Journey of a (Mom's) Sex Toy

Yes, I -- a married mom -- took a sex class. The teacher was very gung-ho about mechanical apparatuses, and since she seemed to know her stuff and I'm an ambitious student, I thought, 'why not?'
08/21/2012 10:33 am ET Updated Oct 21, 2012

I recently bought a sex toy. At least I think it's a sex toy. It might be a vibrator; I'm not quite sure. Is there a difference between the two?

If you can't tell already, I'm new to the intimate gadget industry. But I took my first sex class recently. Yes, I -- a married mom -- took a sex class. The teacher was very gung-ho about mechanical apparatuses, and since she seemed to know her stuff and I'm an ambitious student, I thought, 'why not?'

You see, what happens to us after a decade of marriage is this: Moms get a combination of bored and boring in the bedroom. No way, say some of you sexpots. You're just as wet and wild as you were during the days you sang "Margaritaville" half-naked on a bar in Key West (um, for example). Fine. For those of you still hot to trot after years of marriage and kids, I'm not talking about you. I'm talking about the other 98.5% of us who need a little help rekindling the fires.

Enter the sex class. Back in June, I attended, BJ University at Chicago's wonderful G Boutique, a store that's all about helping women get their sexy on. To master the material, I went back for the exact same course a month later. No need to get into the details of the amazing experience, with its lube, laughter and dildos, but let me say this: BJ University has renewed my faith in higher education.

During the class, the teacher recommended adding vibrators to the mix, as did the co-owner of G Boutique, who wrote an article about them on my website, Families in the Loop. Sure, I was hesitant initially, but I was also determined to bust out and be bolder in the bedroom. Right away, however, I was met with my first obstacle: Which gadget should I choose?

The vibrator industry has changed a lot since the days of Sex and the City. Remember Charlotte getting addicted to the Rabbit or Samantha returning what the Sharper Image sales clerk adamantly referred to as a "neck massager"? Today's latest feel-good gizmos are not disguised as neck kneaders and are not created by men based on what they think women want. Instead, they're all about the ladies and our pleasure points. They're designed by women, for women. What a revelation.

After much deliberation, I decided.... well, I couldn't make a decision. Surprised? Me, too. Here I am, trying to bone up in the area of sexual empowerment and I become so ambivalent with the thought of using one of these things that I couldn't bring myself to click a few buttons on Amazon. How lame is that? What I did next might be even lamer; I delegated purchasing power to the hubby, who was more than happy to oblige.

A week later, on a Friday, the We-Vibe arrived at its new home. Have you ever seen one of these things? It's a purple-y rainbow of rubber with its own remote control. Picture the arch in St. Louis, but a lot more flexible and with no cars running through it, and you've got the We-Vibe.

I bet I know what you're picturing happened next. Later in the evening we waited till the kid had gone to bed and opened the package together, giggling with sweet anticipation the whole time. Wrong. Here's what actually took place. My in-laws' old friends (as in friends for 40+ years) came over to babysit my daughter. In his excitement, hubby had taken the We-Vibe out of its box and left it smack in the middle of our bedroom floor for our daughter and guests to view and contemplate.

Mortified, I quickly threw the We-Vibe under the sink in the master bathroom, making a mental note to berate hubby for a very long time. I forgot it was there until six days later, when a maintenance man came over to fix the leaky faucet in the very same bathroom. He sat down on the floor and began handing me all the junk that had accumulated under the sink. Tampons, Preparation H, and yes -- you guessed it -- my new friend the We-Vibe. As I took the vibrator from his hands I wanted to explain female sexual empowerment, moms and our hard-to-jump-start libidos. I at least wanted to tell him it hadn't been used yet. But I had no words. All I had was a bright purple face to match the pretty purple vibrator in my hands.

Minutes later, a friend (also a mom) from out of town who I'd served in the Peace Corps with 13 years ago arrived. When the handyman finally left, I took out the vibrator out from its new hiding spot, underneath a pillow on my bed, and showed it to her. We marveled at its form and texture. Why is it so flexible? Why are there groove marks along the sides? We couldn't do much more than stare at it like we were back in junior high school biology class dissecting a frog. Worried that another 70-year-old family friend, maintenance man or (gasp!) my kid would stumble upon the device, I put the vibrator in the best hiding spot ever. It's so good that now I have no idea where it is.

So there you have it. The extent of my foray into the world of sex toys, vibrators or whatever we want to call this thing that has now become a source of puzzlement, embarrassment and intimidation. I try not to ponder what it means that I couldn't select or purchase the device myself or that I couldn't stop blushing as Phil the handyman handed it over to me. I try not to derive meaning from the fact that a We-Vibe is now lost inside my very own home. I'll find it, eventually. In the meantime, I'll keep plugging away at my other studies. Obviously, as a mom and determined student of love, I still have a lot to learn and discover.