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What is the Best Way to Bring Sex Toys into Your Relationship?

Using sex toys in the bedroom isn’t a groundbreaking idea.

In Victorian times, women suffering from ‘hysteria’ (aah the patriarchy at its finest) were prescribed a session with a vibrator to cure their ails, and the oldest dildo on record is a whopping 28,000-year-old siltstone phallus.

More recently, research has shown that around 90% of women reported using toys during partnered sex, masturbation, or both. The same study also found that non-heterosexual women reported less shame and expressed more desire to use toys with a partner.

So there’s no denying that sex toys are very much a part of historical, modern and queer culture. But why do we still feel hella awkward about bringing them into the bedroom?

Well, let us be the ones to confirm that performance anxiety around sexual acts is totally normal.

person holding blue sex toy

And when you’re going into an experience that is supposed to be relaxing and enjoyable, it makes sense that adding something unknown into the equation could make you nervous. What if it hurts? Will I enjoy it? Will they enjoy it? Does using a sex toy mean I’m not up to the job?

The truth is that sex toys are a helpful (and fun!) prop to strengthen your relationship. They can help you maintain intimacy when you’re in a long-distance relationship, help you avoid the dreaded lesbian bed death, improve communication and lead to new experiences that create a deeper connection.

How to talk about sex toys with your partner

April Maria AKA Venus Libido, a sex expert on Sensuali gave us perhaps the catchiest advice we’ve ever heard, when she said, “Always remember communication is lubrication within the realms of sex and relationships.”

I mean… can we get that printed on a t-shirt, please?

She continues, “If you think you are both open to experimentation and have established a foundation of trust, ease into the conversation with ‘I’ statements by saying, ‘I found this interesting toy I would like to try with you, what do you think about exploring that idea with me?’ – this helps create an environment where both partners feel heard, understood, and valued.”

April also advises doing your research through books, blogs and podcasts to get more comfortable with the idea and to get real-life accounts of how toys might fit into your unique sex life.

“To ease any feelings of intimidation or awkwardness regarding the realm of sex toys, the key is to educate yourself. Similar to any other aspect of life, when we lack understanding about the benefits of something, we may hesitate to discuss it, often driven by a fear of misconceptions.”

So start by simply getting curious about how sex toys might work for you and take it from there.
And remember, there is no pressure to use sex toys if it’s not your bag. If you spend a few weeks reading up on toys and decide it’s really not for you, that’s cool!

Get playful

Think of your sex toy adventure as a collaborative effort, and one centred around playfulness and creativity. Planning how you’ll use your toys is all part of the fun, so while you’re browsing toys online, share your ideas with your partner via text message to gauge their interest.

Talking this way can make things a little less awkward and can be a huge turn-on too, as you begin to imagine how you’ll use the toys to get each other off.

a woman with pink hair is looking at her phone

Choosing your sex toy

Settling on your first toy is always going to be tricky. Partly because you may never have used one before and because there are so many different options on the market.

Think first about the body part you or your partner want to stimulate, whether you want it for internal or external use (or both), if you might want it to be waterproof and what kind of material sounds pleasurable.

“Always look at what your toys are made of and ensure they are made from body-safe materials,” says April, “and most importantly, ensure you’re not allergic to the material you buy.”

Something to bear in mind is that what floats your boat might not be up someone else’s alley. Consider your preferences as well as your partner’s, because it’s likely that you’ll both want slightly different toys or may want to buy a toy that can be used multiple ways.

We heard Two Dykes and a Mic host McKenzie Goodwin say that she and her wife have a rule where they always get to pick out the sex toy that’s going to be used on them, and we love that.

Sex toys for beginners

A good beginner’s toy would be a simple bullet vibrator or clit simulator because they generally have fewer buttons and are easy to use. For anyone with a clit, they’re a true crowd-pleaser.

Dildos and strap-ons may take a little bit more trial and error to find the perfect size, shape and harness required. Be sure to read product reviews, take measurements, and check out our detailed guide on the best lesbian sex toys.

Don’t give up too early

You might have had less than pleasurable experiences with sex toys in the past, but like any new skill, using them takes practice. Be honest with your partner about your fears (communication is lubrication, see?!) and if you’re comfortable, tell them about your past experiences so that they can understand where you’re coming from.

This might mean choosing not to use a specific kind of toy straight off the bat, and instead starting with something you’re more comfortable with.

We also recommend using your sex toy privately on yourself before you introduce it to your partner so that you’re familiar with the sensations and how it works. Then, you’ll be a dab-hand at rocking their world.

Above all, remember that this is your sex life and it’s all about your personal preferences. It’s OK to take it slow, to try things and realise you don’t enjoy them, and to ask for what you want.

How have you introduced sex toys into your relationship?

Love Team Nonchalant x

Fiona Fletcher Reid
Fiona Fletcher Reid

Fiona is a two-time author and freelance writer with words published in the Metro, Grazia, Readers Digest and Happiful Magazine. She runs online writing groups, loves tarot, live music and poetry.

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