Adult toy store review: Lovers Package [NSFW]

06/28/2010 at 6:28 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 6 Comments
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While I was on break earlier this month with my long-term, LDR partner, we shared many adventures together. Two of our adventures took us to local sex toy shops (because one such adventure just wasn’t enough!) The first shop we visited was Lovers Package. Lovers Package (no apostrophe) is a sex toy retailer with an online presence and several locations in Washington State. Lovers sells a wide variety of adult products ranging from novelties to high-end luxury vibrators, and participates in sex-positive activism events. A recent such example was Lover’s hosting a visit made by sex therapist and author Dr. Marty Klein, and participation in PrideFest June 27. This was not our first visit to the store, although it is the first one I’ve made since I started blogging here.

Although I did not take any pictures of the interior of the store for this visit, I do have a photo of our haul, and links to photos of inside of the store in question. Since this post contains some pictures and frank sexual descriptions, it’s going behind a NSFW cut now. Everything should show up in your RSS feeder, and if you’re visiting on the main page, you’ll need to click through to continue at your discretion. Thanks!

Some time during mid-June 2010 while vacationing together, my partner and I went out on a quest to look for new and interesting sex toys. I had already arranged to have my “Must-have” items shipped to where we were staying, as there are some things like lubricant and non-latex condoms that are absolutely indispensable to me if I expect there’s any chance of sexual activity (or dilating) in the near future. I even brought my favorite vibrator and lightweight plastic dilator kit with me, though doing so meant the TSA would see it all as I passed through airport security. (If the TSA staff did notice the nested lavender phalluses in my carry-on, they didn’t say anything about it.)

But for a few weeks, even before my plans for a vacation were finalized, I’d been thinking about buying another sex toy (or two.) I’ve been looking for something to replace two of my de-commissioned glass dilators. (Lesson learned: If you are going to take dilators to physical therapy once or twice a week, don’t bring something fragile!) Both of the de-comissioned glass dilators were on the larger size (“Large” to me; I suppose size is all relative when you live with vulvar pain,) and had rounded heads for gradual insertion. Additionally, I wanted something to bridge the gap between the dilators and my partner – something semi-realistic, but not too realistic. Nothing that would spook me, so hyper realistic dildos with little details like veins are still out of the question. I wanted something with more give than plastic or glass, and something with a more realistically-shaped head.
Non-negotiable criteria for a new dilator: whatever I bought had to be safe for vaginal insertion with or without a condom, non-porous, and easy to clean. I try to follow the guidelines suggested by the Coalition Against Toxic Toys when choosing devices that I intend to put inside me.

Other then that, I was open to a variety of sexual devices, so long as such accessories did not require vaginal insertion for use. I just finished reading The Bottoming Book on my Kindle, so I was even willing to entertain thoughts of my first BDSM gear. Maybe a beginner’s flogger? Some low melting point paraffin wax candles?

After spending a few days together getting re-acquainted following our extended physical absence from each other, and after getting me comfortably settled in for the duration of the vacation, my partner and I started touring around the local area. I had brought up visiting Lovers again and he seemed enthusiastic about the idea. The previous times we went, I bought a basic vibrator (which has since burned out) and he bought me some seriously sexy shoes (which we still enjoy.) My partner did all the driving for this trip, and one fine day we drove to the Tukwila, WA facility.

The first thing I noticed about the store we visited was  the sheer size of it. The Tukwila location is huge – three floors high, and the floors are big. (Unfortunately, I forgot to check if the store was wheelchair accessible.) The second thing I noticed about the store is that it’s clean and well-lit. In comparison, there’s one adult store near my hometown which I’ve visited a few times… but I haven’t been there in years because it’s dark and depressing compared to Lovers.

As I said above, I didn’t take any photos of the interior of the store (I was too shy and I wasn’t sure if taking photos would be too intrusive.) BUT, lucky you, reader! The store Dr. Klein spoke at during May 2010 was the same exact one I visited and am reviewing! If you will please follow this link, you’ll be able to see pictures of the inside of the store (and some of the event attendees) and follow along with what I’m talking about. See, there’s pictures of the third floor and in the background you can see the posters I’ll be talking about and there’s a picture where in the background you can see the Kinky Corner, etc…

Here’s a picture I took of the outside of the store in broad daylight:

Lovers Exterior

[Description: One side of a brown brick building with a purple overhang. The building only has 3 windows visible in this picture. There are green bushes on either side of the entrance. It’s a bright and sunny day. Not pictured: A parking lot with quite a few cars in it.]

