If you want to spice up your sex life, then introducing sex toys might be something to consider. However, bringing up your desire to your partner can be a little, well, awkward. You might be scared about bruising your partner’s ego—after all, no one wants to give the impression that they’re not satisfied in the sack. You might also be nervous about expressing your sexual needs or generally embarrassed about having a curiosity that’s a bit outside your usual bedroom repertoire.
Wanting to try something new in bed, including introducing sex toys, doesn’t mean your sex life is boring. It just means you’re willing to be exploratory when it comes (no pun intended) to pleasuring yourself and your partner, and there’s nothing wrong with that. And sex toys are an excellent place to start when you’re looking to experiment.
“One of the easiest ways to spice up your sex life is to introduce sex toys,” sex therapist Dr. Tammy Nelson tells HelloGiggles. “All it takes is a playful attitude and a little imagination. There are lots of ways sex toys can enhance your sex life. Couples who talk about their sex life report higher levels of satisfaction, and adding toys to their sexual repertoire can add a higher level of mutual trust.”
So if you’re interested in adding a sex toy into the mix, here’s how you can make it a little less awkward while also reaching new orgasmic heights with your partner:
Step one: Breaking the ice
“The best way to talk about sex is to ensure that the conversation is ongoing,” Dr. Jess O’Reilly, sexologist and host of the @SexWithDrJess Podcast, tells HelloGiggles. “Don’t just talk when you have a problem, but talk about sex more generally—what you love, why you love it, and how you feel.”
When introducing something new, Dr. Jess suggests that you begin with the positive, make an offer or ask a question, and then make your request. For example:
1. I loved how it felt last night…
2. Have you ever thought about trying a toy…?
3. I’d love to try ____ with you.
“If you frame your desires as requests as opposed to complaints or criticisms, your partner will be more receptive,” she says. “Obviously the dialogue above will be more effective than, ‘We always do the same thing. We should try a toy!'”
And if you’re super nervous talking to your partner about your desire for a sex toy, then Dr. Nelson recommends being honest and taking it slow. “If you want to use sex toys with your partner, let them know you are curious about vibrators, that you might want to use one, but that you feel awkward introducing your fantasies,” she says. “Let your partner know that you feel shy talking about this new interest. Ask them to come to the sex toy store or go online to a sex toy store website so that you can pick something out together.”
Step two: Choose the most appropriate sex toy
So how do you pick the gear that’s best for both you and your partner? Dr. Jess says you should consider the types of sex you already enjoy. “Do you prefer rubbing on the outside, oral sex, hand sex, or penetrative sex?” She also suggests that you add your first toy into an existing part of your sexual repertoire. “For example, if you tend to enjoy penis-vagina intercourse, consider a toy like a penis ring that doesn’t require significant changes to your sexual routine. You can certainly use the toy in many other ways, but you might find that making one change at a time is easier when trying something brand new. If you tend to have orgasms from rubbing on the outside, choose a flat toy that you can use in multiple positions.”
And sometimes choosing the right toy can be a matter of simple pleasures, says Dr. Nelson.
“Sex toys are intended to make sex more fun. Hence the word ‘toys,'” she says. “If you are just starting out, try gentle items like feathers or soft blindfolds. Or pick out a small, bullet-shaped vibrator, or a clitoral stimulator.”
While you can definitely look at toys online, Dr. Jess recommends visiting a local sex-positive shop where the staff have expertise in both products and sexuality education. That way, she says, “You can ask questions and try the toys out (in your hands) in advance.”
Here are some recommendations to get you started
“If you’re in the market for a penis ring, I recommend the We-Vibe Pivot,” says Dr. Jess. “Because it’s designed to be worn in multiple positions, it may just inspire you to change things up. You can position it to provide intense vibrations against the balls or the clit—but as you change positions, the stimulation shifts too, so you’re always discovering something new. It also offers the option to connect to the We-Connect app on your phone, so you can play together while you’re apart if you choose.”
She also recommends the Womanizer Liberty for beginners “as it’s discreet (it doesn’t look like a sex toy), petite, and used externally. It’s non-intimidating and its ‘pleasure air’ technology is receiving rave reviews all around.”
Remember: It’s your choice
Introducing sex toys can be fun, but it doesn’t necessarily work for every couple.
While sex toys can offer a range of benefits, like broadening horizons when it comes to sexual positions, techniques, approaches, activities, and interactions, as well as opening up new pathways to pleasure and generating conversation, Dr. Jess reminds us that if you don’t feel like it’s your thing, that’s totally okay. “It’s not that you should play with sex toys—it’s really up to you!”