The sex-positive erotica shop Good Vibrations
(603 Valencia St., 415-522-5460) opened in the Mission District in 1977 and has become a model for similarly women-owned, community-oriented, and queer-embracing sex boutiques in cities around the country. Even Good Vibrations has developed additional stores, with a second branch on Polk Street in 2003, another in the greater Boston neighborhood of Brookline, Mass., in 2006, and a stylin' and spacious new flagship Good Vibrations store in downtown San Francisco in November 2010. The downtown store is just across from the huge Bloomingdale's department store on Market Street, on the edge of SoMa and close to Union Square. The Mission store, along Valencia Street's rocking "restaurant row", is a sentimental favorite for many customers, it being something of a historic landmark at this point (it's this original store that's pictured above).
Hallmarks of the Good Vibrations experience include friendly and helpful employees eager to answer questions, and well-displayed merchandise in well-lighted shops. The huge inventory of sex toys, vibrators, lube and safer-sex supplies, strap-on harnesses, anal-sex toys, bondage and S&M gear, fetish toys, adult DVDs, erotic games, eco-conscious sex gear, massage oils, books, and sexual health and wellness resources is skewed toward women, who have always made up the most visible portion of the Good Vibrations customer base (and perhaps reputation). But men will also find a great selection of merchandise, from cock rings to vibrating anal plugs.
Good Vibrations also presents the Annual Indie Erotic Film Festival each September and is a major booster for San Francisco's LGBTQ community.