Many years ago, I worked with an intern who openly shared information about her private life. She once told me that she was a virgin and that she allowed and encouraged her sex partners to insert various sex toys into her vagina. This seemed contradictory to me at the time she shared this with me. Now that I am halfway through an online course from Indiana University about sexual health education, the intern makes sense. By textbook definition, she maintained her virginity as long as there was no actual penile penetration. She was expressing her sexuality and sensuality through the use of sex toy play as opposed to penile-vaginal intercourse. She was still having sex, but in a creative way.
Sex toy play can be exciting and fun as well as beneficial and even therapeutic for some users. For sex partners who are stuck in a sex routine, introducing a sex toy can add a level of excitement and adventure to their sexual activities. The introduction of the sex toy alone can help open the channels of communication for some partners. For example, a partner with reservations about having a sex toy used on his or her body or about using a sex toy on someone else needs to communicate any fears or concerns to his or her partner before using the toy. Having an open line of non-judgmental communication can increase intimacy for those partners. As one partner is using a sex toy on the other, the partner receiving the attention needs to tell the partner what feels good and where something feels good. This can be extremely helpful for men who have a difficult time figuring out how and where to stimulate a female’s clitoris. He can get between her legs and watch where the toy is being placed as she guides him through pleasuring her, word by word and moan by moan.
The therapeutic aspects of sex toy play are evident in situations where these products can help ease sexual anxiety or tension. A good example involves women who experience orgasmic dysfunction, which is either when a woman cannot reach orgasm at all or when she has difficulty reaching orgasm when she is sexually excited. Women suffering from this condition may find that using a clitoral vibrator, a G-spot vibrator, a dildo or other vaginal stimulator, or an anal play toy can help her learn how her body responds to varying touches and pressures in different erogenous zones. By learning what her body responds to, a woman can then apply that knowledge to other sex acts with a partner and may possibly achieve orgasm either with her partner or alone through sex play or masturbation.
There are many types of sex toys. A few of the common ones are listed here with a brief explanation of their uses. Bullet vibrators are a few inches in length and can be used in a multitude of places. Bullets can be either wired to a controller or wireless and can be used in combination with other sex toys. Clitoral stimulators are designed to stimulate a woman’s clitoris from the outside of her body. G-spot stimulators are created for insertion into a woman’s vagina and are made to caress and touch her G-spot. Vaginal sex toys include simple designs, such as a plain vibrator shaped like a cigar that is tapered on one end, to complex designs that look and feel more like a man’s penis. This second type of toy is called a dildo and may include a clitoral vibrator for extra stimulation.
Sex toys are not just for women. There are non-vibrating toys designed specifically for the stimulation of a man’s prostate, which is a walnut-sized gland that helps make semen and that is reached via the anus. C-sleeves are either open-ended or close-ended and the inside of these toys are meant to feel like the inside of a woman’s vagina. Some c-sleeves come with a removable bullet vibrator. C-sleeves are designed for male masturbation. Cock rings are designed to fit around the shaft of the penis for the purpose of maintaining an erection. Some cock rings have a second ring that fits under the testicles, which supposedly helps with prolonging the male orgasm.
Anal play toys can range from butt plugs to vibrators to beads. Anal toys should always have a ring or a handle on the outer end so the toy can be easily removed. If a toy should get stuck in the vagina or anus, the user should calm down, squat, and relax all the muscles in his or her body. If the toy does not fall out on its own, emergency medical care may be required to remove the toy without injury.
Not all sex toys vibrate, but most of the best sellers on the market do. These vibrating toys are now available with the traditional levels of vibration (buzz, buzz, buzz) as well as pulsating vibrations (buzz, buzz, pulse) of varying speeds. A wider variety of choices in vibration gives users more ways to discover the intensity they prefer the most in the type of toy they enjoy the most.
Sex toys can be made of thermal plastic, silicone, jelly (a mixture of PVC and rubber), latex rubber, acrylic or lucite, medical grade glass, or stainless steel. Certain lubricants are bad when used with certain toy materials. Oil based lubricants should never be used on sex toys because the oil is difficult to remove without harsh chemicals that can harm the sex toy itself and even delicate areas of the body. Silicone based lubricants should never be used with silicone or jelly toys. In a nutshell, the silicone in the toy wants to blend with the silicone in the lubricant and vice versa which will break down the toy itself. The best choice of lubricant for all sex toys is a water based lubricant, which includes flavored lubricants, cooling lubricants, and warming lubricants. Water based lubricants dry out quickly, reactivate with saliva or water, and clean up the easiest of all lubricant types.
The most important thing to remember when using sex toys is to clean the toys before and after use. Never use alcohol-based cleaners on a sex toy as these dry out some toy materials, causing damage to the toy. Use warm water and a mild cleaning agent to cleanse toys, and dry toys on a clean, lint-free piece of fabric. If toys have batteries, remove the batteries prior to cleaning and take care to keep water and soap out of the battery compartment. Latex condoms can safely be used on sex toys, including anal play and prostate toys, to help reduce the risk of transmitting bacteria and/or infections from the anus to the vagina and/or from person to person.
Always store batteries separately from the toys they power. Store toys separately from one another because some materials can melt causing damage to surrounding items. Toys that come into contact with the vagina are best kept in specially-designed toy storage bags that are made from an anti-microbial material. (link to toy sack on Pure Romance site)
A tip I learned as an adult products salesperson is to keep a clean, individual sex toy in a plastic freezer bag with a zipper closure. Batteries can be placed in a sandwich bag with a zipper closure and then placed inside the freezer bag with the companion toy. Inspect batteries for damage prior to each use of the toy and do not mix old batteries with new ones.
Sex toys, like a favorite pair of underwear, will eventually wear out and will need to be replaced. If a toy is looking worn out, if the surface material changes in an odd way, or if new batteries do not re-energize a toy, it is time to replace that toy with a new one. Do not toss worn out or unwanted sex toys into the garbage or into the Goodwill bin. Properly recycle sex toys by visiting either the online companies Scarlet Girl, based in Portland, Oregon, or Love Honey, based in the United Kingdom. Both of these companies give recyclers credit towards purchases from their adult product sites. Now that is a great reward for being responsible, in and out of the bedroom.