Sex—and talking about sex—often makes us feel vulnerable. It's an incredibly personal thing—one of the most intimate things we can do with another person, so it's not surprising that, unless you're incredibly open and secure in your relationship, the 'introducing sex toys' conversation can feel somewhat awkward.
However, we're here to tell you that a few moments of tricky conversation and discomfort will deliver a big payoff to your sex life. Communication is key for enhancing things up in the bedroom and can be as sexy as the physical acts once you get past that shy first conversation and become better able to approach all the big topics.
A study published in the Journal of Sex Research explored couples' sexual communication. It proved to be positively associated with sexual desire, arousal, lubrication, orgasm, and erectile function, and the effect sizes for sexual desire and orgasm were higher for women than for men. It really is good to talk—and especially for her—it seems.
Why do people use sex toys together?
You'll have your own ideas about why you want to introduce sex toys into your partnered sex life, but there are plenty of reasons to introduce toys.
- To add excitement to the routine sex lives of long-term relationships
- To add momentum to your sex life with a new partner
- To improve sexual performance
- To enhance pleasure with new sensations
- To have better sex and more satisfying sex lives
- As a bonding exercise to improve intimacy and bring you closer together
- To deliver elevated orgasms during partnered sex
At first glance, this list looks like something you might bring up in couples' therapy, so consider how much there is to gain by adding a few new toys to your routine.
That said, introducing sex toys into the conversation isn't always easy. So, to get you up and running, we've got a few handy tips to help break the ice and on your way to a more fun and better sex life.
1. Communication is key
Clear communication is a must when introducing toys to a partner.
- First, it helps soften what might be an unexpected blow.
- Second, once the idea is on the table, both partners can discuss their thoughts on what it might mean in their relationship, good and bad, and how to navigate any issues they might foresee.
- Third, it helps to introduce toys in a positive way—that they will be used as a tool to enhance their connection, to add to sex, and to increase their enjoyment during sex.
As with every relationship—romantic, friendship, working, or otherwise—good communication is key to understanding what each wants, needs, or expects from their interactions. Just because sex is so personal and intimate, that doesn't make it any different. Even when there isn't a real or apparent problem, we can only really understand what each other wants, needs, or what they're thinking unless we talk about and regularly discuss sex with our partners.
As referenced in this study (in the Journal of Family Psychology) into couples' sexual communication and relationship satisfaction, Even in long-term romantic relationships, partners report only knowing 62% of what their partners find sexually pleasing and 26% of what their partners find sexually displeasing.
It goes on to say that sexual communication improves not just sexual satisfaction between couples but also their overall relationship quality. For those worried that the conversation might cause damage, think again; those who openly talk about sex reported a positive effect on their relationship, not a negative one.
There are plenty more studies that back this up. This one, exploring the specific importance of communicating about sex in the Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, showed that open sexual communication is not merely a component of overall communication effectiveness but rather, makes a separate and unique contribution to couples’ happiness with the sexual relationship. Okay, we've shown how important communication is between you and your partner, so let's get back to how you can approach the topic of using your favorite toys together.
2. Frame it in a positive/affirmative way
Framing the use of sex toys in a positive light can help a partner overcome any negative thoughts they might initially have about the suggestion.
For example, some will automatically think it's because you're unhappy with their performance; others might jump to the conclusion that you're bored of the sex you have with them. Framing the use of toys as an extra dimension to an already fulfilling sex life will replace those doubts with a compliment, adding confidence, not reducing it.
A few well-placed conversation starters will help introduce using sex toys as a healthy and exciting addition.
To frame this as a positive means suggesting bringing toys into the bedroom is an addition to the pleasure they bring, not a replacement, and will help you both enjoy sex even more, adding excitement and pleasure in new ways.
It's essential to talk about sex away from the bedroom, treading carefully at first, building towards deeper conversations about how it can heighten the pleasure and experience of your sex together. A few well-placed conversation starters will help introduce using sex toys as a healthy and exciting addition. You could say you'd read an article about adding toys to partnered sex or exploring mutual masturbation and how much it would turn you on to help your partner use sex toys on themself. As your chats build momentum, you can share your desires, focusing on the benefits of exploring with a new toy that could deliver as a pleasure tool.
