Does anyone else have to psyche themselves up to go to a sex shop? I remember the first time I went, I had just turned 21 and it was my second year in university, and I was a very, very shy person. My roommates (holla to my girls!) and I literally just went for shits and giggles, and we were offered a student discount, so we figured we shouldn’t let a good discount go to waste.

It seemed so awkward initially. I had fears that the floors would be sticky, there would be a lot of guys clearly naked, under trench coats waiting to jump out and show me their penis, and that I would be followed around the store being stared at intently for being the only real girl they’ve seen in months. Luckily I had my girls with me, and they made me laugh harder than I have ever laughed. There were testers of lube, rows upon rows of DVDs, lingerie, and dildos the size/ girth of my arm.

“I don’t want to ruin my vagina.. but I don’t want to not ruin my vagina either.. Screw it, I’ll treat myself”

I had never had the pleasure to experience any sex toys or even see them up close, so it was so odd for me. I had no idea that there were so many different shapes, sizes, colours, options, lengths, functionality, which hole it was supposed to go in, needless to say I was overwhelmed. There’s even something there to plug your butt, I’m guessing in case you’re afraid you’re going to poop, and want to make sure you don’t. Now that I think of it, maybe I should buy one for those really long flights…

“Make sure your butt plugs are inserted and locked in the upright position, prior to take off”

My friends and I made a pact that we would each buy some lingerie and one sex toy, or more, no point limiting ourselves. I remember being so embarrassed and confused as to what the difference was between all this stuff. I ended up opting for a cute baby doll lingerie set (which I had for years and only ever wore in my room for myself) and a pair of fuzzy hand cuffs… that I used a grand total of never times.

The second experience I had was with a boyfriend, but not like that. We went in to get a gag gift for one of his friends. It was a quick in and out trip (title of our sex tape) so not much room for embarrassment.

My last time was more recent. I wanted to be able to do something for myself, by myself. I sat outside of the store in my car for probably 10 minutes just giving myself a pep talk, saying there’s nothing to fear, all the people in there just want to get themselves off too, nothing to be afraid of, and then I headed in. And you know what.. it was totally normal. The ladies at the desk greeted me and let me just wander. It was awkward sometimes, when other people would come in and stare at me as they walked by but I just ignored it. I had such a kind and positive experience.

Thanks to the lady working who checked all the batteries in the toys that I bought! I think she knew I was not in my comfort zone but she made everything funny and not awkward at all, a real non judgment zone.

“I think this will be all for today, yes, I did find everything I was looking for, thank you”

Moral of the story: Don’t be scared or embarrassed of sex shops, and the sex world is so much much larger than I ever imagined. Welcome.