A small crowd of women gathers in the middle of stands displaying what might seem, at first glance, to be decorative abstract art pieces. But upon closer inspection, you can see that they’re actually vibrators, though ones designed in such a way that you wouldn’t feel too embarrassed about leaving them lying around your home.
In other corners of the room, framed posters feature messages meant to make people feel comfortable with exploring their sexuality.
“Don’t be a bummer” says one featuring a sensual picture of a woman’s buttocks. Another features a simple drawing of breasts with the words “Normalise being hot” at the top and “It’s not my fault” at the bottom.
Books about sex lay scattered around the store’s tables, from intimate ones such as Tantric Orgasm for Women to the more cutesy and playful such as The Gingerbread Kama Sutra, which features cover art of gingerbread men going at it.
These touches, plus the bright lighting that makes it feel more akin to an art gallery, are what make Lam’s so different than the stereotypical dark and seedy sex shops people typically think of.
Lam’s, which just opened on Saturday at a condominium in Sukhumvit 31, seeks to provide a friendly and safe space for women to explore their sexual health using products made by women and for women. Its owner is a firm advocate for the importance of pleasure and sexual well-being for women.
“Actually, Thai women are repressed inside, they do not know how to show [their sexuality] because they are afraid of how others might perceive them as sex-obsessed,” owner Phutsalunda “Fongbeer” Matshasoy told Coconuts. “I want this shop in Thailand to be a starting point for everyone that is easily accessible and for everyone to come consult. I want this to be a space where people can openly talk about it and once they spread the word about this place, this topic will be a natural thing to talk about.”
Fongbeer is no stranger to this field. She has been operating an online store, Vulva&co, selling women’s toys for well over a year. Now she has launched a physical shop.
She decided to name the store Lam’s to make it less… explicit. Fongbeer explains that there is no specific meaning behind it, just that she wanted a name that was short, catchy and unisex.
The concept of sex shops is certainly not foreign to Bangkok – just look to Thong Lor’s Hidden Closet store, which is full of kinky accessories and costumes, or go to a red light district, where sex toys are openly sold despite being technically illegal in Thailand
Some places get around that by labeling themselves sexual health stores rather than sex shops. But in the case of Lam’s it’s actually true. Fongbeer says the store’s focus is truly on sexual health and learning.
“Our shop is about wellness and serves as an educational space for women, just look to the books we sell,” she said. “In the future, our shop will also be a space where we will host workshops.”
While places like the Hidden Closet are stocked with products for those who already know their kinks and what they are getting themselves into, and Soi Cowboy and other red light district areas sell sex toys and products that are primarily geared towards men’s pleasures and tastes, Lam’s takes a very different approach. It’s discreet and unassuming – Fongbeer wants women to feel as comfortable there as they would buying regular beauty products.
“I think our shop and theirs have different customer bases. Our toys are easier to access due to their appearance, their quality, and brand positioning. They’re products designed so that women won’t feel embarrassed to buy them.”
She hopes that Lam’s can be a safe space for women to learn about their sexual pleasure.
“There are many women out there who have never had sex but want to explore their sexuality. Whether it’s their first time trying out a product or they’ve never had an orgasm before, this shop can help them with that.”
So what products do they have on sale?
There are independent brands such as Glossier, which makes balms and cleansers, and Dame and Fur, which sells arousal serums. And of course there’s Smile Makers, a company known for making vibrators designed specifically for women featuring innovative and discreet designs. They’re also famous for the inclusivity of their toys, including products designed for postpartum mothers looking to reclaim their sexual pleasure. Lam’s is one of their official distributors in Thailand.
There are numerous books that explore different aspects of sexuality, from those giving practical advice derived from the Kamasutra to Been There, Done That: A Rousing History of Sex by Rachel Feltman, which busts many popular myths about the long taboo topic.
While Lam’s is oriented towards women, men are not left out with progressive products such as ultra-thin condoms that exude no chemical or smell and small silicone butt plugs from Maude that are latex-free and waterproof.
One of the products that Lam’s has helped launch is Slap Happy, which is produced by Fongbeer’s friend’s Angela “Lala” Fanne and Ly Nguyen. It’s a locally-sourced, coconut-based CBD “intimate” massage oil and Lam’s is the first store to sell it.
“Our mission is to open up the conversation about women’s health, sexual health and sexual pleasure because it feels taboo,” Angela said. “Ly and I are advocates in creating this community in which women, or anybody, can talk about this openly and freely.”
Prime Mansion Sukhumvit 31
222 Soi Sukhumvit 31, Khlong Tan Nuea