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Sex Shop Etiquette

Sex Shop Etiquette


Prowler’s been here since the late ’90s. We’ve seen it all; the opening of willy-shaped dessert shops. The closure of Madame JoJo’s (before my time, alas). The man who walks daily around Brewer Street in a leopard print cowboy hat. So, we’re used to the oddballs, mad heads and nitwits who visit or call Soho, home. However, just as Costa and Poundland have joined nationwide #BeNice campaigns to curb customer misbehaviour, we look at how to best navigate visiting our Prowler stores.

Take photos.

We need to respect customer privacy; people can be fuckers about it. We must look out for people using their phones to film or take photos; it’s mainly about customer privacy and respect. We’re not a seedy backstreet basement, the shop is light, loud, and very, extremely, rather normal. I’ll assist someone facetiming their partner, plenty of our customers tell us they come from countries where LGBTQ+ people face persecution. But if you’re there with Snapchat on your screen, or about to take a BeReal, you’ll get told. Some of us are nice about it and will make you laugh whilst you’ve slipped your phone into your pocket (it’s a skill), but others will tell you once, not twice.

Open boxes.

We must sell stuff, and I doubt you’d want to buy anything with the arse torn off, seal stickers all warped at their edges. Do not do it. A bloke once crouched on the floor in a quiet corner, opening cock ring boxes. I understand size, materials, and firmness matter. He left a pile of rings on the floor, torn boxes; plastic wrappers screwed up. The same goes for underwear, dildos and so on. Just ask us. Or even a “d’ya mind if I open this?”

Crack whips and have dildo fights.

Not a big deal. But it’s almost always straight couples that do it, weirdly. They see the whips hung on the walls and can’t control their baby-making urges (joking, joking) to crack their partner’s ass cheek. Some dildos have sticky cups at their base; we display them for *vibes*. People love wanging their pals in the face with a whopping 10”. It’s funny, in my opinion, but the person next to you with questions about materials, firmness and size may have never stepped foot in a sex shop before.

Point and laugh.

I personally give a lot of patience to people who do this because I, too, am a bit of a twat sometimes. I get it; you’re in Soho, and you’ve never seen a shop that SELLS COCK-SHAPED THINGS AND IT’S AMAZING. I understand the dizzying thrill of the weirdness. But I want people to understand that often our customers are discreet men, men who are not out, and men discovering their sexuality spectrum. *“Men” refers to all who identify as male. People love coming into the shop to guffaw and heckle. I can tell if groups are just pissed [drunk] and parading around; they will wander off soon enough. I calm down the ones who crack the whips and waggle the dildos.

Heckling the staff.

People call us slurs in a gay shop in a gay area, which is weird. All folk are welcome here, but weekends sometimes see visitors in Soho with misaligned intent. We have seen hoodies and bottles. We just rely on our skills to defuse situations.

Flash - without asking.

Keep it in your pants, skirt, trousers, or kilt. It ain’t that sort of place. We are not licensed for that.


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