Look, it’s about time you dropped that stigma about entering a “sex shop” — we know you want to, and now you don’t even have to wade through smut mags, grimy porn booths or that creepy guy eyeing you from behind the counter in order to get what you need.
Sexy “boutiques” are opening up all over the borough — even in Sheepshead Bay, thanks to the new KamaSutra — that finally offer some comfort, class, and real advice, while still catering to all your secret desires.
Or, more accurately, ours.
That’s right folks, it’s time for four of our favorite pleasure pushers to come together and position themselves in a head-to-head-to-head-to-head sex shop smackdown.
Of course, you can’t have a newsgasm like this without mentioning Babeland in Park Slope, one of the forerunners of the high-class, clean atmosphere that sex toy shops have been lacking since the invention of the blow-up girlfriend. Plus, these workers know sex — they literally wrote the book on how stroller moms and soccer dads could get back to the days when they were formidable sexual beasts.
Then there’s Shag in Williamsburg, which goes far beyond its selection of dildos by offering local art and jewelry, sexy workshops, and even by hosting some hot bachelorette parties. Plus, the owners have seen — and recreated — a member of our staff’s swelling pride.
KamaSutra has stirred up quite a controversy in Sheepshead Bay, with some (eventual) customers too titillated to stand the storefront, which used to feature dildos, fetish clothing and a sexy, scantily clad mannequin. But just because the shop’s exterior changed doesn’t mean that the interior isn’t the same — with rows of gifts, lingerie and bedazzled sex toys.
But the fourway isn’t complete without our Canadian immigrant, Honey, which is gaining fame for its wide selection of slinky lingerie — among other toys — just down the street from Shag. Soon, with an addition of workshops and classes, this shop is really going to turn some heads.
They’ve all got their strengths, but which one dominates? Use our non-monogamous table below:
None of these shops lack your standards — you know, the Rabbit, the vibrating “rooster” rings, the novelty gag gifts. The Shag owners make sure they enjoy the product before they sell it to you (and can tell you how to use them), and Honey’s got a pretty extensive wall of products featuring plenty several shapes and sizes. Babeland definitely specializes in the utilization of the tools, offering the broadest range (and sometimes off-the-wall) of varieties in its online store. KamaSutra has the ol’ Rabbit with a twist: rhinestones — totally chic.
Babeland can definitely give you a mouthful in this category: classes on how to please your man, bachelorette sex tips and talking dirty are all on the calendar for this month alone. Shag provides similar classes each month, along with do-it-yourself porn workshops, in-house art showings, naked poetry readings and even pole dancing courses. Honey and KamaSutra don’t have workshops yet, but Honey has plans to get them going by the fall.
Shag’s selection of panties, bras, slips and other unmentionables is relatively small, but the quality makes up for that fact — all of its reasonably priced fare is handmade by local artists, and it’s all one-of-a-kind. KamaSutra focuses on the itty-bitty, with what our reporters have called an extensive selection of “lingerie so skimpy it could be mistaken for dental floss.” Honey has several racks of bras, panties and novelty wear that range from the scant and sexy to the sophisticated and gorgeous, not to mention the price is always right. Babeland doesn’t specialize in cloth.
Edge: Honey for variety, KamaSutra for sexy
Each shop is comfortable enough to bring mom and pop in for a browse. If you’re looking for a more discreet destination (we know you’ve been waiting to bring your guy or gal in for some gift tips), Shag looks a lot more like an artist boutique then your average sex toy shop. At KamaSutra, you’re inundated with sex and novelty gifts the moment you walk in, but while there’s plenty to see, the atmosphere is cleanly and fun. Honey’s space is a dimly lit, swanky boutique with more of a sexy atmosphere for those who aren’t faint of heart. If you want a down-and-dirty how-to on your favorite vibrating rubber duck, Babeland’s staff is professional and well-versed.
Edge: Babeland (barely)
From “Sweet Beauty Chocolate Body Cream” to blindfolds to the “Perfect Pet” vibrator, Babeland has just about every toy you could imagine and more. If you’re a one-stop shopper, Shag’s got gorgeous Brooklyn-made jewelry, lingerie, custom gifts for your partner and books among their selection of dildos. Honey has a solid mixture of toys and lingerie, with plenty of pictures and mannequins that let it all hang out so you can see what you’re buying. KamaSutra is likely your best stop for gag gifts (pun intended), with its penis-shaped lollipops, edible undies and heels with dollar bills in the platforms — plus, the lingerie section has a lot of range.
We’ve spent plenty of time in all of these shops, testing the wares, taking courses, and spreading the wealth … of information. They’ve all got that niche — Shag’s got the how-to, Babeland’s guaranteed to find you that perfect plaything, KamaSutra’s got the novelty gifts and Honey will have you feeling sexy and looking great by the time you make it to the bedroom. But when we’re talking a real one-stop shopping experience, mixed with a comfortable atmosphere and enough extra-curriculars to make you actually want to hang out in a sex shop, Shag and Babeland take the penis-shaped cake. Yes, it’s a tie!
Edge: Shag and Babeland
Shag [108 Roebling St. at N. Sixth Street in Williamsburg, (347) 721-3302], www.weloveshag.com; Babeland [462 Bergen St, between Fifth and Flatbush avenues in Park Slope, (718) 638-3820], www.babeland.com; Honey [110 N. Sixth St. between Berry Street and Wythe Avenue in Williamsburg, (718) 302-1760]; KamaSutra [1717 Sheepshead Bay Rd. between Voorhies Avenue and Shore Parkway, (718) 332-0466].