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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Welcome to the Dirty T: Sex shops don’t always live up to nasty stereotypes

    Jesus Barrera

    The Continental Adult Shop, located on N Campbell Ave a mile from campus. They are open 8 AM to late 7 days a week.

    When most people think of adult shops, they think of shady-looking buildings adorned by neon lit signs with “18+” written across them. People think these places are creepy and dirty, but not all adult shops live up to this common stereotype.

    Sex is typically quite a socially and politically taboo subject, so it’s natural that sex shops are likewise stigmatized. Arizona in particular has local and state regulations that address what is or is not okay when it comes to sex, creating a statewide mindset often translated as “sex is bad.”

    Sex-shaming often pervades into the stereotyping of adult shops. People tend to think these “sex shops” are filled with creepy perverts that just want to get off; but when I walked into Continental Adult Shop on Campbell, the sight of a happily married couple browsing through movies greeted me along with Continental store manager Brion Scroggins. Aside from the initial blushing after seeing a gigantic dildo (this thing was huge), the shop and its customers didn’t give off a weird vibe at all.

    Scroggins, who has managed the shop for 20 years, said people don’t usually understand the true premises behind adult shops and are often unaware of the very strict regulations shops similar to Continental must follow in order to remain in business. Four pages of rules encompassing shop conduct hang on a wall next to the movie room, asking, among other requests, that customers refrain from any sexual actions in the store; with or without a partner.

    “It is up to the store to abide by these rules and ordinances,” Scroggins said. “We follow every one of them, and we post them so our customers know what they cannot do at this shop.”

    Scroggins said police officers come in and enforce these rules during operating hours if necessary. In the 30 years Continental has operated, officials haven’t had to address any business practice-related issues — in fact, some are now customers.

    Scroggins then proceeded to do something I didn’t expect; he pulled out a black light and walked me through a couple of the private viewing rooms to show me just how clean the store really is. I was a little hesitant to look, but I found that all the rooms were completely clean, except for maybe what was playing on the screen.

    “We are a strictly retail store. We sell goods to people just like Dillard’s does — the only difference is our merchandise,” Scroggins said.

    The shops sells all sorts of different toys and things, some of which I didn’t even know existed — or sometimes why they existed. Continental also sells adult movies, and for five bucks customers can view them in the Adult Arcade individual viewing rooms.

    “People don’t go into our arcade for a good time. They have to go in alone and they know that there can be no sexual actions [inside] whatsoever. But basically the purpose of the Adult Arcade is the same purpose people put commercials for movies on TV.”

    Scroggin said he doesn’t want to advertise what they are selling publicly for a couple reasons: not everyone should be able to see these things, and they don’t want to push their products on anyone.

    “If you are interested in what we have to offer, our door is open,” he said. “But if you are not interested, don’t come to our door. It’s as simple as that. We don’t want to make anyone uncomfortable by advertising our products.”

    Because they do not publicly advertise, Continental offers customers the option to watch a movie before they buy it.

    Aside from the legalities Continental must abide by, there is a far greater and possibly more important aspect of this industry that adult shops must accept: there can be no judgement whatsoever.

    “The industry is open to everyone from all walks of life. We don’t judge anyone based on their sexual preferences, and we welcome anyone who is interested,” Scruggins said. “Our goal is to help people have the best sex life they can and to help inform people about what options are available.”

    Follow Thea Van Gorp on Twitter.

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