The Hottest Sex Shops Around the World

By Steve Dollar

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The Hottest Sex Shops Around the World:

Most sex shops are about as sexy as Wal-Mart. Except everything’s overpriced. And even cheesier. There’s the blow-up doll for bachelor party gags. The improbable penis enlargement pumps. Lots of plastic gizmos in Day-Glo hues. All the porno DVDs nobody buys anymore. And a bored Goth girl behind the counter. Hot times!

Our survey of the world’s finest sex shops rises above the novelty factor. No mere gee-whiz spots, these outlets of the orgasmic will turn you on with something unique or unusual, from cutting-edge bondage couture to exotic erotica.

Best One-Stop Source for Your Supermodel Dungeon DemaskNew York City

Those halcyon days when Times Square was America’s capital of sleaze are long gone, archived in 1970s exploitation cinema and lingering, like the faint whiff of disinfectant, in a few grotty jack-shacks on the fringes of Penn Station. Glory holes have given way to designer goods and more open and stylish expressions of sexuality that journey to the outer limits, but with excellent taste. Thus...Demask. The only stateside branch in a European fetish franchise, the store is tucked into a hipster-ridden block of the Lower East Side, where its clientele includes not just Robert Mapplethorpe wanna-bes, but rockers, models and freelance kinksters. The shop’s focus on extreme (yet fashionable) fetish garb and accessories makes it essential for underground lifestyle types and, for the curious, an intriguing glance into the looking glass. Even if your next date doesn’t require a deluxe inflatable suspension “Ultima” sack with blow-up hood and tit holes, perhaps you’ll dig a pair of junk-hugging rubber Bermuda shorts. Or maybe a gas mask to surprise that special someone on your anniversary.

Most ConvenientDr. Müller’s Sex ShopFrankfurt, Germany

German culture’s matter-of-fact attitude about sex—Berlin is host to the annual Love Parade, a massive free-for-all notorious for public boffing—would seem mindblowing to many Americans. Can you imagine porn kiosks in major transit hubs, like JFK or LAX? Well, Frankfurt am Main, one of Germany’s biggest airports, has not one but three outlets of Dr. Müller’s Sex Shop. The stores—which are meticulously clean, by the way, unlike airport bathrooms—even have a proud national legacy. They were founded by the late Beate Uhse, who was a pioneering female stunt and fighter pilot. After the war, she opened the world’s first sex shop (now part of a sprawling chain of erotic emporiums). Travelers popping into Dr. Müller’s for some stimulation during their layovers may not realize that they owe such convenience to a woman who was revered as Europe's grandmother of the erotic.

Best Place to Go Wild **JT’s Stockroom***Los Angeles*

Occupying a non-descript block along Sunset Boulevard in Los Angeles’s laid-back Silver Lake neighborhood, JT’s Stockroom is the best stop for anyone getting in touch with the beast within. Here, you can pick up a handcrafted leather pig mask or a bunny bondage hood. Or, if you’re feeling more restrained, yet still want to flaunt some flesh, check out the outfit’s signature “Bolero Straitjacket” (patent pending)—a variation on the institutional restraint that leaves the torso (i.e., boobs) exposed. “We have a lot of kinky creativity on staff,” says Joel Tucker, who is celebrating his firm’s 20th anniversary. The flagship for the original online fetish and sex toy retailer, the store has a sinister-yet-inviting vibe, with a black-and-red gothic décor, a photo gallery, and enough leather and latex and esoteric insertables on display to inspire any budding DeSade. Or Hollywood producer. All the gear in Sacha Baron-Cohen’s Bruno came from the Stockroom. “If I see something in a movie and we didn’t make it,” Tucker says, “it’s kind of weird.”

Best Culture Shock ** **Pop Life Department M’sTokyo, Japan A six-story site in Akihabara—Tokyo’s “Electric Town”—this isn’t just a sex shop. It’s a sex mall. And a beacon of perversion in a neighborhood notorious for its cafés where young woman dress as sexy maids or anime characters, for its automated panty dispensers, for its brothels that feature not flesh-and-blood females but life-size sex dolls. You can select your own plastic fantastic lover from a gallery of passion puppets at M’s (even ones with missing limbs), score a cat outfit for furry cosplay, or investigate a masturbation machine that’s part Cuisinart, part cock-socket. The Japanese are different. You’ll only really appreciate how different once you visit. The creepy/funny/surreal factor is off the charts.


Most Provocative Window ShoppingBoutique Sexy CitéMontreal, Canada

Rue de Sainte-Catherine is Montreal’s street of sin: The neon blare of its strip clubs, with names like Super-Sexé, are a major attraction, where farmer’s daughters and cosmopolitan coeds alike parade their flesh to cheesy techno beats. Where else would you expect to find the city’s largest outlet for dildos and triple-X DVDs? Boutique Sexy Cité has it all, from the tacky hilarity of its come-hither window displays (mannequins in lingerie and feather boas) to its array of purple angel wings and ankle-length rubber gear, appropriate for that DIY Hellraiser remake you've been meaning to film. If nothing else, it’s a good spot to grab some fresh air between lap dances.

Best Stoner AlternativeAbsolute DannyAmsterdam, Holland

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You’d think sex was invented in Amsterdam, where the Red Light District mainstreamed commercial coitus in much the same way its cafes became a haven for hash-huffing tourists and Midwestern college kids. But it’s also kind of a sideshow hustle. Navigate past the hippies, soccer hooligans and rubberneckers that clutter the RLD and you’ll find yourself at Absolute Danny. The bi-level enterprise’s owner and namesake holds a degree from Amsterdam's Fashion Academy, which sets a tone somewhat more distinguished than that of the Bananenbar (where the bananas are not so much for eating). Provocative corsets and S&M ephemera are high-priced specialties, and if you’re feeling frisky there always are invites on hand to local sex parties.


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