Sex toys can open up a world of possibilities for your sex life but folks who have never used them before might find toys a bit daunting, intimidating, or impersonal. Truth is, it can be a difficult thing for a lot of people to bring up for one reason or another. That being said, the benefits of being able to incorporate toys in your sex life could be life-changing for some folks. Here are some tips to make the conversation go smoothly.
Bringing it Up
When it comes to partnered sex, everything starts and ends with communication and this guide is no exception. We’re starting off with the hard part for most of you: communicating your desires to your partner. While it may sound scary for some folks, it shouldn’t be. In fact, this conversation may very well be the start of more open and honest communication with your partner if you haven’t discussed things like this before. Once you start asking directly for the things you want, it’ll get easier and easier to have these kinds of conversations and chances are you’ll be a lot more satisfied in your relationship!
A lot of things can lead to someone having anxiety about bringing up their desire to use sex toys with their partner. Lots of folks grow up in strict or religious homes and have been taught that sex is shameful from childhood. Upbringings like this can lead to a lifetime of sexual repression if those ideas are never challenged. As adults, we are free to explore our sexualities without shame but it might take some work (and maybe even some therapy) to get there.
People who have been in unhealthy relationships may also have anxiety when it comes to asking for what they want. It’s not always easy for someone to be assertive or confident enough to be direct about their sexual needs. A conversation like this may take working up to. You may have to test the waters by trying to have more open discussions about other things first. Talking directly about your relationship, the kind of sex you’re having, and the things you like doing with your partner can help establish a more open line of communication. Validating your partner’s contributions to the conversation is a really important part of this process and with any hope, you’ll get positive feedback for sharing your feelings, too. From there you can work up to being more direct about what you want in bed.
Before approaching this subject with your partner, I recommend doing a bit of solo research. Put some thought into the kind of toys you’re interested in to get an understanding of how they work and what options there are for you and your partner. Don’t overload them with sex toy facts and history lessons, but show them that you’ve put some thought into the idea of bringing toys into the bedroom.
Reassure Your Partner
Keep in mind that discussing sex toys can make people feel inadequate or self-conscious if they’ve never explored them before. People who have never used sex toys before can struggle with the idea that bringing toys into a relationship means they’re not “good enough” on their own. This is an intrusive thought someone might experience when their partner asks about bringing toys into the bedroom, but thankfully it can be combated with reassuring communication.
As someone who owns several hundred sex toys, I can tell you first hand that they are not alternatives to human companions. They are tools or accessories that can enhance a sexual interaction with someone, but aren’t a replacement for sex, love, or intimacy. The idea that a sex toy would be like “replacing your partner” equates your partner’s value to their ability to have sex with you. Make it absolutely clear to your partner that sex toys are something you want to experience together and not something that means you’re dissatisfied with their sexual performance in any way. Toys can add a lot of sensations to sex that we can’t manually achieve on our own but that doesn’t make them “better” than sex without toys.
The idea of using certain kinds of toys may also lead to some mixed emotions. Kink toys, for example, can be overwhelming for someone who is otherwise vanilla and doesn’t understand the motivation behind sexual sadism. Anal toys can be a sensitive subject for men, who are often socialized to think of anal penetration as emasculating. Also, certain gendered sex toys may trigger dysphoria for trans and nonbinary folks. Whatever your partner’s concern is, it’s important to validate their emotions and discuss your options together. Educate them on the benefits of incorporating sex toys into your routine and reassure them that they’re safe to explore their sexuality with you.
Decide on a Purchase Together
One of the biggest mistakes that people make when purchasing a sex toy to use with their partner is not including said partner in the decision. While I understand that surprising your partner with a new toy may seem romantic, getting their opinion on something that would work well for them is really your best bet with something as intimate as sex toys. Sit down and talk to your partner about what they want and don’t want in a toy and look up body-safe options together.
There are a lot of great places to buy sex toys if you know what to look for. I highly recommend looking into other sex blogs that highlight new products and talk about sexuality issues that might shape your purchasing decisions. Go through some of these sites together and discuss what kinds of things look appealing to you. Also keep in mind that there are some things you should know before wandering into a sex shop for an impulse buy.
When I’m visiting sex shops around the country for my Sex Tour series, something I see all the time is people asking staff what kind of toy their wife might like. While there’s no shame in going to a brick and mortar sex shop and discussing options with their staff (it’s honestly encouraged!), you’re pretty much guaranteed to have a better time using a product that you and your partner bought together as opposed to one that was chosen for your partner by a stranger.
Practice Using Toys
As a sex toy reviewer, I can tell you with confidence that some sex toys have a learning curve. Sometimes I have to test the same toy over and over to really get a feel for it or an understanding of all its features. You don’t need to master using a particular toy all in the first try, so don’t get discouraged if you’re unsure about a toy at first. Try bringing it into your routine a bit more to get used to it (so long as it’s not posing any safety concerns).
You may also need to try more than one toy to find the right fit for you. Lots of folks who don’t know what to look for end up buying a toy they don’t get much use out of. This is why I suggest you put a bit of research into sex toys before investing in one but even when you do your homework, you may end up with a toy that just doesn’t cut it. I try to recommend investing in cheaper sex toys when you’re just getting a feel for what you’re looking for. That being said, safety should never be compromised for cost. There are lots of affordable body-safe options out there!
I recommend a simple check in with your partner when you’re first getting used to using toys together. After a scene, ask how they felt using the toy together. Listen to their feedback and give your thoughts, as well. If you enjoyed using the toy with your partner, tell them how hot it was! If it wasn’t all you hoped it would be, be honest about that. Try to problem solve together or figure out alternatives that might work better another time.
Once you have a good understanding of your toy and how it works for you, you can use that information along with your partner’s feedback to guide your next purchase. Think about what you both like and don’t like about the toy(s) you already own and try to find models that might better suit your needs. Branch out to different types of toys as well, because even if you decide on a vibrator, for example, there are so many subcategories to choose from. There’s a plethora of sex toys out there to explore and once you dip your toes in the water, you may find yourselves wanting to dive straight in.
This article was sponsored by Vive.
All writing and opinions are my own.