Sex Shops Are Not So Scary

Check out these East Bay sex-positive shops.

If you’re looking for that perfect something for that perfect someone, check out one of the East Bay’s standout sex stores. Don’t have a certain someone? Even better. Adult boutiques love to cater to a party of one.

The Bay Area is proudly sex positive, and our welcoming, well-stocked adult boutiques prove it. If you’re wrapped up in feelings this Valentine’s Day, express yourself with more than words with a gift from one of these shops. And if you’re celebrating the joys of Singles Awareness Day, toys for one are just as fun — and, as Nenna Feelmore owner of Feelmore Adult Gallery, assured us, “a dildo is drama free.”

Adult Gallery

1703 Telegraph Ave., Oakland

Tucked into Uptown Oakland, Feelmore Adult Gallery offers all the right stuff in a stylish boutique setting. The sex toys are curated and the wallpaper and decor are chic. It’s the perfect place to stop in for new goods or good company.

Owner Nenna Feelmore is all about providing a sex positive space for the community, as well as being a community leader. Perhaps you’ve seen the store’s billboard, “Our Bullets Don’t Hurt,” a commentary against police violence, featuring a pint-sized, aptly named, bullet vibrator. Feelmore (who prefers to go by the pronoun they) dreamt that they opened a sex shop and soon after began selling sex toys and novelties from the trunk of their car.

In February 2011, Feelmore Adult Gallery opened. “I saw the business of sex was missing Brown people on the decision-making side,” they said. “In the novelty section, I didn’t see many people of color. I thought the adult novelty side was where I could be best used.”

Their passion and vision are real and the shop is a vibrant and welcoming space with a fantastically curated selection of vibrators, dildos, novelty items, kink, art, literature, and more. “The fun part of Feelmore is not just selling toys but also meeting the interesting people who have become my friends,” they said. “I’ve had a great experience as a small business owner in Oakland. I count the clients as my team.”

As for gifts, “Everyone should have a dildo in their life: blue, green, brown, and especially black,” they said. The store is community-oriented with a range of events from comedy shows to resources for sex workers to soon-to-take place astrology readings. Check Feelmore’s website for upcoming events, and know you can always stop in to say hello and take stock of the latest and greatest toys.

Good Vibrations

3219 Lakeshore Ave., Oakland

2504 San Pablo Ave., Berkeley

Good Vibrations is a Bay Area classic. The pioneering sex shop first opened its doors in San Francisco’s Mission district in 1977. Now with longtime bases in Berkeley and Oakland, the company provides easy access to sex education, extensive toys, sex gear, and goodies. “We’ve always been a focal point for sex positivity,” said Andy Duran, educational outreach and affiliate manager who goes by Educator Andy. “The environment is nonjudgmental, shame-free, welcoming. Our staff are trusted sex educators who have been trained by our sexologist and myself. Anytime you come into a Good Vibrations, you’ll have a safe, educated experience and will find accessible resources.”

What’s not to love? Head in with a playmate or roll solo. As for gifts, “my current favorites are the horoscope vibrator sets,” Each kit has a finger vibrator, a necklace coordinated to that astrological sign gemstone, and a topical cream that’s based off of the sign’s element — fire, earth, water, air.

“It’s perfect for Valentine’s Day gift because it’s personalized but it’s not difficult — there are no manuals needed. The cost is $40,” Educator Andy said. In addition, there’s a wide range of lingerie, erotic and informational literature, fetish and BDSM gear, toys, and novelties like body lotions and feather ticklers.

Visit Good Vibes in Berkeley or Oakland or one of the pop-ups around the East Bay. “We partner with local bakeries, restaurants, and dispensaries to bring sexual wellness out into the community,” he added.

Secrets and Not Too Naughty

10601 San Pablo Ave., El Cerrito

5686 Telegraph Ave., Oakland

15670 E. 14th St., San Leandro

Secrets has outposts all along the West Coast with three in the East Bay: El Cerrito, Oakland, and San Leandro (the latter as sister store Not Too Naughty). All three locations offer lingerie in a wide range of sizes, vibrators, bondage gear, dildos, novelties for parties, gifts, magazines, and a large selection of DVDs. All three locations have viewing arcades where guests can rent private booth time to watch porn.

When it comes to gifts, Secrets of Oakland staff member Melvin Alfaro recommends the FemmeFunn brand bullet massager as a standout. It’s powerful, discreet, has 20 vibration modes, and is 100 percent waterproof and USB rechargeable, explained Alfaro. At $60, it’s the gift that keeps on giving.

L’Amour Shop

22553 Main St., Hayward

L’Amour is the solution for late night love. Open 24 hours a day (aside from 3-3:30 a.m. for break) this adult entertainment store covers all the bases. There’s a large selection of bachelorette and novelty gifts, lots of lingerie, vibrators and plugs, and bondage gear. There are also private video viewing booths where you can choose a movie to watch for $6 per hour or select ‘arcade mode’ and have your pick of flicks at a higher price ranging from $1 for three minutes to $20 for 60 minutes. 

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