It’s that time of year again which obligates couples to be romantic—and boring. But instead of falling into the traps of custom, why not try something different? Trade in the candle-lit dinner, boxes of chocolate and flowers (or at least postpone it for a little later) for a trip to a strip club or a sex shop where you can pick up a bottle of warming lube, sex toys, black lace lingerie and a couple of whips.
There is no better place to start than right here in the San Fernando Valley, one of the porn capitals of the world.
Sex shops are not as creepy as you might think
If you’re looking for something different and kinky, both for you and your partner, a visit to the local sex shop can actually be pretty fun. Disclaimer (for heterosexual men): do not surprise her with a trip to a sex shop. Ask first. If it’s a no-go, laugh it off and move on. The last thing you want is to make her feel awkward and uncomfortable. That is not sexy.
On the corner of Lindley Avenue and Nordhoff Street, directly across the street from CSUN, tucked away in a shopping plaza is Bull’s-Eye Outlet, a store that sells women’s clothing, lingerie and sex toys.
There is also the Adult Warehouse Outlet and Passion’s Video & Boutique. The staff at the outlet is friendly, which may sound weird, but trust me—you don’t want an adult store clerk that doesn’t know silicone lube from water-based lube or is a rude asshole who hates life and projects that hatred onto the customers.
Thankfully people like Lorena Paniagua work there. She’s been in the adult retail business for 13 years. During this time of year, lingerie, usually red, is one of the most sought-after items, she said. But toys are also very popular.
Sex toys for men, women and both
Paniagua said that men typically come in to buy cock rings, a ring that men use to maintain their erections by constricting blood flow and delaying climax. Additional bonus? It adds girth.
Some come with a vibration capability, essentially turning a man into a vibrator. And who doesn’t want that? The rings are typically made from a stretchy material and come in different sizes. Prices range from $5 up to $50, but the look on your partner’s face? Priceless.
The Big O, a ring manufactured by erotics company The Screaming O, is the most popular of the cock rings, retailing at $12.99, with replaceable batteries. But the most popular item year-round, including Valentine’s Day, are sexual enhancement pills for men, similar to Viagra or Cialis, but with no prescription is needed.
“Men take the pills to last longer during sex,” she said. “Right now the most popular one is LibigroXXX or Nite Rider.” The price is $10, which is about the average price for all male sexual enhancement pills.
Women shouldn’t have much trouble finding something here, as the majority of the store is geared toward them. Any vibrator or toy that is discreet will do, Paniagua said. If it has different functions, not just one vibration or speed, even better. Customers don’t want things too big, but something they can hide from their kids that doesn’t make a lot of noise.
Bullets and other clitoral-stimulating vibrators are the most popular (really no surprise there). But G-spot vibrators are also popular. Perhaps surprisingly, one of the highest demand items is China Shrink Cream. The cream is rubbed on the walls of the vagina to make it bigger and plumper so that the man’s penis enjoys a snugger fit. This pseudo-sexist, heterosexual-male-centric invention (which, arguably, the sex industry is founded upon) retails for $12.99. Results may vary and buyer beware. But, hey, it’s fun to keep trying.
One of the newest toys out is the Dermerotica Skin Sensations by Topco Sales. It has six vibrating speeds, a dual sensor—which just means there’s a vibrating motor at the head of the dildo and one at the base. Retail price is $74.99. But for couples, Paniagua suggests the We Vibe II. The product is a U-shaped vibrator made for both clitoral and G-spot stimulation, and the man can (*ahem*) slide himself inside just fine while she is using it. The price is not cheap at $169.99. It looks slightly intimidating so it’s not recommended that you bust it out on the first date.
Meanwhile, sales associate Jose Salas over at Passion’s Video & Boutique says that business picks up during Valentine’s Day season. Similar to the Outlet, sexual enhancement pills for men are very popular. “Out of all the pills, the one that sells the most is Stiff Nights,” he said. Unlike the Outlet, this store has a huge selection of DVDs that are available for purchase or rent. According to Salas, story-line adult movies and celebrity sex tapes tend to be the most popular. “Pirates,” an adult movie parody of “Pirates of the Caribbean,” and the Kim Kardashian sex tape are popular choices at the shop. The store offers 15 percent off for students, so be sure to bring your CSUN student ID, you perverted bastards.
Salas said his store is a safe space for all people. “As soon as you walk in, it’s judgement-free,” he said. “Straight, bi, gay, it doesn’t matter what you are or what you like. Practically whatever you want, it’s all up to you. No one is going to judge you for it.”
The Adult Warehouse Outlet
7118 Reseda Blvd, Reseda, CA 91355
Passion’s Video & Boutique
7146 Reseda Blvd, Reseda, CA 91355
Strip clubs that welcome or cater to couples
Believe it or not, strip clubs have come a long way from being seedy, beer-soaked, gaudy caves filled with depressed deadbeats reminiscent of Al Bundy’s Jiggly Room from the Fox TV show “Married with Children.” Many places actually encourage women and couples to stop by. It’s not just a men’s-only place.
DejaVu, Spearmint Rhino and Bare Elegance are just some of the clubs where you can see a couple enjoying a lap dance or throwing bills on stage and objectifying naked, dancing women equally. The fact that the above-named places don’t serve alcohol might have something to do with that. The nearest DejaVu is located in North Hollywood, which offers free admission for all couples and an actual kissing booth this Valentine’s Day.
Wherever you find yourself, with or without that special someone, enjoy your Valentine’s Day more by picking up some toys and stop by a strip club to add a little spice to your love life. That, or just drink yourself to tears and wait for next year to try out all the cool new things you’ve learned!
Spearmint Rhino, Van Nuys
15004 Oxnard St, Van Nuys, CA 91411
DejaVu, North Hollywood
7350 Coldwater Canyon Ave, North Hollywood, CA 91605
8532 Sepulveda, North Hills, CA 91343