In Making the Most of Your Adult Store Visit: Before You Arrive, I gave some pointers on how to prepare for a visit to your local sex shop. Finally the big day arrives, and you’re on your way to the adult store. You’ve researched which is the right store for you and have an idea of what kinds of products you might be interested in along with some questions for the people working there.

Maybe you want to go by yourself, or maybe you want to bring a partner or a friend. You may want to avoid going with a large group, though. People in groups tend to be rowdier and sillier, which can make the shopping experience more uncomfortable for both customers and staff. Here a some tips to help make things go smoothly once you come through the door.

Don't 'Yuk!' My 'Yum!'

Some people react negatively to products they are unfamiliar with or embarassed by, loudly declaring how "weird" they think something is or how they’d never engage in this or that sexual act. Some people even start disparaging those who would use a particular toy. Not cool. Be confident and mature, and avoid making fun of things that other people undoubtedly like.

In general, just act as you would in any other store. It's OK to have fun, just not at others' expense.

Ask Questions

Lots of them, if you’re comfortable. The staff are there to help you, and believe me, they’ve heard it all. Unless they’re new (and even then, if you’re in a good store, the employees are generally chosen for not stigmatizing sexuality and receive training on how to do that), the employees should be able to help you. And, no, they won’t laugh in your face like you worry they might.

My adult store has a "make no assumptions" rule. We're taught that it’s better to treat every question like a serious one. After all, who knows what a customer's personal fantasy might be? Of course, each adult store will have different priorities, and the staff will possess different levels of knowledge. Don’t expect someone working in the adult superstore at the nearest highway off-ramp to be able to tell you about materials science regarding dildos (although you never know). Similarly, the staff at a high-end boutique will probably be able to tell you a lot about conditioning hemp rope properly, but unlikely to know as much about that product you saw on a late night infomercial.

Keep Your Wits About You

The best state for you to be in when you’re in an adult store is relaxed, sober and attentive. I've seen people go on a bacchanalian shopping spree and then try to return their purchases a few days later. Unfortunately, many stores (mine included) won't accept returns except in the case of damaged or defective items. Being in a calm and clear state of mind also helps you absorb whatever information the sex educator or clerk is offering, whether instructions for the product you’re buying or information on the internal clitoris and how it works.

Most of all, enjoy yourself. Relax, and have a good time - that’s what the adult store experience should be all about. Remember that you’re in a space that exists solely for exploring sexuality and planning very intimate experiences, which is awesome, but you also have to share that space with other people. That means playing it cool, being respectful and allowing other people to explore what turns them on without judgment, just like you're doing.