The Seven (or so) Stages of Sex Toy Ownership


Seven stages of sex toy ownership – Have your sex toy preferences changed over time? Maybe you’ve gone from preferring pocket-sized vibrators to more powerful wand toys, or made the jump from cheap-and-cheerful to longer-term luxury. A recent survey by the US-based sex toy company Adam and Eve found that a significant number of sex toy users had changed their sex toy habits over time:

“18 percent of the women and 24 percent of the men said they preferred more realistic sex toys than they had in the past. 16 percent of the women and 18 percent of the men said they now preferred higher end sex toys. And 15 percent of the women (versus eight percent of the men) said they preferred more powerful toys.”

It’s no surprise that people who discovered sex toys years ago have evolved and changed over time. We had some fun in the office remembering all the different stages of our own sex toy use – which of these can you tick off the list? And have we missed any out?

The ‘nervous first purchase’ stage

For many of us, the first experience of buying sex toys was a bit like other first sexual experiences: tentative, nerve-wracking, and peppered with uncertainty. You go into a real-life sex toy shop or log on to a website, only to be immediately confused by the sheer range of rabbits, masturbators, cock rings, and things you can’t quite work out the purpose of. When you eventually choose your sex toy, it becomes your best friend for a few weeks – you can’t wait to sneak off and spend a bit more alone time with it, as you realise all the possibilities this new found hobby can bring.

The ‘kid in a sweet shop’ stage

Having turned yourself on to the joy of sex toys, you may well have gone through this next stage: trying to collect as many as possible to test out all the different variations. Maybe you were a dildo dork, wanting six or seven different types to put in your bedside drawer, or a cock ring connoisseur, with a range of different shapes and sizes. Perhaps you just focused on whichever cheap toys you could lay your excited little hands on.

The ‘storage problems’ stage

Let’s be honest, as a sex toy company we’re kinda hoping this stage becomes obsolete at some point, because in a few years time sex toys will have lost all traces of stigma. In 2055 it will be as weird to worry about someone finding your sex toys as it would to worry that they’ll discover the milk in your fridge. But for now, this stage is essentially the moment when you realise your collection is now too big to fit in your puny bedside drawer, so you’re going to have to invest in something more substantial. Ikea fans might want to consider some neat canvas boxes. Nervous types may need a lock-box. Hipsters: we recommend a lovely retro steamer trunk, with ‘Sex toys’ stencilled on the top to be extra ironic.

The ‘introduction’ stage

At some point, most of us will have introduced toys to our partners. At this point, you get the dual pleasures of reliving that ‘honeymoon period’ when you first used toys yourself, except you have someone to share it with as well. And it’s more than possible they’ll drag you back into the ‘kid in a sweet shop’ stage, as you eagerly shop together for more things you can use when they’re around.

The ‘oh wait can I still wank?’ stage

Discussions at Hot Octopuss HQ led us to the conclusion that this stage may be fairly common: that moment when you’ve been so wrapped up in your fun new sex toys that you worry they’ll become a little too familiar. You wake up in the morning and fancy a wank, then are gripped by a sudden terror: what if I can’t masturbate without my sex toys?! Cue a panicked scuffle and potentially a period of sex toy abstinence while you reassure yourself that yep – things are basically working as they always were, so you don’t have to give up your shiny new toys for good after all.

The ‘evangelist’ stage

You know the one – it’s the stage where you want to recommend all your favourite sex toys to your friends, or even splurging cash to buy them as gifts. Beware this stage, it’s very dangerous. If you remain there for too long you could end up working for a sex toy company like we did, or even inventing a brilliant sex toy of your own

The ‘sex toy snob’ stage

Most of us have been at this stage, at least for a little while: when you’re so convinced your sex toy preferences are best that you end up saying things like ‘oh you MUST buy this brand if you’re after a bullet – everything else is useless/weak/cheap and tacky.’ Or – worse – the shaming stage, where you silently judge people for choosing eighties-looking sex dolls over futuristic masturbators. Don’t worry, we all make mistakes. And none of these stages has to be permanent…

The ‘sex toy guru’ stage

Way more fun than the sex toy snob, this stage usually comes once you’ve discovered a few amazing sex blogs, and started devouring their back catalogue with the nerdy enthusiasm of a cosplayer at a comic book convention. Here you’ll find detailed info on all your favourite toys (and some of the ones you hate too), and you can start spreading useful info about the safest materials, the most powerful batteries, and lifehacks on good sex toy storage.

The ‘sex toys as art’ stage

Got a dildo on your mantelpiece? A PULSE on your bookshelves? Congratulations, you are in the ‘sex toys as art’ stage! Where you think the beauty of a good genital gadget shouldn’t just be hidden away in a bedside drawer or in a special box marked ‘SECRET: DO NOT OPEN ESPECIALLY IF YOU’RE MUM.’ Your sex toys are displayed proudly so that when guests – whether one-night-stands or friends-of-flatmates – can admire your sex toys in the same way they admire that self-portrait you painted when you were high at University.

The ‘second love’ stage

This one can sneak up on you, and happen at any time: remain vigilant. This is the moment when you buy a brand new toy ‘just to see what it’s like’ and end up falling head over heels in love with it. There are a few toys that make you more susceptible to this – the Doxy is more powerful than other wands, so plenty of people have fallen in love on first use. And our PULSE III gives such uniquely different vibrations that we’re not surprised some users tell us they’ve gone head-over-heels for it. The beauty of this stage is that there’s no limit to how many times you can go through it. It could happen to you at any time, and with any new toy: that’s why it’s our favourite stage of all.

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