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5 Woman-Friendly Sex Shops to Help Make Your Valentine’s Day All About Self-Love

by Zoë Lourey-Christianson

Valentine’s Day can be a truly miserable time for people. Sure, the aesthetic is cute and the stores are finally stocking the correct amount of chocolate which is nice, but being single this time of year can feel like you’re wearing a neon sign that says “I’m alone” around your neck. For women, especially, relationship status is linked so closely to self-worth in our society (literally don’t get me started). Combine that with a healthy dollop of capitalism and you’ve got a red velvet nightmare of a holiday on your hands for single women. But what if there was another way to celebrate Valentine’s Day that honored your pleasure without needing a partner? That’s where these five fabulous women-focused sex shops come in. 

Early to Bed

Adult stores aren’t typically known for their welcoming, educational, inclusive vibes. There’s just something about an establishment called “The Pleasuring Hole” that doesn’t inspire a comfortable shopping experience. Too often, sex shops cater to a very specific kind of customer having a very specific kind of sex and fail to include a diverse range of people, sexualities, and bodies. That’s why spaces like Chicago’s first queer woman-owned sex store, Early to Bed, are vital community staples. 

Until the store’s founder and owner, Searah Deysach, opened Early to Bed in 2001, most of the sex shops in Chicago were very cisgender, heterosexual male-dominated spaces that weren’t prioritizing genuine sexual health and exploration. Early to Bed is disrupting the status quo by being a woman and trans-friendly sex shop that is dedicated to helping all people find pleasure. Not only that, but the store is a shame-free zone where customers are encouraged to be curious, ask questions, and get help from the knowledgeable staff. Much of the merchandise is out on display with the intention of customers being able to touch, hold, and ask specific questions about items like vibrators and different lubes before buying them. It’s a shopping experience that is, at its core, an educational one, too. 

Early to Bed is located in the Andersonville neighborhood of Chicago and is open seven days a week. You can visit their website to shop, check hours, and find sexual health and wellness resources as well as sex tips.

She Bop

What sells eco-friendly and body-safe products, is committed to social equity, and was named after a Cyndi Lauper song? She Bop the sex shop! 

With two storefronts located in Portland as well as an online shop, She Bop could be your new go-to toy store no matter what state you live in. Founded by Evy Cowan and Jeneen Doumitt in 2009 (and now owned by Doumitt alone), She Bop has proven itself a necessary source of sexual education committed to promoting diversity, sustainability, and sexual empowerment for all bodies. They also do a lot of work with the community, ranging from things as simple as using a local service to print their stickers to more elaborate efforts, like in-store fundraising for donations to local feminist organizations. All this giving back means that you have one more reason to feel good about your purchase (because I mean, come on, you were probably feeling pretty good about it already). 

Beyond the work they do in the community, She Bop also understands that shopping for sex toys should be fun! The store was founded, after all, on the idea that finding the right sex toy should be an exciting, comfortable, and safe experience.  No one should feel self-conscious or embarrassed to be seeking out sexual pleasure, and She Bop and their helpful staff are here to make sure you leave feeling informed, empowered, and ready to embark on some healthy sexual exploration. They even offer in-store and virtual workshops that you can book with a group! You don’t have to be a novice to shop there, though, as they offer a wide selection of products that caters to every level of experience and preference. 

Visit one of their two stores in Portland, or shop via their website



2023 marks Babeland’s 30th year of business, and it’s no question why the store has found such long-lasting success. Founded in 1993 by Claire Cavanah and Rachel Venning, Babeland’s first storefront was in Seattle, but they have since expanded to three more locations in New York City. While no longer woman-owned, Babeland’s impact on the sex-toy industry cannot go unmentioned. 

The store came about when Cavanah and Venning were looking to start a business together. Their shared passion for feminism brought them to the idea of an adult toy shop sans-the male gaze that promoted healthy sexual exploration for women and nonbinary people. At the time, the idea of casually shopping for a vibrator and lube was unfamiliar to a lot of folks, but the store has both survived and gotten to witness our culture’s evolving attitude toward sex and, specifically, female sexual pleasure. Nowadays, of course, we can sing along in the club to bops about wet ass pussies, but Babeland came to be in a time that was far less open about women enjoying sex, making their effort and success all the more commendable. 

Babeland boasts one of the larger catalogs of toys and products on the list, so if you’ve been on the hunt for and haven’t found something that quite piques your fancy, this is the shop for you–and Valentine’s Day is the occasion. Stop by one of their brick and mortar locations, or scroll their extensive website that hosts over seven hundred different vibrators. 


Good Vibrations

Founded in San Francisco in 1977 by iconic sex educator Joani Blank, Good Vibrations is a household name in the world of sex shops and one of the first to be by women and for women. At its heart, Good Vibrations was created so women could claim sexuality as a space where they get to be in control, explore, be empowered, feel good and, most importantly, have orgasms. Good Vibrations is also unfortunately no longer woman-owned, but still an important shop to mention because of its origins and impact. 

Good Vibrations has changed hands over the years, but still honors those core values it was founded on. They continue to sponsor both local and national non-profits through their GiVe program, and are currently partnered with the National Network of Abortion Funds. They also remain extremely education-based when it comes to their approach to selling toys and sexual gear. From its inception, Good Vibrations was meant to be a place where women and people of all genders could expand their ideas of sexuality and pleasure in a safe and healthy environment. All Good Vibrations sales associates are also trained to be qualified sexual educators, meaning you can feel safe knowing any questions you might have will be answered by a knowledgeable individual who is passionate about sexual empowerment and pleasure. The company even has a Staff Sexologist, Dr. Carol Queen, who just happens to be BUST’s sex columnist, check out her most recent column in our Winter 2023 issue of BUST!

With eight California storefronts as well as two Massachusetts locations and an online shop, Good Vibrations is easy to find and hard to leave. Do a little Valentine’s treat yo’ self and check them out now! 


Melrose Urban Female

Melrose Urban Female, or MUF, was created in 2003 and is an online sex toy boutique. But don’t worry, you won’t be bombarded with targeted ads and pop-ups screaming at you to buy gimmicky boner pills or to chat with hot MILFs in your area. Melrose Urban Female pride themselves on being a straight-forward, easy-to-navigate online storefront that isn’t cluttered with content you don’t want or need. They keep it simple, which is a refreshing take on the typical adult toy shopping experience, and a subtly profound way to normalize shopping for sex toys. 

Originally started by an all-women group of business partners, Melrose Urban Female was founded with what they call on their website a “Sex and the City” perspective on sexuality. The company is now operated by a wife and husband team, but the same values and great product selection remain. They are also very customer-based, and are happy to special order toys and products for customers who aren’t already finding what they’re looking for.

Their curated, casual shopping experience and an entire section dedicated to Valentine’s-themed toys make Melrose Urban Female just the place to shop for your V-Day celebrations, solo or not. Check out their website now!

 Top photo by Anna Shvets on Pexels 

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Founded in 1993, BUST is the inclusive feminist lifestyle trailblazer offering a unique mix of humor, female-focused entertainment, uncensored personal stories, and candid reporting that tells the truth about women’s lives.

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