One of the big taboos that more and more couples are exploring these days is including sex toys or pleasure aids during their usual roll in the hay. You could probably blame some of that on the popularity of the Fifty Shades of Grey books and movies or on the “Hookup Generation” as millennials have come to be known (despite actually having less sex and fewer sexual partners than previous generations). But no matter where it comes from, couples today are venturing into kinky sex territory with the help of sex toys.
If you’ve never ventured into the dark, seedy halls of a sex store (just kidding! They’re not dark or seedy at all), then you might be a bit intimated and not know where to start. Or maybe you are perfectly fine with masturbating with the help of sex toys (especially the high quality kind) but you aren’t exactly sure on where to start when it comes to, ahem, picking something out with your significant other. Well, you’ve come to the right place! We spoke with an expert who can answer all of your questions about venturing into the world of couples sex toys, starting with… Well, where to get started.
The first thing you should do if you are interested in trying sex toys is simply “go to a store and walk around together,” says Rachel Hoffman, LCSW, therapist at the Long Island Institute of Sex Therapy and author of Dating and Mating in a Techno-Driven World. “Just walk around and explore what is out there,” Hoffman recommends. “Feel free to ask questions to the employee to learn more about the toys. There are a range of toys that stimulate different areas of the body. Some are focused more on female pleasure, other on male pleasure, and some are for both partners to enjoy simultaneously.”
It’s okay and totally normal if you feel intimidated at first. The point of this exercise is to simply explore what is out there and learn about the types of things that you and your partner enjoy. You might point to something that looks interesting that they find intriguing too or you might come across a toy they’ve experimented with that you’d like to try sometime too. Sometimes you might run across into something that the other person isn’t into, and that’s fine too. At first, it is all about exploring together.
Hoffman recommends that you decide what type of play you are interested in. “Are they looking for butt play? Are they looking for something to simply stimulate the woman’s clitoris during penetration? Once you answer those questions, it is easier to determine the type of sex toy to buy.”
Once you’ve picked something out, it’s time to try it, right? Well, first, you might want to get a bit more comfortable with the idea. To ease into things, Hoffman recommends starting with a small toy such as a bullet vibrator for clitoral stimulation. “During penetration, bring out the vibrator and just hold it/move it around the clitoris,” she said. “Find the spot that is pleasurable for your partner. You’ll see that it will be an easy transition and once you get used to using that in the bedroom it will be easier to move on to other toys.”
Basically, do not be shy about starting slow — but do start. Once you have started to explore the idea of using sex toys as a couple, however, don’t forget that good communication is the crucial element to make these sexy times extra fun, playful, and enjoyable for all. In fact, Hoffman recommends that you take this step BEFORE even setting food in a sex store.
“I love the Sexapalooza worksheet by Autostraddle, she said. “The worksheet asks: What do you want to do? What turns you on? What language do you want to use? What are your fantasies? What do you like to fantasize about?”
She recommends doing this exercise with your partner because it will force you to “broach the subject of sexuality” in a way that provides the language you need to be able to talk about things and doesn’t “force the individual to come up with the terminology on their own.” After you have each completed the worksheet, discuss it together (either at home or in couples therapy).
Ultimately, the key thing to remember here is that good communicating and taking things slow at first can get you further than you can imagine. Not every couple is going to jump headfirst into their first sex toy experience and it’s okay if you need to tip toe slowly into the world of kinky sex. Of course, if you ARE the kind of couple that finds yourself going back to that sex store over and over… Well, more power to you, too. All in all, just keep in mind as to WHY you are doing this: To increase the pleasure and intimacy you both feel in the bedroom. And that’s always a good goal.