So, New York's glory days as a seedy mecca for sex stores, sex shows, sex everything, have long since passed us by. Many would argue that this is actually for the best. Also, there's a little thing called "the internet" that has stepped in to fill a lot of those needs. It's worth checking out, if you haven't been.
However, there's still a lot to be said for the good, old-fashioned, brick-and-mortar sex shop. The browsing opportunities! The knowledgable staff! The somewhat uncomfortable possibility of running into someone you know! It's all good. And, as with almost any given specialty service, Brooklyn does the sex shop very, very well. Whether you need the fanciest lingerie you've ever owned, or have a question you've been too embarrassed to add to your Google cache, we've rounded up the best for every occasion.
Besides just selling pretty much anything you could possibly think of to buy, sex-wise, the team at Shag is also super committed to teaching you pretty much anything you could possibly think of to learn, sex-wise. They have a rotating series of classes (available in larger sessions for bachelorette parties), but for Valentine's Day specifically, the store is hosting "a nine-course aphrodisiac-inspired menu and wine pairing" at nearby Pinkerton Wine Bar. If that's not enough to convince you that these people know what they're talking about, I don't know what is.
108 Roebling St, Williamsburg
Technically, Le Grand Strip is just a well-curated vintage store, not any place you'd ever look over your shoulder on your way in. That said, the store's collection of vintage lingerie is widely acknowledged as its real strong point. For the person who wants indie cred in everything, even their underwear.
197 Grand St, Williamsburg
Every branch of Babeland is worth visiting — they're just a great operation, in general — but their Park Slope location has the added bonus of a delivery service, which is genius. By customer demand, the store started sending out bike messengers who will deliver "discreet looking boxes" to your door within the hour. Plus, delivery is free on Valentine's Day.
Babeland, 462 Bergen St., Park Slope
Now, I sort of assume that sex isn't really different, per se, among our neighbors to the north, but regardless, this publication is highly welcoming to (almost) any and all Canadian imports, and Williamsburg's outpost of this beloved Vancouver establishment is no exception. And anyway, is anything sexier than telling your partner "Oh, this old thing? It's Canadian."
100 N. 6th Street, Williamsburg
Columbia Street may be pretty out of the way for most people, but Winkworth's comprehensive collection of lingerie (and habit of plying customers with wine) has earned them a startlingly loyal fan base of true believers. Whatever they're doing, it's working.
119 Columbia Street, Columbia Waterfront District
This place got some bad PR when it opened up in 2010 — some Sheepshead Bay locals complained that the window display was, uh, a little much for a residential neighborhood frequented by children — but the controversy has since died down, the store has stuck around, and anyway, its owner has reportedly been in the business for decades, so he knows what he's doing.
1717 Sheepshead Bay Road, Sheepshead Bay
Follow Virginia K. Smith on Twitter @vksmith.