Looking for sexy Valentine’s Day gift ideas? Over the next few weeks I’ll be spotlighting the best of the best in Sexy Toys, Sexy Films, Sexy Books, Sexy Fashion, and other hot products and adventures for couples to enjoy together.
I’ll also be looking at some of the nominees for the 2010 XBIZ Awards, to be held February 10 at the Avalon Hollywood in conjunction with the XBIZ LA Conference. Today I’m kicking things off with an in-depth look at the nominees for Web Retailer of the Year (for a full list of nominees in all categories, visit XBIZAwards.com), a perfect starting place for some seriously sexy gift ideas.
Nearly all of the following links will get you into NSFW territory within a couple of clicks, so don’t say you weren’t warned. Sexy stuff ahead!
Web Retailer of the Year nominees, 2010 XBIZ Awards:
Adam & Eve was founded as a mail-order condom business in 1970 and bills itself as “America’s oldest sex toy company.” The company donates 25% of its profits to DKT International, a charitable non-profit organization promoting family planning and HIV/AIDS prevention in the developing world. As a web retailer, AdamEve.com carries a full line of Sex Toys, Vibrators, Lingerie, Sexy Extras (condoms, lube, massage oil, etc), and Adult Movies. Adam & Eve Pictures picked up 9 awards for its film The 8th Day earlier this month at the 2010 AVN Awards and is a nominee for Studio of the Year at the XBIZ Awards (The 8th Day is also up for Feature Movie of the Year and Marketing Campaign of the Year, star Kayden Kross is up for Acting Performance of the Year, and director Ren savant is up for Director of the Year).
Adult DVD Marketplace bills itself as “The Destination for Buying and Selling New and Used Adult DVDs.” They carry a full line of sex toys too, with micro sites for both gay and straight couples, but buying and selling DVDs is the site’s main focus and it’s your best bet for discount prices (The 8th Day, for example, will cost you $39.95 if you buy it straight from the source at AdamEve.com, but is 10 bucks cheaper – for a new copy – at Adult DVD Marketplace).
Eden Fantasys In addition to a great sex shop, EdenFantasys.com publishes SexIs Magazine (featuring one of my favorite writers on the topic, Dr. Dick). The site also features a great sex-positive online community, where you’ll find honest reviews of sex toys and other products, frank discussion about sex and sexuality, and well-done sex toy guides for adventurous sexplorers across the spectrum. Here’s a recent interview with Eden Fantasys founder and President Fred Petrenko from the site’s community sections (answering questions posed by the site’s members).
Fleshlight These are toys for boys – the #1 bestselling male sex toy in the world, apparently – and my partner and I haven’t had a chance to review any of them yet, but the concept is straightforward enough: Male masturbators, about the size of a flashlight, that approximate the shape and feel of mouths, vaginas, penises, and butts, some of them taken directly from molds of the famous body parts of Riley Steele, Lupe Fuentes, Eva Angelina, Jesse Jane, Teagan Presley, Jenna Haze, Raven Riley, Tera Patrick, Lia 19 and gay adult film stars Joey Visconti, Jimmy Visconti, and Jason Visconti. There are even vampire Fleshlights for all you freaks with Twilight and True Blood fantasies.
Gamelink What do sex toys and adult movies – available via DVD, Video On Demand, pay-per-minute streaming, or direct download – have to do with games? Hell if I know! But if you’re looking for porn, straight or gay or bi or trans or whatever gets you going, this is the place to find it: Search by title, by studio, by porn star, or by category. And yes, they even have the Twilight and New Moon porn parodies with Jenna Haze that everybody keeps asking me about where to find.
Good Vibrations In the interest of full disclosure, I should mention that GoodVibes.com is the only retailer that I have an affiliate agreement with – if you link to there from here and then buy something, I’ll get a small commission on the sale. For the sake of objectivity I haven’t pursued a lot of affiliate programs, but when it comes to Good Vibrations there’s no point in trying to fake it: Their shop in San Francisco is my favorite of any adult boutique I’ve ever been in, and I love everything about their mission and approach to the business. The shop, founded in 1977 by sex therapist and sex educator Joani BIank, was a model for worker-owned businesses everywhere before restructuring as a corporation in 2006, and they’ve got a great website, too. In addition to the obvious – a world-class selection of sex toys and sexy products – the site is also a great source for sex education information and sex tips for couples. In September Good Vibrations launched an in-house adult entertainment company, Good Releasing, an umbrella group for its new HeartCore Films, PleasureEd, and Reel Queer video lines. I also frequently turn to Good Vibrations Magazine for story ideas and inspiration for this Sex & Relationships column.
