Whether you’re looking to make this Valentine’s Day one to remember or you just want to spice up an otherwise ordinary Tuesday night, a well-stocked bedside table might be the answer. Romantic accessories like toys, games, and personal products can put the spark back into a relationship and they can be both good for you and green.
If erotic shopping has always struck you as a little risqu©, you’re not alone. But you also won’t be alone if you decide to give it a try. Once the domain of the dominatrix, sex toys now find a comfortable home in many mainstream American bedrooms. Just ask Lauren Wolf, owner and founder of Denver-based Signature Sensuality, which sells healthy and sustainable intimate products. This affable, charming, and normal mom-of-two never imagined she’d make a career selling sex wares, but she now loves her work. Not just for the fun stuff she gets to learn about, but for how she can help people explore the most intimate aspects of their lives.
Good Sex Guidance
When choosing products to sell, Wolf always returns to her standards: First, the product must be body safe. “Most sex toys are made out of materials that we shouldn’t have contact with anyway phthalates, parabens, petroleum but we certainly shouldn’t be using them inside, in our most intimate areas,” she asserts.
Second, Wolf prefers products that are woman-friendly that is, ones that are discreet, aesthetically pleasing, and don’t use overly graphic images on their packaging.
The third quality she looks for is sustainability. “So many toys are so cheaply made overseas, and you’re not getting what you pay for,” she points out. “I like things that have a sustainable emphasis. The adult industry is known for its disposable quality batteries, petroleum based products, and so on. We can be green in many ways in our lives, and when I can find the right product, I like to feature one that goes along with a healthy/green lifestyle.”
Good, Clean Fun Shopping Guide
Ready to bring some fun into your bedroom? Read on for Wolf’s recommendations for everything from lube and toys to books and games. “I’m here to give people permission to explore things and accessorize their bedroom,” says Wolf.
Lubricant can be helpful at many stages of a woman’s life especially during times of hormonal shift when things can get a little dry down there. But the ingredients list on the lubes you can find at the pharmacy is enough to make you cross your legs. Many lubricants contain glycerin, which can contribute to yeast infections and urinary tract infections, and parabens, which have been linked to cancer. Wolf recommends Sliquid Natural Gel Lubricant, which is water-based, organic, and ideal for use on delicate body tissue. (4 oz, $15)
Here’s the part where it’s OK to blush: a quick primer on sex toys. There are about as many different styles of sex accessory as there are sex positions (if you guessed two, skip to the section on books). To keep it simple, we’ll just address two main kinds vibrators, which (duh) vibrate, and dildos, which don’t. Unfortunately, both types are often made of unsafe materials and rely on batteries, which are not very earth-friendly. Wolf recommends the colorful and sleek LELO vibrators, which use medical-grade silicone and are rechargeable. Many different options are available, but the Gigi is an overall crowd-pleaser. ($119)
For a truly earth-friendly toy, skip the motor and look to NobEssence, a brand of hand-sculpted, ergonomic dildos made from sustainably farmed exotic hardwoods. The Allure is a strategically designed wand that looks more like a modern sculpture than a sex toy. ($160)
Set the mood and get relaxed (but not so relaxed that you fall asleep) with b swish massage candles from b warm. Once melted, the natural wax becomes a slow-absorbing, highly lubricating, and nourishing massage balm, so drizzle on and massage away. Don’t worry: These candles melt at low temperatures, so no one is going to get hurt. “It reminds you of things you see in movies but without the pain,” Wolf says.
If a good dose of knowledge is the kind of thing that gets you in the mood, sexual self-help books abound. For the Baby Boomer set, there’s a funny, explicit, and sweet anthology about sex through the decades. ($26.95) And for anyone who’s interested in exploring the sometimes-intimidating world of bedroom accessories, there’s the which teaches couples everything they need to know about choosing and using sex toys from the most basic to the most bizarre. ($14.95)
Most importantly, Wolf sees her products as a way to spark conversations between partners about what they need to feel fulfilled. “People are not having those discussions and they’re not having sex either,” says Wolf. “People totally lose their erotic communication with their partner, and everything suffers from that.
“While accessories are fun, they can also help you have a conversation with your partner about what you want, what they want, what’s your ideal sexual experience,” Wolf advises. “Just have the conversation; that’s what I want.”
Editor’s note: Save 15% off orders of $50 or more at www.signaturesensuality.com with coupon code VDAY. Expires 2/28/10.