If the Marquis de Sade and Queen Elizabeth joined forces to design a sex shop, it would be Coco de Mer. This upscale little jewel box is owned by Sam and Justine Roddick — the daughters of the English woman who created The Body Shop. It's a luxurious place with a naughty Victorian feel: dark-wood shelves, glass étagères, even a small garden courtyard. But no creepy guys ogling you while you shop. (Save that for when you get home.) Their dressing room is set up like a Catholic confessional, with velvet curtains, a tiny peep-through window and a video camera you can use to record yourself doing a striptease. Even more shocking than the ceramic dildos, the Roddick sisters make an effort to only carry products that are environmentally and human-rights conscious. To be ethical, in other words, in such a deeply unethical industry. When was the last time you heard of a sex shop with a conscience? Actually, Coco de Mer is more a sex “emporium.” Clientele is mostly women, who also come in for salons on Japanese rope tying, S&M, spanking and seduction. There's something for everyone. Books, perfumes and lingerie for the timid. Erotic wallpaper (yes, really), Betony Vernon petting rings, and Ilya Fleet leather dog masks for the kinky. Or perhaps it's the other way around? These days, it's hard to tell. 8618 Melrose Ave., L.A. (310) 652-0311, cocodemerusa.com.

—Gendy Alimurung

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