To toy or not to toy, that is still the question.
And it can be a controversial one. Some women find sex toys offensive. Others see them as a threat to the ego. And then there are those who think they are just scary... or dumb. Some say they are the cheater's route.
What do I think? Well, like most everything, I think it's all about what you're looking for in bed, what your motivations are, how self-assured you are and who your partner in crime is. If you're honest about what you desire and you're ego-free in the bedroom (the true key to a great sex life), then my guess is, no matter who you are, sex toys can up your bedroom game.
Here's the thing: Sex toys, in general, are an add-on, not a replacement. They cannot -- I repeat, cannot -- render you unable to have an orgasm without one.
Trust me on that. If usage really did cause that, I would be at the top of the list of victims.
My journey with them has been an interesting one. Once I discovered them, I thought of them as merely a masturbatory tool, and mostly for when I felt like I wanted to get the job done quickly. Then I started to explore them with partners, and what I discovered was mind-blowing.
The human body is capable of lots of sensations, acts and reactions. It is also incapable of plenty of other things, some of which a toy can easily do. For example, a toy can maintain precision, speed and pressure for as long as the batteries last. A toy can reach a spot that no human appendage can manage. A toy, depending on what it is made of, can withstand all sorts of pressure under which its human-equivalent part might fold.
Don't misunderstand: To my mind, there is nothing better than the warmth and feel of my girlfriend's mouth and hands. But there is also nothing better than being able to achieve the number and variety of orgasms in which toys can assist. In honestly, in the past, I thought I needed toys, that I simply could not reach orgasm a high percentage of the time without them. That turned out not to be true.
What I needed was the right person, the right headspace and the right communication. I needed a super-safe space and someone who was willing to play in any way the two of us saw fit. I am now having the longest and best orgasms of my life. That being said, when we add toys and stir, multiple orgasms and four-minute-plus orgasms are suddenly part of our everyday routine.
If you're not using toys because you think that makes you a lousy partner, it's time to let that nonsense go. Sex is about mutual pleasure. Getting there is the point; how you get there is secondary. Use what you have, add what you can and you'll find yourself giving and getting the kind of pleasure you only previously dreamed of.
As far as recommendations go, I have two personal favorites. One is the Betty Dodson Vaginal Barbell. It doesn't look like much. But the one-pound metal toy is designed to hit all of the spots from G to A. (Keep your eyes out for future columns on those topics.) It is a bar, as the name suggests, with balls and ridges on each end, one end larger then the other. Use it to provide penetration during partner play or masturbation. All I can tell you is -- trust me here -- it will revolutionize the kind of sex and orgasms you're having.
When I first introduced it to my girlfriend, she looked at me with a great deal of apprehension. Admittedly, the device is industrial-looking. "What is that?" she asked. But as soon as we got down to business, she immediately changed her tune. I believe, "Never mind. I don't care. More, please," was all she said.
I also think a vibrator is a good tool to have on hand. I'm a big fan of JimmyJane's Form 2 vibrator. I like the soft texture of the material and the level and variety of vibration. Plus, the rabbit-like ears can be used to pinch the clit or can even be inserted. It can also be used for perineal stimulation, which is a very nice add-on!
Again, tongues and fingers do a very good job at clitoral simulation. But after the first orgasm, a girl may need you to up the ante and a vibrator can do that. Use your fingers for penetration at the same time. Or, if you want to have to peel her off the ceiling, use the barbell and the Form 2.
Sex with someone you love can be revelatory. It certainly is for me as of late. Sometimes I don't want anything external between us. I don't want the noise or the distance it can create or the feel of anything that is not her skin, her mouth, her body. If you'll pardon the cheese ball sentiments, sometimes I want to make love to her and want her to make love to me. For me, that means gazing at one another and grasping hands. It means taking our time and, for me, it often means tears when I orgasm.
Other times I want to fuck and...
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This piece was originally published in the Dallas Voice print edition on June 5, 2015.