The acceptable face

Yesterday I was in the mood to buy a new porn DVD. Whilst the supply of web-porn is inexhaustible, and I enjoy tossing off to the films I own, I just felt like looking at some difference combinations of cunts and cocks. As I was going to be driving to Notfarfromhomeville today (to get my pubes waxed) I wondered if they had a sex shop and hit Google. It turned out they do.

Although convenient, it’s not one of the most salubrious of establishments – all blacked-out windows and an the uninspiring, yet all too common store name of Private Shop.


Even without visiting, it seemed the sort of place you expect to see fertivly exited by men in long raincoats, clutching anonymous brown paper bags. I’ve visited such stores before on numerous occasions, albeit without the raincoat, but they have a sordid air that I find quite unpalatable, both externally and internally. Crammed to the rafters with DVDs and wank-mags eblazoned with titles like Anal Violator 3 and Teen Cock Suckers, edible panties, pink furry handcuffs and dildos shaped like fists. They don’t really make me feel like whipping my cock out and rubbing one off. And in the unlikely event the visit hasn’t entirely doused my libido, I’ll probably wallow in irrational guilt as I shoot my load.

A step above that there are a handful of chains like Simply Pleasure


Still frequently hidden in back streets, they are at least a little glossier in appearance and from a distance look like they could be respectable establishments, rather than just purveyors of filth and depravity. I guess they came about in the wake of TV mega shows like Sex And The City outing women as sexual beings and casually popularising rampant rabbits. They certainly feel a little more high-street, and even internally they’re a little more less sleazy.


Undoubtably the best known UK sex bran, Ann Summers takes respectable sex shopping a step further. Infamously run by a woman, 

Jaqueline Gold, 

there are somewhere atound 150 branches brazenly sited in town centres. Manequins are stood proudly in their window, bedecked in frilly, lacy, see-through minimalism that leaves the casual passer-by will little doubt of their raison d’être, even if these plastic figurines aren’t lying back, legs splayed, with vibrators aimed at their anatomically incorrect crotches. The wares displayed in the front portion of the shop are invariably lingerie, just in case visitors are a little faint hearted, and need to ease themselves into the sex shopping experience. Once over any timidity, however, they can venture deeper into the store to find a healthy range of silicone friends to ease into their sex. Yet all the while, whilst Private Shops are almost certainly the territory of men, the likes of Ann Summers easily maintains a sense of femininity. They know their market!

But if you want truely up market sex shopping, you have to visit the likes of Coco de Mer and Agent Provocateur.

Whilst the former specialises in lingerie rather than toys, and the latter focussed on high class toys rather than clothing, they have one thing in common: these are boutiques, and the last thing they want you to feel about sex shopping is shame. They are proud to be the pinnacle of sex shops, and quite rightly so. If you’re in the market for tit tassels, hand crafted from the finest silk, or a 24ct gold butt plug, these are the shops for you. And as far as the management are concerned, why shouldn’t you?!

Back to the back streets for a moment, are the misfits in the hierarchy. Indeed their clientele are widely considered misfits. They are the fetish shops. These frequently share the boutique feel of Agent Provocateur and Coco de Mere, but because they are the province of true perverts, they must hide away from the accusing eyes of normal people. Paradoxically, rubbed dresses and decent quality restraints don’t come cheap, so fetish shops can reasonably expect their clientele to fit into more affluent demographics, and as such must be some of the few stores where it is not the done thing to be seen splashing your cash. 

Meanwhile, back on the high street, times they are a changing oh, as even the likes of mainstream pharmacy chains like Boots can supply you with entry level vibrators (if you’ll pardon the pun) and Superdrug even stretch to butt plugs (appologies again!) and light bondage gear. 

It does all make you wonderful society decides what is acceptable, and what needs to be kept behind closed doors. 

2 Responses to “The acceptable face”

  1. Ah I miss Ann Summers so much!

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