There’s no denying it – adult toys are getting more and more popular. Research shows that the taboos surrounding them are disappearing as more people express an interest in ‘sextech’. Sexual enjoyment is improved when we enhance our physical pleasure. But what role do sex toys really play in a couple’s relationship? Here is some research to shed light on the matter.
The Research Speaks
A wide-ranging, statistically representative study examined the frequency of vibrator use among heterosexual men. The results seemed perplexing at first: men who had never used them reported higher satisfaction levels than those who had. Researchers reached the conclusion that men who had used vibrators because they felt they would improve their partner’s experience or at their partner’s suggestion believed using a sex toy reflected poorly on their sexual abilities. Seeing as nobody wants to feel they’re bad in bed, the fact that their sexual satisfaction remained low is understandable, even self-explanatory.
Common Misconceptions About Sex Toys
At the core of the above problem is the prevailing misconception that only men who can’t satisfy their partners resort to male sex toys. In fact, these men are more likely to want to increase their partner’s satisfaction. Another misguided belief is that only women who can’t experience pleasure with a partner use toys. While this may be true in some cases, it’s far from true for all women who use them.
Some men feel threatened by their partner’s use of a sex toy, like it could replace them, or that their partner will become dependent on the toy for orgasm or arousal. Men who use toys with a partner do not risk feeling unsatisfied or inferior by any means. Research also shows that men who regularly use dildos or other toys on their partners experience more powerful orgasms, better erectile function, and greater sexual desire compared to men who have never used them.
The Role of Sexual Orientation
A study by Vanessa Shick, Ph.D. showed that women who didn’t identify as heterosexual used sex toys more often. There is a pronounced difference, in fact: 86% of bisexual and lesbian women reported having used a toy compared to just over half of straight women. What’s more, non-straight women experienced much more sexual satisfaction after use. Women who identified as queer or lesbian and used vibrators experienced less pain than those who didn’t use any.
Buying a Toy is Healthy for a Relationship
Even the act of purchasing a sex toy can be linked to more and better communication. If you’re shopping for a toy with your partner, being open about your needs is essential. A lot of couples decide to include toys for the effect of novelty – to keep things exciting or make them more so. Others will forgo them in favour of trying new positions or locations to have sex. A study showed about three-quarters of couples try different positions to make sex more fun.
Introducing Toys to Your Partner
Communication is the be-all and end-all when it comes to introducing toys in the bedroom, regardless of whether you’ve never used any or are trying a new kind of toy. Here are some tips on how to introduce toys to your partner.
Build up Excitement
To create anticipation of something positive in your partner, tell them why you feel they’ll enjoy using a new toy. You could share visuals to make it easier for them to see themselves using it. Talk about how much you want to share this new and novel experience. Make sure they understand what you want to do. Think about their pleasure apart from your own, no matter whether you’ll be using the toy at the same time, they’ll be using it on you, or only you on them.
If they agree and you get the toy, ensure they’re enjoying themselves by communicating. Just ask if they’re enjoying it, how they feel, etc. A few simple questions will get you far.
Avoid Unpleasant Surprises
Your partner won’t necessarily react positively to a sex toy as a surprise ‘present’, especially a very large dildo or something overly complex. If neither of you have experience with these things, get something for beginners. Some toys will take you time to learn how to operate, and sexual satisfaction will diminish.
Safety is Crucial
Don’t cut corners here – cheap toys are not only low quality, but also dangerous. PVC and jelly are porous (bacteria-infested, impossible to clean) or contain harmful chemicals. If you’re going to be sharing the toy, use protection. Dildos with real feel skin are perfectly safe for your body. These dildos have the advantage of being ultra-realistic with squeezable balls, multiple vibrator modes, and squirting function (liquid, lubricant, or semen simulant). They are a great way to ease premature ejaculation.
If you share toys without disinfecting or using condoms on them, you run the risk of contracting an STD provided your partner has one. Yes, the transition isn’t always smooth when you put on condoms and then take them off or disinfect the toy every time, but it’s better safe than sorry.
Be Open to Exploring
Couples who are disinclined to explore new modes of intimacy tend to struggle with maintaining libido and passion. What’s more, relationship satisfaction suffers in the long term. A 2016 study found that people who reported sexual and relationship satisfaction also used sex toys together more frequently. They also did other things together – trying new positions, taking a shower together, scheduling a date, or scheduling sex.
Final Thoughts on the Role of Sex Toys in a Relationship
It’s perfectly reasonable to shop for toys together as long as you would like to explore. That has never been easier as every single toy you can imagine is available for purchase online. That’s very comforting for people who are shy about taking this step. With time, you and your partner will learn what each of you like and enjoy. You’ll also find out what you need when it comes to pleasuring yourself. This can be vastly different from what you like when you’re together.
This guest post was written and sponsored by Hot Cherry.