SEARCHING FOR THE GLORY HOLE: L&A ventures into the bleached world of South Beach and Coconut Grove sex arcades

The Miami sex scene doesn’t discriminate. Just venture into one of South Beach’s famed smut shops and you’ll see what I’m talking about. The product on display ranges from B-movie action porn (think HBO in the ’80s) to more gonzo jizz-tastic masterpieces to the old reliable “just fuck scene” films.

A place that’s really got its priorities straight, in the business sense at least, is Pleasure Emporium, 1019 5th Street, conveniently open 24 hours a day on South Beach. Capturing charm in one of those Chinese swings ($399) that Tommy Lee’s so fond off until its exhausted and shortened into a four-letter word, you can’t help but think of Hawaiian-shirted tourists seeking bachelor humor a la Spencer Gifts but end up discovering the stark realities of underworld fetish – SoBe style.

The videos might as well be categorized by sexual disorder and encompassing everything from midget porn to the epic “Gang Bang” genre. This place is King of bad taste and would make John Waters twiddle his gay little mustache in delight. One of the best features is PE’s diverse collection of dildos – some large and crazy enough to put a blush on Jenna Jameson’s face.

But Pleasure Emporium’s claim to fame, if you didn’t know, is the “video arcade” – a section of the store that’s understandably hidden from the entrance. A place where even five feet from the entrance, your nostrils are ambushed by pungency, the video arcade is not for the weak-stomached. That’s because the floors have to be washed down with bleach every day to kill the love juice that occasionally smacks the floor.

Caution: wear closed-toe shoes everywhere. The place reeks of venereal disease. There’s nothing glamorous about a gray vinyl seat that’s been defiled over and over again staring into an uncomfortably close video screen and dollar slot waiting for some perve to decide between He’s My Bitch and Anal University. I’m getting queasy just thinking about it.

Just when it looked like things couldn’t get uglier, a skinny little Latino guy with the enthusiasm of a toothless child at a ball game – one who desired to be called Don Juan – asked me if I’d ever heard of a “glory hole.” A what?

I definitely had to find out if these “glory holes” really existed, but first, it was time for a stop by the Love Boutique, a haven located next door to Pleasure Emporium. With its four foot cushiony, stiletto shoe seats and enough cherry balm and glitter to cover five generations of Spice Girls, this place could bring the Ru Paul out of anyone.

The owner tried to market a “luuvvv” theme ad nauseam, but this store is definitely, yes, all-smut. It has an Urban Outfitters-on-crack assthetic to it, and caries a line of faddy clothing like Hustler and Porn Star – who the hell still wears Porn Star besides porn stars? Actually, the only real novelty this store has to claim is a tacky juice bar that serves up even tackier non-alcoholic drinks. So you can enjoy a “Frooty Poosie” while shopping for the right pair of nipple clamps? Ew.

This store gets one star – if only for its fruity lip-gloss aroma that nursed the severe odor flashbacks leftover from the Emporium video arcade; and for its very cool leather cop hats to fulfill your wickedest

October 7, 2003


The Miami Hurricane

Student newspaper at the University of Miami

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