The floors of the Tukwila location are basically divided into themes. The lowest level houses most of the toys and lubricants, mostly arranged along the walls. The store sells a wide variety of goods, from novelties of questionable value (energy drinks, party supplies, aphrodisiacs, etc.) to high-quality luxury vibrators that start approaching or break $100. For example, besides the usual bargain-priced basic vibrators, I saw the Lelo collection and whimsical glass dildoes securely locked behind well-lit glass cases.

On this floor, I eventually selected a semi-realistic dildo made by Tantus that looked like it could be adapted for my sinister plans of dilating. One of the walls had a big selection of colorful Tantus sex supplies. Tantus, according to C.A.T.T., is one of the producers of dildoes that uses body-safe materials. I’d like to do a review of the Tantus Chamer in a future blog post but it may be a little while longer yet before I become fully acquainted with it. I learned after my purchase that the Chamer is really designed more for g-spot stimulation instead of dilating, and that the Silk dildoes by Tantus may be a better bet for women with vaginismus. But the Silk line of dildoes (which may be used as a dilator set) only has 3 sizes to choose from & I don’t need those sizes right now. This Charmer is almost the exact size I wanted and it has the more realistic head, plus its pliant.
Lovers Package gets bonus points for when the staff helped me pick the Charmer out. My partner wanted to explicitly stat here that the staff was friendly and knowledgeable. A staff member asked me if I needed help and she let me take it out of the box and used a measuring tape to make sure it did not exceed my size limit. (WIDTH is the problem for me, not length. We ruled out one of the wider dildoes I’d been interested in for this reason.) Don’t be shy to ask for help from the staff if you’re feeling overwhelmed when you go in.

Don’t feel left out if you are experiencing a problem that makes vaginal insertion difficult. Lovers sells a lot of vibrators and non-insertive toys as well as the requisite dildos. I was particularly interested in the water dancer vibrator, for example.

Lovers sells toys for men as well. What I remember most about the section of toys designed for men was the variety of cock rings and masturbation sleeves. You could buy a Fleshlight or a disposable Tenga there. There were some ‘realistic’ sleeves as well – faux-vaginas, sometimes complete with faux-vulva and faux-pelvis. I understand that selling realistic masturbation sleeves is somewhat controversial, as Babeland’s Sex Toys 101 points out that some customers are turned off by seeing a disembodied vagina for the sole purpose of masturbation. So, just a heads up – you can find that sort of toy in Lovers.

One thing I really like about Lovers is the selection of lubricant. For one thing, I can buy Slippery Stuff in person there – usually I have to order it online since I can’t get it at the grocery store. There’s many other lubricants available at Lovers as well – lots of water-based and silicone lubes to choose from.
Lovers also sell sample sized packets of lubricant, another feature I approve of. I already know that for vaginal activity, I’m pretty much stuck with Slippery Stuff gel for life – but I like to try using different lubricants on my partner we’re going to be mutually masturbating. The sample sizes let us pick and choose what works best without having to commit to a bottle that could potentially go to waste if we don’t like it. Sometimes when I order sex and dilator supplies online, vendors will send me a few sample packets as an incentive and I’ll share the samples with my boyfriend, but I worry about running out for next time. With so many options now at my fingertips, I felt like a kid in a candy store. Presentation counts – the samples are all neatly organized in silver buckets on a table.

I was a little disappointed with the selection of BDSM gear available in the Kinky Corner – though I have nothing to compare the selection to except for computer screens online, the selection appeared to be on the small side, and low melting point candles for BDSM activity were sold out. Still, it was educational for me, to be able to feel the different floggers and slappers available. I am genuinely surprised by how resistant a lot of those BDSM toys feel. I thought the spanking stuff would have more give but they’re surprisingly firm. Was not expecting that. We held off on purchasing any obvious BDSM gear this trip – my partner wants to top, but he still deals with a set of prying, nosy eyes at home. A full size spanker is too big to safely hide. Plus I told him, no topping until you finish your Topping Book! He hasn’t finished it yet. That’s the rule.

