Talking About Sex Toys in Your Relationship: 5 Conversations You Need to Have

Using sex toys together in a sexual relationship can be a wonderful adventure. It can allow you to experience different kinds of pleasure, get to know your own and each other’s bodies better, and experiment with any kinks or fantasies you may have. But the first step to using sex toys together successfully is talking about sex toys together.

Not sure how to do that? Here are five conversations you might want to have if you’re thinking of introducing toys into your sex life with your partner.

“Do we want to use toys together?”

If you’ve never used sex toys together, this is where you’ll want to start. Even if one or both of you uses sex toys separately for solo masturbation, using them together is quite a different dynamic. So start by checking in with each other and finding out if this is something you’re both interested in.

If you’re the person who wants to introduce toys, just ask about it in a straightforward and no-pressure manner. You can be general or specific. A general question might be, “how would you feel about us using some toys together in the bedroom?” A more specific request might be something like, “I was thinking it’d be really hot to have you use a wand vibrator on me until I cum, would you be into that?”

Once you’ve established you’d like to use toys together, then you can move on to…

“What kinds of toys would we like to use together?”

Sex toys is a vast field and you might not both be thinking about the same things when you say “I’d like to use sex toys with my partner.” So talking about sex toys includes discussing which types of toys, specifically, you’d like to use.

Perhaps one of you would like to use a vibrator for additional clitoral stimulation, while the other is interested in exploring anal play. Maybe strap-on sex of some kind sounds fun to you both. You might be curious about bondage, kink, or BDSM and look for some gear to go along with that.

Or perhaps you don’t know what you’re into just yet. That’s okay too! “We’re not sure but we’d like to get a few toys and see what feels good to us” is also valuable information.

“Do we have any emotional hangups around toy use that we need to address?”

Talking about sex toys includes talking about your feelings around sex toys. Sex toy use in a relationship can bring up a lot of feelings. Even just broaching or having your partner broach the subject can be scary. It might feel as though you are saying something negative about your sex life or implying that you are currently dissatisfied.

If one of you can cum harder, more easily, or in a different way with a toy than from other kinds of stimulation, this might bring up feelings of inadequacy or insecurity around sexual performance for the other. The same can be true for the person experiencing the orgasms, by the way! Many cis women and other people with vulvas feel broken if they are able to climax more easily or reliably with a vibrator than in other ways.

For some people with penises, and cis men in particular, toys can bring up any lingering insecurities about their penis. For example, they may worry that it is not big enough, does not get hard enough, or that they cum too quickly during sex.

It’s important to remember that toys are tools, not your competition. They are there to enhance the sex you have together and give you both even more pleasure. They are not there to replace you or to make you feel inadequate. And they do things that bodies physically can’t do – that’s the whole point! By talking openly about your worries and offering one another reassurance to alleviate them, you can increase your chances of having a lovely and sexy time together.

“How do we feel about giving toys as gifts?”

I love giving and receiving sex toys as gifts with partners. (And some friends, actually, but my friendship circle is probably more open than most and YMMV.) But not everyone feels the same so if you’re not sure, it’s a good idea to have this conversation.

Some people would love receiving a toy as a gift, while others may experience it – no matter how well-intended – as a form of pressure. In addition, it can be hard to know other people’s toy preferences unless you either know each other’s bodies very well, have discussed or experimented with toys extensively together, or know that there’s a specific item they’d like.

If you want to get your partner a sexy gift but aren’t sure which toy to choose, a gift card can be a good idea. Then they can either pick out something that will work for them by themselves, or you can make a fun date night activity of going shopping together.

“Are our toys shareable?” (If you’re non-monogamous)

If you’re polyamorous, swingers, or otherwise in an open relationship, it’s also important to talk about whether your sex toys are shareable with other people. Let’s start by busting a myth: as long as you’re using body-safe and non porous toys, there is nothing inherently unhygienic about sharing them. Just clean them between partners or use a barrier if fluid sharing isn’t part of that relationship.

You might decide to keep your toys just for the two of you. The downside to this is that, if you want to also use toys with your other partners, it can get expensive to buy multiple sets. You might decide that all your toys are shareable, that they’re shareable under certain conditions (e.g. that they are sterilised between partners or that condoms are used on insertables), that they’re shareable with certain people (e.g. with trusted partners but not one night stands), or that some toys are shareable while others are not.

There’s no right answer here, but you need to make sure you’re both on the same page or can come to a compromise that works for everyone.

What conversations about sex toys have you had, or do you need to have, in your relationship?

This post was brought to you by Whipple Tickle, a new UK-based retailer selling all kinds of sex toys as well as lingerie, BDSM gear, and more. All views and writing are, as always, mine.

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