Let’s be real, there are some things that you might automatically assume are better purchased in person. While many of us love online shopping, sometimes you want (or need) to touch and feel a potential purchase, or to try it on to see if it fits just right. For example, a Harvard Business Review study on how people buy clothes and shoes showed that 80% of apparel is still bought in an actual real-life store. 80% is not a small number, folks!
While that 80% makes perfect sense when we’re talking about dresses, shoes or pants - what about certain other things? Like, oh, sex toys, for intance! We’re usually comfortable shopping for things like bras and panties in the context of a girls’ day out or a fun shopping excursion - we like to feel the lace, talk to salespeople and get measured - the same thing doesn’t usually apply to the arena of sex gadgets and toys - and for good reason, as we’ll discuss below.
You might be wondering what’s going on in the online sex toy marketplace, and if it’s a good idea to buy a sex toy sight-unseen, or touch-untouched, if you will. Let’s face it, more and more shoppers are turning to online stores, boutiques and virtual superstores (Amazon, anyone?) for their needs, and sex toy shoppers are no exception.
Today we’re sharing some tips and insider info that’ll help ease your mind when it comes to shopping for your next g-spot vibrator, double ended dildo, male stroker, or other sexy playtime accessory on the good ol’ interwebs.
But I Want To Touch It First!
First things first. When you’re shopping for sex toys, you’ll probably want to have all the information first, and that includes how the material feels, what the texture’s like, how flexible the shape is, how well the product is put together, etc...
Whether you’ve opted to take a field trip to your local adult brick-and-mortar toy store or you’re getting cozy on the couch with your computer and a credit card, you usually won’t be able to touch until you buy. Most vibrators, dildos, butt plugs, cock rings and other pleasure tools are hermetically sealed for your protection! Some physical sex toy stores do offer demo models for you to get handsy with, but you’re limited to which ones they’ve chosen to feature.
Reputable online sex shops have gotten very, very good at visually presenting toys online. Any great web-based toy store (ahem, PinkCherry is an obvious example!) will show you multiple product photos angles of a particular vibrator you might be eyeing, including various angles, close-ups of texture, notable feature, controls, remotes and more.
Visuals aside, good online sex toy shops know that you want every single piece of information you can possibly get before purchasing something so intimate. We list all available measurements, material specifications, lube compatibility, what type of batteries you’ll need or how to recharge your toy - it’s all there.
We’ve also got lots of real reviews from our customers posted right alongside many of our toys. Now, unless you’re planning on playing detective and tracking down anyone who’s ever in-person purchased your potential new clitoral stimulator, you’re not getting customer reviews from your local sex store!
Online Shopping Pros
So, intimacy is intimate for an obvious reason - it’s private. When you go out into the world and do something where anyone can see you, it’s not so private anymore. Now, people can argue that online sex toy stores can experience security breaches or someone’s mother might accidentally see a box labelled “Thank you for shopping at XXX Depot” - but in reality, we’re probably more worried about seeing our child’s soccer coach in the dildo aisle of the local sex store.
Actually, forget about the soccer coach - if you’re a woman, chances are pretty good that you’re going to feel uncomfortable going into a physical sex store and picking up that perfect silicone butt plug with someone peering over your shoulder. A small survey of women in the IT industry showed that 90% would feel uncomfortable choosing a vibrator if there were strange men present nearby. That’s quite a number.
Even after you leave a sex store, you are probably clutching a tell-all black plastic bag in your hands and hoping that next time you’ll remember to bring a bigger purse or a reusable bag. PinkCherry is famous for stealth shipping, and the return address on the boring, nondescript package will point to something called TBMBM INC. - our parent company. You can say it’s an acronym for anything - let’s say The Brittle Marzipan Bonbon Man - unless you are trying to explain yourself to a candy lover, chances are no one will ever guess what’s inside.
Shopping online lets you keep your intimacy intact. You can turn on the incognito mode and cover your laptop or phone lens if you are feeling particularly paranoid. But the fact remains - you left alone to browse.
You can do it from the privacy of your own bedroom. And this is where we can really get creative!
Self Awareness and Empowerment
The anonymous and private mode of shopping that the internet provides has a few more important factors.
Even if we think we are comfortable with making choices in public and are very uninhibited - research shows that you will make a choice based on what you really want when you’re on your own.
Even faced with the friendly staff at a sex positive, female and LGBTQ2IA + friendly sex toy store, you might still be stressing about what people think of you or your toy shopping habits. That, in turn, could affect your choice. Don’t we already make enough choices that are affected by what others might think?
In fact, no one knows this better than marketing researchers - the Ratner and Kahn study of 2002 found that “public pressure to appear interesting induces people to switch away from favorite items when their behavior is public”.
Okay, no more research and science talk. Our point is this: When you’re shopping online, you’re more likely to pick the bright pink spikey thing, or the secret lipstick vibrator if you want it. It’s ALL about getting what you want. And you want to get what you want, don’t you? Shopping online is the perfect way to do just that. Pretty empowering, yes?
Not Too Hot, Not Too Cold
Finally, when it comes to sexual intimacy decisions (and life in general!), having choice is always best. Some people like it hot, some people like it cool. Unless you’ve found the mythical Home Depot of intimate apparel and sex toys, you’re going to have much more to choose from online.
Unless you’ve devoted hours to sex toys research (we have), you may not even realize the full sexy scope of what’s out there, toy-wise. We put together a quick list of a list of playtime toys, tools and accessories that fall outside the typical vibrating bullet, realistic sex doll or fleshlight male masturbator many of us are familiar with:
- Mouth Masturbators
- Bed Bondage Kits
- Anal Beads
- Clitoral Suction Vibrators
- Glass Dildos
- Anal Starter Toys
- Swings & Suspension Sets
There’s a LOT more where that came from, but our point is that shopping for sex toys online is also a great educational opportunity to find out what you like and experiment with something completely new. If you have questions about something and you’d like some personal attention, you can always head over to the “contact us” option at pinkcherry.com.
But while some people like to be loud and inquisitive - you can just order and wait - and no one will ever know.
Sharing is caring, and shopping with your partner can open up a whole new level of intimacy. If you think that getting to know yourself is exciting, just think about what it will do for your relationship. There is nothing so bonding in a partnership than asking someone what they like.
Going Back for More
You can make yourself at home on PinkCherry and create an account - or you can continue to shop anonymously. It’s your choice. But the great thing about finding new things and trying them out is that you want to go back for more. Online shopping for sex toys can be like having a regular visit to the ice cream store. Except there are no calories. And no one is scrutinizing which flavor you’re choosing. There are new flavors all the time, so be sure to come back again and have even more fun!