We talk a lot about how to introduce partners to our sex toys. The Internet is chock full of resources for helping folks who are totally comfortable with sex toys ease their partners into the idea, but you know what we’re lacking? A guide to meeting sex toys for the uninitiated partners out there. So, I’ve put together this list of tips for sex toy newbies who are meeting their partners' toys for the first time. Everything from jealousy to etiquette - it’s right here! Here goes:
The Big Reveal: Meeting Your Partner's Sex Toy
It's Not About You
Somewhere along the line, we got the idea that we should just automatically know how to please each other in bed and that any kind of speaking up on the matter is an insult. That is some seriously flawed logic. Learning what pleases your partner is a good thing! Resist the urge to see your partner's interest in sex toys as a critique of your skills. Instead, embrace it as a chance to learn and play together.
Remember: All experiences with your partner build your arsenal of sexual skills. The more you and your partner learn about what makes each other tick sexually, the bigger your sexual toolbox and the more potential you have for having some serious fun together.
Bonus: Intro to toys! If you’ve never dealt with a sex toy, now is your chance to ask questions and get comfortable with someone you already know and trust. (Read more about how to broach the topic of sex toys in your relationship. Read How Sex Toys Can Help You Play Nice With a Partner.)
Toys Aren't People
Your partner doesn't have feelings for this object; it is simply a route to orgasm. Sometimes we get caught on the feeling that we should be “giving” our partners all their orgasms, and this can lead to irrational feelings - like jealously of their toys. Stop that. Now.
Remember: The very fact that your partner wants to bring you into this very personal moment indicates a certain level of trust and intimacy. Your partner wants you to know them better; showing you how they masturbate is a piece of that.
Bonus: Now you get to be part of this experience! (Need more reasons to try masturbating with a partner? Read 6 Reasons Why Masturbation Isn't Just Fun for One.)
Don't Yuck Your Partner's Yum
If your partner is letting you into their private sexual interests, they are telling you that they trust you and want to get more intimate. Don't judge them. There's no "right" or "wrong" way to orgasm. It's easy to get hung up on what we think sex "should" be. For a lot of folks, that doesn't include toys. But would you rather stick to an idea about the "right " kind of sex or would you rather have fun with your partner? Thought so!
Remember: You probably have things you do while pleasuring yourself that you would be self-conscious about sharing, right? Treat your partner the way you would want to be treated if the tables were turned.
Bonus: Seeing what kind of toy your partner prefers can give you valuable info about how their body works. G-spot toy? Small gentle clitoral vibe? Massive powerful wand? They each clue you in to your partner’s specific bodily needs.
You may feel like you want to do things like vocalize about how “hot” you find seeing your partner with their toy. That’s a common and understandable impulse, but you want to check in with your partner before play time to see how that will make them feel. If this is their first time playing in front of anyone, they may be feeling a bit exposed as it is and your interjections will simply serve to make them uncomfortable (yes, even if you mean them to be complimentary). Additionally, many of us have learned to used toys in a very focused way. So, the first time you are with your partner and their toy, talking while they are trying to get where they are going could send them careening off the path.
Remember: None of this is personal. Your partner loves your voice ... just maybe not now.
Bonus: Your partner may want you to speak up. This is why checking in is always a good idea.
Let Them Show You How They Use Their Toys
This comes back to the issue of taking responsibility for your partner’s orgasm. It can be tempting to try to insert yourself into the experience, use the toy your own way, wow them with the new, even more pleasurable experience that you imagine you will create with your special and unique spin on it, but, frankly, that’s a super-fast way to piss all over your partner’s pleasure. Your partner wants to show you how they give themselves pleasure, what they have found that makes their body feel good, and their preferred methods of stimulation. By trying to take control things, you are essentially announcing that you know better and taking away your partner's agency. That’s not hot.
Remember: Your partner is the expert on their body and if they want to teach you about it, that’s awesome!
Bonus: Your partner may, at some point, hand their toy off to you. At that point, you’ll know how to wield it for maximum pleasure.
Don’t Use Your Partner’s Toys Without Asking
You may decide that you think sex toys are pretty darn cool (and you’d be right!), but the same rules apply here as with most everything in life. Don’t use someone's stuff without asking. True story: I once had a partner decide to use one of my beloved dildos anally while house-sitting for me. Now, the toy is silicone and thus sanitizable, but I was still not thrilled about a toy I use vaginally being in someone's butt. Just not cool. Don’t do it.
Remember: Sex toys are not just someone’s belongings, they are someone’s super-personal belongings. It’s not cool to use someone's sex toys without permission. Ever.
Bonus: Now you get to shop for your own cool toys!
That’s it, folks! Now you are all set to go forth and meet your partner’s sex toys with confidence. Enjoy!
JoEllen is a writer, speaker, researcher and mental health advocate whose work explores the impact of depression on sex and relationships. Since 2012 she has written about sex, mental health, and how none of us are broken on her award-winning site The Redhead Bedhead.
JoEllen's book The Monster Under the Bed: Sex, Depression & The Conversation We Aren’t Having is now available in paperback, ebook, and audiobook.