Whether you are FWB’s, romantic partners, casual mates who sometimes just have sex for the heck of it–or you exist anywhere within that gray area between hooking up and locking it down–we can all agree that enhancing you and your partner’s pleasure (while also increasing your likelihood of orgasm✨) is a good thing. If you’re not on that train, you better get on it soon, because it’s a pretty poppin’ place to be.
If you are a proud owner of a vulva, then you might know that the best way to enhance your experience of pleasure during sex–while also potentially increasing your likelihood of orgasm, especially during penetrative sex–is to stimulate the clitoris. While hands and mouths can be fine and dandy, I would implore you to consider incorporating toys into partner play.
Determining how to introduce sex toys into your relationship can be intimidating and anxiety-inducing, but I can promise you that it’ll be worth the conversation. Along with talking about how to respect each other’s boundaries, it is critical to clearly express that sex toys are NOT in any way, shape, or form meant to replace your partner. They are there to increase connectivity and enhance pleasure in the experience between partners.
It’s important to remember that there is no shame in wanting (or even needing) toys to help you get off. There are so many wonderful options out there for you; butt plugs, vibrators, strap-ons, dildos, clit suction toys, vibrating cock rings, the WaterSlyde, etc. Personally, I am a big fan of using The WaterSlyde before sex and a vibrator during.
Lots of people tend to jump to the conclusion that introducing toys into partner play is an admission that something is wrong with the sex, or that they themselves are in some way defective. A study published in the Journal of Sex & Marital Therapy found that that 37 percent of people with vaginas require clitoral stimulation to achieve orgasm, while only 18 percent said penetration alone was enough; 36% of people also shared that, despite not needing clitoral stimulation, it still felt significantly better when the clitoris was stimulated during sex. So yes, it’s pretty damn normal to need some extra hands on deck.
This anxiety around our own “defectiveness” and/or fear of hurting our partner’s feelings seems to be rooted in a common misconception that sex toys will replace our desire for human contact. That’s completely irrational, which may sound harsh, but the fact of the matter is that nothing can ever truly replace the human touch.
In heterosexual relationships, this replacement myth tends to present itself in a fear that asking to introduce a vibrator or toy into the bedroom might make a (male) partner feel emasculated. Part of me can understand the concern, but then again, I know plenty of men confident enough in their masculinity (and in their sexuality) who have no problem whatsoever with toys in the bedroom.
And, dare I say it, if you have tried to talk to your partner about sex toys and they are forever hung up on the idea of being replaced, they should either get over it or get gone (sorry, not sorry). Get hip dudes– sex toys are A M A Z I N G! And there are ones out there for guys , so no need to feel left out.
More Bang for your Buck: Maximizing Pleasure AND Intimacy
The purpose of sex toys is not to replace, but to increase connectivity and enhance pleasure in the experience between partners. Think of toys as the cherry on top of the cake– yes, it can be a pretty good cake on its own and yes, you could certainly just snack on some cherries, but together, they are quite the power duo 😉
The question then becomes– how do we go from wanting to introduce toys to actualizing our desires. Though no list of tips will be perfect, here are just a few ideas for how to introduce sex toys into your relationship:
Tips To Introduce Sex Toys
Take a Chill Pill (and a deep, deeeeep breath)
First things first, you need to know that what you’re proposing is totally normal—and not a big deal. Don’t make it out to be a bigger thing than it is and then psych yourself out in the process. Also remember that this isn’t something that you’re asking your partner to do for you, exactly, because it’s mutually beneficial! In the world of pleasure, what goes around should come back around. If you are concerned about asking for something that will enhance your, and your partner’s, experience of pleasure during sex, think about whether or not that anxiety is coming from inside, or from a fear of your partner’s response. If your partner isn’t considering your pleasure during intimacy, it might be time to reevaluate your sexual relationship with that partner. PLEASURE IS A HUMAN RIGHT!!
COMMUNICATE!!! (“please” and “thank you”)
Before trying anything new in the bedroom, you and your partner need to talk about it. If you’re not comfortable talking about something outside the bedroom, you’re probably not yet ready to try it inside of the bedroom. Expressing, understanding, and establishing boundaries is the key to a healthy, safe, and rewarding sexual (and intimate!) encounter. Remember, experimentation is healthy, so long as you and your partner aren’t hurting yourselves or one another in the process. What matters? You’re both getting pleasure from what you are doing and you’re open and honest in your bedroom communication!
Get all up in the nitty-gritty
With so many different types and categories of sex toys—butt plugs, vibrators, strap-ons, dildos, clit suction toys, vibrating cock rings, etc—on the market, at some point in the conversation between partners you have to get specific. Take the time (as much as you need!!) to talk with your partner about what really turns you on, and what you want to try together. If you’re new to the world of sex toys and don’t know where to start, try beginning with some self-exploration first. Take a look at this comprehensive list of great sex toys for beginners to figure out what works for you, before bringing toys into the bedroom with a partner.
Start slow (sometimes a slow burn is the hottest 😉)
I understand why you might not be ready to jump straight in with ALL the toys right away. If you or your partner have any doubts or anxieties about how to introduce sex toys into a relationship during sex, try introducing toys into foreplay. One way to do this is through mutual masturbation. Another way to dip your toes into the waters (literally) would be to use the WaterSlyde with a partner. One of the most intimate experiences you can have is using the Slyde in the bath while your partner sits behind you– great for foreplay and self-love.
Stay true to yourself
Lastly, do NOT, under any circumstance, think that you have to do anything in order to “succeed” at sex. Your pleasure is exactly that–yours. No one can tell you what that pleasure looks and feels like. Even in writing this, I can only give you suggestions–the rest is up to you! Though I strongly recommend thinking about introducing toys into your relationship to enhance everyone’s experience, the choice is ultimately yours. That said, don’t give up if you try one type of toy and it doesn’t do it for you. There are SOOOO many out there, and there are bound to be ones you like.
To wrap it all up….
If you only take away one piece of information regarding how to introduce sex toys into your relationship, let it be this: sex toys are NOT–in any way, shape, or form–meant to replace your partner. Toys are an option to increase connectivity and enhance pleasure in the experience between partners. Nothing will ever replace our desire for human touch, but we can sure as hell increase everyone’s enjoyment and overall satisfaction– and that’s what toys are for. Sexual pleasure is not a sin, it’s a right— don’t let anyone tell you differently.
About The Author
A senior double Anthropology and Women’s & Gender Studies Major at Kenyon College in Ohio, Liza Brilliant (@brill.ant on Insta) is devoted to destigmatizing conversations around sexuality and promoting healthy, sex-positive femininity. Liza hopes to one day work in law and public policy, specifically around destigmatizing and decriminalizing sex work. She firmly believes that sex-positivity has the power to influence broader political and social norms, changing the world one orgasm at a time.