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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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"When is the right time to buy my first sex toy… and how do I go about doing this? It’s not exactly something I can ask for for my birthday."

- Question submitted by Anonymous

Dannielle Says:

uuuhhhh… whenever you feel like it??

I have no clue.

I’m assuming if you want to buy one, you should go buy one. AND KEEP IN MIND, THIS IS NOT SOMETHING YOU HAVE TO DO IN PUBLIC… the internet you guys. I mean, if you live at home with your ‘rents, it could be SUPES awkward, but like if you’re away at school and you get it in your little p.o. box, who gives a toot.

Also, getting drunk with friends and then running to the sex store (IN A CAB BC IF YOU DRIVE AFTER DRINKING I WILL PUNCH YOUR PRIVATES) and pointing to a vibrator and being like ‘I’M SERIOUS I WANT ONE’ and your friends will lol and be like ‘YOU GO GIRL I HAVE ONE’ and then you’ll buy it and no one will care.

Unless you mean, whilst in a relaysh, in which case, you and your PARTNER (ihatethatword) can go to the store and purchase your beaded panties or whatever and feel totally fine bc YOU GUYS PEOPLE BUY SEXITOYZ ALL THE TIME AND IT’S NOT A BIG DEAL…

I also once had a friend tell me she was going to send me a vibrator for my birthday bc she thought every girl should have one and then i screamed…sooo… you’re wrong, you can ask for one for your birthday…

Kristin Says:

I say the right time to buy your first sex toy is right the f#% now, you know?

If you are asking about it, that means you totally are curious, and curiosity kills cats and I love cats, so the time is now.

So, now for the how…I know that, if you have never gone to get a sex toy before, it seems like it will be totally awkward and scary to walk into the store and browse through rubbery purple dildos, but here is the thing: It is totally normal, fun, and the people who work in sex shops literally don’t care if you want four dildos attached to a trapeze swing.  They have seen it all, and will probably tell you to test the strength of a vibrator by holding it on your nose. #thatreallyhappenedtome

If you can’t get to a sex shop on your own, like Dannielle said, the internet rules – if you live in New York or are going the internet route, I highly recommendToys In Babeland.  They are the best of the best and the people who work there are super awesome.

I would also like to second the motion of going with your friends.  Group vibrator outings are hilarious, mildly uncomfortable, and always a wonderful time.  I would ALSO like to add that I have given vibrators as Christmas and birthday gifts to at least four of my friends…sooooo.


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“I was dating someone, but she was snarky and a few weeks ago, she drove to my house drunk. Deal-breaker.

The bad news is that she still has my strap-on.

...Not exactly like asking for a sweater back.

How can a person get her sex toys back from her former?

--Strapless in Seattle--”

- Question submitted by Anonymous

Dannielle Says:

Can I say ‘HAHAHAHAHAHAHHAA’ without sounding like a DICK?


if not, o.

Anyway, literally you have to say ‘i left some stuff at your house and I’d like it back. thanks’… Try to be the BIGGERMAN and not be a total bitch, even though I’m sure all you want to do is be like ‘hey, i dont want to talk to you, but i do want my strap-on’

Just be real, don’t be conniving and rude and bitchy and childish bc its easy and fun. Say what you mean ‘you have this thing, i want it back.’

that’s it, simple. YES IT IS GOING TO BE WEIRD, BUT IT ISN’T LIKE YOU HAVE TO HANG OUT WITH HER ALL THE TIME. Get your shit back, you know?

Kristin Says:

This should be a lesson to all of you out there who use sex toys: DON’T LEAVE THEM AT OTHER PEOPLE’S HOUSES.  I mean, I understand as much as the next guy that you don’t want to be shlepping your harnesses across town every day, but like, you guys. Unless it is impossible for you to have fun toys at both locations slash sex without toys sometimes, you should really try to keep close to that shit…at least for the first six months of getting to know someone.

Dannnielle is right, Strapless, you have to just be a grown-up and contact the girl for the goods.  Whether you prefer to call her or send an email, just BE NICE.  Be honest about the fact that you know she probably doesn’t want to hear from you, and apologize for dragging yourself back into her life for the moment, and then explain that you just want to get your things back and you are happy to do that in any way that makes her comfortable (ie: she wants to meet for coffee, fine; she wants to leave a box on the stoop and not see your face, also fine).

If she won’t return your calls or emails, you are going to have to make the decision to either take a strap-on to small claims court, or just suck it up, let it go, and start a fund for a new Low Rider Model #76.

Do yourself a favor, and remain a grown-up during the whole process.  If she meets you at Starbucks and shoves your dildo into your Venti Green Tea, calmly take it out, wrap it a napkin, thank her, and exit.