There’s a common misconception that sex toys are primarily for solo use – and that therefore, using toys with a partner is either superfluous or rude (or both!). But the truth is, toys are sexual tools, essentially no different from your fingers or your partner’s mouth. They have the capacity to increase sexual enjoyment while you’re alone or with a partner, so why not use ‘em for all they’re worth?
Toys can help you focus on yourself, and that’s a very very good thing. Our culture tells us constantly that selfishness is bad – but if you deny yourself pleasure and relaxation for too long, you’re bound to get resentful, tense, irritated or sad. Focusing on yourself for a while – even if it’s just for the duration of a 15-minute masturbation session a few times a week – helps replenish your psychological and sexual energy so you’ll have more to share with others, when and if you want to.
Using toys alone is also an opportunity to learn what you like and what makes you tick sexually. At no other time in your sex life will you be afforded the total freedom of time and space to explore your body, observe your responses to various types of stimuli, and learn all the different ways you can get off. That information is useful not only for your own purposes but also for your partners’: it’s so much easier to teach someone else how to please you when you already know how to please yourself!
Masturbation is also one of the only activities where you have full permission to be as weird as you want to be. Make all kinds of strange noises, take a long time to come or practically no time at all, listen to absurd music, make silly faces – no one can stop you or judge you! Of course, it’s possible to find a partner who you feel comfortable enough around to let loose like this, but for some of us, masturbation is still one of the most relaxing and freeing activities we participate in.
That being said, using toys with a partner can be an equally illuminating experience, just in largely different ways. The addition of another human makes dependable, predictable masturbation into a more dynamic and unexpected dance. For example, when you first hand a partner a dildo you’ve used on yourself dozens of times before, you’ll find they don’t thrust it in quite the same way that you do. It’s a lovely way to shake up your routine and even potentially to learn some new things about your sexual response.
Using toys with a partner also offers you the opportunity to practice your communication skills. If you’ve ever been too meek to request that a partner change their technique, you might find it easier while they’re using a toy on you, because it’s not directly attached to them so they’re less likely to take criticism personally. Once you’re used to asking that they insert a butt plug more slowly, thrust harder with a dildo, or move a vibrator a little to the left, it’ll be easier to ask for adjustments like this even when toys aren’t involved.
Toys also make it easier to focus entirely on your partner and their responses, rather than being too wrapped up in your own pleasure to pay attention fully. For example, when using a vibrator on a partner, you might happen upon an erogenous zone of theirs you’ve never quite noticed before – simply because, with a toy in hand, you can be more singularly focused on what you’re doing, rather than what you’re feeling. Learning more ways to please your sweetheart is always a plus!
If you've only used them solo, here are some tips for introducing sex toys to your partner.