A beginner’s guide to visiting an online sex shop

small wrapped gift with red bow on white silk sheets

By Barbara Carrellas

At last. You’ve found an uninterrupted moment and poured yourself a glass of wine. You’re ready to make your first visit to an online sex shop. Perhaps you’re ready to make a purchase, or maybe you’re just browsing — looking to see what’s available and how to use it.

And that’s when the chatter in your brain starts:

What if I don’t know what anything is?
Is there a beginner’s section?
Why do I feel so scared/nervous/giggly?
What if they don’t have what I’m looking for?
Do I even know what I’m looking for?

Breathe. This is easy and it’s going to be fun. Whether you’re thrilled and excited or feeling a little apprehensive, don’t worry. You probably felt the same way the very first time you walked into car dealership or a gourmet kitchen shop — it’s all new and you feel like you don’t know enough to be there. Remember, that’s why you’re there — to learn and grow and consider buying something you’ll enjoy using.

Sex is as much a part of life as cooking or driving a car. Your hopes and dreams and fondest desires for the kind of sex you’d like to have are the best guides to get you where you want to go! You’re about to open up your life in a safe, fun way.

Give yourself a permission slip for sex-shopping

When you’re sex-shopping for the first time, you’ll want to give yourself permission to be your authentic sexual self. (That’s also true when you’re exploring any new sexual interest!)

I often use an actual “sexual permission slip” to let women know that it’s okay to open up to a full spectrum of sexual possibilities. You’ll find a more detailed version of this in my book Ecstasy is Necessary, but let’s take a look at some of the key concepts so you can enjoy your online excursion and possibly also have a giggle or two as you indulge your curiosity:

Read each of the following permissions out loud.

Repeat each one until you feel that you have successfully given and received permission from yourself to be, do or have each item on the list.

  • I give myself permission to ask questions, dig deep and find the meaning of sex — for me.
  • I give myself permission to laugh. Sex is funny and sexual energy running through my body will often produce giggles for no reason other than that it feels good.
  • I give myself permission to do sex differently than my friends do, and to want different things from sex than my friends want.
  • I give myself permission to figure out what my needs are before I have sex, when I am having sex and after I have had sex — and to get those needs met.

Once you’ve given yourself all these powerful permissions, it will be easier to discover something new and exciting. So — let’s go shopping!

Finding out what you want

What will you see on the site’s homepage? Options. Lots of options. You might see: Orgasm in a box. Tickly things. Toys for women, men and couples. A very fun rubber duck. Lots of vibrators.

Don’t worry if you have never heard of some of the items or think you would never consider using them erotically. (Time will tell!) The trick is to find something that works for you now.

If you’re a regular online shopper, you’ll be relieved to find the same search features as other online shops. For example, Babeland, the popular women-friendly sex shop, lets you:

  • Browse the “beginners” section in shop category areas (such as vibrators or bondage). You can also enter “beginner” or any other search term in the box at the top and the results will guide you from there.
  • Search by price. Searching from low to high often brings the simpler items to the top of the list. You don’t have to spend a lot to get a lot when it comes to sex-shopping.
  • Look for handy “how to” guides in the “Sex information” tab.
  • Read the reviews included on each specific product page.
  • Ask questions using the online chat function.

Depending on your mood, comfort level or how much time you have, you may just want to bounce around on your own a bit (browsing with a partner can be fun too). Babeland’s shop is also organized by either specific type of product (vibrators, lubricants, etc.) or into more general categories (couples, men’s toys, sale items, etc.).

4 ideas to enhance your pleasure

Still looking? Take a peek at a few of my favorite product picks at Babeland:

  • Lubrication. In my opinion, lubrication (aka lube) is essential for almost any sexual exploration — with a partner or for solo sessions. Sliquid H20 is slippery but not sticky, with no odor or flavor, and it’s all-natural which, for most of us, is preferable. You can also find it in flavors like Pink Lemonade and Green Apple. It’s safe to use with all toys and condoms.

  • The Magic Wand. The #1 vibrator for pleasure for women according to the vast majority of sexperts and sex enthusiasts, including me. They now make a rechargeable cordless version with new improvements on an item I didn’t think could get any better.

  • The Babeland Vibrator Starter Kit. If you’re the type who likes to sample all the candy in the box, I suggest opting for a starter kit. This gives you several toys in one package. You’ll get a vibrator for all genders (when used externally), a sleek water-resistant g-spotter toy, and a penis ring with an additional removable mini-vibe.

  • The Sweetheart Kink Kit. This kit gives you the most popular basic kinky toys including a blindfold, smooth leather cuffs and a little flogger.

The next step

Here is the single most important lesson that I’ve learned in my erotic life:

Each one of us in the process of our own, unique, individual, sexual evolution.

There are an infinite number of erotic and ecstatic possibilities available to us at all points on our journey. In order to realize our erotic possibilities, we need to be able to choose which ones are right for us at each stage of our evolution.

I hope you’ve discovered some new possibilities today and will give yourself permission to hit the BUY NOW button.


Add new sex into an old relationship, bring your sexual fantasies to life — and more — with more from sex expert Barbara Carrellas.