Sex toys

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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Sex Ed #4: Sex toys + college (or roommates/children/family, or having thin walls)

So before I get to the good stuff, here’s a blog update:
I’ve been gone for a few months. If you’re wondering why, see my last post. I’m kind of getting back in the game now. Just a bit for now, since finals are in a couple weeks. I’m staying on campus doing research this summer, so that’ll be (most likely) a set schedule and hopefully no “homework” or anything like that, so that’ll give me time to blog! Crossing my fingers!
Oh, and I just got a Tantus Goddess Vibrating Dildo, so I’ve updated my toybox page. I would also list the bullet that comes with it, but I’m not going to, because it sucks so bad and I don’t think anyone would get it on its own. Maybe I should list it. Hmmm. I’ll think about it.

Onto the fun stuff!

So, I’m a college student and I like sex toys. I also had a roommate last year. I have my own room this year, but the walls between rooms aren’t very thick. All this seems to add up to a complicated situation. What to do?? I’ve got some answers for you! (This also applies to people in similar situations.)

Q: I’m worried about my roommate/child finding my toys!
A: Good roommates aren’t supposed to rummage through your stuff. But sometimes you don’t have good roommates. And sometimes even well-meaning roommates may innocently open some of your drawers when looking for a stapler or something. (Children, on the other hand, may rummage all the time.) So there’s a few possible solutions:

1. Keep your sex toys in a safe or locked drawer. (Many college dorms provide these, but if you have a large toy collection, it may not fit.) You can also buy a storage system, like a case, that locks.

2. Hide your toys really well. (Beneath some sheets that are behind a bunch of shoe boxes storing your old receipts and tax documents, perhaps?) UPDATE: This is a genius way to do that. Also, Naughty Reenie has some great tips on hiding your toys.

3. Get sex toys that aren’t obviously sex toys. (Here’s SheVibe’s Discreet Vibrators section.) This may not work with children, since they may go OOOHHH PRETTY and start touching it. And accidentally turn it on.

4. Get toys that are small enough to carry with you all the time (like the We Vibe Tango or the Lelo Mia 2).

5. Somehow bring up the topic of sex toys while talking with the person you’re living with. If they seem cool with them, you can mention that you have some! Or you can not mention that part, and if they find them, they’ll just think it’s cool. (You probably won’t want to do this with children.)

Q: I don’t want my roommates/children/neighbors to hear me using my toys!
A: There’s plenty of quiet toys on the market! The (discontinued) We Vibe Salsa is super quiet (as I know from personal experience), and since it’s almost exactly the same thing, the We Vibe Tango is too. You can also try non-vibrating dildos and other things that don’t vibrate, like non-vibrating butt plugs. With those, the only noise you’ll have to worry about is your moaning!
A few other quiet toys: Lelo Mona 2, Minna Limon, Fun Factory Stronic Eins, and for people who are looking for something less expensive, may I recommend my first ever vibrator, the Doc Johnson White Nights Velvet Touch 7″ Vibe.

Q: I can’t get any privacy to use my toys!
A: This is what waterproof vibes are for: shower fun time! All of the toys I have mentioned in this post are waterproof (except some of the vibrators on SheVibe’s Discreet Vibrators page, since I did not look at all of them).

Hope you liked my tips! I have learned all this through experience, so I thought I would share my knowledge with others, so more people can have the sexy time they deserve!

Do you have any more tips for people with roommates/children? What are your favorite waterproof/quiet toys? Let me know in the comments below!

Sex Ed #3: Where to buy your sex toys (because some companies are assholes)

You like sex toys? You like supporting nice companies who aren’t assholes? Then this post is for you!

I refer you to Epiphora’s list of sex shops and manufacturers she supports. Although to throw in my two cents, my all-time favorite sex shop is the Smitten Kitten. I’ve never physically been there (they’re in Minnesota, and I’m not), but they are committed to selling only non-toxic (and not shitty) toys. And they’re feminist, queer-friendly, progressive, and all that other cool stuff! They also have all sorts of educational resources available for free on their website (EDUCATIONAL PORN!), a podcast, blog, and awesome customer service people. Their stuff can be a bit pricey, but search for a coupon code online (using a sex blogger’s coupon code is a great idea!) to get a good deal and take advantage of sales. Also, most of the time I’m totally okay with spending a bit more because I’m supporting an awesome business! (WHY CAN’T I LIVE IN MINNESOTA?!!)

