PARK SLOPE — This sex shop is more nice than naughty.
Please, a new adult boutique on 15th Street and Fifth Avenue, sells vibrators, lubricants and wrist restraints, but if customers want to explore their sensual side by buying some bath oil, that's fine too.
Owner Sid Azmi wants to ease people into taking control of their sex lives and her store aims to be friendly and unintimidating. Most of all, she never wants customers to feel ashamed walking into her boutique.
"Sex is intimate, but not illicit," Azmi said. "We shouldn't feel embarrassed about going into a sex shop. Here you are, making an effort to nurture your sexuality and your relationship with your partner. You should be proud."
With floor-to-ceiling windows and muted gray walls, Please is designed to feel welcoming and tasteful, Azmi said. She intentionally steered away from adult store cliches like pink neon signs and explicit imagery.
The first thing customers see when they walk in is a table full of body products such as lotions and beard oils that could be found at any high-end gift shop. Behind that is a row of sex guide books and erotica that clues people into the store's theme. Customers that venture further into the space will find a curated selection of sex toys and a display of bondage gear in the back corner.
From the street it's tough to tell that Please is a sex shop; it looks like a gift boutique. On Thursday afternoon, a mom and tween daughter wandered in, and Azmi said gently, "I just want to let you know this is a mom and dad store," explaining that some items weren't appropriate for kids. The two turned around.
Azmi, the mother of a 6-year-old boy, wants to attract a cross-section of customers who may need help reclaiming their sexual side. Azmi says the store's tag line, "rediscovering sensuality," could apply to new moms, seniors, and people with disabilities. She plans to offer workshops that will tackle topics like sex after a double mastectomy.
Azmi sees potential customers in Park Slope's new parents, who tend to let the sexual side of their relationship slide after the birth of their first child. "We need to encourage families to play more often," Azmi said, not referring to playdates.
Azmi, who grew up in a conservative Muslim family in Singapore, is a former radiation therapist who worked with cancer patients. She said she wants to make sex "an everyday thing, not just a weekend thing."
"We want to bring sex into the mainstream," Azmi said. "It's about making sex for everyone, not just sex for sexy people."