Even if you’ve totally embraced sex toys in your solo sex life (and I hope you have!), whipping toys out with partners is a whole other conversation. For some reason, there’s still a lot of weirdness about using sex toys as a couple. You might have internalized the narrative that a good partner is supposed to be “enough” for you and your needs, no toys required. Meanwhile, we hear that masturbation is a time to explore and experiment and just do what we like. With all this messaging, it’s no wonder some people don’t want to introduce toys to a partnership.
But that shouldn’t be the case. Sex toys can be a strong addition to any sex life if all parties are curious. “Sex is the adult version of the playground,” sex therapist Rosara Torrisi, L.C.S.W., Ph.D., tells SELF. “It’s where we’re allowed to let go and be playful. And with that in mind, you can use anything you want on the playground, including toys.”
So let’s talk about what that looks like if you want to really get creative with it.
1. Shop for a toy together to build up anticipation.
If you’re truly a beginner to using sex toys together, it can be a really good idea to follow your curiosities and familiarize yourself with what options are out there. More than that, it’s an incredible opportunity to talk with your partner about your interests and can double as foreplay.
“There can be a complete lack of communication between partners about what they like,” says Torrisi. “To be able to say, ‘Hey, let’s use this toy,’ means ‘Hey, I like this sort of thing’ or ‘Hey, I’m curious about this.’”
You can do this in person and online. When you shop in a boutique, you have the advantage of seeing and feeling toys IRL, which might give you a better idea of what you like. Plus, there are salespeople there who can answer your questions for you, and if you find something you like, you get to take it home and use it right away. (Just be mindful of other people—the excitement of browsing sex toys with a partner in public is great, but you don’t want to be so explicit that you involve other people without their consent.)
Meanwhile, shopping online is private, which might give you more space to talk comfortably about what draws you to certain toys and how you’d use them—and you can go into a lot more detail than you would in public. Sure, you have to wait for it to arrive once you order it, but hey, there’s something to be said for anticipation.
2. Use toys all over your body.
Most sex toys are typically used on your genitals, like using a vibrator to stimulate your clitoris. But Torrisi encourages people to explore their entire body with a toy, whether that means experimenting with how vibration feels on your nipples or how the smooth silicone of a dildo feels running down your back.
“Don’t use a new toy on your genitals the first time,” she advises. “Play with it on your skin along the whole rest of your body and just see what that feels like.”
3. Stimulate yourself during penetration.
A big reason people with vaginas may have trouble orgasming during penetration is the lack of clitoral stimulation. There’s nothing wrong with taking the reins there while your partner penetrates you. Get your hands on an unobtrusive clit vibrator like the We-Vibe Touch (Amazon) or the Fin Finger Vibrator (Dame) so you can figure out what feels good for you. Switching up position helps too; you’ll probably find it’s easier to hold a vibrator justright, say, while riding on top of your partner than on your hands and knees.
4. Edge with toys.
Toys are especially handy when it comes to experimenting with edging, the act of getting yourself or a partner close to orgasm but stopping before it actually happens. You know, pushing each other to the edge of orgasm and backing off. Not only is it equal parts teasing and sexy, but it also helps you and your partner tune into exactly what needs to happen to make each other orgasm.
Because so many people with vaginas use toys to achieve orgasm—like the MVP of many sex toy drawers, the Magic Wand (Amazon)—they can be perfect tools for edging.
5. Use couple-specific toys.
While any toy can be a couple’s toy when you put your mind to it, there are some toys on the market specifically for partnered play, certified sex therapist and founder of Papaya Parties Courtney Geter, L.M.F.T., tells SELF. A lot of them are designed with P-in-V sex in mind, such as the Paloqueth Couples Vibrator (Amazon), which can be inserted into the vagina during penetration to provide sensation for the clitoris, G-spot, and partner’s penis all at once.
There are also toys that require the wearer to insert it into their vagina to penetrate their partner, like the Tracey Cox Strapless Strap-On Vibrator (Lovehoney). Meaning, more intimate sensation for all parties involved.
6. Play with all of your senses.
According to Torrisi, there are many ways to get creative with your senses during sex with the help of toys. For example, you can experiment with temperature. Metal toys, like the cult favorite Pure Wand ($120, Njoy), retain temperature when you run them under hot or cold water. There are also warming toys like the Doc Johnson iWand ($58, Amazon) that you might find feel great on all your erogenous zones.
Don’t forget sensory deprivation, either. The touch of a toy can feel so much more intense without your sense of sight, for instance. If you’re intrigued, try this simple satin blindfold (Amazon).
7. Masturbate together.
Using toys together doesn’t have to mean using toys on each other. Mutual masturbation is an equally valid way to explore your bodies, show each other what you’re into, and get off together. Also, if your partner has a penis and isn’t used to masturbating with toys, now is a great time to introduce them to some options.
Original story published here.