Sex Ed #6: How to Introduce Sex Toys into a Relationship

A lot of people want to add sex toys to their sexy time with a partner, but worried that they will be intimidated by it. Here’s a guide/a few tips to help you out.

Talk with your partner about sex toys.
This works best if you and your partner have open communication with each other. It’s also a good idea to talk outside of the bedroom (or wherever you get it on). If you have sex toys already, tell your partner. You can bring it up in conversation somehow. If you’re thinking about getting one, talk to your partner about that. There’s different things you can say depending on what kind of toy you want to get and what you want to use it for. Tell your partner why you want to use the toy with them. Try to avoid saying negative things about your current sex life, like “I don’t orgasm during sex.” Focus on positive parts of your current sex life, and how adding the toy will make it even better!

If you’re a bit shyer, you can watch a movie or TV show that features sex toys with your partner, and ask your partner their opinion after watching the scene/movie/show. If you want to be discrete about it, don’t pick one that features sex toys as a huge part of the plot (like the movie Hysteria, which is about the invention of the vibrator). The toy should be visible enough to have a discussion about it, though. Also, it’s a good idea to not pick a movie where the toy is being used to murder someone (it happens!). Here’s a video that has some examples of sex toys in movies. (Thanks to Ali for the finding that video!)

You could also watch some porn that features sex toys with your partner, and then discuss. Before you try this, make sure your partner is comfortable with the idea of watching porn together! Many porn sites have a “sex toy” tag or category, so this should be easy to find.

The most important part of talking to your partner, no matter how you do it, is asking your partner what they think. That shows you value their opinion. If they’re totally cool with it, that makes things a lot easier. If they bring up some concerns, time to fix that!

Clear up any misconceptions.
Some people think that a sex toy will replace a partner. Not true! A sex toy merely complements a partner. Using a sex toy by yourself is cool and all, but using it with a partner is even awesomer, because it adds an extra layer of fun. Here’s a link clearing up some more misconceptions. I think #8 is especially important!

Don’t make jokes about a sex toy replacing your partner.
As we’ve already cleared up, a sex toy does NOT replace a partner. Joking that it will may make your partner feel concerned.

If you don’t have a toy yet (or your partner is uncomfortable with the ones you have), pick out a toy together.
This way, your partner will have some input on what toy to get. They’ll be less intimidated if they have a say in which toy they’ll be using. Shopping for a sex toy doesn’t have to involve going to a place with a bunch of creepers jacking off in the corner. For the best experience, try shopping online or at your local sex-positive toy store.

Consider starting with a simple, non-intimidating toy.
If your partner won’t shop for toys with you (which is understandable, since it may involve being exposed to toys they are uncomfortable with), first ask your partner what kind of toy they’d be interested in or what they’d want it to look like, and then look for toys online that meet those specifications and show them some options. If they have no idea, look for a simple toy online and show your partner some options that interest you. That way, they don’t have to be exposed to giant dildos that look like dragons (even though they can be pretty cool). What I mean here by “simple toys” are things like classic vibrators, non-realistic dildos, bullet vibrators, and other things that are less likely to intimidate a first time user.

Consider a toy that augments something your partner is already doing.
The idea of holding a vibrator on you or thrusting a dildo inside of you may intimidate a first time user. In those cases, the toy is the center of the act that is taking place. A toy that is not at the center can make the whole “sex toys are complementing a partner” point even clearer.

If your partner already enjoys fingering you, adding some vibration will just make it cooler! A finger vibe can help with that.

A vibrating cock ring can also make sex extra awesome. Sex is already cool, but add on a vibrating cock ring, and it’ll be even cooler!

For these kinds of toys, bringing it up specifically may help when you first bring up sex toys with your partner. You can say something like “I heard about this thing that you slip on your finger and it vibrates so when you’re fingering someone, it feels extra cool! What do you think?”

Consider a toy both of you can use.
This also makes the “sex toys are complementing a partner” point clearer. It’s a fun way for both of you to explore your bodies! Most sex toys can be used by people of any sex, since everyone has external sensitive parts (clitoris, labia, around the anus, perineum, testicles, penis, etc.) and at least one orifice down there (vagina and/or anus).

Before you buy a toy, make sure it’s made of a good quality material, and that it works well.
Check out CATT’s guide to safe sex toy materials here. And read the reviews on a sex toy before you buy it, to make sure it doesn’t suck. People on Amazon or similar websites often will say something is great just because it brings them to orgasm, but that doesn’t mean it’s a good orgasm. To see good, trustworthy reviews, check out the links in my blogroll, which is on the right side of the page. (I believe Epiphora has the most extensive collection.)

Take this whole process slowly.
Unless they’re totally cool with sex toys, bringing the topic up one day and bringing a dildo into bed the next may be a bit much. Try leaving some gaps in to give your partner some more time to become comfortable. Having sex with them between the time you ask them and when you get/use the toy may also be a good idea. It reinforces the idea that the toy is not a replacement for your partner!

It’s okay to ask your partner multiple times about a certain toy, but make sure you’re not nagging or pressuring them. Don’t ask them every day; leave some space (at least a few weeks) in between requests so they can become more comfortable with the idea. If they say no several times, stop asking and just enjoy sex without the toy. It can sometimes help to ask about it when they are horny, but remember that they can withdraw this consent at any time.

Most importantly, respect your partner’s boundaries.
If you’ve tried to clear up all the misconceptions and they won’t listen, this may be a sign that your partner just won’t listen to you in general! This is definitely not a good sign for a relationship (romantic, platonic OR casual). Even if they’re just a hookup buddy, having someone who will listen to you is important. Otherwise, they may not listen to you in times where it really matters, like when you’re trying to tell them “no.”

If they’ve listened to you but they are still uncomfortable for some reason, there are a few things you can do. Giving them more time may likely help; as your relationship grows, they may become more comfortable with you and with the idea of sexual exploration. Suggesting a less intimidating toy may also help. (Hint: Fleshlights can be rather intimidating.) If your partner is uncomfortable with all sorts of sexual stuff, not just toys, and this is affecting your relationship, you may want to seek professional help, such as a sex therapist.

Story time!
When I first brought up sex toys with my boyfriend, he said he wasn’t comfortable using them, but he’d watch me masturbate with one. One time, when I was masturbating in front of him with one of my vibrators, he asked if he could control it (to which I enthusiastically said yes), and from then on, he was comfortable using vibrators in our sex life. Each time I bought a new sex toy, I would tell him, and ask if he’d like to see it. Sometimes he’d say no to that, but when we were doing sexual stuff together, he’d ask me if I’d like to use the toy in question. I asked once (when we were fully clothed) if he’d be comfortable with me using a vibrator on him. He said not yet; about two months later, when we were naked and I was touching his perineum, I asked if he’d like me to use a vibrator there, and he said yes. He loved it!

I hope you enjoyed this guide and found it helpful! How did you bring up sex toys with your partner? Do you have any other tips for introducing sex toys into a relationship? Let me know in the comments below!

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