by Beth Ashley
Ah, sex toys. Traditionally used as a trusty companion for solo self-love, more and more people are now bringing them into partnered sex to take couples’ sessions to the next level - in a survey by Women's Health, seventy-five percent of survey-takers said they’d used one with a partner.
If you haven’t brought a sex toy into partnered sex, the idea can seem quite daunting, but it needn’t be intimidating; it can be a fun and intimate experience that’ll bring you and your partner closer. We’ve amassed our top tips and expert advice on how to open up endless possibilities in the bedroom.
Start a dialogue about sex toys outside the bedroom first
Emotions tend to run high pre and post-sex, so avoid bringing up the topic while you’re getting hot and heavy, or just taking out a sex toy and handing it to your partner. It’s best to start a conversation when you’re both relaxed and content. Say why you’d like to use a sex toy with them, reassure them that it’s an enhancement for the sex you’re already having and not a replacement for them, and that you’re open to suggestions and concerns.
Gigi Engle, sex educator and author of All the F*cking Mistakes, suggests sandwiching the idea with praise. “Give a really nice compliment about your sex life, then you insert that you want to use sex toys, and why, then reinforce the partner so they don’t think ‘oh, I’m inadequate in bed’, and then slap on another compliment on the end.”
Be honest, but open to compromise
Once you’re into a conversation, it’s vital to be honest. Ultimately, this is you expressing your wants and needs, so don’t be shy and be open about the what, where, and why. However, it’s also important to be ready to compromise - using sex toys during sex is a two (or more) way street, so coming to an agreement you’re both okay with will yield the best results.
“Because we have such a shame-based societal view of sex, sex conversations, in general, are very ego-based. If someone brings up something to do with sex and it isn’t incredibly positive, we tend to immediately go on the defensive,” Engle says. “Invite them to be a part of the conversation with you. What kind of fantasies do they have? What kind of sex are they interested in having? What is it that they’d like to get out of sex? So you guys are co-creating this sexual adventure together.”
Turn sex toy research into a joint activity
If your partner’s interested, it’s time to get specific. Shopping for sex toys, whether online or in a store, is the ideal way to explore what you both want out of a toy and could also open up new possibilities for the kind of thing you’d like to use together. “Perusing sex toys together can be very fun because you’re both collaborating on what you’re buying,” says Engle.
Just because a toy is designed for solo use doesn’t mean you can’t bring it into sex with a partner - hand them the Pixie Clitoral Mini Vibrator and let them take control of your pleasure! Handing your partner the reins is a great way to reinforce that sex toys are there to enhance the experience and not to replace your partner. Engle agrees - “Anything small and clitoral-based is great for beginners as it gives a lot of basic pleasure without it being super overwhelming.”
Another option to bring into partner play is the Kit Internal & Clitoral Vibrator. With a flexible head and multiple speeds, the possibilities are endless when paired with your real-life bedroom buddy. “I love a good small wand vibrator for beginners because if you’re someone who likes more dispersed stimulation they’re really good for that,” says Engle. “Wand vibrators are also super great to use on penises - they’re great for the head of the penis and the perineum.”
Ready to level up? The Dream Team Couples Exploration Set includes several toys you can introduce into partner play, including a cock ring, which Engle recommends. “Once you know how to orgasm with basic sex toys, that’s a really good opportunity to start experimenting with stuff like cock rings. I specifically recommend a cock ring that has a raised base that vibrates because that way, with a clitoris, you can grind against it, and it also feels really great for the person with the penis because it stops blood flow and creates a stronger erection,” she says.
Go for a solo spin with your sex toys first
“Something that’s really important with sex toys is not to use them with a partner on your first go,” advises Engle. “Get familiar with a sex toy by yourself and figure out how you like to use it and what feels pleasurable for you. Your partner’s not a mind reader, so they won’t know how to use it on you the way you want it to be used.”
By gaining an understanding of how you get off using a particular toy, you can guide your partner to recreate it, resulting in a sexual experience where everyone’s happy.
Trust the process
If your partner has a change of heart, accept it and don’t force them to do anything they’re not comfortable with. “If somebody responds negatively to it, I wouldn’t go right into explanation mode,” advises Engle. “It’s really good to give them a little space to have those negative feelings for a minute.” Using sex toys together can feel overwhelming for some, so be prepared to pump the brakes and take things a little slower. There’s no correct pace or timeline to adhere to, and taking things at a speed that you’re both comfortable with is essential.
Have fun - they’re called sex toys for a reason
Sex toys can be a one-way ticket to a good time, and using them with a partner is no different! While there are thousands of types of sex toys out there to explore and a lot of trial-and-error when it comes to using them together, don’t forget that this is for mutual pleasure. “It’s really important to remember that sex toys are not your adversaries, they’re your teammates. Embracing them is a huge part of experiencing the full breadth of pleasure you can have,” Engle states.
It’s cheesy, but it’s about the journey more than the destination - enjoy it!