OUR RANKING SYSTEM:
- At the moment, we’re just listing two categories: “Above and Beyond” and “Quality”.
- We will add the rankings of “Average” and “Sleazy” over time. Keep in mind even sleazy stores have their place – they’re where you’re most likely to find 24 hour video peep shows, and the company those might offer.
- Ratings are open for correction if they alter their presentation &/or interaction with the public.
- As we have yet to visit all the sex stores in the Lower Mainland, there are plenty missing and there may be some inaccurate rankings. If you have information that you’d like to share, please feel free to let us know!
DEFINITIONS OF RANKINGS:
- Above and Beyond: Stores in this category carry quality goods, but more than that – they’ve demonstrated a dedication to the erotic community. They’re likely consistent sponsors of various events &/or they’ve taken on political causes and battles that benefit all who hope for &/or enjoy various freedoms of sexuality. The list of Above and Beyond stores is short, but it’s greater than you’ll find in most other cities, and for that Vancouver can be truly thankful.
- Quality: These are stores that carry quality goods, with knowledgeable and helpful staff able to answer your questions. While they may also carry goods of lesser quality, they’ll let you know what’s what, and work to fit your budget. We’re not going to speak to their return policies, (these are sex toys and lingerie we’re talking about in a lot of cases, we would hope you’re unable to return them), but we can tell you that while the prices of items might be costlier than the Average stores we list, it reflective of the QUALITY that you’re paying for. (And we’re fairly certain that with a little time, some of these stores are likely to be joining the Above and Beyond list.)
Art of Loving
RANKING: Above and Beyond
The Art of Loving carry over 1000 different pleasure products and boast the best selection of educational videos in Vancouver, and a selection of sexuality books matched only by Little Sisters. Staff are knowledgeable and helpful, and they won’t try to over sell you.
Owners Vera Zyla and John Ince aren’t just sex shop owners, they’re sex positive activists, and it’s there work in this realm as much as their devotion to providing a classy shopping experience that earns the Art of Loving our Above and Beyond rating.
Location: 1819 W. 5th Avenue, Vancouver
It’s a sex shop. It’s on Granville Street. It’s not open 24 hours a day like it’s neighbours, the two Fantasy Factory stores, meaning you know that it doesn’t need the peep show traffic and drunks shopping after the bars close to keep it in business. Enough said.
Location: 1083 Granville Street, Vancouver
What can we say about the Fantasy Factory? If you like your sex toy shopping experience to be classy and upscale, then you likely didn’t even glance in the window, because these places fairly scream sleazy. But sometimes there’s something to be said for sleazy. There are a few reasons we can think of to go to a Fantasy Factory: you like video peep shows, and the company those can sometimes afford, or you need condoms, lube or a brand new sex toy at 4 am in the morning.
But before you dismiss the owner of the Fantasy Factories as a crass profiteer it’s worth noting that that he’s been doing this for over 50 years, and along the way he’s carved out a few milestones for his company. He was the first to import Playboy magazine into Canada, and right up until today he’s fought City Hall to see that sex shops, both those of the Fantasy Factory ilk and those with more desirous pedigrees, aren’t ghetto-ized or forced out of business entirely by red tape and bureaucracy.
Locations: 1155 Davie, 1093 Granville, 1123 Granville, 2265 Kingsway – all in Vancouver
This sex shop in the Cambie Village is bit of a gem, and you’ll find everything from quality sex toys to novelty games and the like. Plus on our one trip there we were greeted by a shop assistant so bouncy we thought she’d been filled with helium. That alone made it worth the visit.
Location: 3448 Cambie Street, Vancouver
In The Mood
One of the dangers of putting a website up in BETA is that you haven’t had a chance to check everything out. In The Mood, unfortunately, falls into the category of things we must do. If you’ve had a chance to shop there we’d love to hear your impressions.
Location: 123 Carrie Cates Court, North Vancouver
RANKING: Above and Beyond
Little Sister’s Book and Art Emporium isn’t just a store, it’s a Vancouver institution. When it comes to advancing LGBT rights and censorship laws they’ve fought the good fight, taking on Canada Customs in several David and Goliath battles, which they kept on winning up until the point where the government made it clear they’d outspend them right into the ground. (Site editor note: Your tax dollars at work!)
Little Sister’s may have started as a book store but these days it’s so much more – ticket retailer for local events, purveyor of sex toys both elaborate and fine to those which are “good enough” for those on a tighter budget. And all of those sold to you by a staff that is knowledgeable and concerned with making sure that their customer ends up entirely satisfied—and we do mean satisfied.
Location: 1238 Davie Street, Vancouver
The Love Nest
From small beginnings this store has become the little chain that could attract celebrity customers, as their Whistler location clerks could attest if they weren’t so damn discrete. While satin draped shelves may have become cliche in sex shops, it was The Love Nest that originated that trend here in BC, and they’ve remained a trend setter ever since.
Location: 119 E. 1st Street, North Vancouver — 4687 Kingsway, Burnaby — #102 – 4338 Main Street, Whistler
This small store carries a small selection of sex toys, along with sexy costumes, and some surprisingly amazing corsets. Sometimes the best things come in small packages, and while that doesn’t quite describe Love’s Touch they do their best.
Location: 1069 Davie Street, Vancouver
Canada’s premiere gay clothing store is your source for inexpensive (not cheap) leather here in Vancouver. In addition to that you’ll find a full selection of sex toys, and the staff that can tell you when, how and why you should use them.
If you’re going we recommend checking out the absolute best leather cuffs we’ve found, featuring not just a buckle to hold them shut, but a strap that loops the wrist, and velcro that helps hold everything in place – they’re a PRIAPE exclusive from their workshops in Montreal.
Plus their imaginative and regular changing window displays are worth a trip to the Davie Village all on their own.
Location: 1148 Davie Street, Vancouver
Sweet! An Adult Store
Brought to you by the same people behind Little Sisters, you know that for the owners of Sweet providing quality customer service isn’t just a job description, it’s a calling. Got a question about a potential purchase? These folks don’t just have the answer, they’ve likely got a personal story to go along with it; knowledgeable hardly seems to cover it.
And if they don’t have just what you’re looking for they’ll do their best to tell you where to find it, something that can’t be said of many stores that hate to see your money walk out the door to somewhere else.
Location: 1402 W. Broadway, Vancouver
Ultra Love carries a large selection of sex toys, a decent collection of BDSM implements, and a fabulous variety of stockings. Whether or not you get knowledgeable staff is hit or miss — a couple of the clerks could write a book on great sex tips, while a couple of others we’ve met would have trouble filling a match book with information you’d care about.
Location: 1151 Davie Street, Vancouver
RANKING: Above and Beyond
When it comes to commitment to quality products Womyns’ Ware are second to none. They’ve been called the Ralph Nader of the sex toy industry, and that was in reference to the tireless consumer advocate Ralph Nader, and not that semi-crazy guy who cost Al Gore the election!
Staff here aren’t just knowledgeable, they’ll make sure that by the time you leave the store that you are too. You might pay a little more for some products here than you would somewhere else, but shopping at Womyns’ Ware you know that you’re never, ever getting a product that’s less than top notch quality. That’s something not even any of the other stores we rank as Above and Beyond can boast.
Finally, if you’re in the market for a silicone toy, then a visit to Womyns’ Ware should be a must. Even if you end up buying somewhere else a conversation with their staff will let you know what you should be looking for, and perusing their line of exclusive silicone toys will let you see what true quality in sex toys is.
Location: 896 Commercial Drive, Vancouver