Oh, and time for the shitty companies you shouldn’t buy from. Here’s Epiphora’s list.

I do have an under-bed restraint set from Liberator (one of the companies on the shit list), but at least I bought it from (guess who?) the Smitten Kitten, so it balances it out.

Oh dear… I love you, Smitten Kitten. Please open a store near me? All we have in my city are shady places. And a Smitten Kitten in my city would become like my second home.

Sex Ed #2: Safe Sex Toy Shopping Check List (from CATT)

Yes, sex toys can be toxic! There’s all sorts of strange shitty materials that skeezy manufacturers put in there. I was planning on making an informative post about how to shop for safe sex toys, but the wonderful people at the Coalition Against Toxic Toys do a much better job!

Click here for the guide.

Sex Ed #1: A Short Lesson on Anal Toy Safety (+ “WTF were they thinking?”)

So when it comes to anal toy safety, there are two main rules:
1. Lube is important! (Your anus does not self-lubricate, and lubrication is important to prevent pain/tears. Lots and lots of lube is a good idea!)
2. ONLY USE TOYS THAT HAVE A FLARED BASE!!! (Or a ring, or basically something that prevents the whole toy from going into your butt)

You may ask why is #2 so important. You see, the sphincter muscles of the anus are strong, and when they contract, they may suck in any toy that’s inserted! (Would you like to go to the ER and possibly need surgery to get a sex toy out of your rectum? Didn’t think so.) A flared base prevents the whole toy from going in, since it will stop right outside the anus.

There are a few sex toy designs besides a flared base that prevent the toy from going in completely. Rings (which are common in anal beads), spherical ends (that are significantly wider than the shaft of the toy!), and “rabbit style”/dual-stimulation toys can all serve this purpose. “Having a strong grip” is not reliable, especially when the toy is all lubed up!

Here some examples of toys that are ass-friendly. All photos courtesy of Smitten Kitten. (They rock!)

vixskin mustang

VixSkin Mustang gets BUTT FRIENDLY APPROVAL! (Yay flared base!)

Fun Factory Bendy Beads

Fun Factory Bendy Beads get BUTT FRIENDLY APPROVAL! (Yay for that ring thing!)

njoy fun wand

Njoy Fun Wand gets BUTT FRIENDLY APPROVAL! (Yay for spherical things!)

Fun Factory Tango

Fun Factory Tango gets BUTT FRIENDLY APPROVAL! (Yay for “rabbit style!”)

Unfortunately, not everyone is educated about this important rule, and therefore, there are toys marketed for anal use that should NOT be going into butts! Either sex toy manufacturers are taking advantage of the public’s lack of knowledge, or the manufacturers don’t know this rule themselves (even though they MAKE sex toys)! I don’t know which I’d prefer to be true. Both are pretty terrible to think about. Here are a few examples:

wtf this shouldn't be an anal vibe

No. Just no. No butt friendly approval. (Photo courtesy of O-Zone Romance.)

kegel balls not in your butt

The description says: “Inserted into the vagina or anus, the vibrating effect of the balls movement will provide irresistable stimulation.” Ben-Wa balls should not go in your butt. That seems like a terrible idea; I don’t care what Wikipedia says. (Photo and misspelled description courtesy of Condom-USA.)

terrible prostate massager

No. No butt friendly approval for this one either, even though it’s a “prostate massager” and therefore supposedly made for inserting into the butts of people with prostates. (Photo courtesy of Pleasure Playz.)

Beatnik Du Jour reminded me of another important point. (Thanks!) You know what else shouldn’t go into your butt? ANYTHING THAT WASN’T SAFELY DESIGNED TO GO INTO YOUR BUTT. This includes not just the things above, but also non-toy items that are not intended to be put into your ass (or vagina, for that matter). This includes cucumbers, carrots, markers, pens, etc. Even if you find something like this pen (which by the way, is really hard to write with), don’t do it. There’s often weird chemicals in that stuff. Just…bad idea.

So I hoped everyone learned a valuable lesson here today about what not to put in your butts! That should save you some medical bills (and pain).

Any thoughts? Let me know in the comments below!