You would think by now we would have got over the awkwardness about buying a sex toy. After all, shows like Sex and the City and books like 50 Shades of Grey have been massively popular and these highlighted that such things were common and fun. We have been mentally prepared for the fact that there’s no shame in buying a sex toy. Yet the awkwardness continues. So how do you approach buying a sex toy confidently and with shame?
The facts and the perception
Ask a group of women (or men) about sex toys and there is often going to be some giggling and red faces but also some curiosity. And the figures from websites such as pleasuredelights.co.uk show that this curiosity has been turned into sales – 44% of women between 18 and 60 have tried a sex toy but much more are curious but lacking in confidence.
That’s where online websites come in. Sure, you can go to a sex toy shop, there’s nothing wrong with it and it can be good fun. You stand there surrounded by things you never want to chat with your mother about and wonder where to start. But if you don’t have the confidence to visit one of those stores, then the anonymity of the website is a great alternative.
Understand the basics
One certified sex counsellor likened sex toys to dessert. You go to the restaurant and there are lots of tasty varieties to try. You don’t need to have one, but it is fun to do so. Sex toys are similar. You don’t have to have them, but they are fun and can make for a great experience.
There are generally six types of sex toys – vibrators, dildos, nipple toys, exercises, penis rings and masturbation toys. The first step is to decide what type of toy you are looking for and this is a good thing to do on a website where there’s lots of information about what each product is – and what it does.
Take vibrators, for example. There are loads of different styles from sleek and colourful ones that almost look like a penis but not completely. Then there are discreet ones that look like makeup and can be easily hidden if you are self-conscious. The latest idea is vibrating eggs, and these use the same sonic-wave motors as bestselling toothbrush ranges.
There are even models that have different settings that can be controlled by a smartphone app. This makes for a good fun if you are trying them with your partner and also lets you easily learn what you like and quickly return to that setting next time.
The hardest step for most of us when buying sex toys is overcoming our own fears and everyone has different fears. There are people who think that sex toys aren’t natural and that they shouldn’t be required. But when you look back through history, sex toys have been around since prehistoric times. It is our own attitudes to sex that have moved them from acceptable to embarrassing.
Other people fear relying on them and becoming desensitised to real human touch by using them. They fear that once they use a sex toy, normal sex won’t be good enough. Men, on the other hand, fear being replaced by a mechanical toy and that they are somehow not ‘good’ enough if a woman needs to use a toy.
The reality is that toys offer stimulation, but they can’t give you a cuddle, ask how your days been or comfort you when you are upset. They exist to do a specific job like a microwave or a kettle and that’s what you use them for.
Fear of hurting yourself
One of the fears that have come around as sex toys have become more complex is that you can hurt yourself with one. That’s understandable because you are using them around sensitive areas of your body. And that’s why using reputable websites or sex shops are the best places to find sex toys. You can buy them in hundreds of places, but you want to be sure they are made to a certain standard and are safe for you before you let them touch your body.
Looking at the materials of the toy is another important part of making a choice. Silicone has gone to the top of the list because it is safe, easy to clean and doesn’t react with water-based lubricants. Glass is another good material for sex toys for the same reasons. Whatever you choose, avoid porous materials and make sure you thoroughly clean each item after use.
The whole point of sex toys is to have fun either alone or with a partner. Start with something basic and see what you enjoy then go from there. Listen to your body and the signals it sends you and never keeps going with something that hurts (unless you want it to). That way you can have fun with your sex toys and never feel shame buying them again.