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.
Not in a couple this Valentine's Day? Don't look so glum. The holiday is about appreciating the ones you love—and that includes yourself. Be your own sweetheart. Give yourself some lovin'. Buy yourself a toy. Better yet, check out this book for some real advice on flying solo. And don't forget the chocolate.
With all this talk about sex, it would be downright irresponsible of us to not give you a little lecture ... er, reminder ... on keeping yourself safe. Don't forget that STDs are spreading faster than reality TV—be careful out there. For goodness sake, use a condom if you're not in a long-term monogamous relationship and either on birth control or ready to have kids. That includes sex toys. Don't share without properly sterilizing them between uses or slapping a condom on them. Talk to your partner about his/her history. Sure, there's some initial embarrassment, but it's a lot less embarrassing than finding out you've contracted something.
For more information on safe sex, check out the number of websites listed in this section, buy one of the books reviewed here, talk to your doctor or call Planned Parenthood (check the phone book for a bunch of numbers and locations).
With all this talk about sex toys, it's important to get a few things straight. Buying a sex toy for someone else isn't always appropriate; in fact, sometimes it's just bad form. So how do you know when the time's right? There are a few easy rules:
Sure. Valentine's Day has been turned into a consumer holiday. It's less about love and appreciation and more about buying. Granted. But so what? It's not about you; it's about your relationship. To paraphrase what a girlfriend of mine recently told me, “some girls just want a six-pack of beer, a bar of chocolate and an ’I love you.'” It's not about gifts or obligations, it's about remembering. Even if you don't have a penny to your name, you can still say “Happy V-day.” Besides, small things like that give you a better chance at getting laid (not that that should be your goal).
Not everyone likes to go toy shopping in person. You're embarrassed, you're lazy or you just can't find exactly what you're looking for. If virtual shopping is more your bag, check out these super-tasteful, independently run websites. They're sure to have what you're looking for, usually send purchases in an unmarked or disguised box, and have a slew of information on sex, health, toys, lubes and any other kinky thing your mind can conjure.
Trying to find a quality book on sex is like trying to find a quality movie in Hollywood—every now and then you strike gold, but most of the time you're just struck with disappointments. There are a few gems out there, and a lot of over-the-top fluff. Here are a couple of our recommendations for awesome sex books that come to the subject from completely different angles (again, no pun intended). These are by no means the only good books out there, but they're our favorites, and together they should tell you just about everything you ever needed to know about sex, safety and respect.
Dating can be difficult and confusing to some of you men. Let my many years of success with the fairer sex be your guidance, and you'll be wrapped in the warm embrace of your future life-partner before St. Valentine's Day.
Years ago, on the first day of April, my predecessor, Michael Henningsen, sent around an e-mail informing us that the Alibi had just purchased Crosswinds. Being the most gullible person east of the International Date Line, I swallowed the whole story without even chewing. Like a complete idiot, I ran around the office quizzing people about the purchase. I distinctly recall Chris Johnson, one of the Alibi's owners, laughing in my face.
Set aside for the moment your feelings about the wars—both the one against Terror and the one in Iraq.
Suppose medical researchers invented a vaccine to prevent lung cancer. Then suppose the American Lung Association lobbied to ban the vaccine because preventing lung cancer deaths might weaken their anti-smoking campaign. Nuts, right?
Dateline: Thailand—Thailand's creepiest couple is planning to tie the knot on Valentine's Day. The Scorpion Queen and the Centipede King plan to get married on Feb. 14 at the Ripley's Believe It or Not Museum's Haunted House Adventure in the southern resort town of Pattaya. Kanchana Ketkaew, 36, set a world record in 2002 for spending 32 days in a glass cage with 3,400 scorpions. Bunthawee Siengwong, 29, set a Thai record for enduring 28 days with 1,000 centipedes. The two met while performing their respective stunts at a snake farm on the resort island of Koh Samui. According to Somporn Naksuetrong, general manager of Thailand's Ripley's Museum, the couple will wear bloodstained wedding clothes and will partake in a traditional Thai ceremony. But, instead of heading to a traditional “wedding room” after the ceremony, the pair plans to climb into a coffin to consummate their union.
War and Peace—The Albuquerque Center for Peace and Justice (202 Harvard SE) will present a pair of war-torn documentaries this week. On Thursday, Feb. 2, at 7 p.m., the People Before Profit Lecture Series will show Occupation Dreamland. This evenhanded documentary follows the soldiers of the 82nd Airborne deployed in the city of Fallujah during the winter of 2004. Invited speakers will be NM Iraq Veterans for Peace. The Panama Deception, which won the 1992 Academy Award for Best Documentary, will be screened Saturday, Feb. 4, at 7 p.m. courtesy of Boletin Latino. This film covers the 1989 invasion of Panama by 26,000 American troops and concentrates on the effects to that nation's poor and disenfranchised. Both films are free and open to the public. For more information, log on to www.peacecenter.home.comcast.net.
The SXSW Rock 'n' Report—In what very well may be the coolest thing we've done since the inception of Fall Crawl, the Alibi will give away airfare and a South by Southwest Music and Media Conference press pass to one aspiring music journalist. Based out of Austin, Texas, SXSW is one of the biggest independent music festivals in the world. It's where the most promising up-and-coming acts establish themselves on the international stage, and where music legends return for a rare, and sometimes final, encore. You can find out more about this year's festival, which is set for the third week of March, at www.sxsw.com. Read the “Music Magnified” by Amy Dalness in this week's edition for a complete description of the contest rules. If you love music and can write reasonably well, do not pass this up.
Because we can't get enough of their precocious gloom. Friday, Feb. 3, at the Launchpad. Free CD with paid $5 admission! (LM)
Say Cheese—During the first few decades following the invention of photography, photographers scoured the world in an attempt to document our planet's varied human inhabitants. Examples of these early images will be on display starting this week at the UNM Art Museum in an exhibit titled First Seen: Portraits of the World's Peoples (1848-1880). The show opens Tuesday, Feb. 7, and runs through May 14. A reception will be held on Friday, Feb. 10, from 5 to 7 p.m. 277-7312.
On three Saturdays throughout the month of February, various hotshot local authors will teach a series of writing workshops on a range of subjects for the low, low price of $35 per session. To make reservations, contact Lucinda Lucero Sachs by calling 768-3557 or e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Go and Stop In at the Green Light Bistro—Taking yet another savory step towards vegetarian world domination, Annapurna just opened an organic, all-vegetarian restaurant, called the Green Light Bistro (2209 Silver SE, 254-0100). It's easy to forget that just a few months ago, this tiny casita in the newly designated "Brick Light District" was a dark and fragrant bakery storeroom, packed clear to the ceiling with exotic spices. Now, it's a cozy café that's as cheery and bright as a cup of their Silver Street organic coffee.
You don't need to be a great lover to knock the socks off your Valentine—just be punctual. Valentine's Day is less than two weeks away and restaurants are filling up fast, so start calling around right now for a reservation. (That is, unless you want to get caught with your pants down. ...)