We were driving through long country roads – my four friends and I – and it was the end of a fun reunion girls weekend. The topics of conversation strayed to Sex and how much we may or may not be having, some of us partnered up and some of us single, and the answered were varied and we all had some fun with that. Of course, as the author of The Taboo Conversation, I was as usual, the butt of my friends’ jokes about some aspects of what we affectionately referred to as ‘research’ for my next book and blog posts.
It turned out that one of my friends had only ever once ventured into a sex shop/adult store, and it was with mixed results as she felt it had ultimately not gone as well as she’d hoped.
“I went in, asked for a toy ‘for a friend’ and was given something enoooooooormous!!!! that I was frankly a little embarrassed by. However I took it home, and fumbled about with it, wishing I’d been a little more honest with the woman who served me as it became apparent she either thought to have a joke at my expense in selling me something that was not really what I was seeking, or maybe she simply didn’t really understand my own naivete about such things.”
I’ve heard this kind of story many times by friends, and a couple of people have messaged similar stories through the Horizontal Happiness FB group, so let’s talk about how to make this kind of situation so much easier.
We the friends decided to take the bull by the horns and usher our friend into a store in the next town and went in slightly ahead of her, and advised the woman there that our friend had a need for some help to decide on her ‘first toy’ which would most likely need to be a vibrator, but one that her partner would not be totally freaked out by.
Then, we introduced our friend to the store assistant, and accompanied her – while still ensuring a bit of space for the assistant to guide and encourage her towards some appropriate items. We were there to encourage too – and not make our friend feel like we were judging, laughing (either at her or with her) and to do our best to help her navigate this visit, and ultimately purchase something that was not going to make her feel like a failure again when she arrived home.
The key thing was, that we made all our conversations about this type of shopping experience as normal, and unremarkable as we could. We didn’t want her to feel uncomfortable, but we also ensured that the very experienced and knowledgeable store assistant was able to get the heads up on the kind of conversation needed.
Ultimately this is exactly how it unfolded and not only was our friend delighted by being helped in a way that was ‘this is just like buying any other speciality product’ (be it a tv, phone, or tub of ice-cream!’) and the assistant was acknowledged for her expertise, and given the space to do her best work.
This is how straightforward it can be. If we let it. If we take the ‘silly/naughty/weird’ out of a visit to the local adult supplies store, we can learn, relax, and perhaps purchase something that really does add some delicious spice into our boudoirs, without guilt, being weirded out about it, or embarrassed to acknowledge our personal needs with ourselves and our partners.
We followed up with our friend a week later and was met with a smile – she also had a newfound respect for the women who helped her, especially the store assistant. 🙂