The middle level of Lovers stocks a lot of lingerie and costume gear, as well as some lubircants and massage supplies. I mean sooo much of the floor is racks and racks of all kinds of clothes. What I remember most was the frilly lacy stuff, nurse themed stuff, plus size, shiny shoes and stockings; I’m sure there’s more. We didn’t spend too much time on the lingere level though since I had brought some over for the trip. We’re good for now; maybe next time. One thing I remember from when we bought the shoes a few years ago though, is the staff let me try the heels on and walk around a little before we paid. I felt pretty…plus I have a hard time finding shoes that fit me right, so I always have to try them on.

I looked at the massage supplies too and was surprised because I think I could actually use them. I’m picky about the massage oil I use but some of the available bottles contained ingredients that I’m familiar with and would feel comfortable applying to my skin. At the suggestion of one of the staff members, my partner and I even bought (and later used) a soy-based candle that turned into scented massage oil as it melted.

The upper level of the store houses the DVDs, posters, bachelorette party details and the museum. I think the lighting on this floor was a little dimmer than on the others.

The museum was my favorite part of the upper level. I don’t think anything in the museum is for sale; it’s strictly for educational purposes only. The museum is a section of the floor with an extra wall to hang lots of media clippings and newspaper articles are posted there. A history of Lovers Package. A history of sex-positive feminism in general. It was fascinating to look over. Even my partner was reading the articles. The store has gotten picketed and protested a few times!!!
I looked around online for more on the history of Lovers Package but I’ll probably have to do some more digging. Looking up the history of Lovers is proving to be more difficult than say, looking up the history of Good Vibrations or Babeland. Here’s two pieces to get you started, one about the founder of Lovers Package, Phyllis Heppenstall, and one from their corporate site. I’d never heard of Lovers Package before visiting Washington State – odd since it’s relatively old and has an online store. I guess it has been overshadowed by more aggressive marketing from competitors.

My second favorite part of the upper floor was the posters & art. There’s a lot of posters & nude or semi-nude pin-ups on the third level. Some of them are surprisingly tasteful, others not so much. There’s nude women, some probably airbrushed or just drawn to look that way.

Of course there’s plenty of adult DVDs on this floor, separated into sections for what you’re looking for. My partner and I looked over the videos but did not take any home with us this time. I think I remember seeing Pirates available though. I heard that one is supposed to be pretty good. And I definitely recognized some other titles and women directors from catalogs and online – there’s educational adult videos in addition to sexual entertainment.

The third level also contains some of the novelty bachelorette party accessories. Phallic straws meant to be used as joke gifts, boob-shaped mugs the likes of which you might find in the gift shop of a Boardwalk shop in Atlantic City – basically a lot of adult joke items. There were also some t-shirts for sale.

In the end, my partner and I walked out of Lovers with a bag full of goodies totalling over $100 in value. Here’s our goodie bag:

Purchases made at Lovers

[Description: A variety of sex toys spread out on an off-white carpet. The carpet could use a vacuuming. Box containing what’s clearly labeled a “100% Silicone” purple dildo, two sample-sized bottles and two sample-sized packets of lubricant, a package of 3 stretchy cock rings, 2 tenga eggs, 1 pair of women’s underwear, 1 purple condom tin, 1 massage candle tin and a black bag. The bag has a stylized graphic of the male/female symbol on it.]

Because we spent so much, two free gifts (the condom case and the underwear) were thrown in by Lovers. The condom case might work just as well as a makeup case, since it has a mirror built into the lid. Lovers also has a membership program where new members can save cash on their first purchase and subsequently receive occasional discounts. You don’t have to give all your personally identifying information out to receive a membership card.

I brought some of the goodies home with me and intend to use them. Others, like the tenga eggs and silicone lube samples, I left with my partner as presents. A few days later I would give him even more goodies. (In anticipation of comments, yes we know you can’t combine silicone lubes with silicone toys. We are fully aware of this fact and will not mix the two together.)

