Sex toy inclusivity: Chicago sex toy stores provide resources for LGBTQ+ community

By Amaris Edwards, Staff Reporter

A selection of sex toys are put on display behind the counter of Egor’s Dungeon. Abra Richardson

Sex toys and the shops that sell them have long been a part of Chicago’s erotic landscape. But in recent years, some of the shops have pushed the boundaries beyond the needs and wants of the cisgender community to make sure everyone is being served.

Vibrators, dildos, anal toys and trans-friendly toys — Early to Bed, a sex shop in Andersonville, caters to all genders, sexualities and identities.

Owner Searah Deysach said she opened Early to Bed, 5044 N. Clark St., 20 years ago because she was a “frustrated sex toy consumer.”

While Early to Bed supports people of all genders, sexual orientations and identities, Deysach wanted to create a space particularly welcoming to people who are on the margins of what the mainstream consumer has been in the sex industry: cisgender straight men.

“I felt there wasn’t anywhere in Chicago where someone who was a woman or women-identified queer … could shop for sex toys in an environment that felt supportive and fun,” Deysach said. “And not focused strictly on either male heterosexual or gay male gaze.”

Deysach identifies her store as “Chicago’s feminist sex shop.”

Egor’s Dungeon storefront is decorated with mannequins dressed in lingerie and pride flags hanging from above Nov. 11. Abra Richardson

Deysach said they are conscious about not labeling toys under terms like: for him, for her or for couples. The toys are divided by type of toy and in some cases what body part they go on or stimulate.

Deysach said there are lots of people who find affirmation with their sexuality or gender through sex toys.

“For some people, a vibrator provides the first orgasm they’ve ever had … a butt plug can allow [people] to explore anal play in a way that is very sexuality affirming,” Deysach said. “For people who strap on a dildo for the first time or who use a gender expression device … that can also be very transformative.”

Deysach is one of several community members creating safe sex toy spaces for Chicago’s queer community.

Egor’s Dungeon, a sex toy store located at 900 W. Belmont Ave. in Northalsted, has been a resource to the LGBTQ+ community for more than 30 years.

Amanda Mohr at Egor’s Dungeon said that they hire only LGBTQ+ people, including the manager.

A mannequin display sits near the register at Egor’s Dungeon. Abra Richardson

Mohr said manager “Lexxx” Pharoah specifically orders toys for lesbian and gay customers. The store offers toys such as plugs, prostate toys, double-ended dildos and harnesses for women.

“Sex isn’t just for straight couples, it’s for everyone,” Mohr said. “Everyone deserves to feel pleasure, and that’s why we try to cater to everybody.”

Additionally, Egor’s Dungeon provides a lesbian sex coach — manager Pharoah, who offers classes and advice for people who need assistance and for new lesbians. Mohr said Pharoah also reaches out to people who need advice via Instagram and direct messages.

Lovers Playground, located at 1246 W. Randolph St. in Chicago’s West Loop, has also evolved to sell products geared toward members of the LGBTQ+ community over the past few years.

Ken Arp, manager at Lovers Playground, said the store has a new sex toy line called Gender X, which provides gender-neutral toys for customers.

“Sex is still mostly in your head; what we’re providing is a tool,” Arp said. “The key is finding the right tool for you.”