Sex toy shopping with Zoë Ligon, Detroit’s Dildo Duchess 

click to enlarge Zoë Ligon - COURTESY PHOTO
  • Courtesy photo
  • Zoë Ligon

When asked about butt stuff, sex educator and Detroit's Dildo Duchess Zoë Ligon's eyes light up. She's excited that the most commonly asked question has shifted from whether or not the G-Spot exists (it does, duh) to pegging, squirting, and safe practices (both inside and out). Oh, and she really wants you to know that you can't desensitize your clit from too much vibrator use — it just doesn't work that way.

"While I like studying the sex lives of other people, I view myself as my own research subject. I'm the only person I can truly understand and know, if ever," Ligon admits. "What impresses me most about a toy is long battery life and good quality silicone. Something that is quiet and waterproof with a mindfully created shape. And as for dildo selection, it's very intuition-based. Whenever people ask me what my favorite things are ... I can tell them, [but] it's going to be different for everyone because I'm a bit of a size queen." Ligon launched Spectrum Boutique online in 2015, but a brick-and-mortar location is unlikely due to city pushback. ("Detroit isn't really open to sex-positive businesses," she says. "Dan Gilbert controls this city regardless of who we elect. His money is so valuable to whoever runs the city that they'll do anything they can to keep him happy.") Ligon's focus is to invite others to explore their own sexuality with transparency that is void of shame. She's quick to remind that there's no such thing as a toy that's solely "for couples only" or "just for women"; everything in the store is entirely inclusive. And for that reason, Spectrum has become an online one-stop shop for all shapes, sizes, curiosities, identities, and experience levels.

When we caught up with the G-spot goddess, she was heading out to the AVN Adult Entertainment Expo in Las Vegas, where she would host her first sex party and, most importantly, get the low-down on the best new gizmos and gadgets for getting down. "Sex work is the backbone of society and is arguably the oldest profession," she says. "My profession is the modern version of the oldest profession. You can't just act like it doesn't exist. It's not going anywhere."

Pop on, pop off
Fun Factory, Semenette Pop Ejaculating dildo, $139

"This toy has a tube that runs through it that you can fill with lube or actual sperm samples. The creator is a lesbian that was trying to conceive with her wife. Historically, people use the turkey baster, but that doesn't feel very intimate. This is great for anyone who wants to create the sensation of ejaculation. While it's great for queer couples, it's also really great for people who are impotent or cis couples with ejaculation fetishes. It truly meets a need that previously has not been met."

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It's a cock ring thing, baby
SVAKOM, Tyler vibrating cock ring, $63

"Cock rings are super versatile. You can put a vibrating cock ring on a dildo, and you've got a vibrating dildo. A lot of vibrating cock rings are designed for the person wearing the ring and not for the receiver. The Tyler is really about vibrations for both parties, which is cool and is great for couples."

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Not-so-sweet dreams
Sportsheets, under-the-bed restraint system, $50

"They're inexpensive and for couples of all experience levels. It's an eyeshade, and each cuff comes up around a corner. You can easily stash them under the bed for anyone looking to have a discreet BDSM life."

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To peg or not to peg
Tantus, bend-over beginner strap-on kit, $144

"For pegging, it really depends on your plan. If you want to be able to have strap-on sex regularly I recommend buying a harness and dildo separately. But this is a great option for beginners. They're basically discounted bundles of dildos and harnesses. If you're looking for some long-haul pieces, The Jock by Spareparts ($120) is the most popular machine washable harness. It's made of cloth. And the Jaguar ($65) and The Commando ($125) are popular leather options. As for dildos The Mistress ($65) and Woody ($68) by Vixen are really popular harness pairings."

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Queen of the crop
Rumbly Doxy, wand massager, $139

"Wands are popular because they're super powerful. Contrary to popular belief, wands are pretty flexible and you can maneuver it where you want it pretty easily. It's so big, you can grab on to it without vibrating in your hand, which is the problem with most vibrators. My favorite is the Doxy because it's dexterous and the head is squishy, which feels great."

