Featured photo: Shops like Adam & Eve in Greensboro invite individuals and couples to experience sexual pleasure without shame. (photo by Carolyn de Berry)
Sometimes, the right toy can make all the difference.
A man and woman walk into the leopard print carpeted Adam & Eve store on Spring Garden Street in Greensboro. They seem to be looking for something specific, but can’t find it, so store manager Lisa Morel walks over and asks in a warm tone if she can help. After talking around it, the man shares that he’s interested in exploring a threesome with another man. The woman is supportive, but Morel can tell she’s nervous about the prospect.
Walking over to the wall of dildos, she reaches up and hands one to the couple.
“Here’s your threesome without a heartbeat,” she declares.
After the initial moment of shock, the couple reconnects with excitement and exits the store with their new toy in hand.
“He’s getting what he wants, and she’s getting what she needs,” says Morel.
After more than 30 years in the adult boutique business, Morel has carved out an encouraging, sex-positive place for people who want to explore pleasure in the Triad. She speaks lovingly of supporting women who have lost their confidence but find it again through lingerie and vibrators, then she talks proudly of helping educate college students on the health benefits of prostate stimulation.
“It’s a fun job, but it’s a tough job,” she says of the one-on-one attention offered at Adam & Eve, a locally owned franchise of the biggest adult-products brand in the country. Incidentally, Adam & Eve is headquartered just up the road in Hillsborough.
Anyone who is interested in exploring what’s possible, either on their own or with a partner or partners, has plenty to choose from in the Triad. There are five separate stores in Greensboro including Miranda’s, Cupid’s Corner, Priscilla McCall’s and Adam & Eve. High Point is home to Market Video & News. Winston-Salem has three adult boutiques — Romeo & Juliet’s, Priscilla McCall’s and Annabelle’s Adult Supercenter.
Mike, who bought Romeo & Juliet’s in Winston-Salem three years ago, launched a major remodel of the building to create a comfortable and welcoming environment for everyone.
“We’ve got a gay side and a straight side. Everyone is welcome here without any judgment,” Mike shares.
The store is working hard to reach out to the LGBTQ+ community in the area, besides supporting the straight and kink populations.
One of the few shops in the Triad with private rooms and an arcade theater, Romeo & Juliet’s is moving away from old ideas of what an adult boutique can offer while still maintaining services that are harder to find these days.
Mike himself has a long history in the business. Referring to the anti-pornography crusade of Reagan Attorney General Edwin Meese, Mike says, “I still remember the old days when cops would just come in and shut the place down.”
The Triad has a surprisingly rich historical connection with the adult-store industry. Priscilla McCall’s, a chain with stores in four states, is based in Greensboro. Adam & Eve opened its very first physical store in Greensboro in 1999. Founder Phil Harvey famously went toe-to-toe with the Justice Department and Meese in the fight to distribute condoms and sell erotic materials throughout the ’80s and ’90s, all while being subject to FBI raids and intimidation. The battle went all the way to the US Supreme Court, where Harvey won. Those wins are one reason why adult boutiques can foster healthy sex education and exploration today without censorship.
The freedom to explore has allowed shops like those in the Triad to thrive. In an effort to help people step out of their comfort zones, Romeo & Juliet’s has begun hosting regular in-store parties to foster increased understanding and community, all promoted through their Facebook group. Staff at Romeo & Juliet’s regularly educates customers about the importance of cleaning sex toys properly, besides counseling the curious about their selection of BDSM equipment, cock rings, bluetooth vibrators and roleplay gear.
Though there are lots of shops in the area, Morel at Adam & Eve emphasizes the importance of embracing the possibilities without being overly competitive.
“There’s room for everyone here,” she says. “People trust us with the most intimate part of their lives, and it’s a privilege to offer this service to them.”
- Miranda’s: 1310 E Bessemer Ave, (336) 274-7188
- Cupid’s Corner: 2438 Randleman Rd, (336) 763-5073, Instagram: @cupids_corner_
- Priscilla McCall’s: 3716 High Point Rd., (336) 851-0190, 345 NC-68, (336) 882-5132, priscillamccall.com
- Adam & Eve: 2500 Spring Garden St., 336-854-3474, greensboro.adamevestores.com
- Market Video & News: 1100 S. Main St, (336) 882-7991
- Romeo & Juliet’s: 1045 N. Cherry St, (336) 842-5510, romeoandjuliets.com
- Annabelle’s Adult Supercenter: 3804 Patterson Ave, (336) 767-8285, annabelles.com
- Priscilla McCall’s: 759 Silas Creek Pkwy, (336) 723-6203, priscillamccall.com
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