Sara and Mark wanted to spice up their sex life. For their weekly date night, she suggested they venture to an adult store and buy a toy.
“What kind of toy are you considering?” Mark asked.
Sara had no idea, having never made such a purchase. “Let’s just go into the shop and see what happens!” A few days later, Sara and Mark found themselves at an adult store for the first time. It was packed with so many options they did not know where to start.
“I read an article that said sex-toy shopping is like buying a pair of shoes,” Sara said. “You have to follow your instinct on what feels most attractive and calls out to you.”
“How do we know if it will fit?” Mark asked.
“Good question … maybe it’s one size fits all,” Sara suggested.
They decided to split up and find a toy that personally spoke to them. They re-grouped at the cash register to compare purchases. Mark found a large, rotating, dark blue dildo. Sara found a small, pink, multi-speed clitoral vibrator. They bought both and decided to name each. Mark chose “Steel Johnson”; Sara settled on “Bunny Frou- Frou.”
Sara and Mark demonstrate a common challenge many couples face with regard to sex toys: To buy or not to buy … and if buying, which one?
Mark did not feel intimidated by Steel Johnson. In fact, he liked the idea of penetrating Sara with something besides himself. But many men feel threatened by big phallus-like sex toys, as if they are more powerful replacements for their own penis. But unless you strap it on, sex toys don’t come with a live person attached, and there is a lot to be said for eye contact and human touch.
Sara, on the other hand, was a little nervous at the prospect of Steel Johnson. She and Mark acclimated to Bunny Frou Frou first, then slowly introduced Steel Johnson. A few months later, they decided to get a toy specifically for Mark. Nervous, but intrigued by anal stimulation, they did some online research for prostate-safe toys and settled on the Aneros toy, a male g-spot stimulator. Soon, they were making purchases for fantasy books, foreplay board games and toys for couples, including vibrating cock rings and a beginner’s bondage set with scarves and feathers.
Going to a local adult store can be an adventurous activity in and of itself. You can hold the display toys or ask for advice from the friendly and knowledgeable employees. If you prefer more privacy, you can hire an expert consultant to host a sex-toy party with a close-knit group of friends. And if making your purchase in person still feels daunting, be an anonymous online shopper.
Keep in mind that buying a sex toy doesn’t mean your lover stinks in bed. Buying a sex toy doesn’t mean that your own fingers, tongues or genitals don’t work well. Mark and Sara took a risk to open their sex life to items that would add seduction and sensation. These accessories were not substitutions for one another, but fun supplements to their sex life.
Like buying a pair of shoes, Mark and Sara learned that some activities call for running shoes, while some demand three-inch stilettos. One size may not fit all, but luckily there exists a plethora of toys to be used alone or in tandem, for various erogenous zones, gender or non-gender specific. And of course, it’s nice sometimes just to go barefoot!
“We really have started to learn that sex is so much more than basic penetration,” Sara states. “Our routine no longer follows a repetitive script. Steel Johnson and Bunny Frou Frou have since multiplied, and now sex is like a spontaneous dance where we can open our stimulating, sexual shoebox when we wish.”
Start adding to your shoebox tonight. Come to my free talk at Fascinations in Boulder at 7 p.m. on The Art of Oral Sex: A Guide to Fellatio and Cunnilingus, and get a free $10 gift card for in-store purchases. See you there!
Jenni Skyler, PhD, is a sex therapist and board-certified sexologist. She runs The Intimacy Institute in Boulder, www. theintimacyinstitute.org