Sex toys can enhance masturbation — there is no doubt about that. The first time I used a vibrator, I decided then and there I couldn’t live without it. Since that day, I have not masturbated sans sex toy. I am now the proud owner of a bunch of different shapes and sizes — a collector of sorts.
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But it’s one thing to enjoy a mind-blowing orgasm on your own where you feel free to be yourself with no holding back and quite another to incorporate a sex toy with your partner.
Some people are open to the idea of accessories during sex and don’t feel that a sex toy is replacing them, but rather adding to the experience or keeping things spicy. But this isn’t case for everyone. We all have reservations about things concerning our bodies or sexual habits and that is OK.
But what do you do if you really want to introduce a toy in the bedroom and your partner doesn’t seem into it?
To find out, we spoke with Beatty Cohan, a psychotherapist and sex therapist, as well as Dr. Emily Morse of Sex with Emily who both offered tips to help couples who are not seeing eye to eye when it comes to introducing sex toys in the bedroom.
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First of all, be sensitive to the fact that these conversations can be hard and can make us all feel vulnerable — especially if we aren’t sure our partner is going to be game to try some new things. But this where it starts — with a conversation. Cohan says that the person who wants to introduce the sex toys needs to be OK with talking about the reasons they want to use them.
Morse suggests avoiding having these talks right before or after sex, since emotions run very high for most during these times.
Those who want to enjoy sex toys with their partner should feel they can be open and honest about that, but so should the partner who is being asked how they feel. If you aren’t OK with this new idea, no matter what the reason, you should feel comfortable enough to be honest and share with your partner why it might not be for you. By having this talk, you may come to a compromise, but you also may not. Remember that this is just one aspect of your sex life and to respect each other’s boundaries.
If your partner isn’t into introducing sex toys, sex machines or things like blindfolds or bondage, don’t push them or try to change their mind unless they say they are open to it.
Morse stresses the importance of being positive and encouraging your partner, telling them how wonderful they are. A good way to make them feel at ease would be to let them know they touched you in a certain place you loved and suggest trying lubes or vibrations in that same spot.
If your partner seems open, experiment first without the expectation this will be your new normal. Your partner may love it, but they may also hate it. Or they may feel that it’s something they are willing to do some of the time, but not on the regular. Whatever the outcome, respect their feelings.
Along the same lines, Morse says it’s important to start small — especially if your partner is worried about being replaced by a battery-powered (or USB-recharging) device.
Never be afraid to ask questions. For instance, Cohan says that it’s reasonable to ask your partner specific questions about why they aren’t willing to try sex toys and see if it has something to do with their past. It may turn out they had a bad experience with a former partner and may not want to give it another try. And that’s completely normal and fine. Or maybe they had a less-than-stellar time with a sex toy but are willing to give it another go — the important thing is to listen to your partner and never proceed with anything new without their consent.
“People must never do anything in or out of the bedroom that makes them feel uncomfortable unless they are willing to try,” Cohan says.
If your partner is up for trying it out, you may want to start with a sex toy designed to be used by two people, like Touch by We-Vibe, Eva II by Dame Products (we love her) or a vibrating penis ring. This way, the toy isn’t replacing another person, but rather enhancing the experience for everyone — and it’s hard to argue with that!
A version of this story was published April 2018.
Before you go, check out our favorite masturbation positions to change up your solo play (because you don’t need your partner to have some fun with sex toys!):