HustlerHollywood.com The official online store of Larry Flynt’s Hustler Hollywood (he opened his first store on the Sunset Strip in 1998) and all things Hustler, this is the place to pick up all those Hustler porn parodies you’ve been hearing so much about, as well as Hustler Magazine, Hustler logo merchandise (everything from a Hustler pool cue to a “Hung Like A 5 Year-Old” onesie for your pimpin’ toddler), and a full range of sex toys, adult videos, and sexy etcetera to remind you why Larry Flynt recently won the Freedom of Speech Coalition’s 2009 Legacy Award and why his magazine is going 35 years strong. Plus, you’ve got to admire his vision for community-building: Via HustlerHollywood.com: “While initially met with some trepidation from a few communities, everyone has come to realize that sex doesn’t need to be relegated to the back alleys or to “other side of the tracks”. Done well–the only way the Flynts know how to do things–a store catering to adults only adds to fundamental character of a city.” Amen.
Mallcom is half web retailer (adult toys, DVDs, lingerie, herbal sexual enhancement products, etc.) and half Video On Demand clearing house, with more than 200,000 adult entertainment titles. The site caters to both gay and straight consumers, and makes it super easy to find everything featuring a given porn star if you’ve got someone in particular you’re looking for – right now Jenna Haze is the main attraction on the front page.
SexToy.comThis one has sex toys galore, obviously, but is worth a look (even if you already love and support your local independent boutique or have another favorite web retailer) because they carry a wide range of products – like sex swings, sex furniture, bondage gear, kegel & pelvic exercisers, and body jewelry – that you won’t see at most of the other stores on this list, especially not all in one place.
SheVibe.com SheVibe has a carefully curated selection of sex toys – higher end stuff, designer toys, classy Valentine’s Day gifts – and a wonderfully kinky selection of bondage gear and fetish wear. The site has a cool erotic comic book aesthetic throughout, and carries a full line of costumes, knock-em-dead shoes, and sexy apparel for those of you who like to get in character.
ShopErotic.com is affiliated with the Shop Erotic TV show on the Oxygen network, a home shopping show which features host Miyoko dishing on (and shilling for) her favorite sex toys and other sexy products. I like the show, and the site, for catering to a mainstream audience, and there’s an emphasis on toys for couples, romance enhancers (scented candles, etc.), massage products, instructional materials, and lubes/lotions/potions for making sex more enjoyable for all parties involved. A bit on the vanilla side, but there are also some products for couples looking for an introduction to bondage and fetish play.
Stockroom Way past vanilla when it comes to your sex life? The handcuffs in the Stockroom.com logo are your sign that this shop has some other flavors in stock. Stockroom won the 2009 XBIZ Web Retailer of the Year Award and is a contender again this year. Why? In addition to the usual mix of sex toys, Stockroom has the widest selection of BDSM gear – cuffs and collars, restraints, hoods and blindfolds, gags and muzzles, whips and paddles, paddles, sex machines, even electrical shock stimulators – of any site I’ve seen, plus a full line of kinky fetish gear. Think nothing’s shocking? Think again.
SugarDVD Essentially a sexed up version of Netflix: SugarDVD is the largest renter of adult DVDs by mail. They’ll also sell them to you, or let you watch video on demand on your computer, and, like just about everyone on this list, they’ve also got a selection of sex toys. Plans start at $9.95/month (unlimited, but you can only have one movie out at a time) and go up as high $43.95/month for the Extreme plan, which will give you up to 8 titles at a time. All of the plans include 20 minutes of free VOD per month to help you make your selections.
TLARaw.com Another site with a whole lot of porn, but this one’s notable for an enormous selection of porn for couples, “skinema” (higher concept films for those of us who like a little bit of plot and appreciate higher production values with our adult entertainment), and cult films. Also – of course – a full selection of sex toys.
Vibrators.com And, last but not least, Vibrators.com, which specializes in – you guessed it – vibrators. Vibrators for women, vibrators for men, vibrators for couples, vibrators for first-timers who’ve never used vibrators, vibrators, vibrators, vibrators. The site has a sexy retro design throughout, using images from vintage vibrator advertisements. There’s even a Vibrator School section with vibrator guides, a breakdown of different materials used in vibrators, vibrator myths (no, vibrators will not desensitize your private parts to the joys of sex), and a short history of vibrators, beginning with physician George Taylor’s steam-powered massager, circa 1869 (’69? Coincidence?). They’ve got my all-time favorite, the Hitachi wand (goes nice with the Axis Hitachi, winner of my 2009 Sexaminer Award for Sex Toy of the Year), plus hundreds of other vibes I’m eager to try, like the Cone Vibrator, a big soft squishy pink cone that you sit on. If only old Dr. Taylor could see how far we’ve all come. Ahem.
Don’t miss my other Sexy Toys, Sexy Films, and Sexy Biz articles, or my ongoing coverage of the 2010 XBIZ Awards! For the latest Sex & Relationships headlines, please subscribe to this column (above) and follow @Sexaminer on Twitter.