By Laura Bijnsdorp

Adult Toy Box owner Pat Hunt says, “Male and female, young and old, tourists and locals, straight and gay; everyone comes into our store.”

I remember the first time I walked into the  Adult Toy Box store in Simpson Bay. I was 18 and my friends and I were looking for Halloween outfits. Sexually inexperienced in mind and body and seeing the rows of outfits, DVDs and numerous toys on store walls made me giggle nervously. My friends and I walked out of the store empty-handed with the overall consensus of “who uses these!”  In actuality, many of us were probably too embarrassed to admit that we did not think these items to be “strange.” In fact, we were quite curious. 

As we grew in our confidence as well as our sexual experience, we soon changed our tune. Talking about sex was no longer flustering; it was a regular occurrence. Sex toys became an acceptable topic and fun gifts at a variety of celebrations. I sat down with Pat on a late afternoon to learn more about Adult Toy Box, which she opened on Sint Maarten 13 years ago. “Everyone has a little kink inside of them. So I knew there was a niche for sex toys and enhancers on the island.”

This turned out to be true. Just two years after opening her first store in Simpson Bay, Pat, along with her good friend  Antoine, opened the second store in Philipsburg.  Antoine, better known to locals as Twanny, is still working at the Simpson Bay store. About her business partner, Pat says fondly, “He is a natural at making anyone feel comfortable. You are guaranteed to leave the store laughing if you encounter Twanny!”

This move might’ve been considered quite controversial on the island 13 years ago, but according to Pat and Antoine, most people today have embraced the idea of “spicing up” their sex-life. “The suspicion of sex toys ‘replacing a man in the bedroom’ has faded; as many have experienced that sex toys actually can add orgasms (don’t forget that women ARE multi-orgasmic), enhance pleasure and improve relationships,” Pat explains.

Sex is healthy; it helps your immune system, relieves stress, helps you sleep better, strengthens women's bladder control and relieves pain. Studies have even shown that sex can help prevent prostate cancer in men and improve heart health. Sex and intimacy can boost your self-esteem and happiness too. It’s not only a prescription for a healthy life, but also a happy one.

The choices are vast. For beginners, Pat recommends, “First talk to your partner, and once you are both open to the idea start slowly. Try massage candles, for example, they add to the romance, get partners in the mood and focus on foreplay. Masks, bullets (small vibrators) and lube are also fun and great “beginner” items.” Walking around the store, you can find toys to tap into wide ranges of “kink” and for those with tastes that are beyond that; Adult Toy Box takes special orders.

If would-be customers are too shy to come in, Pat suggests they invite friends over and arrange a home party with Pat where she can showcase products in a familiar environment. Adult Toy Box offers discreet home deliveries too; so if you are “toy-inquisitive”, there is always a way to comfortably meet your needs!

Whatever your choice, be sure to buy sex toys made with safe materials such as non-porous 100 percent silicone and phthalate-free rubber products. When in doubt and especially if you’re sharing, use a condom on the toy. Washing sex toys with soap and a sex toy cleaner after each use also prevents the spread of sexually transmitted infections. Most importantly, make sure to have the right information so you can have good, clean fun!

Pat: “We always encourage our customers to ask us many questions. This way, they know how to use the toy in the safest and most pleasurable way. Our goal is to make everyone feel 100% comfortable. You can ask us anything! Our staff is professional, trained, friendly and helpful. Also your privacy and anonymity are our priority!”

I experienced this “comfort” myself firsthand. My interview with Pat took over two hours because besides questions pertaining to the interview, I also ended up discussing my sex life with her! I walked out the door that night inspired; which made me happy and I am sure will make my boyfriend happy as well. Happy vibrations, here I come!

Adult Toy Box in Simpson Bay is open 10:00am-10pm and the Philipsburg store is open 9:00am -7:00pm. Contact info: 1 (721) 544-2412.

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