Just as deluxe chocolates often boast that they contain a high percentage of cocoa, deluxe sex lives may boast that they incorporate an indulgent amount of Coco de Mer. This is London’s most glamorous, upmarket erotic emporium. Browse toys, accessories, jewellery and lingerie made from the finest materials: stunning sterling silver nipple shields and gold-gilded clamps; beautiful, subtly sexual rings that double as massage aids; leather reins and harnesses to transform your partner into the dressiest of dressage ponies; and love eggs made from rose quartz and jade. Of course, a lot of this designer decadence comes with a price tag that would turn even Christian Grey’s bank balance deep red, but there are plenty of classy treats that manage to look anything but cheap while being pleasingly affordable, too.
Coco de Mer was originally established by Sam Roddick – daughter of Body Shop founder Anita – and although it was bought out by online adult retailer Lovehoney in 2011, it maintains an ethical, artisan-led streak. Check out dildos made from sustainable wood (thankfully highly polished to avoid excruciating splinters in unthinkable places), ceramic butt plugs that can be immersed in cool or warm water to change their temperature, and glass wands which are – ahem – hand-blown in England. Also of note is the brand’s new latex clothing range, launched in November 2014 and designed in conjunction with Slaughterhouse Couture, their range of vintage books, and saucy homewares such as wallpaper, cushions and crockery (cockery?) printed with explicit patterns. If you fancy a dirty rather than filthy weekend, it’s worth wandering in just for the lingerie – Stella McCartney and Mimi Holiday are amongst the premium brands offering good old fashioned silk and lace in dazzling designs.
Time Out highly recommend the store’s salons: evening classes teaching everything from spanking to rope bondage. One workshop which always sells out almost instantly is Master Dominic’s ‘Guide to Playing the Flute’: instructions on how to perform devastatingly good fellatio imparted by a chap who’s both given and received it.
Coco de Mer is number 37 in our list of the 100 best shops in London.