Feminist Sex Shop Review: Early to Bed


This weekend I was excited to be in Chicago because I’ve been wanting to check out the feminist sex shop so many of you raved about: Early to Bed.
Early to Bed was founded in 2001 by owner Searah, who was frustrated with the traditional sex shop options.
I made my way to ETB via public transportation, excited to see that it was super accessible. The store front is discreet enough that I walked right by it on the first shot, but not totally hidden. The glass store front sports a large decal/painting of a blue bed with the tagline “intimate apparel.”
The stock is pretty standard feminist sex shop fare. Lube, condoms, some gag gifts (but not too many and definitely NO penis lollypops or other annoying bachlorette party gifts), dildos, vibrators, anal toys, harnesses, videos, books and some BDSM gear.
Things that stood out for me about Early to Bed:

  • Comfortable and welcoming seating area in the back that my friend and I hung out at reading for a while. Didn’t feel rushed or pressured to buy anything.
  • Great reference books meant for pursuing, in addition to a few resources from E2B: a Q&A book with questions asked by customers and answered by the owner as well as a book of personal sex toy reviews.
  • Great selection of harnesses (all shapes, sizes, materials and price ranges) as well as a unusually large selection of pretty BDSM gear with studded collars, hand restraints etc.
  • Very reasonably priced. Toys that I have seen elsewhere for almost twice as much were surprisingly low priced. Not sure how they do it but it’s great to see, especially since these toys can be very expensive!
  • Great signage throughout the store. My personal favorite: “Please touch, fondle and turn on the toys”

Overall it was a great store and I recommend checking it out. They also have a website where you can buy most of their products. They also have a dedicated youtube channel, with short videos about sex and sexuality.

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15 Comments

  1. Chelsea
    Posted February 23, 2009 at 11:46 am | Permalink

    I LOVE Early to Bed!! This review reminds me I should head back there, it’s by far the best sex shop I’ve ever been to. I’m glad you went to check it out because it can’t be missed on a trip to Chicago!!

  2. GiaCor
    Posted February 23, 2009 at 1:00 pm | Permalink

    Hey everyone! I posted a comment about this before , but now I have an appropriate post to comment this on!!!
    I have a coupon for 15% off at early to bed! I got it from a friend who owns a store there, but left before I could use it. If anyone is interested, I’ll mail it to you, or you can just have the code which is for online purchases. giovannacoraggio@yahoo.com

  3. Tim Jones-Yelvington
    Posted February 23, 2009 at 1:18 pm | Permalink

    They also do really great programs that are really accessible to a broad range of identities.

  4. fatima
    Posted February 23, 2009 at 1:43 pm | Permalink

    yayy early to bed! i love that place. and now i feel inspired to head over there soon. (not that i needed inspiration…)

  5. omphaloskeptic
    Posted February 23, 2009 at 2:53 pm | Permalink

    oh oh! did you also go, or have you been, to tulip as well? would have recommended if I’d known you would be here!

  6. Miriam
    Posted February 23, 2009 at 4:03 pm | Permalink

    where is tulip?

  7. omphaloskeptic
    Posted February 23, 2009 at 4:16 pm | Permalink

    Chicago, there is one in Andersonville and one in Boystown. I’m not sure but I think it might be pricier overall, but definitely worth checking out. It’s woman-owned and they have their own line of products, of which I totally recommend the orange-vanilla scented body candles–the wax doesn’t get as hot as regular candles and basically turns into massage oil so there’s less cleanup–awesome. I kind of prefer Tulip to ETB just because I’ve had such great experiences there, but I’m happy to have both around!
    http://mytulip.com/index1.html

  8. NUscoutmaster
    Posted February 23, 2009 at 4:44 pm | Permalink

    I LOVE Early to Bed! They’ve got awesome products, they’re always super knowledgeable and friendly, and they always willing to get involved with Sex Week at Northwestern. They’re just plain awesome!
    I think Tulip is just ok. I’ve been to both of them, and the staff isn’t very warm or open. They’ve got some great products though (glass dildos that warm to your body if you’re into those).

