Whatever you're into, find all things erotica – sex toys and saucy lingerie, fetishwear and latex costumes – in the capital as we round up the best sex shops in the city.
Sex shops in London
Agent Provocateur’s trademark powder-pink boxes are to undies what a turquoise Tiffany package is to jewellery. Expect hyperventilation: from her, when she receives it; from you, when she puts it on. Originally founded by Joseph Corré – son of Vivienne Westwood – and his then wife, in addition to bras, knickers and sizzling scraps of saucy silk, Agent Provocateur sell cutting-edge swimwear - frequently, distinctive strappy styles that tend to give rise to distinctive, strappy tan lines to match, yet still have lines of ladies queuing to buy them because they look hotter than the equatorial sun.
Rhianna, Kim Kardashian, Miley Cyrus and Lady Gaga (who wore her red rubber outfit to meet Her Madge The Queen): the list of celebrities who’ve been pictured in Atsuko Kudo’s multi award-winning couture latex is longer than Rapunzel’s crowning glory. The rubber clothing specialists are known for their fine filigree details, custom leopard and lace prints, striking colourways, and their perfect tailoring. Vacuum-pack yourself in AK, and you will look and feel A-list.
Join the rubber band at latex fashion specialists Breathless, where owner and designer Dolenta Debarna (who used to work with Katherine Hamnett) continues to expand her in-house label, while also directing customers to the best parties in town to show off their highly polished purchases. After relocating to new premises in King's Cross in 2014, Breathless continues to offer the same high quality made-to-measure and fitting services, ensuring every item hugs you in a perfect racy embrace. Highlights of the Breathless collections include military-style costumes and caps; retro-influenced cute, flared babydoll dresses; tailored jackets and waistcoats; leopard-print catsuits; and truly magnificent corseted gowns.
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.
Trading for more than 30 years, this is the capital’s largest fetish and gay lifestyle store, and ticks almost every conceivable box when it comes to quenching dirty desires. There’s even a red metal cage to host scantily clad lads gyrating during late-night shopping sessions, or one of the regular parties and special sales the store holds in their industrial, boiler-house club-like setting. No matter how hardcore your predilections, Expectations is likely to be able to please. Licensed as a sex shop, they stock an enormous library of XXX gay DVDs, and a range of more than 100 electro-stimulation accessories such as conductive anal plugs and urethral sounds for those who enjoy a good zapping while they’re fapping.
Fetish Freak are specialists in men’s made-to-measure latex and leather. Their prices are fair, even if their breeches, chaps, harnesses and body bags (yup, leather body bags, for those who like to completely hide inside hide) are as indecent as they get; custom-crafted items can cost less than some other places charge for off-the-peg stock. They also carry a whole host of accessories and sex toys, from inflatable dildos to horse bit gags to nipple clamps to ball stretchers. Everything you need to get your freak on.
Traditional marriage vows require that partners swear to love, honour and obey each other; and if either of you have been to Honour, someone’s definitely going to end up obeying. And loving it. Honour stock a wide range of kinky clothing, toys and equipment designed to suit all budgets and tastes, including an abundance of very affordable yet gloriously deplorable goodies. Refreshingly for a store not exclusively aimed at gay guys, there’s plenty of fetish-wear for men (on the upstairs floor) as well as women, and a great range of plus-size items too. There are catsuits, costumes, wigs, uniforms, lingerie… a veritable cornucopia of sexy accessories.
Handmade latex mastery for Masters, Mistresses, fetishistas, fashionistas, kinksters, and hijinx-sters. Designer Robin Archer and his team are famous worldwide for their brilliantly made, imaginatively conceived haute-couture rubber clothing, and have increasingly collaborated with high fashion houses in recent years; Giles Deacon called upon them to create a series of tie dye latex dresses, for example, and they also worked with Loewe to transfer archive silk scarf patterns onto stunning rubber shirts. These days, the House of Harlot shop is located near Brick Lane, and the items available to buy for both men and women are hotter than any curry on the menu in the neighbourhood.
Liberation carries a wide range of off-the-peg clothing for women and men that’s ready to wear if you’re ready to dare, or commission something custom-made after trying on items to see what flatters and flaunts. Celebrity customers include Julian Clary and Lady Gaga, and Libidex have also worked with fashion houses including Vivienne Westwood, Dolce & Gabbana and the late Alexander McQueen, although they greet everyone who walks through their doors with open arms and a welcome warmer than the inside of a freshly grilled cheese toastie.
Le Boutique Bazaar is a regular pop-up shopping and social afternoon, co-produced by world-famous fetish club Torture Garden, along with the team behind the popular Wasted Chic fashion sales. Each event gathers together a changing roster of more than 40 of London’s most intriguing unusual, underground and erotic clothing and accessory designers, all in one place (usually swanky lounge bar McQueen, in Shoreditch). There are deals on cocktails so you can sip tipples while choosing one-off diamante covers for your nipples, and DJs encouraging you to have a bop after investing in a rubber top…or bottom.
London Alternative Market is a monthly fetish shopping and kinky community event. Whatever your particular peccadillo - be it adult baby scenarios, bondage, medical play, cross dressing, or if you’re simply a curious newbie working out which way you’re wired – at LAM, you’ll never feel like the black sheep of the family. An extremely friendly, down-to-earth affair, every outing of LAM features a variety of exhibitors – often small businesses run by kinsters who’ve identified a gap in the marvelously mucky fetish market and developed an innovative product or line to fill it.
The flagship outlet of the UK’s largest gay lifestyle superstore, Prowler Soho stocks all the good-time goodies you’d expect, in fantastic abundance: there’s a veritable apothecary of poppers; a vast collection of male sex toys, many with an appealingly manly aesthetic, including inflatable anal dongs and robust cock rings that look like one of the Mario Bros’ pipes; plus a huge array of jockstraps, super-snug boxers and more banana hammocks than you’d find at a fruit-themed beach resort.
If Warren and friends shop at Regulation, we can only wonder at what they’re mounting, as the fetish and gay lifestyle store stocks the UK’s widest range of Square Peg silicone ass toys. They specialise in tailored latex and leather clothing handmade in London, plus a seemingly infinite variety of innovative and darkly imaginative sex equipment, carrying a tonne of brands well known to the discriminating pervert. Staff are friendly and well informed, and they even offer a 15% student discount.
Sh! is a sex shop truly worth shouting about. When it opened in 1992, Sh! was the first ever ‘women only’ erotic boutique, designed to give ladies a welcoming, safe place to shop for intimate items and get sound sexual advice. Recently, they’ve relaxed their rules: the ground floor is still reserved solely for lasses and couples, but the basement is now open to everybody, of all genders and persuasions. And everybody really should visit.
Founded by Katie Thomas – a woman with a penchant for vintage underwear but an understandable reluctance to wear knickers old ladies might have died in – What Katie Did specialise in steel-boned corsets, lingerie and hosiery designed with convincing retro style and silver screen glamour, but a thoroughly modern comfortable fit. Check out their bullet bras (complete with conical padding), 6-strap metal-clipped suspender belts, and stockings made on vintage machines.