As is the new tradition, every Sunday on the blog is Sexual Sunday. Here I talk about all things sex or sex related. At the start of the year I decided my main focus of these would be my grand tour of Dublin sex shops, giving my honest opinion after playing guinea pig so you don't have to. I ask questions, compare prices and give star ratings so you can see what shops to visit and what ones to maybe avoid.
This week I headed straight to Dame St. and stood waiting on the lights to change, looking at the hardly noticeable entrance to the shop. Its parked between shops and if your not paying attention you would easily mistake it for the Dame Cafe entrance instead of a sex shop. The signage isn't very noticeable either, with a cartoon condom showing off his muscles below the shop name. This is a discreet shop to say the least. However once you step in the doorway you almost immediately come to steep stairs that lead down to the shop. In case you needed further help, there is a lit sign telling you 'Condom Power Adult Shop Downstairs'.
Appearance of outer shop: 1 star - You don't even notice it.
Appearance of inner shop: 1 star - Nothing special and could use a bit of a clean.
Friendliness and helpfulness of staff: 3 stars - Good chat and discreet with customers.
Price range of toys: 1 star - Total extortion rates.
Selection of products/Specialists: Apart from some gimp masks and We Vibe, all the toys were cheap plastic. Good selection of porn and magazines though.
The shop is one big square room that has toys surrounding the walls. Theres one long stand in the middle that holds DVDs, much like the ones you'd find in HMV. Its bright and spacious - if a little sparse and I felt very on show when I walked the shop. There was nowhere to hide in the open space and anyone who waked in could clearly see me. After seeing the selection of things the shop offered, it was clear that this shop was catering to only men and the selection of DVDs were all gay porn from what I could see. I stuck out like a sore thumb with boobs in that place. None the less I noted that they had We Vibe, 50 Shades of Grey, a few gimp masks, some rabbits, fleshlights and glass dildos. The rest of the toys were dusty boxes of cheap looking plastic dildos and other odds and ends of toys. Nothing to really take note of, apart from some of the boxes needing a good dusting. My eyebrows shot up a few times over prices, they know how to charge. Off the top of my head I could see some toys with €10 and €12 extra put on then with other sex shops I regularly visit.
I asked the staff if they had any poppers, pipes, skins and other drugs or accessories. He handed me out two different types of poppers and boasted that he would only next week have a brand new kind in stock. I know I'm letting my bias towards drugs sway me here, but I wasn't impressed. This is the first sex shop I've come across that sells poppers and not just accessories for weed. I'll admit if the price range and lack of good toys hadn't put me off already as a customer, this would have had me running for the hills.
We talked for a while and although he insisted that he was only helping the owner out for the day, he seemed to really know about his sex toys and the other sex toy shops in Ireland. He told me that it was indeed mainly a gay mans shop and that only men worked there. He doubted that the owner would talk to me (seems to be a running theme). When I asked if he was aware of the laws against selling poppers and porn DVDs in Ireland, he gave a sheepish look telling me that it was a grey area and he not only sold but also distributed both. This is a first again as the staff in sex shops will normally hold their hands up and admit that despite knowing the laws, they still sell the items.
Although I can't say I'm at all impressed with the shop or the answers to some of my questions, I will say that I've never seen such a big selection of magazines all in one place. They had a really good display and I would consider recommending popping in if porn mags were your thing. They also had a lot of the DVD s for €10, but going all the way up to €60 for what seemed like basic porn. I don't think I would ever pay €60 for a DVD, even if it was about something I loved. (I want to say it would be cat related, but in the context I think its a tad wrong.)I also noted that despite the staff only being there for the day to help out, he was really good with the customers and discreet dealing with them. He kindly gave me a copy of a magazine that he owns and he put it in a coloured paper bag, sealing it with sellotape for me.
As for the Condom Power website, it seems to be non existent. When googled, it comes up with a domain name and nothing more. There is no Facebook page and only a small following on their Twitter account, with no public interaction. I think they could really do with getting their site back online and pushing their large range of magazine and DVD collections, instead of promoting themselves as a (male targeted, not so great) sex toy shop. I'd take a miss with this one.