Sex & Love
Best place to meet dysfunctional singles
No, just kidding: We’re sure the rest of America has just as high a percentage of dysfunctional singles as we do right here in the River City (which, after all, is actually the single-mother capital of the world, but hey, that’s a whole other item). Anyway, to increase the odds of finding someone compatibly odd, we recommend the self-help aisle of your favorite bookstore. At Tower Books on Broadway, for instance, such tomes are nicely organized into subsections—general self-help, addiction and recovery, death and dying, erotic, gay, lesbian, bi, psychology, etc.—so you can meet that introspective and self-conscious someone who’s just right for you.
All Borders and Barnes & Noble stores and, of course, Tower Books, which is at 1600 Broadway, (916) 444-6688.
Best friend a pregnant woman can have
The Birthing Project
A true Sacramento success story, the Birthing Project started with one wise woman mentoring one young mother through the birthing process and the first days with her newborn. It has now grown into a nationwide campaign to fight high infant-mortality rates. The Birthing Project pairs young, poor or unprepared mothers with sister-friends who help the expectant moms through all the prenatal work—the doctor’s appointments, the physical changes and all the preparation and shopping trips—as well as the actual birth. Sister-friends then provide mother and infant with friendship and assistance throughout the first delicate year of the child’s life—to everybody’s benefit. Sister-friends get to celebrate new births, new moms are guided through the sometimes bewildering birthing process, and society gets increasing numbers of healthy babies.
1810 S Street, (916) 558-4812.
Best edible pickup line
X-rated gum balls from the G Spot
Necco’s Sweethearts Conversation Hearts were fine for the innocent days when “scoring” meant holding hands in the lunch line at your middle school’s cafeteria. Unfortunately, in the fast-paced world of sex-positive adults, sentiments like “U R Cool” and “Luv Ya” are just too vague to get the job done. Luckily, the G Spot sells a more direct option for candy seduction. Next to the register, there’s a jar filled with “X-rated Fun Gum.” These brightly colored gum balls bear such blunt commands as “Drive It Home,” “Ride Me” and “Suck It.” In case the object of your lust doesn’t read English, each gum ball also offers a handy illustration of the act in question. At 39 cents apiece, they’re a cheap come-on, and you don’t have to wait until February to buy them.
2003 K Street, (916) 441-3200.
Best place to increase your boobs and booty without plastic surgery
Frederick’s of Hollywood
Quit kidding yourself: You wish you had a rockin’ bod like that French model Laeticia Casta. But before you go under the knife in pursuit of the ideal figure, consider the less-painful options. Frederick’s of Hollywood offers a solution without the pain and the expense of plastic surgery. The invisible fanny panty, with removable foam padding, not only adds roundness to an otherwise flat derriere, but also lifts what little you’ve already got, and it’s undetectable under clothing. The price on such a hot piece of faux ass? Only $26. For those who need a little boost in the bust, the silicone breast pads ($36-$60) can increase your bust by a full cup size. Should anyone make it to second base, though, your secret will quickly be revealed.
Various locations, www.fredericks.com.
Best unusual lingerie
Knit designs by Joan McGowan-Michael
After designing lingerie for Frederick’s of Hollywood for several years, Joan McGowan-Michael decided to do her own thing. For a while, she had a line of leather lingerie based on her Frederick’s patterns, and then she created knitwear for women. Now the Sacramentan is combining her knitting skills and lingerie designs to create knitted camisoles, corsets, stockings and other intimate items. Rather than finished pieces, she’s selling patterns and kits through her Web site. The most popular of her lingerie kits is her Nicole camisole-and-panty set, which can be made with thong or regular panties. McGowan-Michael hand-dyes the yarn, a silk and wool blend she described as “lush,” and said an average knitter could easily make the Nicole in a couple of weeks. How long you’ll keep the outfit on once you wear it is a question only you can answer.