This was actually the third visit my partner and I made into one of the Lovers stores, so obviously we must enjoy the experience if we are willing to patronize the same shop multiple times. So who else might be interested in visiting Lovers?
The retail shops are available only in the Pacific Northwest, so you’ll only be able to visit in person if you’ll be out that way, though you can shop online in the mean time. The Tukwila store reviewed here is outside the Seattle area and minutes away (driving) from the Westfield Southcenter Mall.
The wide selection of toys available may be overwhelming to a first timer who has no experience shopping for sex supplies. Overwhelming, but not uncomfortable or skeevy – I felt safe walking around inside the store and parking lot. I would recommend that you at least familiarize yourself with sex education so that you know what you might be interested in and so that you can pick out a high-quality toy for a high-quality experience. Are you in a hurry to get the learning on? Lovers website, like many other sex-positive retailers, offers articles on sex education, though not as many as some of the more ubiquitous adult sites that maintain blogs. I think that my experience dealing with online sex suppliers and with reading newsletters and blog posts about sex provided more than enough education for me to make good purchasing decisions. (In fact, if anything, my often weird experiences have made me overly picky.) If you walk in looking for advanced BDSM gear, you may need to keep looking as the Kinky Corner’s selection was limited. For beginner BDSM gear though, the selection is probably sufficient.
If you still find yourself overwhelmed by the selection of goodies available, you can ask staff for assistance – the staff will probably offer to help you within a few minutes of entering the store.
If you already have fun, durable sex toys at home, then Lovers may still have something you’re looking for, since they offer so many lubricants and consumable products that get used up.
Walking into a brick-and-mortar store has a couple of advantages over shopping online – you can see and possibly feel what you want, you don’t have to pay shipping, you get instant gratification, and you can pay in cash. If you have a partner or a shy friend, ask if zie would like to go shop with you.

This concludes my review or perhaps a more accurate description would be a summary of an excursion to Lovers in Tukwila, WA. As with all posts on Feminists with Female Sexual Dysfunction thus far, I have received no compensation for this review and in fact had to spend all my own money to get out that way and buy stuff.

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6 Comments »

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  1. Wow, I used to live right near that Lovers’ Package! Decent place, although I liked the Castle Superstore a few blocks away (Andover Park E and Baker) better–the prices are lower and the selection is better, and they have a big fascinating wall of tester vibrators.

    Lovers’ isn’t bad though, although some of their staff did have a tendency to give me shit about looking underage when I was 24 years old. I’m just short, dammit.

    • Castle Superstore, you say? Hmm it looks like it’s still in the area, maybe we can make a trip there next time we’re both out that way.

      At the adult shop in my area, the staff has given me a hard time for looking youthful while of legal age to enter. I expected to need to flash my ID at Lovers but got away with not having to. Babeland checked my ID though.

      We visited Babeland Seattle too, but, I don’t think I’m going to write a review of it because 1. Most people have probably already heard of Babeland and 2. It was small compared to Lover’s. We were only in there for about 15 minutes instead of an hour. Though I did like how you could touch and test just about *everything.*

  2. A random question about lube– you mentioned that Slippery Stuff was the only lube you could use for vaginal penetration; was it that everything else caused irritation, or you didn’t like the feel of it, or…? I’ve been wanting to get into experimenting with different lubes but have been worrying about which ones might be chemically irritating to me (I got irritation once from a cream that was supposed to stop “feminine itching”).

    • Well Slippery Stuff has a few features that I like. It’s water-based. It’s glycerin-free. It doesn’t have a strong odor. It’s thick. I don’t notice any irritation while I’m using it.

      And it’s the only lube *all* of my doctors agree that I should use. My physical therapist uses it in her office with her pelvic pain patients, even.

      One thing you may notice after using it – a few hours or a day later some leftovers will probably leak out of your vagina. That’s a little annoying and I can feel it, so I sweep it away with a clean finger.

  3. […] stores – I guess this must be one of just a few sites that’s done an in-depth report on […]

  4. This mother fuckers will trespass you if you use to many coupons.Yes we were trespassed cause we always use the 40% coupon you can print on line from Valpak and you can Google lovers package 405 coupons.We have spent a shit load money and my message to this DICK HEADS IS IF CANT HONOR THE COUPONS DONT FUCKING POST IT ON LINE SCUM BAGS.


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