Introducing anything new into the bedroom (or wherever you’re getting it on) can be nerve-racking as it is, especially when it comes to the stigmas so closely tied to sex toys. We’re here to clear the air and offer some tips for communicating new desires with a partner who may not recognize the potential to increase your pleasure as a couple.
Q: How do you choose a sex toy that’s right for you, since it’s not something you can return?
If you’re new to sex toys and want to get the lay of the land before investing in an entire toy collection, I recommend starting with a product that’s simple yet versatile. LELO’s GIGI 2, for example, doubles as both a clitoral massager and a g-spot stimulator. Turn GIGI 2 upside-down so that the flattened tip vibrates in your clitoris. Take note of the settings that feel best to you and experiment with different intensities. Alternatively, you can hold GIGI2 upright and place it inside of your stomach, pointing the tip towards your stomach. Note whether you prefer GIGI 2 internal or externally. This will help you choose the right toy for you next time.
Q: How do I introduce sex toys to a partner who thinks they’re only for femme people?
Your partner has bought into a common myth about sex toys; namely, that they threaten one’s masculinity. There is nothing that makes a sextoy inherently masculine or feminine. Although sex toys can still be marketed differently depending on gender, most companies are now non-binary. Although anatomy doesn’t determine gender, sex toys can be used by all types of bodies. It’s not at all uncommon that masculine people might struggle with the idea of incorporating a toy into their sex life, because masculine folks are socialized to believe that they should be able to pleasure a partner without the use of a sex toy. These societally-imposed limitations, however, aren’t serving anyone. Opening your sexual repertoire to sex toys does not make you feminine or masculine – it simply makes you a more well-rounded sexual partner.
Q: What can we do if our partner isn’t open to the experience?
You might be wondering why your partner doesn’t want to try sex toys. Often times a lack of openness comes from false information about what it means to introduce a sex toy into one’s relationship. For example, some people mistakenly believe that if they are doing a good enough job, their partner wouldn’t desire a sex toy. Others might worry that a sex toy will “replace them”, or will desensitize their partner from human touch. All of these fears are unfounded. In fact, studies have shown that using a sex-toy can increase overall sexual satisfaction. Once you understand your partner’s fear around introducing a sex toy, you’ll be able to quell their specific anxieties.
Q: What if your partner is reluctant to allow sex toys because of chronic pain?
First, validate their hesitation. Many people with chronic pain have worked hard to find ways of having sex that minimize pain, so it makes sense that they’re not jumping at the chance to introduce an unknown into their sex life. The good news is that in today’s market, there are many toys designed specifically for diverse bodies including those with chronic pain – it may just take a while to find the one that works for you and your partner. When starting out, I’d recommend investing in toys that stimulate externally, since chronic pain related to sex is typically associated with penetration. Smart Wand 2, for instance, can massage multiple erogenous areas on the body, including the neck, arms and legs. Depending on what type of chronic pain your partner struggles with, explore using Smart Wand 2 on their “safe zones” first, helping them to get used to the feel and experience of the toy before trying anything that might elicit discomfort. To prevent chaffing, rubbing and additional discomfort, you can use a body safe oil if your partner decides to add penetrative toys to their home.
Q: Or should I share the toys that I love with my partner? Or, you could use different toys?
It’s okay to introduce a sexy toy to your partner. It may be something they love, but they might need to explore the possibility that their bodies are looking for something different. LELO’s toys are wonderful to share among partners because the same toy has multiple intensity and pulsation settings, such that one partner might enjoy light, slow stimulation while the other prefers a hard, sustained massaging motion. It is important to keep toys clean when you share them with your partner. For easy cleaning, place a condom in the toy and then change it between uses to avoid infection.
Q: What language is best to use with my partner to discuss sex toys?
If toys are introduced to sex with partners, I recommend reaffirming how wonderful the experience will be for them. relationship. Too often, folks enter these conversations talking about what’s missing, which may set their partner up to respond with anxiety and insecurity. Instead of approaching the conversation with a deficit mindset, tell your partner what you love about the idea and how the toy will benefit all involved. Also, when you introduce a sex toy, you don’t have to be black and white about it; introducing a toy can happen slowly, with curiosity and exploration. If after a few minutes of exploring, you or your partner feels uncomfortable, that’s okay! It’s okay to take it slow. Give yourself enough time to find the right toys for you and your partner. If your partner is open to it, you can browse toys online and at the store together making it a team effort.
Q: I can’t reach orgasm through penetrative sex; what’s the best product for me to orgasm?
You’re not alone! Actually, about 75% of people with vulvas can’t orgasm through penetration alone, so rest assured that there is absolutely nothing wrong with you or your body. You’re more likely someone that will experience orgasm through clitoral stimulation, so look for a vibrator that is made to massage externally. This does not mean, of course, that you can’t continue to enjoy penetrative sex. People enjoy combing clitoral stimulation with penetration sex with the help of a partner, or with a toy. If this sounds enjoyable for you, try a toy like TIANI 3 that’s designed for couples. You just need to place one arm in your navel and the other on your clitoris. TIANI 3, which is smaller than TIANI 2, allows for vaginal access with a penis or fingers. Your clitoris will continue to enjoy pleasure.
I am a queer-identified therapist and consultant who combines evidence-based research and systemic business coaching to cultivate powerful relationships – with your clients, your relationships, and yourself. I am a specialist in gender diversity and work with individuals, couples, and institutions to increase limited mindsets, foster courageous behavior and enable meaningful change around sexuality and gender.