New technologies can be scary. Douglas Adams posits that anything invented after you turn thirty is likely to make you feel unsettled. That’s a great guideline for creations like Google Glass and Pokémon Go, but when it comes to sex, it seems anxiety sets in over high-tech innovations even more easily.
In fact, a toy doesn’t even have to be high-tech to make a partner feel threatened. Some folks are put off by the idea of fucking their partner with something bigger than they are, something that hits their partner’s “spots” better than they do, or something that just looks too much like a human body part.
Sex toy connoisseurs understand that toys are neither a replacement for, nor a threat to, relationships with real live humans. However, not everyone is clued in to this concept. So here are some tips to help you add sex toys into the mix with a partner whose attitude about toys is negative to ambivalent.
Gauge their reaction first. If you’ve never brought up toys with them before and are nervous to do so, there are ways to gently push their attention in that direction without making yourself too vulnerable. You could watch a TV episode (or even a porn scene) together that features toys, like the famous episode of Sex and the City where Charlotte gets addicted to her rabbit vibe. You could tell an anecdote or relay a news story that involves sex toys in some way, and see how your partner responds. You could even make up a fake “friend” whose boyfriend feels weird about her sex toy collection, and see what your partner thinks of that. These methods are somewhat contrived, sure, but sometimes you need a little concrete evidence before you’ll feel comfortable taking a big step.
Be casual about it. I know I just called introducing sex toys to your partner “a big step,” and it is for some people, but it doesn’t have to be. In this day and age, bringing toys into the bedroom should be normalized – and you can help make it so by acting like it already is. If you mention toys like they’re the most natural and normal thing in the world, you’ll help your partner feel that way too.
Emphasize the pleasure that toys bring you. If someone likes having sex with you, presumably it’s at least partly because they enjoy giving you pleasure. Any partner who cares about your sexual satisfaction will be delighted at the chance to make your sexy-fun-times even more sexy and fun. Tell them things like, “This vibrator makes me come so hard,” or “This dildo hits my G-spot perfectly.” If they’re worth keeping around, they’ll be excited to see you react that way to their touch – even if their touch is being amplified by a toy.
Show them it’s a tool they can use, not a replacement for them. When a carpenter builds a house from scratch, it’s him who’s commended for building it, not the hammer, nails and saw he used. Similarly, when a partner gives you an orgasm by using a toy on you – or by doing other fun things to you while you use a toy on yourself – that orgasm was still created (at least in part) by your partner. You can help them understand this by framing your dirty-talk that way: “It would be so hot if you’d pound me really hard with this dildo.” “I can’t wait for you to tie me down and torture me with all kinds of fun toys.” “It was so hot when you fucked me with those anal beads.” “You found the exact right spot with that vibe.” Sex toys can and should make your partner feel empowered, not useless!
Shower them with affirmation. It’s important to copiously compliment your partner when they try something new that makes them nervous, whether that’s spanking, bondage, roleplay, or – yes – sex toys. We’re all likelier to persevere in learning a new skill if we feel appreciated and at least somewhat competent at what we’re doing. Make sure your partner knows – before, during, and after sex – just how hot you find them and how much you enjoy banging them, with or without toys. The psychological concept of self-efficacy teaches us that if someone believes themselves to be good at something, they’ll tend to do it more often, so complimenting your partner’s toy-wielding skills is a win-win proposition! Just make sure you also give honest feedback if you need to – you shouldn’t have to endure a partner poking you in the cervix with a dildo or neglecting to re-lube your butt plug when needed. A good partner will be open to receiving criticism on their technique, as long as it’s constructive and expressed compassionately.