Love Nest: Self love, sex toys and the secret store on campus

“There’s a sex store on campus?” hissed Anita Dick, my best friend, when I first told her the apparently unbelievably good news that such a place actually exists in the nether worlds known as UBC’s campus.

Like every other interaction I’ve had with someone who regarded me as a god-sent oracle once I broke this news to them, I gave Anita the whole spiel.

“Yes, it’s in the Life Building… in the Wellness Centre… you’ve been going to this school for four years, girl. How do you not know this yet?”

Sad as it might be that most campus baddies don’t know about the toe-curling products offered at the Wellness Centre, the accessibility of the UBC Sexual Health Shop is one of its best selling points. Aside, of course, from selling sex toys, because who doesn’t love a little boost in the bedroom?

I first visited the sex store in first year as a starry-eyed seventeen year old who had never even seen a dildo in real life. I walked out of the store that day with my bright blue residence lanyard on, and a shiny pink vibrator which seemed to hold all the possibilities of eradicating the orgasm gap. Since then, Petite Pink has become a best friend, source of comfort and my most consistent partner during times both dry and wet.

When I began writing this article, I was curious to see if the vibes had changed since the last time I’d been there three years ago. Questions of inclusivity and diversity were what I was most interested in.

Enter Preet Kang, fourth-year psychology student and overall legend. Kang was generous enough to let me in on what their experience was at the Sexual Health Shop as a non-binary person.

“The [products] have good descriptions and the language isn’t too gendered, which was good. The prices are super low too,” said Kang. They also revealed to me the store has an online catalogue (hello, we love discretion!) which offers an inclusive selection of products — including lube, butt plugs, pregnancy tests and menstrual cups. Though the range offered is still limited, the store’s nonetheless a cool diving board for someone just beginning to learn about the whole sex toy concept.

When I asked them about the general vibes at the store, Kang mentioned the staff is friendly and able to guide them through the products and their descriptions.

I thought the same when I went last week (for strictly journalistic purposes… of course). If you prefer your privacy, the employees give you the option to be the only person browsing in the area at that given time. Plus, they have a whole bunch of free condoms and other affordable contraceptives.

And sure, sex toys are great and affordable toys are even better! But, why the heck should you consider dropping money on one when you could just use your hand?

For an expert opinion, I consulted Dr. Kaitlyn Goldsmith, a UBC psychology professor who also works with couples as a relationship therapist and sexual health specialist.

When asked about the myths surrounding sex toys, Goldsmith shared couples often experience an anxiety that sex toys might somehow replace their role for their partners.

“This is really not the case. Often, it’s pretty common for people to use sex toys in a really positive way with a partner, and it can actually improve communication because you have to communicate about your pleasure,” she said. She also said toys can be a means of exploring pleasure creatively with your partner, which a lot of couples don’t do.

I had to ask her what these mystical sex toys bring to the table for the single girlies like me. Here, Goldsmith shared the importance of self-intimacy as a means of knowing more about yourself.

“It can be an aid to figuring out what stimulation or techniques are most pleasurable to you. It can be a really empowering and self-exploratory thing that can give information about your own pleasure. You can use this [information] for yourself but also to communicate to a partner or future partner,” said Goldsmith.

I don’t know about you, but I don’t need much more convincing than that. Self care era, here I come!

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