On my own blog, I've recently been reviewing various BDSM toy suppliers that I've used but I thought it would be interesting to write a guide on how to choose what to buy and where to buy it from and what sort of factors that should be considered during the joys of shopping!

Who makes the purchasing decisions?

The first thing to consider in a relationship when it comes to shopping is whose job it is to shop.  It might be of course that the purchase of toys (or indeed of anything) might be made by the Dom without the sub being aware of what new toys might await him or her. For some this might work really well since it adds the element of surprise about what new toy or item might be added to a session until it's brought out and used, however sometimes it is nice to know what is coming also.

In our relationship it's a mix really. Sometimes Grimly buys things without me knowing, and sometimes we buy things together. Sometimes I also like buying items that he doesn't know about and having the fun of wondering how he will incorporate it into play and also whether or not I'll actually like it or not. I've bought a few things in the past that I've clicked the buy button on and then hoped would get lost in the post! (Such as inflatable enema plugs for instance!)

Really who buys what depends on what suits the relationship, but there can be fun all ways :)

What to buy?

When I shop for items I try to choose things that I think will add to my adventures with Grimly and we choose things that we cannot make ourselves. Before I had the luxury of a dom that could create though myself and my Eex started off buying the basics.

First purchases might include thingslike::

  • collars - perhaps first play collars and then later on something more substantial
  • a leash
  • a set of cuffs
  • rope
  • handcuffs
  • a butt plug
  • a vibrator
  • a blindfold
  • hitting implements - such as paddles, floggers, crops ,canes

Of course it depends on the fetishes of both sub and dom as to whether they buy these things or others. I suppose to anyone starting out I would always suggest buying relatively inexpensive items till you know you like what the type of toy does and then perhaps upgrade - then the shopping experience is fun twice ;) However I've also known people new to BDSM who have started off by buying the best stuff as they've had the money to do so. It really is all down to preference and at the end of the day also finance.

Purchases later on in a relationship might include :

  • Steel bondage items
  • Straight jackets
  • Arm binders
  • Electrosex toys
  • Hoods
  • Gas masks
  • Latex

Really though there are so many items out there that lend themselves to being enjoyed in a D/s relationship that the list is actually endless and of course I am forgetting the items that can be bought that aren't necessarily designed for play as their first purpose - pegs, kitchen implements, brushes and all other sorts of day-to-day items that a couple might decide to fill their toy box with.

Choosing where to shop?

In the past I've shopped at lots of different kinky retailers. I quite like places that I can go and visit though. Here in the UK we have a fetish market in Birmingham-BBB  and a further two in London  -LAM  & LFF. I bought a lot of my first items from the BBB. Fetish markets are great places because usually they are a chance to see different retailers in one place, and also to be able to have fun meeting up with people too. A lot of fetish markets allow fetish gear to be worn so it is a very enjoyable experience overall. Sometimes of course going to fetish markets is not possible. It is also good to be able to go to stores though in person however ability to do this depends on geography. Where I am (Scotland) there is not a great deal of choice nearby however there are a few interesting places in England especially around Manchester and London. Likewise in other cities both in the States and Europe there are interesting shops with premises you can visit. A few years ago I was lucky enough to visit Mr S in San Francisco - an amazing shop but very busy given it was Folsom street weekend! It's nice to be able to browse items though and also to a be able to ask the vendor for advice. It's a fact of life though - most BDSM purchases are made online.  So how to choose? It depends of course on what you are looking for. However a good tip is to go a little by recommendation. Have friends bought at the place you are thinking of? Have they got a good reputation - some stores have an excellent reputation for being THE place to shop so these are worth considering. It is also worth looking at things like how long they've been around for, do they have a returns address - do they look reputable in general?  It's also important to consider where the shop is. I've purchased items from the USA before and been stung at customs, likewise i know people who have bought things from here in the UK going to America and had similar postal problems - so thinking about proximity is a good idea. Also does the price look right? Most items can be found at more than one shop apart from the very unique. So, for instance, canes can be bought in many different places so its worth shopping around to compare price tag and the appearance of quality before rushing in. If there is any uncertainty having the backup of paypal as a payment method can add a little reassurance. It's also worth checking their delivery comments - will they post items discreetly? Some items obviously need to be researched much more than others depending on what they are. Something like a collar for instance takes a great deal of research to ensure its right. The same way as shopping for an engagement ring :)

Ultimately - have fun

I have found there is a lot of joy to be gained in saving up my hard-earned cash and then splurging out on items to enhance my play with Grimly or with others. I like the anticipation of waiting for a new parcel to arrive, or buying something at a fetish market and peeking through the bag at it every now and again till i get it home and able to try it out properly. In a way perhaps the feeling is no different to a kid buying a new toy or doll. However, it is also a lot more than that. It's investing in the fantasy I share with my partner. Now what sort of shopping can be more fun and rewarding than that ;) What experiences have you had of buying toys for you and your partner? Are there any stores you like particularly or dislike? What has been your most exciting purchase for you so far?