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Smash Common Sex Toy Fears

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How To: Explore & Enhance G-Spot StimulationWe’re all afraid of many things, whether we realize it or not; fear is a normal human experience. But it’s often not helpful or productive, especially when it interferes with our well-being...and pleasure.

In particular, sex can be a very revealing, personal act—one that carries a lot of emotional weight. And so it’s a natural trigger for anxiety and insecurity. Plus we live in a world that still attaches a lot of unnecessary shame to consensual sex acts!

But if we look at our fears, we might realize that they’re not as scary as they seem. This article will bring the most common sex toy fears out into the light. The best antidotes are accurate information and honest communication. Together, they can dispel these sex toy myths...

1. Toys Will Replace Intimacy with a Partner

For most of us, sexual attractiveness is tied in with self-worth. Being desired makes us feel validated!

Introducing a toy into a relationship can become an issue when one partner is afraid that a toy will replace them. They may (subconsciously) treat a toy as the competition rather than as a tool that can produce orgasms—and even enhance intimacy.

When toys are a new thing, it’s important to talk to your partner about why you’re interested, about what you’re looking to get from the toy. It might seem obvious that toys exist to please, but no one’s a mind-reader. You may want to actually tell your partner that you want to please them and/or do something new and fun with them, or any other motivations you have. Honesty and openness are much more likely to lead to good communication — and to understanding — than assumptions or secrecy.

Basically, sharing your desire with a trustworthy partner is much hotter than only saying, “Do you want a vibrator?” or “Hey, can I buy you a dildo?” Being upfront can help avoid misunderstandings and ward off insecurities. And it can help you pick out specific types of vibrator, dildo, etc., rather than just guessing.

2. Larger Toys Will Stretch You Out & Make Sex Unfulfilling

This myth is also tied into the fear of being replaced by a toy — and often into insecurities about penis size. Will big toys ruin someone’s capacity for “normal-size” pleasure?

Let’s look at the facts. The vagina is quite elastic: It expands with arousal, and contracts again after blood flow returns to normal. Average vaginal length (from the opening to the cervix) in a resting state is 2.5 inches long. When aroused, vaginal length runs from 4.5 inches all the way up to 7 inches (or even a bit more, depending on who you ask). That’s a huge increase, even when no toys are involved. Vaginal width varies widely too, the same way that penis size and human height vary. A LOT.

Some people do prefer large sizes, either vaginally or anally (or both!) However, most people with vaginas who can accommodate big and even huge dildos do not report diminished pleasure when they find themselves with an average-sized partner.

A widely publicized study of over 52,000 people reported that 84% of women were satisfied with their partner’s penis size — while only 55% of men were happy with their own size. Only 6% of women rated their partner as below average size. Clearly, there’s a lot of fear about being “big enough” floating around.

And with anal play, the rectum can also be stretched safely and comfortably; it’s a muscle that can be trained. Anal training is kinda like an exercise regimen in that running a long distance, lifting a lot of weight, or taking a large butt plug needs to be progressed toward. If you stop doing it, then you’ll gradually lose your endurance/stretching ability and need to start again.

If you are looking to explore larger size toys, always go slowly, use a quality lubricant, and stop if you feel pain.

3. Vibrators Will Desensitize / Make You Unable to Orgasm “Normally”

Vibration never causes changes to genital nerve endings. What it can do is habituate us to orgasm in certain ways, by creating neural pathways based on repeated actions. Using a vibrator is a habit — that can be broken like any other habit, if you want it to be.

Often, the stronger the vibe is, the greater the fear. Really powerful vibes like the Magic Wand pack so much power that the difference between using them and toy-less sex is clear as day.

But really, is there anything wrong with using a strong (or not strong) vibrator for fun and pleasure? Is the fear that it’s not “normal”?

The fact is that the vast majority of people with clits, at least 70 to 75%, don’t consistently orgasm from vaginal penetration only. That’s normal. That’s natural. But is “normal” or “natural” always good? It depends: illnesses and catastrophic storms and wild animal attacks are natural too. And “normal” might be good when it comes to your cholesterol or blood pressure, but sometimes we want above and beyond average. Who doesn’t desire more income, more leisure time, or more fun with people they like?

