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Sexpert Shopping

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by thepleasurechest

Frontiers Magazine exposé.
Issue: May 6th 2008
Author: Michael Anthony

It might be easy for Salt-N-Pepa to “talk about sex baby”- but not so much for the everyday gay. Now don’t get me wrong we love our bawdy and brash talk: little “No she didn’t!” conversations around the morning cooler, 2 A.M. text messages about what Bobbi “stuck” in his “basket” last weekend, and clandestine copulation-related coffee talk over lattes. Yes – gossiping girls, city sexperts, and lipstick mafia members – we love dishing on other’s behind-closed-doors comings and goings (and cummings). That is, however, until the topic-of-conversation tables are turned and we, ourselves, find our own love life the subject of analysis, both by self and via others.

Sexpert Shopping

What turns you on? What gets you hard? What makes your wet? What gets you off? What makes you shoot your wad? (Uncomfortable yet? Cuz lord knows I am!)

Now let me be the first to say, I wouldn’t consider myself, by any means, a “conservative.” Granted, I’m a by-birth Midwestern boy and raised Roman Catholic, but I’m also that uncle that drinks way too much at family events and talks about his rendezvous-ridden life in LaLa Land. Tried and true, whether it be Christmas, Thanksgiving or just another Sunday afternoon dinner, I can sure silence my familial dining room with a single “So, last weekend, I’m on Gay.com and…”

But ask me a serious and personal question about the yearning of my inner-loins, and I am all girlish giggles and witty deflection. That’s why, when my editor offered me to be one of the first to experience the personal shopping program at West Hollywood’s famed Pleasure Chest, I jumped (or, rather, tentatively stumbled) at the chance. Maybe a little Q&A with a sexual pro-in-the-know would enlighten my reserved sexuality; or perhaps, I would just collapse into a fetal ball and cry my PG-13 sensibilities to sleep.

A Monday evening appointment was set at the Pleasure Chest with a personal shopping instructor named “Ginger.” (Ginger? Fine for a Spice Girl or a Gilligan’s Island stowaway, but the liaison to my sexual awakening? Please tell me that there’s no pole dancing involved.)

Meeting Ginger face to face, though quickly quelled my fears. A nose ring? Yes. Multiple tattoos? Affirmative. But the kindest eyes and sweetest spirit; exactly what I needed to begin my slow but sure journey towards man-on-man self discovery. We jumped right in and Ginger so matter-of-factly asked: “Have you ever been to The Pleasure Chest?”

“Uh…No, Ginger. As chance would have it, I have not.” (Duh!) “Well, then let me take you on a tour.”

Our trek around PC began innocently enough; the bachelorette gag gifts, the 6-inch dildos, and the leather harnesses. Been there, done that; nothing jaw-dropping and squirm-inducing for ill’ ole me. But then, as we ventured deeper into the Chest, my eyes widened with questioning curiosity, both intrigued and afraid in equal measure: pony play, urethra sonar, and medical supplies. “You do what with that?” I clumsily asked.

But the explanations came quick and calmly from Ginger. Effortlessly, she described each of The Pleasure Chest’s products with an open and free tone; within minutes, I was cool and collected, my intrigue rid of its former fears. Eventually, we retreated to a small seating area near the front of the store and began what feels like free-flowing “girl talk.” “First off,” Ginger said, “I’m not a sexual therapist. I’m here to help you get comfortable with our toys but not to deal with a trauma. That’s better left to a professional.”

But once I assured here that I am truly trauma-free and a willing sexual explorer, we talked. What turns me on. What gets me hard. What gets me off. What makes me shoot my wad. (Here is where I digress, as every time my boyfriend picks up a paper, I have, in black and white, printed our deepest and darkest secrets. He’s happy to talk with me in private, but not in public. So, as I’ve promised, I’ll shut my yap when it comes to the details.)

Ginger suggested that I come back next week, with my man in tow. She half-jokingly—but actually seriously—gave me “homework”: a three-page sheet detailing any and every possible sexual act on the face of the planet. My BF and I spent an evening drinking wine and rating our “Have Done,” “Have Not Done,” “Would Like to Try,” and “Would Never Like to Try” options.

“You’ve done that?! Ewww!” “You wanna try that?! Hotness!” “You’re never doing that to me!” “Let’s do that…right now!”

The following week, Ginger met with my mate and me together. We reviewed our homework. The three of us laughed hysterically and yet, we really learned a thing or two. A sex toy was purchased-which shall, again remain nameless-and a fun night was had by all…well, not with Ginger (of course!), but with my fine piece of man- candy.

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