It’s hard to shock us here at Hot Octopuss HQ, but a survey came out recently that raised a few eyebrows. When you’re in the business of inventing sex toys, it’s easy to forget that the fantastic sex toys we talk about publicly all the time are things which some people feel nervous about discussing.
A survey released recently by US sex toy company Adam and Eve offered an interesting insight into how many Americans view sex toys. Though there are plenty of benefits to using sex toys with your partner, the survey found that 34% of women and 46% of men did not tell their partner about the sex toys they owned. This seemed – to us – like a fairly large figure. Are there really so many people with toys stashed away, who haven’t ever shown them to their partners? And if you’re one of those people, is there anything we can do to help you bring them into the open?
Should you tell your partner about your sex toy?
Let’s start by saying that we’re not here to tell you what to do with your life. There may be plenty of reasons why you wouldn’t want to tell your partner about your sex toys. Some people may have tried to broach the subject and failed, and not be keen to either annoy or bore their partner with something they know they’re not into. Others might find it more of a turn-on using a sex toy in secret.
But among this group of secret sex toy hoarders, there will certainly be people who use a sex toy alone, want to talk to their partner about it, but are a bit nervous or unsure about how to bring it up. You might just want to be open about your masturbation habits, give them details about how you get off, or be keen to introduce toys into your partnered sex.
There are plenty of people who’ll tell you that you should try and talk to your partner about sex toys if you can, but none of them ever tell you exactly how. If you’ve never talked about it before, saying ‘Darling, when you’re finished with the washing up, I would like to show you my massive dildo’ seems like a bit of a stretch. But sometimes all it takes is a conversational starting point…
“Did you know that nearly 50% of British people have used sex toys?”
This stat comes from a UK sex survey from 2014, and it’s pretty safe to say that the percentage will have risen since then. Sex toys are so popular in the UK that Channel 4’s Great British Sex Survey listed them as the nation’s favourite fetish.
Sometimes knowing just how common something is can help to banish embarrassment. Sex toys used to be seen as shameful or unusual – now we can say with confidence that they’re a fairly standard part of many people’s sex lives. Like lube, or accidentally-getting-a-hair-in-your-mouth-while-giving-head.
“Want to do a project together that could net us £100,000?”
A pretty attention-grabbing statement, sure. But it’s true. Lovehoney’s ‘design a sex toy’ competition is not only incredibly fun, it could also be your golden ticket to riches. Lovehoney are always on the look out for innovative ideas for sex toys, and the first ever winner of their sex toy design comp – inventor of oral-sex simulator Sqweel – has so far netted over £100,000 in prize money and royalties.
And who knows? If you use this fun fact to start a conversation with your partner, it might turn into the most lucrative chat of your life. Of course in the process of designing the sex toy of the future you may well need to start testing lots of toys together…
“Did you know there’s a sex toy that can get you off without you using your hands…?”
Sometimes the more unusual or innovative sex toys are the easiest to talk about, because there’s something unique that you can focus on (you can use them without hands!) which is easier to talk about than the direct benefits (they get you off).
There are two great examples for this – feel free to pick whichever your partner would be most intrigued by. The Ruby Glow vibrator, designed by erotica author Tabitha Rayne for Rocks Off, is described as ‘pleasure for the seated lady.’ The flat base of the vibrator sits on your favourite chair, and the curved shape of the toy is designed to nestle up against your clitoris and provide a vibration to rock or squirm against. Then there’s our fabulous PULSE III, with silicone wings that wrap around your penis and a unique oscillating PulsePlate that sends vibrations all the way through your penis. All the fun of an orgasm, with no need to use your hands!
“Shall we splash out on some new lube?”
For many people, lube is kind of a ‘gateway drug’ to sex toys. But… umm… in a good way, not a Trainspotting way, obviously. Thanks to high-street shops like Boots which sell cheap sex toys in their lube aisle, going shopping for a new flavoured or sensation lubricant with your partner could be an excellent opportunity to point out other things that are sold alongside it. Especially if they’re on a ‘buy one get one free.’
Having ‘the sex toy conversation’
On an individual basis, only you know when it’s right to have the sex toy conversation with your partner, and how best to approach the subject with them. But luckily society as a whole is getting better at talking about sex toys – we’re now able to talk and write about the benefits without giggling at the back of the classroom. There is still a long way to go before the stigma that was previously attached to sex toys disappears completely – especially for certain toys, like ‘realistic’ masturbators or sex dolls, which attract a disproportionate amount of criticism. But we’re getting there slowly.
Part of our mission is to challenge sex stigma wherever it occurs, so we’ll be out there having these conversations loudly and proudly, hopefully making it easier for those of you who are more shy. And hopefully the louder we are, and the harder we fight sex toy stigma, the easier it will be for you to have these chats in the future.