Recovering From Holiday Shopping
by Cliff Mazer, Ph.D. on Wed, January 4th, 2012 at 12:55pm
I dont know about you but I’m still recovering from my holiday shopping. I wasn’t pepper sprayed at Walmart and I dont mean the trauma of getting trampled at the Mall of America or hit in the head by a newly released Michael Jordan shoe, although that would definitely leave a mark. I’m talking about my shopping trip to the local sex shop. First, let me ask you are you over 50 years old? Have you by any chance been to one of these stores lately?
No, I dont mean a “head shop”, the ubiquitous “pipe and tobacco” places where every college kid and their stoner cousin wanders around looking and smelling like beach venders in Jamaica while looking at bongs, pipes, vaporizers and incense holders in the shape of a dragon or cheesy plastic gargoyle. I’m talking about the sex stores like the ones we used to sneak into back in the day in NYC or Chicago, thinking to bring home titillating souvenirs like weird spiky condoms, battery powered accessories and lubricants with interesting names like “Spanish Fly” and “Hot Love”. Baggage checks at the airports and increased security after 9/11 kind of put the cabash on that, as nobody wanted to explain to a beefy New York cop or TSA supervisor at O’hare exactly why they had a 12 inch long “Long Dong Silver” vibrator in their carry on bag. Awkward much?
Well, the good news is that the world has changed alot since then. Sex shops are practically everywhere now. Much to the chagrin of Pat Robertson and the Old Guard who sit on the various Board of Supervisors in Metro Atlanta, the commercial sales of sex related products is thriving. Sure the attorneys keep suing each other trying to get rid of the “riff raff”, but everything is on appeal until the Apocalypse….and probably beyond. You can still go into any strip mall, have lunch at Jason’s Deli or Shlotsky’s, wipe the spicy mustard off your lips and then wander next door into Inserection or Insatiable or whatever sex themed establishment you previously imagined only in your dreams or private porno moments. As a youngish Baby Boomer type, I’m not sure I can adequately convey the “shock and awe” that I experienced when I recently visited Inserection to go shopping for the holidays. Perhaps one could use the analogy of walking an underfed Nigerian child right off the boat and straight into Costco. I’m a sex counselor, dammit and I spent half the time asking the punk rock cum Goth looking store clerk girl, “What’s this??!”, “Excuse me, what’s this for?”, and even, “Which way does this go?” By the way, the personal service is excellent in these places, which at first takes some getting used to because they are so damn comfortable saying out loud and right in front of everyone, “Oh I really like the Viper Wand!! It hits the G-spot way better than the Jack Rabbit!!” Thank you for delivering that info to me so directly and for choosing to not use the store microphone while talking to me……
The real point here is that sex has come (excuse the expression) a long way, and the younger generations have lost most to all of their sexual embarrassment, shame and self-consciousness. Society should only come so far in race relations and global politics. Bob Marley’s notion of “One Love” not only plays in ones head but over the loudspeakers as I walked down aisle after aisle of toys, leather products, herbal pills, lubricants, restraining devices and….things which are clearly intended to be inserted into multiple human orifices…simultaneously. I admit to pausing at one point, nearly overcome, to count on my fingers if I even HAD that many body cavities, not counting my nose and ears. Trust me, many of these devices are, according to Goth girl, “ass” friendly AND from recycled plastic, thank you very much. So glad the Green Movement has made it this far, even apparently where the “sun doesn’t shine”. I wont bore you with all the dirty details of each and every sex product, Liberator cushion (hurray for Atlanta based ingenuity and Jewish entrepreneurship), transexual love doll with removeable penis (I kid you not), or cock ring with Roman feather I perused, but I will say ALOT of research and development has gone on in the thirteen years since Pfizer discovered the magic pill Viagra. I kinda wish I had gotten into this end of the business including the market testing and “product placement”. I just get to talk to people about sex. I will say, however, that I am still available for any sex related “focus groups” involving either pay or take home practice assignments. I admit that, after all is said and done, I wonder, like Woody Allen, what sex is like once it has been stripped away from its mystique and “forbidden” quality. He said, “Sex is dirty..if you do it right” and I agree. I just wish for all these new sexual innovations there were more explicit instruction manuals, and especially ones printed in large bold letters so I could read them without my corrective lenses. It takes away from the spontaneity and pleasure of the moment when one has to stop and exclaim, “Honey where is my big magnifying glass? Arrggh and Oy Vey!!
Cliff Mazer, Ph.D. is a Licensed Clinical Psychologist and Sex Therapist in Atlanta Georgia. He has an inexplicable thing for Pirates and blogs as CaptCliff, his alter-ego on Facebook.