What You Need To Know About Sex Toys For The Best Sex Life
How to Bring Sex Toys
Into Your Relationship
You always remember your first time. It was winter break of my freshman year in college. With a friend by my side and a handful of work-study bucks burning a hole in my pocket, I ventured into a feminist sex toy shop. That was when I met her. She was purple, with a gently curving cover you could remove to reveal the treat inside: a bullet vibrator, souped up with three speeds and a motor loud enough that my next door neighbor could hear it.
Perhaps you too felt that heady cocktail of nerves and naughtiness the first time you beheld a rainbow row of dildoes on a shop shelf. Or perhaps your relationship with sex toys is just beginning. With all the shapes, sizes, materials, bells, and whistles, toys can at first feel like mysterious, intimidating artifacts from a far-off land of sexual liberation. In truth, sex toys are a totally accessible—not to mention fun—addition to your sex life.
Ranging from anal plugs to dildoes, bullet vibes to strap-ons and fleshlights, there are as many sexual toys as there are sexual tastes. Each is just one part of a longer-term relationship we’re all in with our own pleasure (and with the partners with whom we choose to be intimate). Here are some tips on incorporating toys into those relationships, for deeper intimacy and deeper orgasm.
Sex Toys For Women
You are enough! Most of us grow up with the message that sex centers around penis-in-vagina intercourse between a cisgender man and a cisgender woman. Because they leave out the clitoris, the vulva’s most powerful pleasure center, these sexist assumptions have led to an orgasm gap that particularly hurts women: In one 2017 study, 95% of heterosexual men said they usually or always orgasmed during sex, as compared to 65% of heterosexual women.
But our culture’s focus on vaginal intercourse as the pinnacle of sex hinders men with penises, too. “Men are supposed to always want sex and be ready to go,” Paul Nelson, the founder of erectile dysfunction support group Frank Talk, told The Guardian. “When you don’t live up to that code, you’re excluded from the men’s club.”
The pressure to prove ourselves in bed can, ironically, prevent us from embracing the added fun of sex toys. Our partners might fear that we want to add toys because they’re not satisfying us. We may worry that relying on a vibrator or fleshlight to orgasm means there’s something “wrong” with us. But incorporating toys isn’t a sign that you’re lacking. Quite the opposite: It’s a sign that you feel comfortable enough with yourself and others to explore new kinds of pleasure.
You can think of sex toys as a simple expansion of your already powerful sexual prowess, in the same way that a good quality pan can help up your game as a great cook. The passion is all yours; the toy is just an added bonus.
Sex Toys For Couples - Show & Tell
It’s totally normal to feel hesitant when bringing up sex toys with a partner for the first time. It’s also normal to feel unsure about exploring them yourself. I talk about sex for a living, and I still sometimes find it hard to broach new desires with partners. But by leaning into the silly, surprising shades of sexuality, trying something new in bed can be stress-free and—dare I say it?—fun.
Start with what you already love. If you have a favorite toy, tell your partner what you like to do with it—and how they can help you. Or show, not tell, by indulging in a little mutual masturbation or a solo show. They’re sure to appreciate the live demo.
If you’re feeling shy, try sending them erotica that includes toys, a link to a toy you’d like to try, or even this article (hey, boo!). Or you can cozy up together with some porn that includes toys you might like to try—just be sure to pay for it.
Safe sex is hot sex, and toys can help you make your sex life more of both.
Choose a High-Quality Sexy Toys
Safer play starts with better materials. Badly made sex toys often contain materials like rubber, which is porous and can harbor harmful fungi and bacteria; and jelly or PVC, which contain phthalates, a group of chemicals that have been shown to harm mammalian reproductive systems.
Opt instead for toys made of 100% silicone. Stainless steel, borosilicate glass, and even wood with a lab-grade finish are also great, non-porous options, though they don’t conduct vibration. High-quality toys are more expensive, but consider it an investment in your pleasure—and in not getting an icky infection from a toxic toy.
Sex Toy Cleaner - Keep It Clean
While there are special sex toy cleaners on the market, keeping your toy clean requires nothing more than antibacterial soap and water. If your toy is motorized, simply wash it after play, using minimal water so as not to disturb the motor.
If your toy isn’t motorized, and is made of 100% silicone, stainless steel, or glass, you can deep clean by boiling the toy periodically. Sexperts also recommend letting these toys take a spin through the dishwasher—minus the silverware, of course.
Lube Sex For Sex Toys - Lube It Up
Lubricant is a great option to maximize pleasure and minimize irritation. The best personal lubricant for sex toys is water-based, since silicone-based lubes can break down both silicone toys and latex condoms. Lube is an especially great idea for anal and vaginal penetration, as it helps avoid tearing and makes sex more comfortable. Lube can also increase sensitivity when using a vibrator—the added slickness feels great.
Practice Fluid Safety
Using a toy on yourself or a partner is a great way to be sensual together without the added risk of oral or penetrative sex. If you and your partner are not fluid-bonded, be sure to cover penetrative toys with a fresh condom for each new person who uses it. You should wash non-penetrative toys, like Magic Wands, for each new user as well.
Take Time to Explore New Sex Toys
Like my sophomore-year-in-college relationship, my sophomore year vibrator is now just a fond memory. But each relationship prepares us for the next—in my case, for the beautiful rabbit vibrator I bought with my first real-writer-living-in-New-York-City paycheck and cherish to this day.
Your taste in toys will similarly grow as your experience of your own body, intimacy, and pleasure changes—and that’s a good thing. As Laurie Mintz, a sexologist and expert on clitoral stimulation (yes, that’s a real job!) writes, “When it comes to orgasms, there is no one right way.” Ditto with the sex toys that help us get there. So set aside a little cash, pay a visit to your friendly neighborhood (or online) sex boutique, and get playing.