For Eyes Over 18 Only|
Adult Gift Guide
by Natasha Nadir, Tiffany Towers
Feeling naughty? If a sweater or gift certificate from the M·A·C counter just won't cut it this year, you might find yourself in the market for an adult gift. But what to buy? And where? Not to worry, your Alibi staffers have taken it upon themselves to do the research for you. We drove all over town and spent hours surfing the Internet in search of the best gifts and the best stores. This is by no means a comprehensive list, but it will give you an idea of what's out there. Good luck!
524 Romero Rd NW
The Candy Lady has long been a favorite for decadent, delicious goodies. And for those with a naughty sense of humor, the Candy Lady features an adults-only section with cakes, lollipops, candies and, best of all, chocolates molded in the shapes of intimate body parts available in various sizes. Head on down to the shop in Old Town or visit their Website for a complete price list, ordering and shipment information.
3105 Central NE
This charming gift shop in Nob Hill has a nice little adult section in the back, and the creepiness factor is zero, making it a safe place for the shy shopper. Martha's carries lingerie, flavored lubricated condoms, body paints, lotions, potions, books, cards, battery-powered toys and more! The stock is small and tasteful, and the prices are competitive.
5110 Central Ave SE
Castle Superstore is one of a chain of stores known for their spacious accommodations and extensive selection of videos, magazines, sex toys, lingerie, bondage equipment, novelties, books and blow-up dolls. Oddly reminiscent of Wal-Mart or Price Club, the Castle features the convenience of categorized aisles and the strangeness of automatic sliding doors and unflattering fluorescent lighting. But first-time visitors will not fail to notice the very un-Wal-Mart-like walls of phalluses.
The store's most positive attribute is the immense selection. Nowhere else did we see such a wide range of "marital aids" and blow-up dolls and the availability of so many movies on DVD. (The advantage of films on DVD is that, at least in some of the newer titles, the viewer has the option of changing camera angles. This is a technical advantage thus far exploited to its fullest only in the adult film industry.)
4207 Central NE
The selection here is small but good, and it was here that we ran into our favorite sex-store staff member, a young man who was extremely knowledgeable about a shockingly diverse array of items. It's convenient and it's cheap, so if you're in the neighborhood and you need something quick, drop in! One note: This Pussycat location does have an arcade, something we consider to be a disadvantage because of the constant traffic of somewhat seedy characters heading for the back of the store.
4849 Pan American Freeway
The Big Eye has a fair sized selection of adult gifts with DVDs priced more cheaply than the Castle, although adult DVDs are generally much more expensive than regular DVDs. This shop carries the usual stuff and has an amusing collection of novelty gifts such as sperm shaped candles and boob shaped pasta. Unfortunately, this store also has a peep show and arcade in the back, which contributes to a relatively high seediness factor. One big advantage: They're open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year for all you last-minute shoppers.
5205 Menaul NE
This little shop on the busy corner of San Mateo and Menaul would have to be our number one choice for holiday adult gift shopping. It has the best combination of low sleaze factor, helpful staff, good selection and reasonable prices. The store is well lit and well organized, with much of the same stock as Pussycat Video in Nob Hill except for the addition of a lingerie section and a small novelty/gag gift selection. They do offer gift certificates in case you can't make up your mind.
No article about the adult toy industry would be complete without mentioning the Internet. Without a doubt (and if used correctly), the Internet can be a useful, informative and discreet method of purchasing the perfect holiday gift for that special someone. Many sites require that you be over 18 (some require that you be over 21) to view or purchase their products, and some sites may require a credit card before entering. But the most painful part of surfing the web for adult gifts is that you have to sift through so much crap to get to anything good. If the site looks sleazy, don't shop there. You wouldn't go into a store that makes you want to run in the opposite direction, would you?
That said, we found two notable Web sites: www.intimate-pleasures.net and www.adultsextoystore.com. The first caught our attention with its selection of lotions, videos, books, games, novelties and light bondage gear. Highlights of the site include enormous inflatable boobs and penises. The second site earned kudos for its easy-to-shop layout and variety of vibrators, clitoris stimulators, dolls, penile pumps and extensions, body jewelry and porn classics. Highlights of this site include "pecker pacifiers" and the Mr. Penis ice mold. Surely there other great sites out there -- we just didn't have the patience to find all of them.
(in no specific order)
Here are our 10 picks from the stores we had the pleasure of perusing. If you don't see anything that really bangs your shutters, a gift certificate might be your best bet. Also, you may want to call ahead for product and gift certificate availability and for price ranges. Prices quoted are approximate.