One of the coolest things social media has done for us in 2022 is to normalize an open dialogue about what it means to have healthy, satisfying sex. Influencers along with regular people have started sharing their self-love journey, along with the toys, products and coaches that helped them get there. Of course you don’t need expensive toys, or coaches to maximize your pleasure (solo or partnered). But they can be a great addition when the routine has become a bit stale. If you've been on the fence about trying sex toys - consider this your sign!
Sex toys are wildly different than they were 20-30 years ago. I remember my first little vibrator (from Spencers Gifts TYVM) had approximately half a setting and went through batteries like there was no tomorrow. Now half way through 2022, there are so many options to choose from with sex toys - it can become overwhelming! Especially if you’ve never used one before.
Keep in mind that if you find your way into an adult toy shop, you’re likely to be taken aback (or if you’re like me - excited!) at how many sizes, shapes, colours and fits you find. But reputable adult stores almost always have a knowledgeable staff member on site, who can guide you in the right direction - if you’re able to give a bit of insight into what kind of stimulation/pleasure you’re looking for.
For some being in a committed relationship leads to the belief that they don’t need to explore sex shops, toy/techniques or alternatively it can leave some partners afraid to bring up their desires to explore for fear of hurting or alienating their partners. I believe its always best to discuss adding new elements to your sex life - prior to sex! Busting out a 16 inch double ended dildo with your partner can lead to a great time or a really not great time, so please remember consent is key!
So why put yourself through the potential awkwardness of visiting a sex shop, or a boundary pushing conversation with your partner - all for the sake of a sex toy?
#1: Sex toys are designed to give greater sexual pleasure
Sex - solo or partnered - can be unbelievably fun and pleasurable. In my experience adding toys like vibrators, or kinky handcuffs - can be a great way to up the excitement factor. Sex toys add to your pleasure repertoire, not only from the physical perspective but also from an emotional standpoint. Research has shown that sexual partners, and couples who use toys are significantly more likely to be having consistent orgasms, and report greater happiness in their relationships (Fahs, Swank).
#2: Sex toys can open the communication channels between you and your partner(s)
It can be exciting and nerve wracking to have open discussions with your partner in a brightly lit sex toy shop with dildos of every shape, size and colour staring at you - so may I suggest chatting about it at home in bed, or over dinner etc. Pull up a website (Mommy's is great for this!) and see what gets both your motors going. Without the pressure to make a decision right then & there, you can read reviews - compare sizes/prices/colors - the works! I mention reading reviews because I find them extremely honest and valuable in this particular market. Occasionally also inadvertently hilarious.
#3: Using Sex Toys can ease some of the sexual performance pressure that can occasionally pop up:
Sometimes in a sexual relationship, things can be a bit stale - whether they started that way or ultimately ended up there makes no difference. Each partner should be deriving maximum pleasure from sex. Alternatively you may be partnered with someone who has a completely differing level of sex drive that yourself. Communication & good vibrations can be the path to maximum pleasure! Many vagina owners do not orgasm from penetration, but rather during clitoral stimulation. The market is FULL of toys to help women get the sweet clitoral stimulations that lead to body shaking orgasms. Men (partners) - this is not a slight towards your sexual prowess! It’s simply another way to bring pleasure, enjoyment and release to your partner.
#4: Growth, Evolution and Play in Sex
Routine is wonderful in SO many areas of life. It can help keep us grounded, focused and working towards our goals. That being said - if every time you have sex you follow the exact same routine….. Yawn. One of my favourites aspects of sex is that you get to bring your playful self, and in doing so sex becomes less of a routine, scripted performance - but rather allows you to express yourself creatively and unabashedly (especially with trusted partner(s)). Use this playful energy to get curious! Share fantasies - both possible, and improbable/impossible - then together come up with ways to incorporate new fun twists (with or without toys) into your sex life. One analogy I like is the gym - yes you can go to the gym every day, do the same 6 step routine and then pat yourself on the back for “getting it done.” Because technically yes you’ve worked out, but was it necessarily what your body & mind needed out of that workout? After the first few weeks it's unlikely you will be getting the same results from that workout. It can often be the same with sex - especially long term partnered sex. Yes you both know the 6 step routine to be able to check the Have Sex ✔️box on your daily to do list… but is that really all you want to do? Or do you want to bring each other to new heights of pleasure? Challenge each other to learn new things via podcasts, books, friends, coaches - and together actively choose a life and relationship full of sexual growth and evolution over a stale 6 step routine.
Fahs, B., Swank, E. Adventures with the “Plastic Man”: Sex Toys, Compulsory Heterosexuality, and the Politics of Women’s Sexual Pleasure. Sexuality & Culture 17, 666–685 (2013). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12119-013-9167-4