Give the Gift [Card] of Pleasure!
Holiday shopping advice from Dr. Carol Queen
‘Tis the season to celebrate connection and affection, and for as long as I have worked at Good Vibrations (and that’s over 30 years, y’all), we have welcomed many a partner, friend, or even workmate who wants our advice on what to buy their spouse, beloved pal, or co-worker they have a crush on. Yep, this happens every year. So I have been giving the following advice for a very long time. I start with a question:
Has the person who is to receive the gift ever told the shopper that they wanted a sex toy? Or are they sure this will be a cool gift idea because the person is already into sex toys? This is the sort of intel a spouse or partner might have—possibly even a very good friend, or a member of one of those “ladies with chardonnay” gangs, or one of a merry band of sex-positive activists. It doesn’t count if the giftee is simply perceived as the type of person who would want a sex toy. There’s a lot of room to be mistaken when we start musing about what type someone is.
And honestly, the Q & A can end right there. Because if you don’t know for sure that a person wants a sex toy, and basically what sort of toy, it might be better to get them something else. Intimate toys are an intimate gift, and honestly, that isn’t always appropriate. We won’t know for sure how to help you choose one unless you really come loaded up with information. If you don’t know what kind of toy the person will desire, we won’t know either.
There are two main reasons to think twice in this situation. One: A sex toy is not returnable! Two: Gifting and receiving a sex toy implies an intimacy that the other person may not feel comfortable with. This goes double, triple, a hundred-fold when you’re picking out your Secret Santa gift for someone.
Once you've gauged the appropriateness of giving someone an intimate gift, but still don't know which to choose, we have the answer to your dilemma and it makes giving super-easy and damn near foolproof. It even handles unusual holiday situations, like when all the shipping companies are busy driving around truckloads of COVID-19 vaccines instead of our gifts! (#Priorities.)
The answer is: a gift card. It’s so simple. If you are in fact an intimate of your giftee, tell them you’ll take them to lunch and then shopping so you can pick something out. Or if you are not near a store, share a bottle of something bubbly and shop online. Or if you’re far apart (or socially distancing across town), send the champagne (or Dryuary equivalent), and do all that on a Zoom call. Or, you know, let them privately pick something out! It’s their gift.
And if this was a workplace Secret Santa thing, do not offer to come to their house with champagne to pick out a sex toy. Honestly, skip the "intimate" gifts for the workplace all together, the HR department is already busy enough.
Happy holidays! We’re almost through this year--stay safe and well!
--Carol Queen PhD, staff sexologist