Sex shops are like snowflakes -- assuming snowflakes wanted to get you laid, like real bad. They each have their own feels and specialties. You shouldn't drive out of your way for bachelorette party accessories just to find only hand-blown glass anal plugs. Or vice versa.
Some shops cater more to couples -- to keeping the romance churning a bit longer. Others want to help you get sexed-up tonight, but safely. Regardless of your current state in the coital life cycle, gas is expensive and wasting it blows. So, we've done the driving for you and put together a list of our five favorite shops, including our recent Dallas Observer Best Of winner, New Fine Arts.
Condom Sense (Lower Greenville) This shop fits the feel of its half-drunk, good-times neighborhood. It's the place you visit for quick perks, bachelorette parties and other playful encounters. Looking for a cock piñata? (Cockata?) Well, dear, look no further. Other junk-friendly party favors are also ready for a quick grab, like pecker shot glasses, board games, cake pans and sets of bridal veils with fairy wands -- all loaded up with penises (penii?). Added bonus and all-around good thing to know: Condom Sense carries a huge selection of fishnets and body stockings, so if you're looking for an accessory on the way home, this is your place. (5409 Greenville Ave.)
Electric Boutique If you're looking for vibrators and magazines, you're in the wrong place. If you're trying to find a sexy Mickey Mouse costume or neon fur legwarmers that'll make you look like Pan on psychedelics in 1984, well then, trot on inside. This is the land of erotic dress-up, where costuming is put on a pedestal, spun and adored. That said, most of the collection has a packaged costume feel to it; that's perfect if you just want to be a sexy fill-in-the-blank (airline hostess, hippie, firefighter, Playboy Bunny), and they'll have all the accessories you need to give the thing a complete feel. What they don't specialize in are the higher-end things you'd expect to find, like custom corsets and designer lingerie. That little oversight is overshadowed by what else they do stock: shoes, and lots of 'em. Many of these flat-out stripper heels are available in men's sizes as well, so nobody's left off the good foot. (4830 Greenville Ave.)
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Leather Masters There's this misconception that a shop dealing in leather-specific merchandise will be stern or intimidating. If that's your experience with Leather Masters, it's all on you. The staff here is beyond friendly, quick to answer any and all questions you can conjure regarding kinks, fetishes and the trends surfacing from them. They'll talk you through the zippered dog masks and pleasure whips and even recommend instructional materials to help you safely and happily execute your act of choice. Plus, a lot of what's in stock is made on site, so if you have bigger queries about your leather purchase the fellas in the back have your answer. (3000 Main St.)
Condoms To Go (Greenville Avenue) The name of this store doesn't match its feel. It's polished and boutique-y, with a specific, controlled vision of its specialties. This is a great place for couples: It's inviting, clean and calm. There are lots of bath and body products geared toward sensuality, including a line loaded up with alleged sex-inducing pheromones. The popular Kama Sutra collection of body powders, oils and pleasure accessories is prominently displayed and the selection of lady-specific toys is generous and well-picked. There's a little "She's getting married!!!" stuff area, but that's tempered by the sleeker taste of the rest of the inventory. Another bonus: The staff is friendly and not the least bit skeevy. You'll feel comfortable asking them which $80 vibrator best matches your lifestyle. (5315 Greenville Ave.)
New Fine Arts (Dallas Observer 2013 Best of Dallas Winner) Still rent porn on DVD? Need that, a very specific celebrity cock ring and a pipe at 3 a.m.? Want a vibrator modeled after Rocco that ejaculates lube? (Warning: lube sold separately.) New Fine Arts understands, and has you covered. They've got locations all over town and they're open 24/7 -- so if you're in a bind, or are hoping to get bound quicker than your Amazon Prime can ship, NFA's got the goods.
It's the largest selection of toys in town, with roughly 100 different models of vibes, rows of bondage and kink gear that range from more vanilla tastes to whatever the most sexually deviant ice cream metaphor flavor would be -- Chunky Monkey, maybe? Whatever, you get the picture: the blown-glass anal plug with matching ball gag and hand-crafted leather swing, that kindastuff. It's all there. There are also private viewing rooms, magazines, trampy outfits and head-shop accessories galore. (1720 W. Mockingbird Lane)