The truth about sex toys

Do you ever have a moment when you realise that the world you’re living in is completely out of step with the people around you? That your simple and most valued truths are somehow seen as astonishing by people you’d thought were the same as you? Even with the most trivial topics, these divides can often catch me by surprise. The most recent one? Sex toys!

At my hen party last year, the conversation inevitably turned to sex and there was a brief game of Never Have I Ever.

‘Never have I ever used a sex toy!’ said a friend, who then looked surprised when I asked her to be more clear. Did she mean she’s never used a vibrator? Or a dildo? Perhaps she meant butt toys, or restraints, or…?!

I was essentially creating a rod for my on back as I had to drink for each of my suggestions, but I was surprised how many of my friends had never tried any sex toys. Ever. And, even worse, one friend declared: ‘if you need sex toys, you’re doing sex wrong!’

Never before have I had to work so hard to reign in the patronising impulse to say ‘oh, sweetie, no!’

Because, despite the stigma that still surrounds them, there is nothing wrong with sex toys and nothing wrong with needing sex toys for a satisfying sex life. Sure, not everyone does, but I was saddened by the idea that even among my liberal, feminist friends, sex toys could be seen as unnecessary or deviant.

I do admit that it’s taken me some time to reach this place of liberation, but my realisation developed in line with a more general sexual awakening. In my 20s, I owned an Ann Summers Rampant Rabbit – as most of my Sex and the City-watching friends did – but I rarely used it. For a start, it was freaking massive! And loud and complicated and my model had the face of a woman wearing pearls on the head and, more importantly, it just didn’t work for me. Thinking that this was all sex toys were, it didn’t inspire me to look further, to try more.

Thankfully my husband has long been a big fan of sex toys, having already (rightfully) realised that they don’t detract from partnered sex or masturbation done without toys, but add new dimensions to these interactions that change and enhance them, and he introduced me to a whole new world. Honestly, I have never looked back! As my first forays into sex toy use were in this partnered context, my perspective has been affected but I am again saddened and surprised to hear that so many men are intimidated by women who use sex toys. I don’t look to sex toys to replace my husband’s cock – dildos vary in size, shape, texture and firmness, and provide sensations that a warm, living penis just can’t achieve.  I like glass dildos as they’re so hard and cold; I like g-spot curves as they bend in ways my husband’s cock doesn’t; I like butt plugs that are smaller than my husband, allowing anal play with less preparation; I like vibrators as they offer sensations that humans just cannot produce…I could go on!

I would also heartily recommend sex toys for experimentation and solo sex. They allow you to learn about your body without any pressure or expectation; without worrying about whether your partner is enjoying themselves or whether or not you’re going to come.  These lessons can then be taken on to partnered sex, making it easier to show your partner what will get you off! Both with and without sex toys, I have always loved wanking and value the chance to take control of my orgasm, but adding the right sex toy has improved my solo sex, just as it has my partnered sex.

Another stigma surrounding sex toys that I am very keen to break down is the fear that if someone cannot come without a toy it means that they are ‘broken’; that orgasms produced by toys are somehow worth less than orgasms achieved through penetration or a partner.  Worries about becoming addicted to vibrators or becoming ‘numb’ to other sex are so common, and I struggle to see them as anything but a result of the influence of the Patriarchy. Why shouldn’t we use tools to make practical tasks easier? We drive cars and use calculators and computers. We have designed and developed ways to enhance our lives in so many other ways, but these are not viewed with the same distrust or suspicion.  When so many women struggle to orgasm, why shouldn’t we use all the tools available to us to help? If sex toys allow us to reliably orgasm, why shouldn’t they become part of our regular sexual habits?

Introducing sex toys with a new partner can be difficult. Just as I was surprised by how few of my female friends had tried them, I’m sure there are men who will be intimidated if you open your bedside drawer to reveal a treasure trove of dildos and toys.  But I have always loved the approach recommended by another sex blogger, Bex Talks Sex ( It’s a simple phrase, but it can be hugely effective:

‘Do you want to watch me come?’

Anyone who says no is probably not going to be a lover who values your pleasure and it’s an early sign to walk away – and if they say yes, the toys you need or want can be introduced in a non-threatening and sexy way.

So where should you go to start experimenting with toys? How do you pick which one to try?

The best resource I’ve found are the amazing sex bloggers and reviewers who can direct you to the best toys and those that are the best value. I’d recommend checking out Coffee and Kink (, particularly this post on the best lower priced toys (, Epiphora ( and Dangerous Lilly (


Have fun!!

1 thought on “The truth about sex toys”

  1. This was a great piece – not patronising but great for the beginner because it goes back to basics. A very good justification to any doubters as to the value 1 or a few sex toys will add to your sex life! Thanks for sharing Livvy.

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