  9. LucyBell
    Posted February 23, 2009 at 6:37 pm | Permalink

    Hooray for sex shops in the Midwest!! This review of Early to Bed is exactly how I felt after I visited (and made a purchase!) at Good Vibrations in San Francisco. About us page says:
    “Good Vibrations is a diverse, woman-focused retailer providing access to sex-positive products and accurate sex information through our clean and comfortable stores, catalog, and web site in order to enhance our customers’ sex lives and to promote healthy attitudes about sex.”
    Awesome. I love this topic today. check them out:
    http://www.goodvibes.com/main.jhtml?typeFilters=

  10. bookworm87
    Posted February 23, 2009 at 8:51 pm | Permalink

    Just for all those Canadian readers out there, if you don’t know about Venus Envy yet you definitely need to check them out! So far they have stores based in Halifax, Ottawa and online. The atmosphere is warm, inviting and very educational. It’s feminist-friendly and sex-positive with an awesome selection of books, sex toys, BDSM gear and all around fun stuff ;)
    I was introduced to them through a variety of free workshops they offer annually at the University of Ottawa. The first one was “Im Coming! A Guide to Women’s Orgasm” and then my 1st year Women’s Studies prof brought them in to do a sex toy workshop as a midterm treat! A GREAT introduction to sexuality and campus life.
    http://www.venusenvy.ca/

  11. sarah
    Posted February 24, 2009 at 12:14 am | Permalink

    Anybody know of any woman-friendly sex shops in southern California?

  12. gleea
    Posted February 24, 2009 at 12:43 am | Permalink

    Psh, I live a block from the original Good Vibes and my partner and I miss Early to Bed sooooooo much. I find the staff at ETB to be much more knowledgeable and particularly more approachable and friendly.
    Tulip was ok, but I think much more commercial. Plus, the owner of ETB has contributed so much to the queer and feminist communities over the years. :)

  13. redhotlight
    Posted April 16, 2009 at 6:00 pm | Permalink

    I mentioned to you guys before… you have to do a review of Feminique Boutique in West Chester Pennslyvania (Philly suburb).
    It is super female-friendly and the owner is a sex educator. She teaches workshops there on dozens of topics, some fun like “foreplay 101″ and “the female orgasm” but also really important ones like positive body image, sex after pregnancy, and a guide for parents on talking to kids about sex.
    She got a lot of crap when she opened, got taken to court by a catholic church, etc. I would really like this place to stay in my town so Please support!
    http://www.feminiqueboutique.com

  14. MarshallL
    Posted May 8, 2009 at 6:43 am | Permalink

    Anyone can be successful in any field as long as he is eager to take the ups and downs that he may encounter. Winners don’t quit as they say. Raser Technologies is taking a good thing and then doing something awesome with it. Raser Technologies just made a hybrid car out of a Hummer. The company has unveiled a plug in hybrid edition of the Hummer H3, a bold move in any case. Raser, now traded on the NYSE, is the company behind the E-REV engine, an extended range electric engine that will go up to 40 miles per charge when fully electric, and gets up to 100 mpg when using hybrid driving. It will take some hefty personal loans, though – available in 2011, and if the previous cost of a Hummer was prohibitive, it ought to take some hefty installment loans to get one from Raser Technologies.

  15. Lisa
    Posted June 19, 2009 at 2:40 pm | Permalink

    As a new Milwaukee native, I have to give a shout out to the Tool Shed (http://www.toolshedtoys.com/). Laura is wonderfully knowledgeable and helpful. I plan on dropping by regularly!
    I’m in Los Angeles, specifically Santa Monica, for the summer sans partner and am in dire need of a good feminist sex shop. Any recommendations? Help a girl out!

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