Ready to embark on a glamorous and exciting career in the adult industry?
1. In Some Places, It Can Get You Arrested
When I worked in a sex shop, the sale of adult toys in Texas was still illegal. That meant if you sold an “obscene device” to an undercover cop posing as a housewife they could arrest you and force you to register as a sex offender. (Google it.)
To reiterate, the great state of Texas considered your dildo more dangerous than your assault weapon.
Sex store employees like me avoided being tarred and feathered by resorting to euphemism. We didn’t sell sex toys — we sold marital aids and adult novelty items.
Our Texas law was finally overturned in 2008, but the South currently isn’t rising again in Alabama. Their statute banning sex toys wasn’t even sponsored until 1998!
2. It’s Not For The Squeamish
It’s a great big world, and you’ll get a first-hand look at its dark underbelly when you work on the front lines of a sex shop. People will come to you with erotic proclivities that will have you running to Google for clarity ... and then you'll wish you hadn’t.
3. You're Inappropriate In Most Social Situations
At some point, selling sex toys will become like any other job. You’re going to talk about it outside of work a lot, just like the guy that sells insurance is probably going to talk about insurance a lot.
The only difference is, your conversation is peppered with butt plugs, pocket pussies and all manner of wicked fuckery that will make the average cubicle-dweller blush. Everything you post on Facebook is NSFW and you'll find yourself inadvertently giving sex advice to total strangers.
Like the time I was in a doctor’s office showing a very uncomfortable receptionist how to put toner in a printer by explaining, "See? You just put your fingers on its G-Spot and lift up. That’s how you make it squirt." Well, it made perfect sense to me.
At least, when your friends complain about work you’ll always have the best "bad work day" story. The next time someone prattles on endlessly about that bitch in HR, I just bring up the last time someone tried to return a lipstick-smeared dildo and then drop the mic.
4. Your Days Are Filled With Edible Underwear
If there's one product that makes me want to do the slow wall-slide of despair, it’s Edible Underwear.
Edible Underwear is what happens when fruit roll-ups go to Hell. It's the terrible fruit of imagination-limited morons, and I hate them with the power of a thousand suns — almost as much as I hate the Pocket Rocket (The basic bitch of the vibrator world.) True story, edible underwear were invented in 1975, the first and last year every pair of edible underwear was ever made. I know because I’ve tasted them.
Why anyone would feel compelled to encase their love clam in stale fruit leather is God's own mystery. Now ask me, out of the hundreds of fantastic intimacy products we sold, which was the most popular? That's right, friends. Edible. Fucking. Underwear.
5. If You’re Single, EVERYONE Is Having More Sex Than You
Our store was popular with fun, attractive couples that couldn’t seem to keep their hands off each other. These lust-crazed sex monkeys clearly needed no help spicing things up — that is — outside of some rubber sheets and an industrial-sized bottle of lube to ease all that chafing.
On a Friday night, the atmosphere was so sexually charged that we were just a velvet couch and a disco ball away from Studio 54-style orgies. That sounds fun, until the sad trombone of realization hits you that you’ll go home alone to watch Netflix and eat an entire pizza all by yourself (or so I hear.)
6. Age Really Is Only A Number
Do you think that after age 30 you'll have to trade in your genitals for a Matlock DVD and a bag of Werther's Originals? Guess again. The majority of my customers were well over 40 and getting it on like Donkey Kong. My oldest regular was 89 and his “child bride” as he called her, was 70.
My view is that people tend to become more sexual with age because experience breeds confidence. Grown folks know how short life is so they’re going to get their kinks out without all those pesky inhibitions getting in the way.
These sexy seniors were the primary reason I sold sex swings, fucking machines and bondage toys like cupcakes. That’s right, when Nana and Peepaw aren’t bringing casseroles to the HOA potluck, they’re converting their basement into a sex labyrinth and dressing up as Minotaurs.
Young people on the other hand, are masters of porn and the casual hook-up. The only problem with hook-ups and porn is that they aren’t exactly conducive to personal sexual discovery. It isn't just about how many sexual contortions you’ve folded yourself into as much as it is about intimacy, which is scary.
