That’s right, toys can be for adults, too. Following on the heels of yesterday’s fundraiser at Bayside Bowl in Portland, we figured we’d toss you a post about toys. Today’s #30daysofSpeakAboutIt post is from Julia Bond of “It’s Not That Weird.” According to their site:
It’s Not That Weird is an attitude that was born when a prone-to-oversharing college student realized how much people enjoyed talking about their sex lives and how few opportunities there were to do so. Sex is sometimes perceived as something that people should be inherently good at, or something that should come naturally when you have feelings for a partner. In reality, though, sex is complicated, messy, challenging and sometimes awkward. It’s also, in a lot of cases, a ton of fun. It’s Not That Weird is a space for honest, light-hearted, evidence-based and fun conversation about sex. The topics are broad and frequently random, but they all share the same key underlying attitude: when it comes to sex, It’s Not That Weird.
Julia has also done some marketing and PR work for Speak About It and we’re thrilled to have this post from her about sex toys, why some of them are different, and where to find ’em. Probably a good idea to say this post is NSFW.
Why is this important? What does a conversation about sex toys have to do with sexual assault prevention? Like an earlier post about sex museums, we think that understanding our boundaries, and understanding how to communicate them, is vital in the conversation about consent education and sexual assault prevention. Maybe we’ll use the toys alone to learn about our own bodies and what excites us. Or using toys with a partner will rely heavily on communication, negotiation, and consent. Either way, understanding healthy sexuality is absolutely a step sexual assault prevention.
Stay involved in the conversation with #30daysofgiving. Donate here.
Buying sex toys can feel intimidating for a variety of reasons. For one thing, depending upon where you’re shopping, stores can make you feel exposed or embarrassed. For another thing, shopping for a sex toy involves quite a bit of hypothesizing. It’s like buying a bicycle without the benefit of being able to take it for a test ride. You can only guess how it’ll feel after it’s been between your legs for a few hours.
That said, the first and most important part of buying any sex toy is remembering that it is completely normal. Regardless of whether it’s for your own personal use, or use with a partner, or maybe to have just in case, buying toys is exciting and a great way to expand your sexual horizons. Getting the right toy for you want need will take a little browsing, so shop with confidence.
Sex toys have a much wider and more fulfilling range than the traditional massive dick facsimile dildo that always seems to be brandished in lame comedy movies. It’s important to have some idea of what you want your toy for. There are many vibrating instruments (the smallest of which are fondly known as bullets) that can be used to stimulate extra-sensitive areas like the clitoris, the perineum or the head of a penis. You can also get G-spot wands, which look pretty futuristic but are designed to facilitate easy access to the G-spot. If you want something more substantial, you can always go the dildo route. Dildos vary greatly in size and shape. Some, like the Rabbit model popularized by Sex and the City, come equipped with a vibrating attachment riding on top that is designed to stimulate sensitive tissues in supplement to the penetrative aspect. Take some time to consider what you’re looking for. Do you like clitoral stimulation? Anal penetration? G-spot play? There is toy to suit any preference, or to help you explore a new facet of your sexuality if that’s what you’re after.
If you’re interested in anal play, trying butt plugs or anal beads is a good idea. They are designed with wide bases or handles to minimize the risk of being inserted too deeply. They also tend to be made with less porous material so they are easier to disinfect.
Always be cognizant of the material of your sex toy, especially toys that will be inserted. Many dildos are made of rubber because it is cheap and durable. This is good news, as rubber is non porous and can be easily cleaned. Silicone is another popular material for dildos because it is non porous, easy to clean, and quick to warm up. Many silicone dildos can be cleaned in a dishwasher. Jelly dildos are a softer form of rubber and though they are squishier and may feel more realistic, they are easily contaminated because their surface is porous. Be sure to get accurate information about cleaning your toy. If you don’t feel comfortable asking in a sex shop, you can call the manufacturer and ask. When sharing your toy, cover it with a condom to minimize the chance of spreading STIs. Sharing toys can transmit STIs if you or your partner have any.
If you can, try to find a local shop you feel comfortable with. Having knowledgeable, non-judgemental people around can really help you find what’s best for you. In general, try to avoid gimmicky sex shops or dirty video stores that stick a row of toys in the back. You’ll likely have a better experience with a store that is expressly designed for selling sex toys, and not as gag gifts. These stores also tend to have workshops about healthy sexuality and using sex toys, which can be very informative. Off the top of my head, Nomia in Portland, Maine, Babeland in NYC or Seattle, or Good Vibrations are wonderful places to go. If you don’t have access to a comfortable, expert store in your hometown, Babeland does a great job with discreet shipping all over the country. You can call their customer service line with questions about products. We also just found this awesome link to great stores across the country, so feel free to shop on your next road trip.
Sex toys are a fun and funky way to expand your sexual horizons (sexrizons? No). There are toys to meet every possible desire, so don’t feel embarrassed or pressured when considering your options. Ask questions of knowledgeable friends or sales people that you trust. And remember that worst comes to worst, if you wind up with a toy you don’t love…you can always buy another one.