Best unique and kinky cards
In a city the size of Sacramento, there are hundreds of places to buy greeting cards—especially if you’re straight, white, Christian and not too picky. But if you’re looking for something special, something personal, there’s really only one store to try: Etc. in Midtown. Co-owners Jeff Heald and Abdon Legrand handpick each card the store carries, and they buy from lines of greeting cards they’re not seeing anywhere else in town. The store’s adult section is popular for its selection of gay- and lesbian-themed cards—many of which showcase the human body—but Etc. is also a good place to find cards featuring black faces, the Spanish language, congrats on a bar mitzvah and other less-mainstream images and sentiments.
2101 L Street, (916) 446-8049.
Best way to outsmart Hallmark on Valentine’s Day
Art Ellis Supply Inc.
It’s as true today as it was at your grade-school Valentine’s Day parties: When it comes to giving cards, handmade is always better than packaged prefab. Making someone a card conveys an extra level of warmth and effort that magnifies its message far beyond the capabilities of a store-bought greeting. If you need a little help in the artistic-design department, visit Art Ellis. The store’s extensive selection of paper—nappy, silky, shiny, printed, dyed, fibrous, wooly, marbled, smooth, plain and colorful—provides the perfect foundation for any sentiment. Just choose a few complementary sheets, cut out some shapes, glue a few layers together and scribble your love message on top. Instant cupid points!
2508 J Street, (916) 448-1875.
Best place to get naked and painted
The Painted Body
OK, so it may have more to do with art than with sex and love, but let’s just say that folks do tend to notice you after you’ve transformed your naked body into a living canvas. Sacramento artists Kevin Mason and Joel Hernandez, who go by the name of The Painted Body, know all about this, specializing as they do in administering latex paints and other colorful mediums to brave and photogenic souls. Hernandez specializes in black-light painting, and Mason leans toward background integration, in which the model and background are, well, integrated. But hey, don’t take our word for it. Go to their Web site and check them out.
Kevin Mason, (916) 548-1000; Joel Hernandez, (916) 601-0938; www.thepaintedbody.com.
Best place to unload your outdated sex toys
Hidden among the uncensored adult personal ads and “best breast” contests on this Sacramento e-rotica portal is the benevolent Sex Toys for Tarts recycling program. According to the site, you can donate your unwanted dildo, vibrator or fur-covered handcuffs and get up to $25 toward your next purchase at an area adult bookstore. After all, why should the underprivileged among us miss out on benefiting from our sexual satisfaction?
Best way to end the back-rub controversy
Couples massage at The Way Within
Relationships can be seriously strained over the issue of massages. You both work hard. You both want a back rub at the end of the day. You argue about who deserves one more—who gave whom the last one. You agree to trade, but the person who gets the first massage is too relaxed to deliver the second with any enthusiasm. By the end of the encounter, you’re both more tense than when you started. Rectify massage injustice with the couples-massage packages at The Way Within. For $155, both of you can have simultaneous one-hour massages in the Rain Forest Room—each with your own trained massage therapist. Follow them up with a 30-minute steam in the sauna before showering off with Thai coconut-rice scrub. Ninety minutes later, you’ll both be too happy to remember fighting at all.
2317 J Street, (916) 446-4443, www.thewaywithin.com.
Best place to make up
Starbucks at 15th and H streets
Now, why in the world would anyone want to process the tangled emotions of a lover’s quarrel in a coffee shop? Perhaps because the newest Starbucks, located directly across from the new Wells Fargo Pavilion at 15th and H streets, actually offers some seclusion for a heart-to-heart. In addition to outside patio seating and the typical coffeehouse furniture inside, along the back wall (and nicely separated from the rest of the place’s bustle by a large display rack made of blond wood) are three booths that are as close to private as you can possibly get in a Starbucks. Unless you need to amend your bad behavior—or accept your lover’s apology—directly before or after a Music Circus performance, when the place is overrun with customers, it’s usually easy enough to snag one of these comfortable spots. And, if things go badly, at least you have coffee.