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Hands-free and me
We-Vibe Sync, adjustable hands-free vibrator, $199

"All of the We-Vibe toys are Bluetooth compatible. Even though people don't use them with the app as much, this toy is great because it can be used hands-free during penetration. It's also waterproof, which is great for solo play, and it's adjustable for a custom fit."

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Knockin' on Heaven's back door
B-Vibe, snug plug, $45-$65

"B-Vibe is making some really cool toys lately. The snug plugs are great because they're weighted like kegel balls for the butt. They have different weight levels. They also make really great vibrating plugs and the Rimming Plug ($150) has rotating beads for texture. I'm pretty anti-anal beads, to be honest. Though they serve a purpose, I think they're more of a concept that seems appealing rather than a regular use toy. They are a poop toilet snake — they will scoop the poop out of you! Generally, with prostate and G-spot stimulation through the anus, you can't direct pressure anywhere with beads. It's more about the insertion and removal. I also think a vibrator that is safe to use anally, meaning it has a stopping point with a flared base, is one of the best ways to invest in a versatile product for the backdoor."

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The tight stuff
Minna KGhoal, vibrating app responsive Kegel exerciser, $149

"I personally love the Minna KGoal because it vibrates when you squeeze it! It connects to an app that gives you biometric feedback information, but I honestly love this one just as a toy on its own."

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Namaste in me
Chakrub, rose wand G-spot dildo, $190

"My favorite Chakrub is the Rose Wand — not only is it made from Rose Quartz, which is a crystal that is for healing and comfort, but the shape makes it much easier to target the G-spot than the other Chakrubs. It has a subtle curve and bulb at the end, allowing you to scoop from behind the tissue of the G-spot area and give yourself a yummy massage."

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Heavy breathing, light reading
The Multi-Orgasmic Couple by Mantak Chia & Maneewan Chia, Douglas Abrams & Rachel Carlton Abrams, M.D, $16.99

"I love The Multi-Orgasmic Couple and also recommend it to folks who don't currently have a partner. Blending the views of conventional Western medicine and Taosim, this book discusses the ways sexual energy moves through and affects our bodies. This is a read unlike any other sex education I've encountered before, and it has helped me understand and relate to my body in a more loving manner."

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Wetter is better
Sliquid Sassy, water-based anal lube, $8-$20,

"The butt does not self-lubricate! This is great for butt stuff. It's hypoallergenic, tasteless, odorless, and has a gel texture with a higher viscosity so it doesn't evaporate as quickly as other lubes. The Sliquid Silk Hybrid Lube ($9-$22) is a great overall lubricant, too. It's velvety and can be used on any material."

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All products listed are available through spectrumboutique.com.

Take a stroll down Lover’s Lane

For nearly 20 years, Lover’s Lane has been our go-to expert on all things romance. Because we like to keep our options open (shhh!) here are some of LL’s bestsellers — available in-store or online at loverslane.com.
— Jerilyn Jordan

Vibe Time
MIMIC, 8-function massager, $109
Nothing turns us on more than the word “ergonomic” — and the MIMIC doesn’t disappoint. With eight sensual (and discreet) vibration patterns, made from body-safe silicone and 100 percent waterproof, MIMIC is ideal for on-the-go pleasure.

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Wear Me Out
Various bra and panty sets, starting at $14.95
Goldie bra set, $30 (pictured)

Whether you fancy leather or lace, ruffles or netting, Lover’s Lane has a wide selection of sexy lingerie sets that turn on even when taken off.

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Zen’d Me Over
Shunga, Garden of Edo kit, $69
Relax. Breathe. Give in to temptation. The Garden of Edo massage kit is filled with natural and organic products aimed to please and sooth. Erotic bath salts, Green Tea aphrodisiac oil, and enhancing gels? All you need is a set of hands.

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Double the Fun
OptiMALE, duo cock ring and prostate massager, $59
Talk about double duty! The OptiMALE’s C-ring delays ejaculation and prolongs erections while the P-massager stimulates the prostate for an intense 2-for-1 orgasm.

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Lap of luxury
Oh La La Cheri, pearl thong, $8.95
Diamonds may be a girl’s best friend, but can they do this? Panties that look good but feel even better — one of many affordably divine options available for the material girl (or boy) in your life.
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