How To Talk About Sex Toys With A Partner

By Joan Price | 7 September 2021

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Joan Price


Joan Price calls herself an advocate for ageless sexuality. She is the author of four books about sex and aging, including the award-winning Naked at Our Age: Talking Out Loud about Senior Sex and her latest: Sex after Grief: Navigating Your Sexuality After Losing Your Beloved. Her award-winning blog has been offering senior sex news, views, and sex toy reviews since 2005. At age 76, Joan continues to talk out loud about senior sex—partnered or solo. She is the co-creator of “jessica drake’s Guide to Wicked Sex: Senior Sex”. Find Joan at

We call them “sex toys,” but vibrators and other pleasure stimulators are far more than “toys,” especially for seniors. They’re orgasm tools.

For many of us who are staying sexual in older bodies, they’re a necessity for orgasm. They bring blood flow to the genitals and speed up our arousal. They provide intense stimulation, many times stronger than we can get in any other way. How lucky we are to live in a time of high-quality sex toys, varied for every need and preference.

But what happens if your partner says, “No. I should be enough for you. If you need a vibrator, there’s something wrong with you, or you don’t desire me anymore, or there’s a problem in our relationship.” I hear this from many seniors whose partners have closed them down when they try to incorporate vibrators into their sexual interactions.

Sadly, I also hear from many seniors who have never talked to their partners about vibrators. They assume they would be misunderstood or shamed for needing a non-human assist to reach orgasm. Other seniors have never tried sex toys, and they believe their difficulty reaching orgasm is a defect that can’t be remedied.

I want to help. Here are some of the questions and objections that I hear from seniors, with my suggestions:

Q: My partner insists that using a vibrator decreases a woman’s sensitivity, so I’ll have even more trouble reaching orgasm.

A: No, that’s a myth. Vibrators enhance sensitivity by increasing blood flow to the genitals powerfully and quickly, and by stimulating the clitoris directly, which we need. Without a vibrator, we might not get there. Explain to your partner, “It’s the opposite of what you think. Not using a vibrator would decrease sensitivity because I need that boost of sensation to orgasm. This is how my body works now, so let’s enjoy it.”

Q: I’m a man with erection problems. My partner thinks that if I’m not erect, I’m not into sex or into her, but I am! The times she’s been willing to arouse me orally, she gets tired before I’m satisfied.

A: It’s a common misunderstanding. Your partner got used to your penis jumping to attention with the slightest stimulus or encouragement — and sometimes for no reason at all. But older penises often need more stimulation and more arousal time, and may experience orgasm without an erection at all. Incorporate a PULSE or JETT into your lovemaking, and explain how your penis works now. Tell her, “I desire you and I love sex with you. My penis doesn’t keep up with my brain. I need more physical stimulation. I’d love to have you get me started orally — you do that so well! — and then let me use my Guybrator while you watch. It would excite me to share that with you.”

Q: I use a vibrator when I’m alone, but I’m embarrassed to tell my new partner about it. When we have sex together, I don’t have an orgasm, no matter what he does for me — oral, manual —I just don’t feel it enough. He tries so hard that I’ve started faking orgasms. Then I masturbate privately with my vibrator afterward. Have I doomed our relationship?

A: I’m a staunch believer in honesty. If you fake orgasms, your partner — who wants to please you! — thinks he’s found the key to unlocking your orgasms. So he’ll keep doing this thing that doesn’t work for you! You haven’t done him (or yourself) any favors by not revealing your needs. Let’s reverse that now. You don’t have to blurt out that you’ve been faking it, but you can start fresh by saying, before you get started, “I need to tell you that there’s another way I reach orgasm best that you don’t know about yet. I’d like to introduce you to my favorite vibrator. Could we use it together? I’d love for you to get me aroused those wonderful ways you do, then let’s add the vibrator when I’m almost ready. I’ll really enjoy that.”

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Q: My partner wants me to reach orgasm with intercourse, but I need intense clitoral stimulation. I can reach orgasm on my own with a vibrator, but not with him. How can I fix this?

A: It doesn’t need fixing. Explain to your partner that 75 percent of vulva owners (and I suspect it’s more than that for our age group) can’t reach orgasm through vaginal penetration alone for the reason you state: they need intense clitoral stimulation. Try using a small, powerful clitoral stimulator like the Amo or DiGiT during intercourse. Tell your partner, “I need my vibrator to be a part of our sex together so that I can get the clitoral sensation I need. Let me show you how to bring me to orgasm with it before, during, or after intercourse. It’ll be fun!”

Q: I’ve heard that once a woman gets a vibrator, she doesn’t need or want a man anymore. How can I compete with a vibrator?

A: It’s not a competition. A vibrator enables faster and more powerful orgasms — that’s its whole job. It doesn’t take the place of a partner in bed! It doesn’t seduce with sexy words and caresses. It doesn’t cuddle after sex. Pillow talk with a vibrator is a bore. All it does is give a needed sexual assist. Get to know your partner’s vibrator instead of challenging it to a duel. Ask her, “Can we use your vibrator together when we make love, so I can see how it works for you? Are there things you’d like me to do for you while you use it?”

Please open up the conversation with your partner. Your future orgasms may depend on it!

How can I learn more?

If you’re a newcomer to sex toys, I hope you’ll be encouraged to take the leap to intense pleasure. Learn more and get help choosing your first (or 15th) vibrator:

How to Choose a Vibrator Sex Toys for Seniors – webinar Sex Toys ‘from a Senior Perspective’?

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