1430 H Street, (916) 930-0866.
Best local erotica
Bliss: A Journal of Erotica
Not only does this new journal from Elk Grove’s ShiluS Publications contain some really good literature, but it also will be really, really good at getting readers—and whomever they happen to be reading to—in the mood for some sensual exploration. Edited by local poet Rhony Bhopla, Bliss fills a niche—and a few orifices—with poems, stories and drawings that celebrate human sexuality in all its variations. From Lytton Bell’s delightful, exuberant poetic celebration of male anatomy, “Your Cock” (“Your jeans / defiance of gravity / and death”), to the late Phil Goldvarg’s twin examinations of lovemaking as geologic disturbance (“Eruptions” and “Meltdown”), this journal is full of opportunities to examine the sublime flesh. And the emotional component of good sex is not at all neglected, as in Muriel Zeller’s “To Love”: “Words are hard, dirty / edges that only / bodies can soften and clean.” Pick up a copy and read it to someone you really want to get to know inside and out.
$12.95 from ShiluS Publications; 4801 Laguna Boulevard, Suite 105-250, Elk Grove, CA 95758.
Best romantic walk
To get those juices flowing, don’t think of Sacramento’s most romantic walk as a “where” thing as much as a “when” thing. Wait for the first rain, which can surprise us in early September or keep us looking skyward until November; let its impetuousness drive you. With the first smell of wet asphalt, grab your beloved off the couch and set your sights on the farthest cafe you can reasonably reach before closing time. With some hot chocolate, you can walk through Capitol Park to Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger’s office, lit up like a Hollywood movie set; through Old Sacramento, where the rain clicks against the bricks; or to the oldest neighborhoods in the city, where the leafy canopy keeps the sidewalks almost dry. But remember, the first rain is a once-a-year thing, so don’t waste it. What—are you afraid of getting a little wet?
Best place to break up
McKinley Park’s duck pond
OK, first of all, e-mail is out. Actually, if you’re sensitive, thoughtful and brave, the best place to untie the knot is in a private setting. Ideally, it would be the other person’s house or at least their room, so that afterward, they can hug a pillow, smash your picture or maybe just breathe a sigh of relief. Of course, if you’re a coward—or if your significant other has a talent for throwing heavy objects—then the telephone can come in real handy. You could even take a tip from Scott Peterson and tell your lover that you’re actually calling from Paris. But, if you must do the deed in public, your best bet would have to be McKinley Park, everyone’s favorite recreational urban oasis. Not only is it picturesque, but also, there are lots of park benches laid out around the duck pond that are just perfect for muttering that “it’s not you—it’s me” speech without attracting undue attention. And hey, what better way to drown out the sobbing of an abandoned lover than the collective honking of countless waddling pond rats?
3330 McKinley Boulevard, (916) 277-6060.
Best sex shop
Kiss N Tell
Let’s be honest: All of us could use a little lovin’ now and again. Unfortunately, many of us are single or in a relationship that’s lost its passion. It’s time to stop complaining and become more proactive, and that, my friends, is where the good folks at Kiss N Tell come in handy. They’ve created an open-minded atmosphere for purchasing erotic gear, literature, films and more. Is your home library missing a copy of Anne Hooper’s Sexopedia? You can pick one up here. Are you jonesin’ for the latest Jenna Jameson DVD? They’ve got it—not to mention all her earlier sexploitations. Looking for a unique bachelorette-party gift? Check out the “Pin the Hose on the Fireman” game! Oh, and don’t even get us started on the huge selection of lingerie, lubes, anal toys, vibrators and dildos. Whatever your longings, Kiss N Tell has the solution to get your headboard bangin’. Soon, your neighbors will be the only ones complaining.
4201 Sunrise Boulevard, Suite G, in Fair Oaks; (916) 966-5477; www.kissntellstore.com.
Best make-out spot for multi-taskers
Any amateur couple can make out in deserted spots like the back row of a movie house or behind the gravestones in a cemetery. If you want to step things up a bit in your quest for interesting kissing venues, venture into Target (or any other crowded megastore) and create your own make-out challenge. The rules: You must kiss every time you find an empty aisle—for as long as you dare. When others are around, get creative by smooching behind platters, bathmats, throw pillows and towels, while you pretend to hold them up for you and your partner to examine. If you bring a shopping list, you can get your chores done while you spice up your relationship. No one will blame you if the two of you get delayed while unpacking your purchases at home.
Various locations, www.target.com.