More and more people of all genders and sexual orientations are using sex toys these days – but to some people, they’re still taboo. There’s a prevailing myth that sex toys are a replacement for, or an upgrade from, human partners, and that your lover enjoying sex toys signals you’re a sexual failure. Not so!
However, as outdated and untrue as these notions might be, some people still cling to them. If your partner is hesitant about sex toys – or if you don’t know how they feel about toys, because you’ve never brought it up – here are some tips for beginning to incorporate toys into your sex life together.
Drop hints to gauge their response. Try watching a movie or TV show with your partner that you know references using toys with partners, like the infamous pegging episode of Broad City or the vibrator origin story depicted in Hysteria. Alternatively, you could bring up a news story or an anecdote about a friend (whether real or made up) that involves using sex toys during partnered sex. Watch how your partner reacts. This can be an easy way to broach this delicate subject without laying it all on the line immediately.
Identify and address their fears. If your partner has specific concerns about sex toy usage – like that a vibrator can “replace” them, will desensitize you, or will make sex feel less intimate – it’s best to discuss those concerns specifically, rather than letting their vague discomfort fester. Your partner will likelier go along with what you want if they feel heard, respected, and understood.
Start with something small. For many people, the perceived unwieldiness of sex toys is a major sticking point: cis men might worry a sex toy is bigger than their own dick and therefore better than them, for example, or partners of any gender might feel edged out if a vibrator necessitates more physical space between the two of you where ordinarily your bodies would be pressed together.
For these reasons, it’s often best to start with a toy on the smaller side, like the We-Vibe Tango or ScreamingO Charged Vooom. Unless your sex toy fantasy specifically requires a larger size – like if you dream of getting fucked with a giant dildo – this might be a good compromise with an uncomfortable partner. Plus, plenty of smaller toys are fantastic!
Make it hot. If you explain to your partner that a sex toy is simply a tool they can use on you, rather than an anthropomorphized object that can replace them, they might have an easier time viewing it as a sizzling addition to your sex life together. You can do this by watching porn or reading erotica together that features sex toys prominently, or even just sharing your fantasies with them during dirty talk or sexting. (“You know what would be so hot? If you held a vibrator on my clit until I screamed/fucked me super hard with a dildo/put a butt plug inside me before fucking me…”)
Combine it with other activities you already enjoy. It’s easiest to incorporate new elements into your sex life if you pair them with things that already bring pleasure to you both. For example, if you both like intercourse in a particular position, adding a vibe will make that already-hot experience even hotter, wetter, and more satisfying! Likewise, try using a vibe on yourself while going down on your partner: your increased enthusiasm will probably make quite an impression!
Emphasize what you love about your partner. As with many relationship problems, sex toy uncertainty can often be solved with a big dose of positive reinforcement and open communication. Tell your partner what you love about them, sexually and otherwise. Explain how a sex toy could never do what they do for you. Make them feel as important and adored as you know they are. A happy, fulfilled partner is likelier to be a sexually adventurous partner!
Do you use sex toys with partners? What are your favorite strategies for bringing it up?
Peepshow Toys would like to thank sex writer, podcaster and speaker Kate Sloan, of girlyjuice.net, for authoring this blog post.