If you’re still plagued with boner-killing thoughts like “Do I look fat in this position?” or “Will they call me a slut?” you are nowhere near realizing your full sexual potential. “But what if I let my boyfriend stick the tip in my butt?” you ask. No, Felicia ... not even then.
7. You Learn Odd Skills
Dr. Ruth Westheimer once said she could load an automatic rifle while blindfolded in a single minute, thanks to her training in the Israeli Army. I can’t load a gun blindfolded but thanks to my own specialized training, I can load a complicated rabbit vibrator with batteries in less than 30 seconds.
Apart from battery-loading 101, working in a sex shop will give you the ability to guess a sex toy’s material by smell and feel, accurately judge someone’s bra size (whether they’re male or female) AND automatically know what’s really going on inside a dressing room even when the door is shut.
Put that on your next resume.
8. Weirdness Is Subjective
My customers were doctors, lawyers, senators, preachers and housewives, yet I was constantly asked, “So, do you get a lot of weirdos in here?” The person asking was usually imagining some scary guy with facial tattoos and ear plugs. Make no mistake: That type of person is actually your dream customer.
Why? Because that stereotypical weirdo hasn’t had to suppress his sexual curiosity and can ask for what he needs directly. He might even know more about sex toys than you, even if he is wearing raver pants that 1995 doesn’t even want back.
Now, picture the overly-tanned bro with the popped Polo collar who just double parked his Porsche. He’s nervously jangling his keys in his pocket and loudly announcing he’s “totally not into this stuff” while simultaneously eye-raping every female in the room.
Keep a close eye on that dude. He's the reason there's no public restroom and you keep 911 on speed dial, but don’t assume that all women are immune from free-range douchery.
One self-proclaimed Warrior of the Lord came in to my store and loudly testified that our merchandise was indecent and that someone should shut us down. Then, she refused to leave in lieu of swaying dreamily in front of the dildo section while audibly licking her lips.
We did get our share of nut cases in rainbow suspenders, but the point is, sex stores really aren’t so much a haven for weirdos as they are a magnet for hypocrites.
9. You Don't Know As Much As You Think You Do
Day after day of explaining to people how their anatomy works may lead you to believe you know everything there is to know about sex. Trust me — you don’t and you never will.
You may have finally figured out how to tie a perfect Clove Hitch Bondage Knot, but how much do you know about Erectile Dysfunction? Vaginal Atrophy? Or sex in a wheelchair? Welcome to the Big Leagues, kids.
Like the first time I found myself at a complete loss for words when an Algerian woman described her childhood clitoridectomy in horrific detail and then asked me what she could do to make her wedding night more pleasant. Even after years of working in an adult store, my silly, pre-conceived notions of what sex is “supposed” to look like were shattered on a regular basis — and that's a good thing.
I enjoyed learning something new from my customers every day, and you will too.
10. You Might Change Someone's Life
Many people are unable to talk about their sexual issues openly with family or friends, but they may, for the first time in their lives, reveal their deepest, darkest secrets to you. This creates an instant intimacy that is both exhilarating and terrifying.
One of my very favorite customers was a grizzled trucker with arms like tree trunks. After tearfully revealing that he liked to dress in, as he put it, "Lady Clothes," our store became her safe place and she blossomed into one sexy, sassy bitch. Imagine an ex-marine in a John Deere Cap and 6 inch platform heels rocking a runway strut to Donna Summer's "Hot Stuff." Not a dry eye in the house.
Sexual identity was always a rewarding theme to deal with. Equally poignant, however, were the people struggling with unresolved sexual desires late in life.
These were widows from the “masturbation is a sin” generation who had never been taught that their pleasure mattered. After raising families and burying husbands, they suddenly realized they didn’t want to go to their graves without knowing what an orgasm felt like.
They would nervously show up in our store and I’d pull out my female anatomy chart. Then I'd give them a lesson in Masturbation 101 with the all wild-eyed fervor of a tent revival preacher.
They’d go home with a vibrator, and they’d always come back with a smile. There's nothing quite like the feeling of being embraced by a very happy 70-something year old woman who has finally discovered what all the fuss is about.