Babeland: The word conjures up everything from the most ingenious vibrator to flavored condoms. As a mecca of kinky and whimsical adult toys, Babeland is the little sex shop that could. For the last 16 years, it's been slowly and deliberately revolutionizing the sex lives of Manhattanites, thanks to its key marketer and merchandiser Leah Perrotti. She vets and approves every item that hits Babeland’s shelves (and super-popular website
), making her a rare and extremely desirable expert in the matters of sexual pleasure.
Perrotti's forthright, unassuming personality helps break down walls, providing a safe place for customers to come in and have an honest conversation about what they like, and what they want, in bed. But, make no mistake, there are no juvenile jokes and twerking happening in the corner. Perrotti believes that education is paramount to achieving pleasure and her recommendations will have even the most vanilla sexperimenters considering butt plugs and nipple clamps. Go visit her. You won't regret it.
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What I’ve learned about sexuality while working in a sex-toy shop
“I’ve been at Babeland for six years, and I’m still learning about sexuality. The model for a sex-toy store is sleazy, dark, and not very friendly to women. And, we’ve totally turned that on its head. We’re well-lit, friendly, and everyone who works here deeply cares about the information they’re giving you and want you to feel comfortable liking what you like. In all my time here, I guess it whittles down to the fact that you can never make an assumption about what someone’s going to like. There's no right way to do it."
Why people are still uncomfortable talking about sex
“Sex ed has come a really long way, but pleasure has never been a part of that conversation. We, as a society, are just not as comfortable talking about it and things that are directly linked to pleasure, like porn and masturbation. Our culture shames those things. It’s more acceptable to read erotica than it is to look at porn. People need sex to be tied up in a neat little box, so anything outside of that box — which is what we deal with every day at Babeland, selling people vibrators, telling them how to find their G-spot — doesn’t really exist within that box of how sex has been talked about for a really long time.”
What people get wrong about beauty and body image
“The idea that you have to get approval from other people to have a good body image is just so false. I’m really comfortable with my curves, and I think that’s really important to show other women. To see someone who is curvy or just a little bit different-looking and showing off confidence — that changes the world every day. No matter what I’m wearing, I try to carry myself with confidence. I deserve to look and feel as good as everyone else does. Beauty is about being comfortable in what makes you different and unique. Those quirks probably aren't going to be on the cover of glossy magazines — and that’s great.”
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