Over the past year, we've been collecting stories from people with vulvas who have expressed the shared feeling of discomfort around introducing toys into the bedroom. Let's face it – sex can be a vulnerable experience. Introducing anything new – sex toys or not – can feel awkward because you might not know how your partner will react. When we asked heterosexual cis-men some of their common thoughts about bringing sex toys into the bedroom, it makes sense that it might feel nerve-wracking to make the suggestion.
Here's what heterosexual cis-men shared with flossy:
- "Is sex with just me not enough?"
- "What if she likes the vibrator more than me?"
- "What if it interrupts our sex life in some way?"
- "I'm worried sex feels less natural or the toy will somehow be in the way."
- "I'm worried she will need it every time we have sex."
Sexologist Lauren French says, "It's going to sound cliche, but sometimes the cliche just works! Communication is always a great place to start." This is precisely why we've put together a pleasure-centred communication guide for introducing toys into the bedroom that we hope diffuses any shred of discomfort or doubt.
Start by setting the mood
Conversation starter: "Wanna join me on the couch for a cup of tea?"
Moments of intimacy can often feel vulnerable, so rather than jumping into a conversation right after you've had sex, try easing into the conversation over a nice dinner or cup of coffee.
Invite them into the conversation
Conversation starter: "Do you know what I really enjoy about our sex life?"
This starts the conversation in a warm, inviting way that engages your partner's curiosity. Starting the conversation from a place of what's not working or why you're not getting enough pleasure will feed directly into your partner's insecurities. It's not about what needs to be fixed, it's about something that can be enhanced, or explored further. Are there certain positions you really love? Certain sensations that get you going? Why?
Explore your unique experiences of pleasure
"When does sex feel most pleasurable/stimulating/fulfilling for you?"
"This is when sex feels most pleasurable/stimulating/fulfilling for me..."
Many of us have been conditioned to equate sex to penetration given its requirement for reproduction. For people with penises, penetration may more often be the ultimate pathway to pleasure. Encourage your partner to really imagine it from your point of view and similarly do the same when they are sharing their experience.
Frame it as team exploration
Conversation starter: "I have a few ideas for things we could explore together in our sex life..."
In relationships and in life, many people want to feel like active participants in what is happening vs. something being decided for you or happening to you. If you don't have a sex toy yet, it can be really fun to shop for one together and decide together what might be fun to bring into the bedroom. Fun tip: Something like Fin by Dame Products which can be worn around the fingers can be a great way for your partner to feel excited about bringing a vibrator into the bedroom because they can be the ones to wear it!
Highlight body mechanics and facts
"Did you know that over 80% of people with vulvas require more than just penetration to orgasm?"
"Here are a few positions that might feel even more pleasurable for me if we were to introduce a toy."
While orgasm is certainly not the only measure of sexual pleasure, it can be helpful to explain that penetration alone often isn't the marker of peak sexual pleasure for vulva owners. As Psychosexologist Chantelle Otten says, "You can consider the clitoris your pleasure powerhouse." The clitoris extends five to seven centimetres inside the body, however, the most sensitive part is typically the external nub that's located just above your inner labia. Explain to your partner that certain positions (i.e. doggy-style) may feel more pleasurable with more direct clitoral stimulation – something a vibrator can be a really helpful tool for.
Conversation starter: "I've heard that using a vibrator can actually help with libido – cool, right?!
We asked Sexologist Lauren French if a vibrator helps or hurts libido and she says, "Any time we're prioritising our own pleasure, it's going to be a huge help to our libido!" For many people with vulvas, adding a vibrator into the mix can actually contribute to higher libido... which is likely to incentivise your partner to whip it out more often than not!
Reiterate that it's about enhancing, not replacing
Conversation starter: "One thing I love about our sex life that a vibrator will never be able to do is____."
Many of us can agree that there's just something different about intimacy with another person. Feeling their body against yours, the sound of heightened breathing, witnessing someone else's arousal in response to yours – all uniquely human experiences that a motorised device will never be able to replicate. Think of it like steeping tea – you can try and steep tea in cold water but it's going to take a long time and it won't taste quite as potent when it hits your lips; but when you soak your favourite tea in hot water, you can extract all the juicy flavour goodness. A vibrator can help make sex just a little extra juicy.
Important note: If after all this, there still seems to be a barrier to inviting sex toys into the bedroom (or worse yet, a complete refusal), it may be a time to seek additional support from a professional. Whatever might be coming up is almost always about much more than sex toys so it's important to seek additional support to truly understand what's going on.