CounselorBarb

Individual Counseling, Couples Counseling and Sex Therapy

A Sex Therapist Visits The Todd Superstore

Today I took a little field trip.  As a clinically trained sexologist, this little trip should have been no problem.  Yet, I felt compelled to enlist the assistance of my supervisor, who graciously walked me through the process.  As I nervously pulled into the parking lot, I noted that I was 10 minutes early.  No way was I going into that store by myself.  I called my supervisor to tell her I was in the parking lot.  Fortunately, she had pulled in directly ahead of me and was waiting patiently for me to get out of the car.

I went to a store that sells sex toys.  For clinical and educational purposes, you see.  “Intimacy enhancers” such as vibrators, cock rings, videos, clothing, you name it and they’ve got it.  Flavored stuff that heats up, things that spin, roll, vibrate and light up.  Some things I couldn’t figure out at all.   As a trained clinician, I felt a little silly asking for help.  But ask I did and the salespeople willingly opened up the package and explained how things worked, allowing me to hold items to check texture, pressure, and what not.

The store is clean, well-stocked, well-lit and organized.  Sort of like a Target for dildos.  The salespeople were dressed in conservative clothing and were professional.  However, the sheer choice of product was a bit overwhelming.  Is it really necessary to have an entire wall of rabbit style vibrators?  Is there really a big difference between the pink, the purple and the camouflage?  Should I chose one with flashing LED lights?  I mean, what is the purpose of the lights, anyway?

Then we took a walk down the fetish aisle.  I consider myself pretty open-minded but I was surprised not only at the sheer variety of restraint devices, but the creativity.  There was a bed that you could buy specifically for BDSM use.  Wow.  And lots of various contraptions, most of which had a dildo on one side or end.  There was actually an entire section for nipple clips, complete with weights or feathers, however you like your nipple clips.

About a half an hour into our little trip, I began to feel a bit numb.  I mean really, how many fake penises can you look at before they all start to look the same?  An hour into it I could no longer make good decisions and realized it was time to wrap things up before I purchased the $89.95 rolling tongue.  (Which, by the way, felt like a real tongue.  Cool product).

If I felt somewhat uncomfortable and almost completely overwhelmed, how might someone without clinical training feel?  Maybe more people would visit these stores if they had a guide for their first time.

My recommendation: this is a clean, well-stocked store that women would feel comfortable entering.  However, due to its sheer volume of products, I do not recommend it for newbies.

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2 Comments

  1. Johnny

    Barbara,

    I feel that the opportunity for one to enter a store such as this one is very overwhelming even for men as well. I’ve been tempted to attend some stores in NYC, but the reality is: we live in a sexually frustrated country. Sex is everywhere, but very hush hush among many men and women because in all respect, sex can hurt a self-image of a person. I’m sure there are many people who wish they would like to have the opportunity to enhance their sex life and be as open sexually as possible, but there is always someone or some people condemning you to express how you feel about sex. I for one hold back a lot about talking about sex in effort to not get condemned for it. Going to even the Museum of Sex is even a challenge. You will meet some very open sexual people, but if you want to keep your professionalism, you’ll repress the emotions you have for sex. Now I won’t say what I do to make sure I don’t repress my emotions about sex, but it’s very safe (I don’t participate in ‘friends with benefits,’ but find other ways to pleasure myself).

    I believe it doesn’t matter if it’s your first time or not going to one of these sex shops, it’s how open you are sexually. I live in a city with almost 30 million people and 1 in 4 people have a STD or STI (hence why I find other ways to pleasure myself), but how people express themselves on sex is very hush hush like smoking illegal drugs. Your thoughts on my comments.

    • counselorbarb

      Yes, many people feel uncomfortable talking about sex. Most of this originated with our proper English history, when they used to cover table legs with a skirt because the sight of the legs was “too exciting”. While it is important to maintain proper boundaries, ie. not sharing sexual details with strangers in the guise of “being open”, I think most people, some therapists included, become squeamish when talking about sex. It is a very natural and normal thing for people to do, and yet we have issues with it. This is why I became a sex therapist.

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