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Thursday, Sept. 25, 2008

Coming Together: Sex Toys for Two

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   I am a 26-year-old bisexual female. I just got into a relationship with a woman for the first time. My partner and I have used a vibrator once, and I really enjoyed it. My question to you is: How do I ask her to use it again? When we used it, we used mine, and I asked her if she owned one. She said she did, and now I would like to use hers. I really like her, but I am afraid if I come on too strong, she might think I am weird. I am very experimental and would also like to use a strap-on, but, again, I am afraid to ask her. Please help me.

   Ah, vibrators - a subject near to my heart, since I own a sex toy store. Many visitors to the Tool Shed ask similar questions about introducing toys to their partners.

  It's great that you both already own vibrators. Each of you seem familiar with the pleasures of solo vibe play, and your partner was willing to use a toy together at least once. You could bring up the topic again by saying, "I really enjoyed the time we used a vibrator together. You told me that you have a vibe of your own-I'd love to see you use it and learn more about what gets you excited. Would you be interested in doing that with me?"

  One common concern that people have when asking a partner to use a sex toy is that their partner will feel that he or she is being replaced by a toy, or that his or her sexual techniques are inadequate. To avoid this, make sure that the focus during sex is on you, your partner and the way the toy is making both of you feel, rather than the toy itself. Use toys as one of many different sexual techniques that you two try. If your partner needs a break from toys or wants to introduce them slowly, respect her feelings.

  I also suggest shopping together for toys and buying a special one for you to share together. Many couples come into the Tool Shed to do just that. This approach limits the feeling of "competing" with a toy and ensures that both partners get to pick out something that they enjoy.

  There are even toys that are designed for couples to use. I am a fan of the Cone as a toy for two. Its large surface area and hands-free design allow it to be incorporated into many sex positions with a partner, and both of you can feel the strong vibrations. A great two-person toy that will satisfy your lust for both vibrators and strap-on sex is the Feeldoe, a silicone double dildo that has a removable vibe inside. If you are interested in introducing something completely new, like strap-on sex or dildos, it's wise to shop or explore online together rather than surprise your partner out of the blue.

  Since you say that you're sharing toys, you should know that some sexually transmitted infections can be passed from one person to another this way. This may be especially true for herpes and HPV, the virus linked to genital warts and cervical cancer. Most people who have these STIs don't know they are infected-and while they can be treated, they can't be cured. To avoid unknowingly giving an infection to your partner, use condoms over shared sex toys, and change the condom if the toy is passed from one person to another. Use toys that can be sterilized. I recommend silicone, because it's nonporous and won't harbor bacteria. Silicone can be boiled, washed with soap and warm water, or even thrown in the top rack of your dishwasher. Vibrators like the Galaxy Gee or the Rock Chick are perfect, because they are 100% silicone and have vibes that are removable, allowing you to thoroughly clean the toy in between uses.

  Even if your new girl doesn't take to the idea of incorporating toys into your play, you are not "weird." Some people are more adventurous than others, and it's important for both the less experimental and the more daring members of a relationship to respect each other.

  For more thoughts about using toys with a partner, check out the Adventurous Couple's Guide to Sex Toys and the Ultimate Guide to Strap-On Sex

  Laura Anne Stuart owns the Tool Shed, a sex toy store in Milwaukee's Riverwest neighborhood. She has a master's degree in public health and has worked as a sexuality educator for more than a decade. Send questions to laura@shepex.com. Not all questions received will be answered in the column, and Laura cannot provide personal answers to questions that do not appear here. Questions sent to this address may be reproduced in this column, both in print and online, and may be edited for clarity and content.


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