by February 11, 2013 at 12:00 pm 0


For the unconventional gift. (Luis Gomez Photos)

From Melanie Hudson. Follow her at @champagne_me or Email her at melanie[AT] 

It’s only a few days before the dreaded holiday-that’s-not-really-a-holiday: Valentine’s Day. The one day every year it becomes acceptable to say things like “I wheelie like you” and “I love you a latte.” The one day every year you feel justified eating a box of Godiva, because after all, it was a gift. Or the one day you allow yourself to wallow in your singlehood, indulging in a Sex and the City marathon over potato chips and wine.

Even if you are an unsentimental cynic for 364 other days, on Valentine’s Day you’ve been known to send your girlfriend expensive roses, leave a love-sticky-note on the mirror for your fiancé or make overpriced dinner reservations at a restaurant serving chocolate wine for your future partner-for-life. (Or, buy yourself those patent leather platform pumps you’ve been eyeing.)

Listen up, Borderstan: this year, ditch the traditional trappings that Hallmark is peddling and give your sweetheart something memorable, personal, and dare we say, quite hot. This Valentine’s Day, Secret Pleasures Boutique (1510 U Street NW) will add fire and spice into the mix, and Valentine’s Day will never be the same.

Secret Pleasures is a sex shop. There, I said it. Now that term of art can conjure up tawdry, sordid images. But let me assure you, dear readers, it is not a dank and dark house of pornography. Secret Pleasure is a modern, full-service palace of wonders, specializing in discretion. Its tasteful and well-curated articles range from lingerie and crotchless undies to bondage gear and fancy vibrators.

Of course there is your usual assortment of bachelorette party paraphernalia, but the full wall dedicated to lube is a sight to behold. Catering to men and women, straight and gay, singles and couples, the store sells every sex-related item you can think of — and many that even the most inventive imaginations could not dream up.

Among the offerings: body stockings, furry hand cuffs, whips, feathers, Fifty Shades of Grey, The Smart Girls Guide to the G-Spot, Lelo and Je Joue rechargeable massagers and vibrators, how-to manuals, games for couples, leather of every variety and many things we cannot print.

Staff members are open minded, not pushy and have helpful titles, such as “education coordinator.” Many have training in sexuality issues and will answer any and all of your questions. Secret Pleasures encourages its clients to check their reservations at the door and explore a healthy sexuality. They offer classes like the upcoming “Sex Toys 101” and a recent course on aphrodisiac cooking. And, a variety of their products is available on their website or they will ship orders by phone — for the shy ones among us.

So, you can go the easy route: shop for gifts from a stylish selection, look for an available table at area restaurants, buy a V-Day recommended wine and make a fancy Champagne and Chambord cocktail. Or you can shock the hell out of your significant other — or yourself! — and give a gift from Secret Pleasures. Try it, you might like it.

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by December 21, 2012 at 5:00 pm 1,273 0


For the unconventional gift. (Luis Gomez Photos)

If you’re looking for something to spice up the holidays and a snowman sweater isn’t going to to get the job done, two local Borderstan businesses might have just what you need.

Adam & Eve (formerly known as Leather Rack) at 1723 Connecticut Avenue NW has a giant selection of gifts that will knock your socks (and pants and shirt) off. We won’t go into details on this family-friendly space, but you can easily stop in the store for more information on the products.

Secret Pleasures is another local business that caters to adult toys (1510 U Street NW), and sells a variety of items perfect for gifting to your special someone.

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