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How to start using sex toys with your partner

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Sex toys don't have to be just a solo activity

“Why use sex toys?” our amazing Sex Educator, Laura Delarato, begins. She’s cracking jokes and making sure everyone feels comfortable.

It’s 9:00 pm on a Wednesday. I’m sitting in a class at The Pleasure Chest on the Upper East Side learning about how to incorporate sex toys into the bedroom. I’m here because I’m sexually inexperienced and my love life sucks. After a five-year dry spell, I’m trying to get my mojo back by exploring the sex and dating scene of New York City.

I’m a total noob when it comes to sex toys. I barely use them alone, let alone with a partner. I want to because I believe good sex is part of a healthy relationship. I’m hoping that I’ll find a partner who wants to explore. I’m taking copious notes, just in case I ever have sex again.

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Laura starts by clearing the air about some of the myths surrounding sex toys. The first myth, she says, is that sex toys are just for women. “Sex toys are for all bodies. What about putting a vibrator against your cheek while giving a blowjob? Or using it to relax the sphincter muscles of the anus.”

I turn to my friend, jaw agape. We both make a, “Oh, that never even crossed my mind,” face. I write down the blowjob one and place a star next to it.

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The second myth, she says, is that sex toys will somehow replace the person you're having sex with. "Sex toys don’t replace people. Sex is 90% mental. You aren’t gonna hold hands with your vibrator. Women are afraid that they’ll lose the ability to orgasm from oral or penetrative sex if they become ‘addicted’ to their vibrator," she tells us. Even men, she says, think they're in competition with stimulation they won't be able to live up to. "There’s no research that suggests this is true. So using a sex toy occasionally is totally fine.”

I imagine a lot of us would like to try new things in the bedroom but are a little nervous to start. If you’re like me and a total beginner, walking into a sex store or shopping online can seem overwhelming, particularly if you want your partner to participate. Here are some of the most important steps in exploring sex toys with your partner.

1. Talk about it

People think that talking about these things can ruin the element of surprise but it’s actually a great way to begin the fantasy. Start out by imagining a scene together. “You come home and I’m wearing.... We move to the bedroom and I pull out my vibrator and run it along your arm before kissing my way downwards.” Or whatever. Build up the anticipation by fantasizing about it together. Verbalize what you want and encourage your partner to verbalize what they want.

2. Actually buy a toy

Laura explained that sex toys can fall pretty squarely into four categories. There are external toys, like vibrators and cock rings; internal toys like anal beads and dildos; jerk-off toys like the Tenga egg, which sits over the head, the most sensitive part of the penis; and sensory play toys like whips and candles.

But there are proper ways to use each of these. For example, cock rings go around both the testicles and the penis. Anal toys need a base or they could get sucked up and then stuck (talk about an awkward way to wind up in the hospital.) For sensory toys, buy objects designed specifically for sex play — a regular candle might actually burn you. And spit is not lube, it evaporates too quickly. Buy lube.

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3. Maintain communication with your partner while using the toy

Like anything sex-related, communication is key. Be verbal with your partner about what feels good and doesn’t feel good. Tell them where to move, how much pressure they should use. If something hurts, tell them to stop.

4. Enjoy

There’s something wonderful about finding new ways to make your partner feel good. Sex is a primal instinct and a healthy part of a good relationship. Sex toys can add another element of intimacy or fun. So, go out and explore.

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