Ann Arbor closed last year, sadly. It’s still online, though!

  11. Ariel says:

    You forgot Nomia in Portland, ME. Always staffed by informative, friendly women. Vast book section from erotica to queer politics, impressive kink section of the store, huge variety of high quality dicks. Put em on the map!!

  12. amy says:

    You should def include Shh in London, owned by a queer woman https://www.sh-womenstore.com/
    And they do positive work in the community, like Café V in collaboration with My Body Back Project ( the pioneering blog-space set up for survivors of sexual violence to share how they feel about their bodies and their sexuality). Café V is the UK’s first ever physical support group to help female survivors of rape and sexual violence understand and deal with triggers/flashbacks and regain positive, pleasurable relationship with their bodies and sex within a safe, supportive atmosphere.

  13. HS says:

    Q Toys in Austin, TX!

  14. philifox says:

    Sh! in Hoxton, London fits your brief :)

    The website is here

  15. Pearl LoveLee says:

    Teaching at Other Nature in Berlin as a Sex Educator from Canada is a dream. My Canadian charm gets alot of mileage there! It’s also owned by a lovely Canadian from other toot worthy shop in Ottawa called Venus Envy so our politics and philosophy are super well aligned (which is key!)

  16. Marcellina says:

    Early to Bed in Chicago!!

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