Three tombstones in a graveyard, left one says "here lies they who said "dildo" and died of embarrassment" with a sad face, middle one says "no, fuck that" with an angry face, right one says "bury shame and fear! not healthy conversations!"

Picking Out Sex Toys With Your Partner

How To Pick Out Sex Toys With Your Partner When You Would Rather Die Than Say The Word “Dildo” Out Loud

Continuing from my previous blog post, when I was finally in enough wrist pain to breach the topic of purchasing new sex toys, it was…a hurdle for me to overcome, to say the least. Despite being a proud gay with my fun and nifty sex toy reviews blog, I still struggle a lot with reconciling with my past trauma, being confident in my sexuality, and pushing through my tendency to feel shame and embarrassment.

So, in order to move past my own airport terminal full of personal baggage and both me and my partner’s tendencies to be shy and embarrassed, here are my HOT AND SPICY TIPS for how to discuss introducing sex toys into your relationship when you’re both shy and awkward and would rather die than say “let’s buy a dildo”!!!!

STEP ONE: do your research!

Although this is an early post, I’ve spent the past year or so leading up to the creation of this blog hyperfixating (my ADHD strikes again) on sex toy reviews, obsessively poring over every post I could find, combing through every page and post of the blogs of sex toy reviewers that I admire. Through these effort , I was able to learn a wealth of information about sex toys that greatly aided me in creating a wishlist and narrowing down my decisions from there.

For me, my early 2020 deep dive into sex toys revolved around learning about what the most enjoyable sex toys for me and my partner might be as well as the best stores to buy from, as I had the benefit of learning about safe sex toy materials several years ago when I first started reading sex toy review blogs.

When I did my initial round of sex toy research in 2015, I didn’t have the financial resources to invest in very many sex toys. Not to mention, back then I still lived with my parents, so I wasn’t in a sex toy friendly environment.

If you’re just starting to dig in and research sex toys for the very first time, be sure to research sex toy safety, as the most important factor in choosing a sex toy is making sure the toy is made of safe materials.

STEP TWO: communicate in a safe environment!

Because of my trauma-related issues and general shyness and anxiety, my partner and I didn’t speak so much in person about this topic.

Instead, we communicated within the safe confines of a Google Doc!

After reading sex toy reviews nonstop for a solid two weeks in January 2020, I was able to narrow down some of my top picks. In our collaborative “nsfw shopping” Google Doc, I posted links to the sex toys I was interested in, links to positive reviews I had read that supported my interest in these sex toys, and my own personal commentary regarding my selections.

I then shared this document with my partner, allowing them the convenience of reading it on their own time without the tension and pressure that in person conversations can often bring on.

My partner has regular depression and I have bipolar that often manifests in depressive episodes, so a lot of the time a dildo is the last thing either of us want to discuss in person.

Sex can be a difficult topic to discuss when you’re both in the mental health wriggler, and discussing it within a designated space helps to create boundaries that ultimately make it easier and less stressful to discuss certain topics.

In our collaborative Google Doc, we could easily view each other’s commentary and add new links and comments when we felt we were in a good mental state to do so. This made it an effective way to communicate without spiking anxiety or stress in either of us.  

STEP THREE: narrow down what you both want!

Because my partner and I both have vaginas, we wanted to select sex toys that we would both be able to enjoy and get good mileage out of.

We took some time to reflect on the sex we’d had in the past, and determined we were both interested in   textured toys targeted towards  g-spot stimulation.

We also decided that we wanted to introduce strap-on play into our relationship, a decision that from my perspective was largely because of my wrist pain.

Once we decided what we both wanted the most, we narrowed down the list of potential purchases from our larger initial list and picked a small, but diverse smattering of sex toys to start our collection off with.

Since we could only pick a limited number of items, we tried really hard to pick out things we thought we would both be able to enjoy.

Even though my partner and I are very serious and still remain very much committed to a long term relationship with each other, we also discussed who would get which sex toys in the event of a breakup. This is probably how millennials are killing relationships, but I am stubbornly committed to equity in my relationships as well as planning for the worst case scenarios.

STEP FOUR: try them out!!!!

Receiving the box of our newly purchased sex toys in the mail was…nerve wracking. I cannot emphasize enough how stressful this was for me. You wouldn’t think it from a sex toy blogger, of all people, but when I came home from work I could barely even make eye contact with the box our new sex toys had arrived in.

Trauma really does some shit to your brain, but the key is being patient with yourself and taking steps to work around it.

What saved me was the eternal patience and understanding of my partner–dildos and  sex toys are a lot less stressful when you have someone being careful to take a casual attitude and gently walk with you at your own pace. The first interactions with the new sex toys weren’t even sexual–my partner let me look at them by myself, then we looked at them together. Clothes on, lights on, no sexual tension whatsoever–it basically followed all the guidance that is typically recommended when bringing home a new cat or dog and allowing it to slowly adjust to your home.

It’s a lot easier to get used to the dildo you just bought when you’re sitting there in your sweatpants squishing it and looking at its tie-dye patterns as opposed to immediately introducing it into your vagina.

Sexual trauma is a big mountain to overcome, and I wouldn’t call myself “cured” of my trauma, but I’ve definitely progressed to a point that I couldn’t have imagined years ago. I’m extremely grateful that the sex toy related trauma I experienced with my abusive ex has now been largely overwritten by the positive experiences I’ve had with my current partner.

Having someone gleefully wiggle a dildo at you is, in fact, a healing moment.

STEP FIVE: rinse and repeat!!!

There’s a lot of interesting sex toys out there, and my partner and I are looking forward to continuing to try more and more of them out. While sometimes I remain too shy to fully articulate what I’m interested in trying out loud, my partner and I now mostly use a designated NSFW channel in our own personal Discord server for just the two of us (a few channels above “recipes” and a few channels below “memes”) to communicate about what sex toys we’re interested in trying next.

Even better, it’s been nearly a year since my first foray into discussing sex toys in the shy, sacred confines of that Google Doc, but now I have reached a point where I can comfortably talk to my partner about new ideas out loud! The Discord channel is mostly a point of convenience since the evils of capitalism make it so that we only have about 4 and a half hours of free time we can actually spend with each other on any given day once tasks like sleeping and work have been accounted for.

I’m glad to say I’ve moved past the Google Doc in terms of requiring it to communicate, but it is still actively used for making new wishlists and keeping track of particularly informative reviews on said wishlist items. 

WHAT ABOUT YOU?

How do you and your partner(s) communicate about sex toys? What’s your approach when deciding on a new purchase?

Do you print out some pictures, tape them to the wall, blindfold yourself, and throw some darts to see what you land on? Or do you draw the names of dildos out of a hat? Let me know in the comments or on Twitter!

4 comments

  1. So, when I was first starting out as a reviewer I would accept anything and everything I could get. I approved everything then and now. Then, I was given options. Now, I choose myself which is nice. I take a look at what other people are reviewing and then I either do or do not follow that path.

    A lot of times I’ll simply go after a toy I think would work well for my body or for my relationship. Now, I like comparing toys so if there’s a toy in a line I’d like, but there are ones I won’t like, I’ll still review that line and figure out why I don’t like it.

    I don’t throw all the sex toys at my wife but occasionally I bring her into the discussion and we get something she may like, too.

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