Hey Bryan #7 – Uncomfortable With Being Uncomfortable

Hey Bryan,

I’m new to fetish and kinks. I came out recently and want to explore. There is a shop in my city, but I’m afraid to go in because I think I’ll look stupid. How do I get comfortable in a fetish store?

Uncomfortable With Being Uncomfortable

I think there’s “being terrified in a fetish store” and then there’s, “being mildly uncomfortable but excited in a fetish store”. If you’re in the first category, where you have a panic attack thinking about it, you might consider talking with a therapist around this kind of anxiety. If you’re in the second category, there are two things you should remember about fetish stores:

1) They want you to spend money in the store.

We are cultured to feel shame around sex and especially around sex (or even non-penetrative erotic play) that we see as outside of “normal sex” (usually regarded as penis-in-vagina sex). Oral sex, in some circles, is outside of “normal sex”.  Recognize that the fear or anxiety that you feel is probably about you and your own attitudes about sex. This can be both an obstacle and a source of eroticism. Fear and erotic come together often. While it would be great if we lived in a world of no shame, I feel like a world with no taboos to safely transgress would be a much duller place. Rule-breaking and transgression is part of fetish and kink. Part of it is wrapped up in the idea that you’re doing something you shouldn’t be doing and the thrill of either getting away with it (e.g. going to a bathhouse and then going home, no one the wiser), or perhaps, even, NOT getting away with it (e.g. being naughty and then getting spanked for it). Generally, the staff who work in a fetish store, and certainly the owners have no interest in making you feel bad about being in, or buying things from their store (unless that’s exactly what you’re looking for 😉 )  Feelings of being judged, feeling titillated, even curious, shocked or scandalized are safe emotions to have in a fetish store. It’s part of the fun to wonder, “Who uses that?” because sometimes it leads to, “Maybe me?” As a friend of mine was told in their early days of buying sex toys, “We have it in the store because we want you to buy it.”

2) They want you to spend money in the store.

As a new customer, you are more likely to spend money than the regular customer who has already spent money. That doesn’t mean the regular is less valuable—the store has prosperity now because they have had customers in the past. But from a pure “future money” point of view, a new customer is likely going to contribute more. New customers are the lifeblood of any store. A store that has judgemental staff is a store that is going to fail. A good fetish store is going to be beginner friendly. They will have already heard all the beginner questions and understand that for beginners to buy things in their store, they have to know how to use them. So, the chances that you have a question (no matter how basic YOU feel it is) that no one has asked before is pretty low.

Getting comfortable in a fetish store is about understanding that you are the centre of the store experience, not the staff. Your comfort is the most important part of any shopping experience. Don’t be afraid to tell them that you’re new, or that you’ve never used or worn something that looks interesting to you. The more you engage with the staff, the more they’ll figure out what you might be interested in, even if you don’t know exactly what you’re looking for.


Hey Bryan