Babeland: A Sex-Positive Toy Shop That Encourages Sexual Expression & Exploration

Women's Dating

Babeland: A Sex-Positive Toy Shop That Encourages Sexual Expression & Exploration

Hayley Matthews Hayley Matthews • 1/23/17

The Short Version: Women and men who want to experiment in the bedroom can find the resources they need at Babeland, an adult toy store that boasts a vast online shop and four brick-and-mortar locations. Founded in 1993 by Claire Cavanah and Rachel Venning, Babeland began as a safe, welcoming place where women could go to get the quality sex toys they wanted and needed. Now, Babeland is a one-stop shop for anyone who’s looking for adult products as well as educational resources to help them explore their sexuality.

Getting stuck in an intimacy rut can be a common occurrence, whether you’re dating, in a relationship, or trying to figure out your desires alone. If you’ve faced this issue, you aren’t the only one.

According to a survey conducted by licensed clinical psychologist and intimacy expert David Schnarch, 60% of people have ongoing sexual desire problems, and another 25% have them intermittently. Only 6% claim they never have an issue with getting in the mood.

Photo of Claire Cavanah and Rachel Venning, Founders of Babeland

Rachel and Claire founded Babeland in response to the bad experiences they had at sex shops.

The cure to what ails your sex life may just be some exploration — on your own or with a partner — and Babeland can help. The sex toy retailer, which has an online shop as well as storefronts in Seattle and New York City, is a positive environment for those who want to explore their sexuality and spice up their love lives. Babeland offers a variety of products — from vibrators to lingerie and bondage gear — and educational resources designed to give customers tips they can use to take their sex lives to the next level.

A Mission to Make Sex Shop Visits More Welcoming for Women

Babeland was founded by Claire Cavanah and Rachel Venning in 1993 because they were having poor experiences at adult stores. They knew there had to be a better way for women to enjoy sex toys, so they created a place where women could feel comfortable learning about and expressing their sexuality.

“Rachel and I wanted to create the kind of store where we would want to shop. We’d both had negative experiences going into sex shops,” Claire said. “The stores catered to men and felt creepy — almost dangerous — to go into. The choices they offered were mostly awful, too. It was a mission for us to right the wrongs and help women have the kind of pleasure they deserved.”

Collage of Babeland's storefronts

The first Babeland store opened in Seattle, and now there are three locations in New York, not to mention the website.

Though Babeland was created with the safety and pleasure of women in mind, that doesn’t mean the store doesn’t have a place for men. In fact, 35% of the company’s customers are male. Whether they want to find a toy they can use on their significant other, or experiment with a toy on their own, Babeland has products that can tickle any man’s fancy, too.

More Than a Store, Babeland Is a Resource For Singles & Couples

Besides their large catalog of toys, Babeland is an educational resource people can use to satisfy their sexual curiosity. Claire and Rachel offer sex tips on the site and host in-store events that cover a variety of topics — which can help customers get the most out of the products they buy.

“A lot of our customers are buying a sex toy for the first time or trying something new,” Claire said. “It’s hard to choose when you’re shopping online, so we tried to make Babeland.com into a resource as well as any easy-to-navigate shop.”

How-Tos & Sex Tips Educate & Entertain Inquisitive Users

Sex itself can be instinctual, but great sex is often learned. The ability to please a partner — or even yourself — is a skill that needs to be cultivated. As you embark upon your sexual journey, Babeland gives you access to numerous resources from staff experts. Whether you want to learn the kinky tricks you read about in “Fifty Shades of Grey,” choose the best condoms and lubricants, or find the elusive G-spot, Babeland.com has sex tips, how-tos, and other features to show you the way.

Screenshot of Babeland sex tips page

Babeland’s sex tips section offers plenty of advice whether you’re with someone else or flying solo.

And the sex education doesn’t end there. If you need advice about a specific topic that’s not covered on the site, you can easily get your questions answered on the Ask Rachel and Claire page. If you want to watch a demonstration on how to use a toy you’re not familiar with, there are video guides available to help you navigate your way through this new territory. If you’re not sure what some of the sexual terms you’ve seen actually mean, Babeland has an extensive glossary to get you up to speed.

In-Store Workshops Can Turn Curiosity Into Intimate Expertise

Although Babeland allows you to enhance your sexuality with a click of a mouse, the company also organizes fun, in-store events where you can learn as you meet other people trying to expand their sexual horizons.

For example, the “Get Knottier: Even More Rope Bondage” seminar can teach you how to safely incorporate BDSM techniques; the “Peppermint Pleasure: Sensation Play” class will show you how to heighten the senses during sexual intercourse by using products such as warm massage oils and leather paddles; and the “Better O’s? Pelvic Floor Health with Build the Movement” course explains how to strengthen your pelvic muscles to increase orgasm intensity.

In addition, Babeland hosts happy hours and customer appreciation parties where sex toy enthusiasts and novices can get together and relax, mingle, and, of course, stock up on some naughty merchandise.

Partnerships With Like-Minded Organizations Help Give Back to Worthy Causes

When Claire and Rachel opened Babeland, they wanted to create a safe place for women to get advice and shop for high-quality sex toys. Now that they’ve accomplished that goal, they’ve dedicated themselves to donating to worthy, like-minded groups that promote good sexual health, support art, or stand up for civil liberties. Over the years, Babeland has given more than $200,000 to organizations such as Lifelong AIDS, the LGBT Law Project at New York Legal Assistance Group, Rock Against Cancer, the Trevor Project, and Planned Parenthood.

Screenshot of Babeland pleasure kit

All of the proceeds from Babeland’s beginner pleasure kit go to Planned Parenthood.

In order to raise funds to benefit these organizations, Babeland encourages customers to “Come for a Cause” by buying specific products on their website. For example, with every sale of the Power to the Pink Set — containing a mini vibrator and pink lemonade-flavored lubricant — Babeland donates 10% of the proceeds to Young Survival Coalition, which supports young cancer survivors. Also, 100% of sales from the company’s pleasure kit, designed for women who are just beginning to explore their sexuality, go to Planned Parenthood.

Co-Founders Claire & Rachel Wrote the Book on Satisfying Sex

Photo of the "Moregasm" book cover

“Moregasm” is a comprehensive resource for those beginning their path of sexual exploration.

In 2010, Claire and Rachel expanded on the work the store does and published the comprehensive manual “Moregasm: Babeland’s Guide to Mind-Blowing Sex,” which is filled with glossy images and expert advice to help women and men navigate their way through sexual self-discovery. Claire said this allows a wider audience to have access to her and Rachel’s decades of experience.

“’Moregasm’ was our way of taking the experience we try to create in our interactions with customers in the store and in our workshops to the rest of the world who doesn’t live nearby and can’t stop in,” Claire said. “It’s geared for people who are more at the beginning of their sexual journey, maybe college-age and 20s, and it’s written to be useful for all genders and sexualities.”

“Moregasm’” has been well-received by readers, earning nearly five stars on Amazon and over four stars on Goodreads.

Babeland: Supporting You on Your Sexual Journey

Spicing up your love life may sound intimidating, but with the help of some of Babeland’s carefully vetted sex toys, you can explore your sexuality — with or without a partner — in ways you’ve never imagined. Babeland’s goal is to continue spreading the word about the joy of sex toys until everyone feels comfortable enough to incorporate them into their sex lives. That comfort level would help fulfill Claire and Rachel’s ultimate wish: “A vibrator in every nightstand!”