Sex shop floors, once bustling with customers, have morphed into makeshift staging areas for packing online orders. The display dildos stand around aimlessly, fulfilling no purpose. Lube testers lay dormant. Packing materials are everywhere. A print-out is taped to the door advising customers of the situation: this shop is closed — temporarily, indefinitely, who-knows-how-long. Shop online. Please.
Brick-and-mortar sex shops have been hit especially hard by the COVID-19 pandemic. In a matter of weeks, 85% of U.S. shops have shuttered, according to Kristen Tribby, Director of Marketing and Education at Fun Factory. For an industry that is still only half a century old, such a sudden and collective response is extraordinary and unprecedented. “This is unfamiliar territory for us,” Good Vibes admitted, “as we have been serving customers continuously for over 43 years.”