Advertisement
Coming for Christmas

We Asked Sex Shop Employees Which Gifts Don’t Suck

If you’re going to give “sex stuff” this year, here are some tips on how to not fuck it up.

by Lonnie Nadler
Dec 21 2016, 5:33pm

Photo via Flickr user Frosted Peppercorn

Shopping for gifts during holiday season is a nightmare. Online shopping has made this experience slightly more bearable, if only by the fact that you can do it in your pajamas without being publicly shamed. Yet, it doesn't quite hold the same holiday magic as heading to the biggest mall in town and getting overwhelmed by bright lights, bad Christmas tunes, and insane checkout lineups. Besides, if you didn't hit up Amazon early enough, your orders won't arrive in time, so you have no choice but to put on some pants and join the other last-minute shoppers.

Going into the holiday season without a plan means you're probably giving people shitty presents. There are plenty of online buying guides for tech items and fashion accessories to help you out, but abiding solely by those lists makes your gift giving experience as impersonal as that pine tree scented candle you gave to your secret santa last year. Why not give something a little more personal? Show someone special in your life how much you really care by splurging on a sex toy.

Diving into the world of sex toys for the uninitiated can be an overwhelming ordeal. There are so many things to consider when you're in the market for a butt plugs, cock rings, and dildos, like what size should you get? What material will your partner prefer? Does anyone really need this many speeds? Remote control? Rechargeable? Front or back or both? Having none of the answers myself, I asked sex shop employees the dos and don'ts of erotic holiday gift giving.

Rio, Art of Loving

VICE: You see a lot of gift giving guides online, but they never showcase sex shops. Why's that?
Rio: Well people keep it private, I guess, and a lot of people come into the store rather than buying online so they can ask questions.

What's the most popular gift this Christmas season?
The Hitachi Magic Wand, no question. If you've ever seen a porno from the 70s or 80s, you'll know it. It's a big personal massager. Most people's mom's had one when they were younger. It's a big white… wand with a big white ball on the end. It's the most powerful massager on the market.

Of all the toys in your shop, what would you recommend giving?
Well, for sure the Hitachi Magic Wand. The rechargeable one. The nJoy plugs or the VixSkin dildos are also good. The nJoy products are all stainless steel and they make dildos, g-spot stimulator, and butt plugs. Then the VixSkin's make realistic, almost true-to-life dildos and they are truly awesome.

What about for people who have never dabbled in sex toys?
I would recommend just a simple vibrator. Maybe a remote control Bullet? Those are always popular. Or the We-Vibe 4 Plus, which is a couples toy and it's amazing. You can control it wirelessly from anywhere in the world! It comes with a smartphone app, and it's compatible through Skype. It's just incredible.

That's a whole world I've never even considered. Technology must hugely advance the sex toy industry.
Oh, absolutely. I mean, we have vibrators that have technology in them that was originally developed by NASA. The future of sex toys is here and it's amazing.

Do you get holiday themed sex toys and does it sell?
Uhh, we get costumes. Things like elves or sexy Mrs. Santa. That's pretty much it, but it doesn't sell all that well. It's tough to find holiday themed sex toys, but we try to make our shop holiday themed as much as we can to encourage people this time of year. We have little Santa hats that we put on our dildos. People always ask to buy the penis hats, but they're just for decoration.

'Truly awesome.' Photos by Lonnie Nadler

Kat, Fantasy Factory

Kat: Before you even start I should tell you I probably won't be very helpful.

VICE: Why do you say that?
I don't think anyone should ever buy anyone else a sex toy as a gift, to be honest. Like, never. It's a completely personal device. I mean everyone is a little bit different, especially with vibrators. Eighty percent of women will come from clitorial stimulation over internal stimulation, but you never actually know what their preference will be. Some women actually do prefer internal. Do they want g-spot stimulation? Would they rather have a massager or a bullet? It's very personal and about what arouses them individually.

Is there ever a point in a relationship where you think it's good idea?
No. It's better left for couples to come together if they want a toy. Our store is open 24 hours a day, so you can literally come any time.

OK, but if someone wanted to buy something sex related for their partner for Christmas, what would your recommend?
I'd actually recommend going with something simple you can use together like massage oils, or handcuffs. We usually carry things like card games too, and you can use those as a couple. It's way better than just something only one of them can use. If you absolutely are set on getting a toy, make sure you have a conversation with your partner about first. You can't get a good toy for under $50 and you can be wasting a lot of money if you don't know exactly what they're looking for.

What's your clientele like around the holidays?
I've been here for almost five years now, and it's always a busy time of year. We get a lot of people coming in who are doing secret santa things for their office parties or whatever. I guess they think it's funny to give sex stuff. There's at least like two or three per day. They are always working within a small monetary limit and there's a lot of stuff they can't give for something like that, so it's mostly annoying.

What are most people looking for who aren't doing secret santas?
Mostly guys looking for toys for their girlfriends. It's rarely a girl looking for a guy. Usually the guys are looking at vibrtators, but they never ask their partners beforehand what they want, so they generally have no idea what to buy.

What's the worst sex related gift someone could give their significant other for the holidays?
Giving a guy a penis pump is always a bad idea. There's just no nice way to do that. Even if they are interested in pumps, the fact that you give it to them as a gift is pretty insulting.

Yes, people give penis pumps.

Anonymous, Male & Female Harmony

VICE: How long have you been working in a sex shop?
Anonymous: I've been here only two months. I moved to Canada from the south of China about six months ago now. It's okay, it seems like a busy time to be working here, but I can't say for sure.

What are the most popular gift items?
Rechargible vibratiors, and some masturbators. Things like Fleshlight and Tenga are very popular these days. The big brands. But it's not usually gifts for other people. Sometimes you get guys buying for their girlfriends, but a lot of guys come and buy gifts for themselves this time of year [laughs]. Treating themselves for Christmas.

Do you think giving sex-related gifts are a good idea?
Oh yeah, yeah. Vancouver is a big city and in any big city the quality of life is generally up, so sex is an important part of the society and keeping people happy. It's important for couples, for husbands and wives, because it's a way to make sure you keep the love strong. It's different than giving technology or video games or whatever, but it comes down to the customer, I think.

WHYYY?????

Kari, Honey Gifts

VICE: Do you see a big increase in customers coming in around the holidays?
Kari: Absolutely, yes. It usually starts in early November and goes through to Valentine's Day. It's usually couple-oriented toys, and new toys that people haven't experienced before and want to surprise their partner with. They maybe want to be a bit more experimental with something they've discussed before but never tried, but are doing it as a Christmas surprise. People do a lot of research before coming in, and they know what they want.

Do you notice more gay or straight couples coming in, or is it pretty even?
It's definitely a mix, but we get more straight couples on a regular basis.

What would be an amazing gift to receive? First for a girl and then for a guy.
For females, I would definitely recommend the Womanizer. It creates a suction and vibration for clitoral stimulation. We've gotten amazing feedback, and they've become very popular recently. For males, I recommend some of the higher end plugs. We've got lots of good feedback on the ones that heat up and vibrate.

I see you don't have much holiday themed stuff in here, but you do have a Fifty Shades of Grey line of toys.
Yeah, not much themed stuff, but red lingerie is always popular around this time of year. The Fifty Shades toys are pretty fun. They are actually really popular. 

Sex toys are a great gift because you're playing with your significant other, your partner. You know, you are bonding together. Getting electronics or whatever is fine, but a lot of gifts you sit on your own and experience it after it's opened. With sex toys, it allows you to experience it together and how can you beat that?

Follow Lonnie Nadler on Twitter.