At some point in most relationships, the question of whether to add another party to the bedroom comes up. Even if the topic isn’t broached verbally, it's likely that at least one of you have thought about it. Don’t panic: This isn’t a discussion of ménages and the intricacies of those relationships (although we'll get to that on Kinkly soon!). Nope, we're talking about bringing a bedroom accessory to the bedroom. Here we'll take a look at what to know. After all, three can be more fun - but it can also be a crowd.

Why Add a Toy?

Maybe your sex life is great but it needs freshening up. Or maybe you want to try something different but don’t know how adventurous you’re willing to be. Possibly, your partner is pushing for a little extra and has given you the reins to make that happen. Whatever the case may be, a battery-operated playmate may just the fix you're looking for.

OK. So a sex toy doesn't come with all the emotions - namely jealousy - that can come with bringing another person into a sexual relationship. But it still comes with some of them. In fact, a sex toy can open up an emotional can of worms. The buzz of a new vibrator can leave many men feeling insecure, and women may not be game for what some male sex toys involve (you want me to put what where?) Other times, the stigma attached to sex toys can lead to feelings of guilt. Before you change things up, take these feelings seriously. There's no bigger buzz kill than an unhappy partner.

You should also take a look at the facts before you judge your potential new partner too harshly. A 2011 survey out of Indiana University’s Center for Sexual Health Promotion found that those who had positive feelings about vibrators - and had used one recently - reported the highest levels of sexual satisfaction. The reality is that a big, shiny dildo isn't a replacement for a real, flesh-and-blood partner; it's a tool designed to help boost sexual pleasure, both alone and in pairs. Plus, a survey by sex toy retailer Adam & Eve found that 78 percent of women who reported having used a sex toy were also in a relationship.

Getting To Know You ...

One of the best things about sex toys is that they’re versatile and entail everything from cute and coy to over-the-top carnal. If you and your partner have never used a sex toy together, you should take your time in selecting a new partner you think you can both get into. Then take it slow. The key is to start with what interests you, maybe pushes your boundaries a little, but that you're still comfortable with. If bondage freaks you out, you don't have to let your partner truss you up in leather. But maybe a cute a little fur covered cuff would be a start? If you find you like that, there’s plenty of time to graduate to something kinkier.

Toy threesomes often begin with a simple accessory like a vibrator - and boy can that go a long way! If your partner feels there's room for only one phallus in the room, try a bullet or egg vibe, or this nifty thing from WeVibe. What makes a vibrator the perfect toy to share is the fact that it can be used in a variety of ways. It can be used in sensual body massage. It can be used as part of foreplay to tease erogenous zones that are nowhere near the genitals, such as the neck or behind the knees. Once both partners become used to the sensation, vibrators can be used in sensitive hot spots like the nipples, clitoris or testicles. (Check out more neat toys in our Reviews section.)

Exploring different ways to use a toy pleasurably is a huge part of the adventure. A great challenge to take on is discovering how many sexy uses you and your partner can come up with for a bedroom accessory.

Go With What You Know

If you already use a sex toy alone, it may be a good idea to share that one with your partner first. For instance, male masturbation sleeves are typically thought of as one-player toys, but they can be adapted for couples very easily. Instead of a male partner using the sleeve to masturbate alone, his partner can use it to pleasure him. Depending on the material the sleeve is made of and the textures it may include, it may also be used to tease female body parts such as the nipples and the clitoris.

One exciting way to use a masturbation sleeve with both partners is to use an open ended sleeve for sex that does not include deep penetration. Simply slide the sleeve onto the penis and then insert it just four inches or so into the vagina. That's where sensation is the greatest. This technique also comes in handy for positions that usually involve very deep penetration. In this case, the sleeve can act as a bit of a buffer, ensuring everyone's comfortable and happy. (Check out Adam & Eve's collection of sleeves here.)

And if you already have a bullet vibrator in the drawer, bring that baby out on couple's night; it isn't just for women. Men often enjoy the vibration on their nipples or testicles, or the sensations the bullet can create within the vagina if used on the clitoris during sex.

Using a toy you’re already familiar with creates the advantage of eliminating the learning curve. You already enjoy the accessory, and by sharing your toys with your partner, you’re bringing him or her into your world.

Call on the Experts

If you or your partner doesn't already own bedroom accessories or know how to use them, call on the experts to show you how so you get the best and most accurate information. Several bedroom accessory sales companies employ personal consultants who can provide in-home demonstrations and tutorials on how to use the toys they sell. While these experts do not provide literal hands on expertise, you can generally view the products and handle them (with clothes on) in order to become familiar with them. This consultation can take place inside your home or in a private setting, ensuring all your questions are answered.

Knowledgeable salespeople at adult stores can also provide information on how to use the sex toys they sell. Ask them anything you want. I guarantee it won't phase them a bit! Just make sure to choose a store where there are enough sales personnel to address all your questions in detail.

The people who work in the sex toy industry often do so because they’re passionate about helping people have better sex. In other words, they're a great resource!

Caring for Your New Friend

Once you find a toy you love, you'll want to make it last (especially since the high-end toys can be a bit of an investment.) Here's how to ensure your toy will bring you pleasure for years to come.

  • Never use an anal toy in the vagina or mouth. Bacteria from the anal area can cause infections in the vagina or the digestive tract when transferred.
  • Use cleanser made specifically for toys to clean your playthings after every use. Bacteria from dirty toys can cause infections and using generic cleansers can jeopardize the integrity of your toys and cause them to degrade.
  • Remove the batteries from your toys before stowing them away. Batteries can leak and the battery acid may eat at the inside of your toy and cause it to malfunction.
  • Use toys with one partner (set of partners) at a time. Using bedroom accessories with a variety of partners increases the chances for the spread of STDs.
  • Use lube - and make sure to use the correct type of lubricant for the toy you’re using. Some lubricants can damage toys made of certain materials.

Creating a thrilling threesome can be a breath of fresh air for your sex life - without the emotional baggage of adding human partners. And you never know, adding another element to the mix might just double your pleasure.