This article is part of Washingtonian’s June 2021 cover story about sex in and after the pandemic. We chatted with locals about their quarantine escapades and struggles, talked to sex shop owners about the bestselling toys, heard about safer ways to get naked online, examined intimacy through a stunning series of photos, and mused about the future of sex. Dig in here.
Through the ups and downs of pandemic sex lives, one thing remained constant: Sex toy sales were booming. What fun items did Washingtonians buy? Shani Hart, co-owner of Hart’s Desires based in Adams Morgan and Suitland, MD, and Teal Dye, who runs Alexandria’s Lotus Blooms, let us know what customers loved this past year.
The toy: Pipedream’s Fantasy for Her Ultimate Pleasure
How it works: Don’t be alarmed by the alien look. This part vibrator, part clitoris stimulator has multiple suction patterns, tongue movements, and settings to imitate—or is it improve?—cunnilingus. “It’s like your partner took a college graduate-level class on oral sex and aced every test,” says Hart.
The toy: Womanizer DUO
How it works: This vibrator—called a rabbit because its “ears” reach internally to the vaginal G-spot and externally to the clitoris—combines forces with a clit suction toy to keep users busy for hours. Days? Hart’s review: “Super fast orgasms!”
The toy: Satisfyer anal plugs
How it works: The three-piece set of silicone butt plugs is perfect for anal sex beginners of all genders (and don’t forget that male G-spot). Start small and work your way up to the swirl shape. “The sale of anal toys skyrocketed,” says Hart. “I think people were just interested in trying new things.”
The toy: Vixskin dildos (often paired with popular harnesses by queer-owned brand RodeoH, which run $50-$60)
How it works: Put one of these realistic looking, veiny toys—with or without silicone testicles—in an underwear-like harness, and presto, you’re ready to thrust. Popular to use for pegging, same-sex couples, and people experiencing impotence. “We were constantly out of stock of harnesses and dildos, over the summer in particular,” says Dye. “As soon as they came in, they were flying off the shelves.”
Price: Starts at $130
The toy: We-Vibe Chorus couples vibrator
How it works: Use an app or a remote to adjust the intensity on this two pronged silicone vibe. Bonus—you can keep it on during vaginal sex for a more intense, uh, crescendo. It was the bestselling app-controlled toy at Lotus Blooms: “This is the one that has all the bells and whistles,” says Dye. “We sold 96 last year.”