Anyone who has ever wondered about working at a sex store may want to draw on the experiences of Stony Brook University’s own Alaura Martucci.
Before transferring to Stony Brook from LaGuardia Community College, Martucci, a senior multidisciplinary studies major with concentrations in women and gender studies and psychology, worked as a sex educator and sales associate for the New York City sex chain-store Babeland.
Martucci started working at Babeland in March 2011 while enrolled in the American Sign Language-English Interpretation Program at LaGuardia.
“I was really in love with the store,” Martucci said. “It wasn’t dingy like other sex stores. It was bright and colorful and pink and yellow. They were very friendly and inviting to queer and LGBT people. So I was really impressed with the store and its values. And I felt that this was something I was good at. I was good at talking about sex.”
Babeland was founded in 1993 in Seattle, Washington, by Claire Cavanah and Rachel Venning. The company has since opened three New York City locations in Brooklyn, SoHo and the Lower East Side. Cavanah and Venning are also the co-authors of “Moregasm: Babeland’s Guide to Mind-Blowing Sex” and “Sex Toys 101: A Playfully Uninhibited Guide.”
The Babeland stores offer a myriad of adult films, condoms, dildos, lubricants, strap-ons and vibrators for sale.
According to Martucci and Cavanah, one of the most popular products is the rabbit vibrator that became famous after being featured in “Sex and the City.”
As for the type of clientele that Babeland attracts, Cavanah told The Statesman: “About 60 percent of Babeland’s customers are women and 40 percent are men. The majority of customers are looking for something to use with a partner…We talk to people of all genders and sexual orientations every day.”
Babeland’s sex educators teach in-store workshops on topics such as cunnilingus, fellatio, g-spots and sex toys.
The workshops are also occasionally taught by special guests like Tristan Taormino, an adult film director and author and Midori, an adult film actress and singer.
The sex educators also answer any questions that customers have about both products in the store and sexual experiences.
“A lot of people would have questions on a specific toy—what they were used for, how they could be used of their bodies. And a lot of people would ask what is OK, what is normal or loud, and so we would reassure people,” Martucci said.
Cavanah also spoke about the job of a sex educator, saying “they get extensive training on sexuality and it’s our goal that they’ll be able to answer any question a customer might have.”
Martucci stopped working at Babeland in October 2011 after moving from Brooklyn to Ronkonkoma and she now works in Stony Brook’s Office of Student Affairs.
Martucci said: “I think the work of sex ed can be applicable to a lot of different things, and I’ve drawn on that experience while working … like educating people in general, being a better listener, being less judgmental about things.