Despite the fact that you can buy anything on Amazon, including vibrators, dildos and butt plugs, there’s nothing quite like shopping for pleasure toys at a bricks-and-mortar store. And, in New York City, you’ll find a wide range of options—from boutiques with kinky costumes to a place where you can buy an entire dungeon.
The most well-known and oldest of these is Eve’s Garden, a Manhattan-based adult shop that has been around for over 65 years. The shop is off the street, so you won’t feel as nervous about being exposed to sensual materials when you go there, and its staff is very understanding and personable. They can help you choose a toy that fits your preferences, whether that’s a vibrator for beginners or an elongated silicone kegel ball for vaginal strength.
Another boutique that has been around since the 70s is Lovense, a Brooklyn-based toy shop whose employees specialize in pairing erotica with a good massage. The shop has a variety of toys, from the aforementioned dildos and butt-plugs to whips, paddles and ropes, that you can use with a partner or just for yourself to get some deep tissue pleasurable action. The store is also knowledgeable about how to use the toys, and its website features a series of helpful videos that explain everything from the basics of using a vibrator to more advanced techniques for sexual pleasure.
For something more modern, check out Lovers, a Seattle-based online toy shop that cuts through the binary “men’s” and “women’s” categories. The site is organized more like a regular online store, with sections for toys, lubes and accessories, so you can easily browse what’s available to you. And, it’s very easy to narrow down your choices with the filter buttons, which make it super simple to find exactly what you’re looking for.
One of the newest best sex store to hit the scene is Overkink, which was founded in 2018 by Black entrepreneur Jaycee Chester to normalize sex for Black people. The curated online shop carries many of the same toys as other sites, but it’s easy to filter by your needs and wants and to discover new options that you wouldn’t otherwise come across. From a sex toy for the whole family to a “Rimming 101” guide, there’s a lot here to explore—and you can even buy your own toy if you like!
Located in a supposedly “sexually non-affluent” neighborhood, Park Slope’s Babeland is a bright and cheery spot that sells all of the classics (vibrators, dildos) as well as kinky costumes for bondage. The staff are happy to demonstrate any toy you’re interested in, and they also make their own line of massage oils, candles and other sex products. They even have a “beginners” section that makes it easy to browse low-cost, beginner-friendly toys. The site also carries multiple top-rated brands, such as We-Vibe and Satisfyer. They have a great gift-giving section and offer a variety of sex lubes, including some made by the shop itself.