Rants, Feelings & Opinions

How Using Sex Toys in Bed Can Cure Anxiety, Not Cause It

February 13, 2019
lovers, vibrator, The Panty Whisperer, silicone

As a woman with a history of sex shame and an often stubborn clit, feeling confident to bring sex toys into the bedroom has been a #journey. But one definitely worth taking.

This article was created in partnership with LOVERS.

As a slutty woman who grew up in a Catholic family in a small conservative town, I am no stranger to sex shame. And as most of us know, detangling sex from shame is truly a epic and labyrinthian journey. But maybe that’s all part of the fun? 

Real talk: I’m someone who doesn’t cum during sex very easily. (And if you do, I hate you.) Since I was like 13, I’ve able to make myself cum while masturbating in like 4 seconds. But as soon as there’s another person in the room, my clit’s like… bye! This has definitely improved over the years, as I’ve grow more confident and gotten to know my body better (so for those of you who fear you also have an antisocial vagina, there is hope!). One thing that’s helped with this improvement has been using sex toys with partners. But first, I had to overcome the shame of bringing my toys out for show and tell. Literal shame hurdles everywhere.

Let’s face is: sex is a very vulnerable experience—and not just because my slightly-larger left boob is on display. It can be even more vulnerable when you want to integrate something into your sex life—be it your fetish, a vibrator, your horse mask, whatever—when you aren’t sure how your partner will react. While society has made major strides in recent years in the way we think about sexuality, gender, and female pleasure, often—counter intuitively—being able to feel those changes on a micro, personal level takes longer. Like, maybe you’re a vocally sex-positive, but can’t pin down why the hell you can’t bring yourself to ask your partner to fill you with a butt plug—especially if you actually like them. 

I’m holding the Lovers silicone “Panty Whisperer” (it has a remote). The “Tiny Delight” is on my bag and the “End Zone Pleaser” butt plug in my bra obviously.

It was back in my mid twenties that I first starting using a vibrator during partner sex. I was dating a woman at the time, and the idea of asking her to threesome with my sex robot was far less intimidating than asking a dude—likely because I felt a woman could more likely understand my struggle. My girlfriend was down, and what I found was that, after using my toy together for a few weeks, I was able to relax more in bed, and eventually, miraculously, able to come during sex without the toy. So basically, my vibrator was the Xanax to my orgasm anxiety.

My friend Sally, a filmmaker in Brooklyn, recently told me she can only cum with the help of a vibrator, and feels guilty using it during sex with guys. For years she’s been reassuring dudes that their dicks’ inability to vibrate on her clit was not an issue with their respective skillsets—until she finally started leaving her beloved vibrator at home to avoid the award conversations. And thus, began leaving sex dates with the vulvic equivalent of blue balls.

“Wanting to use my vibrator has nothing to do with how I feel about someone—it literally just feels better and helps me cum,” Sally cumplained to me. “While it’s easy to say ‘anyone who’s weird about you using a vibrator in bed is wrong and a douchbag,’ sometimes it helps to compromise.”

Sally’s compromise came in the form of a cock ring—with a vibrating tab, of course. It was the best of both worlds: the ring amplified the guys’ pleasure, and by positioning herself on the ring’s vibrating tab, she was able to climax. Introducing her partners to the pleasure’s of her plastic friend helped in the long term, too. Often, something clicked: a lot of guys realized that the pleasure benefits of sex toys far outweighed shaming Sally into hiding hers. “In an ideal world, we’d all find partners that care about our pleasure more than they care about doing it analog,” Sally told me, “but in the meantime, I might as well be getting off.”

Another friend of mine, Frankie, recently told me how using a dildo helped her overcome feelings of sexual ineptitude and shame when she started dating women, after only being with men for decades. “There’s nothing like getting it on with a woman to make you feel like you’re 16 again, completely unequipped for sexual life,” she told me. 

The first time a woman she was seeing asked her to fuck her with a dildo, Frankie hesitated. “I was nervous that I was so bad at sex that she wanted to replace me with a fake penis,” she mused. “But as soon as I got used to the way it felt, I started to feel in control of both my pleasure and my partner’s, which was super hot. It helped to have something else—like a prop, honestly—to take the pressure off and make sex less about my insecurities and more about her pleasure, which, it turns out, has a direct impact on my pleasure.”

More often than not, what’s hard about using toys during partner sex is —surprise!—navigating both your feelings and other people’s. Using sex toys should never feel shameful—only stimulating, lol—but this is sometimes easier said than felt. It takes delicacy, practice, and patience (with yourself, as well as with your partner) to start to feel it, and even more so to then put it into practice. Regardless, you should never regret asking for what you want, duh.

Words by Karley Sciortino. Images by Monika Mogi.

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