The Gift of Giving ... and Getting ... and Giving ...
There are a couple stores in town that fit our stringent criteria for happy sex toy shopping, which is that it feel safe, be tasteful and be comfortable enough for a woman to visit by herself. The winners tied for gold are Martha's Body Bueno and Seventh Goddess, who both offer such an amazing service to the community that we should bow down right now and thank them, or at least go patronize their businesses. These stores have slightly different markets and offer different items, but have something in common: They offer excellent service and outstanding products.
For those looking for a more traditional porn shop, we recommend a few diamonds in the rough: News Stand (5205 Menaul NE, 883-7536), Castle (5110 Central SE, 262-2266) and Video Maxxx (810 Comanche NE, 341-4400) are three of the more women-friendly establishments in town, although as a woman I still wouldn't venture into them alone. Bring a friend, unless you like to live on the “creepy guy in a trenchcoat looking me up and down” edge. A local store that feels considerably safer, but still offers typical porn-shop fare is Flirty Lingerie (5244 Second Street NW, 890-6240), whose primary business comes from their website (www.flirtylingerie.com) but who also opened up a store about a year ago. They carry a wide assortment of affordable lingerie, costumes, hosiery and sex toys, as well as a good amount of plus-size dainties. Hit them up if you're looking for something in the middle.
But to get back to our favorites, here's a rundown of these two classic stores, along with our recommendations for Valentine's Day gifts.
Martha's Body Bueno
3901 Central NE, 255-112
Martha's has been around for over 30 years in Albuquerque and has a very loyal customer base, so you know it's a place you can trust. Martha recently moved locations from her last spot, where she operated for 21 years. Her new space is just up the street on Aliso and Central and is bigger, with a lot of new merchandise along with the classics. The new location also has more parking available and is easier to access than the last.
For those unfamiliar with Martha's, it's time you get your butt down there. Carrying everything from locally made jewelry to candles to unique bath products to lingerie to sex toys, this place just screams Valentine's Day. Martha's is also well known for their custom-made scents, massage oils and lotions. You can design your own with the help of one of their super-friendly staff.
We love Martha's not only because of their amazing service, comfortable atmosphere and quality products, but also because it's an Albuquerque tradition. You just can't have Valentine's Day without shopping here (or maybe you could, but it wouldn't be right).
Our Valentine's gift suggestion: A custom-made basket, an item Martha's is famous for. Ranging in price from $5 to more than $400, they'll make you any basket your heart desires. Want a lavender-scented theme? You got it. Your gal into purple? Get a basket filled with the stuff. You have a general idea about bath products? The staff will help you pick them out and load them up. Featured here is a Couples Basket, with items such as fuzzy hand cuffs, wine goblets, Strawberries and Cream Kama Sutra love oil, a silver bath pillow and Body Bueno Sexy Stardust lotion ($270); a Bedside Basket, packed with naughty ingredients like watermelon Nipple Nibblers, Sex Tart edible lube, a blindfold, Dirty Dice, a red thong with a heart-shaped diamond, and a book on his/her sex tips, among other things ($190); and a Men's Basket (no, they're not just for ladies), chock full of shaving gear like E-shave cream, Body Bueno Sage and Geranium shave lotion, a Badger shave brush and Bay Rum aftershave, as well as a Happy Heart massager and Masada foot soak ($120).
317 Gold SW, 243-8025
This place just keeps getting better and better. In my opinon, the finest lingerie boutique in Albuquerque, this establishment is dripping with class. You won't find anything remotely smutty here—even the sex toys look elegant.
The majority of the store is devoted to fine lingerie, which varies in price range from the affordable to the extravagant. If you're looking for a high-ticket item, you'll find something gorgeous here that you won't find anywhere else in the city. From bras and panties to teddies, corsets and pj's, they've got undergarments covered. They also happen to have some of the sexiest shoes ever known to humanity. Whew-ee, that's what we call pretty.
The back room, however, is devoted to the time when the pretty skivvies come off. And, let us just say, these folks are selective. Offering only the highest-quality toys from the best companies in the business, their products aren't going to break down on you or scare off your lover. As pleasant looking as they are pleasant feeling, the toys they showcase are good for the novice and experienced alike. They also have some of the best flavored condoms in the known world, along with the silkiest lubes and most delicious body chocolates and butters. The owners are also highly knowledgeable on the products they offer, and are happy to take time explaining them to you.
Our Valentine's gift suggestion: Get something cute to wear and stock up on toys. Featured here are several toys from Fun Factory (one of the best names in the biz), such as the Layaspot, an ergonomic, waterproof three-speed vibrator ($48); Smartballs, great for kegel exercises and increased orgasm ($20.50); and Flexi Felix, for those who like backdoor stimulation ($23.80). Also pictured is Foreplay, a fun board game for lovers who like to take their time (or who could benefit from learning to take their time) ($27); a three-pack of chocolate-flavored Trustex latex condoms, possibly the best-tasting condoms ever invented ($2.50); TouchMe vibrating condoms, which you'll have to try to understand ($7.50); and a Necessary Objects Bright Idea sheer black bustiere with red trim ($55.80) and matching panties ($27.90).