Seattle has become justly famous for many things; oozing sexual intrigue, alas, ain't one of them. Sleepless, maybe; but sexy? Sorry. Too many others supersede us: San Francisco has its let-your-freak-flag-fly Joy of Kink identity firmly in hand (so to speak), Miami corners the market on skin and sin, L.A. has its valleys of silicone dolls—hell, even Portland's got more strip clubs than you can shake your stick at—but poor Seattle's sexual reputation remains, despite a healthy gay population, fairly, well, limp. Our generally unsexy city is not, however, without a business community that caters to the baser impulses of its citizens. While some fetishize the Bon's white sale or their Eddie Bauer edition Ford Explorer like the true Northwest de Sades they are, plenty of others go with the more traditional kinks, from latex and leather to bathhouses and beyond—even those good old-fashioned standbys, naked boobies, sometimes get their fair shake. Thanks to folks like them, a small but vibrant industry of dungeons, dildo shops, "gentlemen's clubs," and dirty-cupcake makers exist and even thrive—and plenty of ordinary citizens do, believe it or not, meet, get drunk, and get laid in our supposedly sexless city every day.
If you've got any kink in you, you've probably already got these guys on speed dial: the Erotic Bakery (2323 N. 45th, 545-6969), for anatomically correct pastries; Toys in Babeland (707 E. Pike, 328-2914), home of fancy vibes, Ben Wa balls, erotic literature, and periodic seminars on the art of anal and/or oral spelunking; Castle Superstore (613 Fairview N., 621-7236), 15,000 square feet of toys, lingerie, and fruit-flavored love lotions; and Fantasy Unlimited (2027 Westlake, 682-0167), chock-full of latex cat suits, ball gags, and the like. D骠 Vu (1510 First, 342-9160), the more alt- oriented Lusty Lady (1315 First, 622-2120), and Xotic Tan (1320 E. Pike, 323-8964 and 13737 Lake City Way N.E., 364-8088) provide the requisite naked ladies, while Blue Video (4100 Aurora N., 632-9886) caters quite well to horny homebodies.
For those who wish to actually meet and mate with a real live human—without having to peruse the adult entertainment pages of your local weekly (ahem) or lay down the Visa Gold—civilized options are plentiful; but first, one should look—and smell—up to the task. In that vein, the city's PolarTec-and-New-Balance mafia has been circumvented by a few brave souls outside the Pacific Place axis: namely, Alhambra (101 Pine, 621-9571), whose cosmopolitan clothing and delicate, clavicle-enhancing jewelry are tailor-made for first-date seduction; Ped, with its beautifully constructed, unabashedly flirty footwear (1115 First, 292-1767); and Les Amis (3420 Evanston N., 632-2877), whose gorgeous, filmy batches of Only Hearts and Cosabella camisoles and panties make having to actually get dressed seem like a real shame. For the requisite war paint, light-reflecting lotions, and all-over scents, Sephora (2673 N.E. University Village, 526-9110) gets it all in one pit stop. We're speaking, of course, of women; men, lucky dogs, have it far easier—unless your date is the kind who wants the fancy 2-percent-lycra-and-a-pint-of-pomade type, you gentlemen should be good to go with a close shave, a clean Hanes T-shirt, and a few good swipes of Right Guard.
But go where? Seattle's bountiful natural beauty (and we don't just mean the condom-strewn bushes of Volunteer Park), as well as its wide array of intimate bistros, cafes, and bars, make setting the stage for nookie almost embarrassingly easy. When not overrun with thick-ankled tourists, flying fish, and lute-tooting street musicians, the Pike Place Market, all preciously cobbled streets, twinkling views, and softly lit, Euro-centric restaurant/bars (like Maximilien, Le Pichet, Il Bistro, the Alibi Room) is a no-brainer. Directly sexy outposts, like Ballard's Madame K's (5327 Ballard N.W., 783-9710), which wears its brothel origins and unashamed lust for all things cheese like a gorgeous scarlet letter on its bosom, and the alluringly be- pillowed, Arabian-Nights swanky Capitol Club (414 E. Pine, 325-2149) appeal especially to those looking for a third-date Sealing of the Deal. Further adulterous pleasures can be had by cheatin' hearts at the Edgewater Hotel's Six Seven Lounge (2411 Alaskan Way, 269-4575), with its made-for-secret-rendezvous waterfront bar, or Vito's (927 Ninth, 682-2695), whose dimmed lights and red pleather booths can hide a multitude of sins. Also remarkably intimate are the tiny, fabric-swathed hideaway booths and tables at Bleu Bistro (202 Broadway E., 329-3087), which practically swallow couples up whole, as do the much more spacious but still seductively curvy seats at Bar硼/B> (1510 11th, 325-8263). If you're feeling brave, nothing beats topping the night off with a skinny dip in the warm summer waters at Madison Park—though keeping one eye out for Parks Department employees is recommended.
Then again, you could always skip the fancy stuff and do it like they do in Boise, Sheboygan, and every other officially unsexy city—grab a six-pack of Pabst Blue Ribbon, a Glad potpourri candle, and a box of Trojan Enz, and go to work. You'll have no time to nurse that Seattle inferiority complex while pondering the finer points of Miami sin or L.A. sun—because you, friend, are far too busy getting LAID.