Even though I can be emotionally taxing, our relationship is a cakewalk compared to what goes on between some of the couples that come in my store. An amazing number of people buying sex toys together seem terrible for one another.
If you have a spat in another retail outlet, say over a pair of pants, it’s not really that big a deal. But when you get in a fight about a sex toy, odds are you’re going to end up revealing some deep-seated sexual insecurities and anxieties. A lot of customers behave as if I’m a part of the scenery and really have no problem airing their dirty laundry in front of me.
Some people, for example, don’t mind embarrassing their partner. Once, while a couple was at the register, one of the guys asked me what Magnum condoms are for.
“They’re a little larger than a regular condom.”
“Oh. Well, he doesn’t need that.” The guy looked to his boyfriend, who was giving him a death stare and said, “Well, what’s that look for? You don’t.”
I’m convinced that I’ve witnessed the beginning of several relationships’ end.
The problem seems to be pretty basic: a lot of couples are terrible at communicating with one another, particularly when it comes to matters of sex. Sometimes, it’s very clear to me that a woman is telling her boyfriend, “I want to buy this [because we have a sexual problem that I’d like to try and fix].” Way too often, the man will respond, “Cock rings look fucking stupid” and they’ll leave the store arguing. I’m always tempted to follow these couples. I want to see if they ever get to the point where they realize they’re arguing about two totally different things. I doubt they do.
I guess a sex store is not the worst place to discover you’re functioning in an entirely different sexual stratosphere than your partner. But if you make this discovery when I’m working you’re forcing me to be a part of it, which is rough for me.
A little while ago a man came up to me with his girlfriend trailing behind him. “I want her to be more sexually adventurous,” he said, then left the store to talk on his cell phone. She and I both assumed he meant that he wanted her to buy a vibrator, which she said they’d discussed before and that she didn’t want to do.
“I don’t want to insult him,” she said. “I don’t want to buy a vibrator because I don’t want him to think that he can’t please me.”
I told her why I thought that was silly, but she refused to even look at them.
Her boyfriend returned looking expectant and I explained the situation. Well, long story short, he didn’t want her to buy a vibrator. He wanted her to proposition me for a threesome. She looked as shocked about it as I was.
What advice can you give a couple like that if you’re not a therapist? The girlfriend was worried that introducing a vibrator into their sex life might threaten her boyfriend, but the boyfriend didn’t give another thought to the threat introducing a third person might pose.
They seemed to be discovering the most basic aspects of their partners’ sexuality right then and there, in front of me.
It was awkward. I hated being a part of it, frankly.