I like toys. No, I'm not talking Matchbox and Polly Pockets. Am talking Hitachi and B.O.B. And talking about these things with me today is Brie Sheldon, who, as a Pure Romance representative, is kind of an expert on such things.
Viv: First the myths about toys and aids. Shall we start by blowing some of them up? Explode these, please:
Myth 1. If you have a great sex life (compatible partner, good sex drive, etc.) you don't need any toys or aids.
Brie Sheldon: I disagree! Toys are useful for more than just people without partners or who feel they don't get the most out of their sex life (although they are certainly very useful for those people!). The key to using toys in a great sex life is using them to experience new sensations and make your sex life AMAZING instead! Toys can be good for mutual masturbation and for assisting oral sex, too. Ever hear of a hummer? They're amazing when you hold a bullet vibe to your cheek!
Many women don't experience orgasm from vaginal penetration only and need clitoral stimulation, so bringing a bullet vibrator into the bedroom to use in tandem with your partner can make it more likely that you'll have more orgasms -- good for the body, good for the soul! Not to forget the g-spot -- stimulating the g-spot can give women an orgasm that's completely different and even stronger. The more you stimulate it with g-spot toys, the more likely you are to orgasm from penetration, and the easier it is to orgasm in general.
It's also good for men -- stimulation of the prostate can make sex even better. Using anal toys (with the proper safety and sanitary measures in consideration) can really feel good for guys, and can change the dynamic in the bedroom.
Toys are good for couples who spend time apart, too. The male masturbation aides can help women feel a little more secure if their male partners travel a lot (particularly nice for soldiers), and it makes phone sex even better when you have a hand-operated partner to help you out!
Myth 2. Only porn actors or tramps use toys.
Very untrue! Toys are for everyone (of age). I have met people in many different lines of business and of nearly every age that use toys. They are helpful for people in almost any situation -- from young people still trying to learn about their bodies, to seasoned adults trying to learn about their bodies! They're good for improving your relationships both by experiencing new sensations and increasing communication. Often, bringing a toy into the bedroom will spark conversations about preferences and kinks -- something that every couple should talk about.
Myth 3. Playing with bondage accessories means you're into BDSM.
Not necessarily. Using a small whip or cuffs in the bedroom on occasion is just an enhancement -- it isn't a lifestyle or something that cements you as being into the culture of BDSM. It's something to spice things up. Some partners really enjoy having just something new, a new type of situation, roleplaying, that kind of thing. It doesn't mean you're a masochist or that you like it rough, from my perspective -- it's just something fun.
Myth 3a. And that's a bad thing.
When it comes to sex and sexual preferences, I don't really think there is a "bad" kink. So long as the people involved are consenting adults who both have agreed to the terms, and both parties know and use a safe word, I think it's a matter of what makes you happy and what fulfills you sexually and emotionally. Even in vanilla sex, a safe word is always a good idea -- sometimes you just need to stop doing what you're doing. Communication is key in that. BDSM is not, as a rule, a dangerous or bad thing. In fact, experimenting with bondage can really give an opportunity to exercise trust and learn boundaries with partners.
Myth 4. Using a toy means you're lonely or can't get a real live partner.
No way! Sex -- even sex by yourself -- is healthy! If you aren't having sex regularly with a partner, masturbation is a good way to learn your body, get your heart pumping, and increase all those feel-good hormones. The thing is, the more you have sex, the more you want it and the more your skin glows and your confidence grows. Even if that sex is with B.O.B. or P.E.T.E., you can bet that having a little "you" time before you head out dancing will make you feel more confident and sexy. Isn't that what people always say they want in a potential partner: confidence?
It's also really important to know that not everyone wants a partner, and even for those people who do, sexual activity still can help lower blood pressure and increase confidence in all areas of life. When you know your body and you know what you like, it makes a lot of things easier. That's part of what I get out of my job -- knowing that I am helping people feel better about themselves, helping them own their bodies and their sexuality.
And now a couple of general-purpose questions. First, what do you suggest for folks who are allergic to latex but don't want to use hormones or surgical prophylactics?
As far as other options for birth control measures when it comes to latex allergies, the best option (aside from avoiding actual sexual penetration) is polyurethane condoms -- they're just as effective and solve the problem with ease. Most female condoms are made of polyurethane, and they also have the benefit of putting birth control in the hands of the woman -- something I think can give women more security with sex. There are also options like contraceptive sponges, but they are less effective and have a risk of increased infections (yeast or urinary tract) and have no impact on protecting against sexually transmitted infections or diseases, and lamb skin condoms, which are reliable to prevent pregnancy, but again, not sexually transmitted infections or diseases.
Finally, I really hate that chemical smell of KY and other lubes, but I hear tell that natural lubricants like plain old oil or lotion aren't as effective. Solution?
As I like to tell my friends, we totally have something for that! If you're not into KY and you want a lubricant that doesn't smell or feel weird, you want to use a water-based lubricant like Just Like Me. Just Like Me is one of my favorite products -- I call it my Holy Hand Grenade of sex. It's water-based, so it works just like the natural lubrication in your body, and it has a unique rewetting quality so it keeps you lubricated longer. It's great for women with sensitivities, and it's an excellent "everyday" lubricant.
For longer "sex sessions" and shower fun, there are silicone-based lubricants like our Pure Pleasure and Pure Silk. They last longer, but still have no weird scents or flavors, and work well with your natural pH.
Another option is a playful lubricant -- if you love oral sex but aren't too big a fan of the flavor, we have products like Great Head (which really helps with the gagging for fellatio), Sensations -- a warming lubricant that frankly tastes delicious, and Whipped, which is great for the male masturbation aides and c-rings. Whipped also tastes fantastic!
Thanks for weighing in on all things Toy, Brie. You've certainly given me some good ideas for behaving badly.
Vivien Jackson writes about characters having sex. A lot.
Brie Sheldon is an official Pure Romance representative. Her online storefront is here, but she encourages folks interested in products to e-mail her beforehand, just in case there are any specials.