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"How do I talk to my girlfriend about getting a sex toy? (I’m also a girl.) And at what age do you think it’s appropriate?"

Question submitted by Anonymous

Constance says:

Ok first off: I work at a sex toy shop and out of all the questions I get, this is one of my FAVORITES. There’s nothing I love more than working with people who are putting themselves out there and exploring a new part of their relationship.

When it comes to bringing up the topic of sex toys with a partner, I’ve personally always preferred a blunt approach. I’ve found that dancing around the topic just makes things more awkward and opens it up to confusion. Try to find a casual, comfortable moment when the two of you won’t be interrupted (this may not be a conversation to have at the local coffee shop) and directly bring it up. Being upfront about it can show your girlfriend that this isn’t a big deal, which can help everyone be more honest and comfortable about what they’re feeling.

You might find it helpful to start off with a comment about how much you enjoy whatever things you’re already doing before mentioning something you think might be fun. Something along the lines of, “Hey darling, you know how much I love it when you X my Y? I was thinking that it might be even more fun if we also had a [insert whatever sex toy you’re thinking of here].” The point isn’t that you’re unhappy with whatever bumping-and-grinding you’re getting up to, but that you think there’s something fun that you could bring in. (Sidenote: If you are unhappy with your sex life with your partner, that’s a whole other conversation. Remember that a sex toy isn’t the magic cure—honest communication is going to be your best friend there.)

Some people recommend buying an inexpensive sex toy before having the conversation so that you can be like, “Hey, I found this and thought it might be fun to try!” The idea there is that you’re keeping it casual and making things simple by presenting one concrete thing to consider rather than a bigger question of sex toys in general. I’m not a huge fan of this approach because I think it can feel more like “Surprise! Let’s Do This!” rather than opening up a conversation. Instead of buying a toy before the conversation, I recommend having a plan you can offer of what it would look like if she’s into the idea. Do some pre-conversation research to get a sense of where you might get a sex toy, what the options are, what your potential budget is, and so on. This can help give specifics for her to think about without springing a sex toy upon her without warning.

The best thing you can do in this conversation is be honest and open with your girlfriend and be willing to listen to her concerns. She may not want to run out to get a sex toy right at that moment, but these conversations are important for couples to understand each other even more.

As for the second part of your question: I’m not really sure there is an inappropriate age to get a sex toy. For those of us who have sexual urges, the instant we begin to experience them is usually when we tend to find sex toys all over the place. Early sexual desire drives innovation as we find new uses for washing machines, handles of hairbrushes, or the classic electric toothbrush. If someone is old enough to be repurposing household objects for sex toys, then I don’t see what’s wrong with them having something that’s actually intended for that purpose. I will say that not everyone agrees with me on this and that you should check to see what your local restrictions are on getting sex toys: Can people under 18 go into a sex toy shop in your state? Can you buy them online?

Exploring our sexual desires alone and with our partners can be filled with anxiety and joy. Sometimes things aren’t going to work out like you hoped, but the important thing is being able to communicate what you need and listening to everyone involved. There’s no surefire way to know how things will turn out, but you can’t go wrong with plenty of research, empathy, and kindness. Sending my best wishes to you.


Constance Augusta A. Zaber is a New England writer interested in history, sex practices, libraries, what she’s going to eat next, and Virginia Woolf. She writes about books (particularly those by trans authors) online, sells sex toys in a college town, and is working on an undergraduate degree in Sexology. Her personal, professional, and academic work is based in her experiences as a white, Jewish, trans woman with clinical depression and anxiety. Follow her on Twitter @augustazaber
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“So, even though I know you are both 'girls who like girls,' maybe you can still help me out. My boyfriend and I have really great sex...but recently he has expressed his interest in trying some other, more kinky stuff. I am not really comfortable with what he wants, and it also makes me feel like what we have been doing wasn't good enough for him. I am not sure what to do, because I want to make him happy. Should I just go with the flow, or try to iron out the kinks?”

- Question submitted by Anonymous

Dannielle Says:

I meannnnn if you don’t tell him you’re not into it, you’re gonna be doing it forevs and then you’re gonna resent him and then you’re gonna be like (ive said this before) ‘I SAID CRUNCH BERRIES NOT CAPN CRUNCH’ and he’s gonna be all ‘wtf’ you know?

It’s just, in any relaysh, with any ish, if you keep it buried deep down inside and never talk about it, it makes every tiny thing a million times worse… Did that make sense? what am i EVEN SAYING RIGHT NOW.

Just be totes honzies with him. I’m sorry, you guys. Just be totally honest with him. ugh..I’ve been watching too much verymarykate…


Tell him the truth “babe, i’m into doing fun things and spicing it up, i mean, i LOVE it when you INSERT SPECIFIC THING HERE but I’m just not really into INSERT SPECIFIC THING HERE” this will open up a dialogue where he can say ‘o, that’s not really important to me, but i REALLY LIKE THIS THING’ and you’ll be like ‘i can live with that, but i really don’t like it when we DO THIS THING’ … See, you can both talk about what you like and don’t like and he doesn’t feel like you’re telling him he’s stupid for wanting to do different boney-type-things.

Kristin Says:

“Insert specific thing here” is an interesting choice of words in this context.  I pretty much just pictured you pointing to bodily orifices and saying “I don’t like it when you insert your thing here, however…”  Sorry.  Moving on.

I always feel that there is room for common ground when it comes to people’s likes and dislikes in the naked aisle of relationships.  If he wants to put things in your butt and you are like, “Dude, that feels the opposite of good,” then maybe he can do things that do make you feel good and still involve your butt.  Sorry I am saying ‘butt’ so much…it’s just what has happened and now there is no turning back.

What I mean is, maybe you don’t like the feeling of one specific element of his kinky-interests, but you might surprise yourself and be like, “Hot damn, I don’t like when you put things in my butt, however, when you slap me and call me Sally I GO CRAZY.”  You know?

You just have to keep an open dialogue about it and remember two things: 1) He is not asking for new kinky things because you aren’t good enough.  People like tons of different things, and him asking you to try out new stuff just means that he is comfortable with you, and that is a wonderful thing; 2) Don’t make him feel bad about his interests.  If they don’t feel good to you, you should say so, but also include something like, “Hey, that doesn’t feel great to me, but maybe we can try this? Would that make you happy?”

Iron out those kinks!