Vibrators (and toys as a whole) are like any other human technology: they’re not strictly natural. We can choose to use them however we want, however feels right for us: alone, with a sex partner or partners, or not at all. You make your own decision, because there’s no right or wrong answer.

4. Anal Play De-Masculinizes / Will Scare Off Sex Partners

Anal play still carries a fair amount of stigma in general. It may be seen as dirty or strange.

Even more so when it comes to straight, cisgender men who, toxic masculinity tells us, are supposed to be dominant; are supposed to be the giver rather than the receiver during penetration.

In this outdated mindset, being the screw-ee makes a cishet man less masculine, less virile, and therefore less desirable. As a result, even some men who are open enough to have explored butt play solo are worried about how to introduce it to their new partners. Or maybe they’ve felt shamed by a past partner.

But if you consider that the anal canal is lined with nerve endings, and that everything in the pelvic floor is connected, anal pleasure makes so much sense. And did you know the prostate is involved in every orgasm someone with a penis has? Prostatic fluid makes up roughly 30% of semen volume.

People with prostates can unlock more sensation through prostate play than by just stimulating the penis. Prostate-focused plugs and vibes press forward into the anal canal, targeting what’s sometimes called “the male G-spot.” Some prostate owners report having super-intense orgasms through prostate stimulation.

If you’re looking to explore prostate stimulation with a partner, again, the key is to communicate what’s up. Some people are more into trying new things than others! If your partner seems confused, they may need to know that you’re looking to explore new sensation to add to your usual forms of play—not as a replacement for the intimacy you currently share.

5. BDSM Is Abusive and/or Pathological

BDSM includes many different subcultures—and yes, inflicting pain is one of those. But any BDSM play, including sadism/masochism, is based on consent. Everyone knows what they’re getting into, and if they become uncomfortable with the extent of a scene, they can stop it. This is the difference between sadistic play and abuse.

The best dominants (doms or dommes) are fiercely protective of their submissives, giving them only what they can handle and then caring for them after intense play. Far from being manipulative or abusive, such relationships are intimate and built on trust.

Even light bondage/dominance/sensory toying should establish trust between partners. You have to know that someone is on your side — that they won’t non-consensually harm you — if you’re going to let them tie you up and put a gag in your mouth.

It turns out a lot of us are (at least a little!) kinky. Data varies widely ( it depends on how you ask!), but in one Belgian study, a full 66.8% of respondents reported having engaged in and/or fantasized about bondage-related activities. Still, kinky folks often experience shame or uncertainty about disclosing their orientation to friends, family, or even to new lovers because of the stigma attached. Will they be seen as psychotic?

Studies have also indicated that, in most ways, dedicated BDSM practitioners aren’t deviant in the negative sense. They even show higher levels of conscientiousness and lower levels of “neuroticism” than average.

BDSM play is known to lead to positive altered states of consciousness, where feelings of stress are reduced and arousal increases. Sounds great, right?!

Conclusion: Playing How YOU Want

At their best, sex toys are fun. They’re easy ways to feel more and enjoy more.

But it can also be easy to fall into mental traps about anything sex-related. We get worried about our body, or how our partner will see us, or whether we’re normal.

Here are a few takeaways that may smooth the road toward shame-free toying:

  • Always be open about your motivations when introducing toys into a relationship for the first time. More communication helps bring more understanding and intimacy.
  • Toys are a different experience than partnered sex. They don’t replace human contact.
  • Vaginas and anuses can both expand large amounts. Using larger insertable toys doesn’t decrease sensitivity.
  • Vibrators don’t desensitize the genitals, but they do get us used to orgasming in certain ways.
  • Most people with clits orgasm more easily (or exclusively) from clitoral stimulation than penetration only.
  • Sex toys are as “normal” as any other human technology — like the Internet!
  • Enjoying anal play is unrelated to sexual preference. The anal canal has many nerve endings, and that’s why stimulating it is pleasurable.
  • Likewise, you can enjoy prostate play no matter what your sexual orientation is. The prostate is directly involved in penile orgasms too, and putting pressure on it enhances orgasms.
  • BDSM play should be founded on consent and trust, not abuse. Practicing it can be an occasional adventure or a dedicated lifestyle, depending on what any individual or dom(me)-sub pair finds fulfilling.

What other sex-related fears have you lived with or worked to shed light on? 

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