It’s a Me, Zofiya aka Preen’s resident horn dog, and I’m here to talk to you about the magical world of sex toys and the wonders of a good vibe.
All jokes aside, I’ve noticed that not enough people use sex toys. Even amongst my most extremely feminist, sex-positive friends, only a handful have admitted to owning one. There’s a lot to unpack; misconceptions about sex toys still abound, like how they’re all penetrative and you can only enjoy them if you’ve already have had sex. Neither of these are true, BTW. If you’re uncomfortable with the idea of using a dildo or a penetrative vibrator, there are tons of vibes like clitoral stimulators that don’t involve anything going inside you.
We’ve gone past the days where your local vibrator options were limited to sketchy, non-body safe rabbits that might as well have been single-use, they were so faulty, or huge penile-shaped monstrosities that maybe spun if you held it the right way. Multiple adult toy stores with premium products have started to pop in the past few years. The world is your (vibrating) oyster, so to speak.
I took it upon myself to try out four of these adult toy stores in Manila. Disclaimer: As a person who experiences bottom dysphoria, I personally don’t usually go for penetrative toys. I don’t have any experience with items like butt plugs either! I’ll be adding some of my recommendations here, but they’ll mostly be skewed against these. I’m also far from an expert, just v horny.
View this post on Instagram
Ilya is probably the most famous one out of the new crop of sex toy shops in Metro Manila. It opened in 2017 to a lot of buzz because of its millennial branding and aim to destigmatize sexual health and intimacy. Its physical storefront in Maginhawa in QC is also the nicest what I’d say is the nicest physical location I’ve seen in a sex toy store (it helps that its branding was done by Serious Studio). Shipping usually takes one to three working days (it’s two to ten outside MM), but the site says they can accommodate urgent, same day requests.
Ilya carries premium brands like Svakom, Iroha, Satisfyer, and Lelo. As a curveball, instead of recommending their beginner’s kit (which is good, don’t get me wrong), I want to point you to the Iroha Zens. They’re battery operated, look cute (you might be able to get away with having them just on your shelf with people being none the wiser), are fairly straightforward to use, and have a unique texture. The material used for these are actually the same kind of soft-touch silicone used inside flesh toys so it’s very soft. Additionally, the silicone is arranged in tiny little ripples across the vibe, which just adds to the uniqueness of the texture.
View this post on Instagram
Like Ilya, Noti carries higher-end products. They’re the only ones here I’ve seen who carry Womanizer, the clit stimulator that uses air pulses like a suction to stimulate the clit—I’ve seen it be described as having sex with the air, and they’re not wrong—so it’s a huge plus.
If quick customer support is something you value in a sex toy shop, Noti is your girl. Because it’s so new, I wasn’t sure if it was already operational, so I sent a quick email. (You can also contact them through Whatsapp.) They replied back within minutes. Also, they do same day deliveries as long as you order before 2 p.m.
Now, as much as I love the Womanizer, it might be too much for a beginner. Instead, you can start with an adult toy staple: a bullet vibe. It’s a classic for a reason. They’re small, unintimidating, and fuss-free, yet they’re still usually packed with a number of vibration settings and patterns that prevent them from being boring. I like Rocks Off’s vibes, personally, since they’re fairly affordable while still getting the job done. I own the Precious Golden Bullet and it has seven settings and only needs a single battery. It’s also very, very cute.
View this post on Instagram
Lauvette is a store made in partnership with LoveYourself, an HIV advocacy group that caters to the youth and the queer community. They were the ones that started the first community-led trans health care center in the country, as well as HIV testing sites that also double as coworking spaces. According to Lauvette’s website, “Every purchase contributes to LoveYourself’s efforts in helping the HIV-AIDS affected population in the country.”
The shop offers a mix of name brands and unbranded toys (doesn’t mean they’re bad, btw, just that the quality can be hit and miss). They come at different price points: they have affordable vibes under P500, while their more premium offerings are in the P6000-7000 range (these come with one year warranties!). Shipping in Metro Manila takes about two to four working days, but they’re open to doing next day deliveries via Lalamove within Metro Manila, Rizal, and Cavite.
I ordered one of the cheaper clit suckers as well as the Satisfyer Pro 2. I’ve been wanting to get a Satisfyer for a while (long story short, I tried buying it on Amazon twice and inadvertently got banned. International online shopping is fun!) and both of Noti and Ilya’s Satisfyers were out of stock at the time so I jumped at the chance when it announced it was carrying them. The Pro 2 is a rechargeable vibe that uses an air pulse technology similar to Womanizer’s clit-sucking vibes, which means it’s also a non-contact clitoral stimulator. It has two separate modes for sucking and vibrating patterns, and you can use both at the same time.
If you’re looking for something penetrative, check out their glass dildos. While they seem intimidating, glass dildos (which are all just made out of Pyrex, not really glass) are a lot of fun. You can put them in the refrigerator to chill them, they often have knots that slide around the vagina walls, and they’re usually pretty frickin’ cute. Case in point: the magical sakura glass dildo. If you want to feel like a magical girl while playing with yourself, there you go.
Out of the classic sex toy store main stays in Manila, Love Corner is my favorite. Their packaging is discreet, they carry some up market brands as well as the more nondescript items. You can find them on their website as well as on Shopee and Lazada.
I initially bought a rabbit from them, but TBH it just affirmed to me that rabbits are not my thing. Sorry, Carrie Bradshaw. Still, it might be yours! Rabbits can be nice because of its double functionality—it has one prong for penetration, and another, smaller prong (usually shaped like a small rabbit’s head) for clitoral stimulation.
Now, if you’re a fan of the “50 Shades” franchise, you might want to head over to Love Corner’s site and snag the official adult toy collection made for the film. I’m personally eyeing the sweet touch vibe.
Art by Jan Cardasto
The Beginner’s Guide to Women’s Sex Toys
Sex tech: The 2020 essential that prioritizes your pleasure
How do you do it: A safe sex guide for the LGBTQ+
What’s missing in sex ed lessons? Female orgasms