Introducing sex toys to help with a problem
You might be considering how using sex toys can help with a particular issue in the bedroom, and that's great because plenty of sex toys can help with sexual problems. This is another real positive, especially if your partner struggles to climax during sex, delicately discussing how you can help them achieve the same satisfaction together that they achieve from self-pleasure. Using sex toys extends foreplay, which can help bring them closer to bigger sensations before the main act and save your best moves for when they're far closer to their tipping point.
You might be considering how using sex toys can help with a particular issue in the bedroom, and that's great because plenty of sex toys can help with sexual problems.
There are many different ways to enjoy sex together. You might compare using sex toys to exploring new positions together; they're just new ways of mixing things up and enjoying a big dose of fun sex in new ways.
3. Explain your reasons
Explaining why you'd like to take your sex life to a new level will help your partner understand why it's important to you. It will give them an insight into your thoughts, turn-ons, fantasies, and more. The advantage to that is that it should also encourage your partner to be more open about what they like, the things they'd like to try, hopefully becoming more comfortable with exploring their own desires as well as yours.
Explaining why you'd like to take your sex life to a new level will help your partner understand why it's important to you.
Your enhanced journey will be part of a fun adventure you're taking together; it's certainly not a sexual competition between you or your partner and your sex toy. If a sex toy can bring your partner sensations that you can't, you can share those together. A sex toy can never provide what you do; you bring emotion, care, contact, and love into your relationship, all the things a toy never can.
4. Don’t force it
Treading lightly around the topic will help your partner adjust to the idea in their own time and not feel so overwhelmed or pressured to do something they're not yet comfortable with.
If you detect any resistance from your partner or that they feel anxious don't push it. It could add to any potential underlying insecurities they might already have. Allow them time to get used to the idea; after all, they might have different views or ethics than you around using toys as a couple.
If you detect any resistance from your partner or that they feel anxious don't push it.
Reassurance can help, as will the positive reasoning you should have explained. The more you regularly speak about your sex life (and not just about using toys), the easier it will become. You don't have to stay quiet on the topic forever; just allow enough time for your partner to get on board with the idea. Take your cues from them to ensure they feel safe and cared for and that you're doing this to benefit both of you.
5. Do some research to reaffirm your reasoning
Most things in life require careful planning to get the best possible results. Having a few articles to hand that will help your partner see how common playing with toys together is, and the positives they can bring to a relationship will make your initial conversations a lot easier to navigate.
There's no shortage of information about sex toys online. Plenty of content outlines the benefits to your sexual and relationship satisfaction, physical pleasure, and emotional connection.
Chatting through such articles will help you to work the use of toys into the conversation, showing that they're not made purely for solo pleasure but can bolster sensation during partnered sex play, too.
6. Dive into the idea of exploration
You've already done your homework, but carrying out some added research together will help your partner feel more like this is a shared idea and not something you're springing on them against their will.
It's the ideal opportunity to explore the variety of toys and what would work for you both.
As a joint venture, talk about what you both enjoy and what you each feel comfortable with, then explore the kinds of sex toys that meet both of your needs or desires.
It's the ideal opportunity to explore the variety of toys and what would work for you both. Remember, sex should be fun, so exploring what you might add to the mix to make it that way should be fun, too.
7. Suggest that they explore them on their own first
Suggesting your partner gets used to your chosen toy on their own will help them feel more confident when you finally use it together. They'll also be able to show you precisely what to do with it to get the results they want.
If your partner hasn't ever used a sex toy, give them time to explore them on their own, too. Once they figure out what they like, give them space to explain what that is and how you can share that with them.
According to a 2023 survey in the Journal of Sexual Medicine, over half of American women use a sex toy, and both male and female sex toy markets are growing all the time. With that, there's a good chance they'll already know what works for them, but perhaps they're apprehensive about bringing their personal sex play into your joint sessions. Suggest a small step, like using a cock ring to add a little more 'buzz'—the kind of clitoral stimulation they get from their vibrator—but during sex instead of outside of it.
However experienced they are, let them familiarise themselves with any new sex toys if that's what they feel most comfortable with. And with that, let them lead your partnered sex play if that's what they need.
8. Let your partner take control at first
Allowing your partner to take control will help them feel safer with the pace and the activities you're about to explore. Without any awkward surprises looming, they'll relax more and be more confident about what's ahead.
For them to feel the most comfortable, let them introduce the toy when they're ready.
If they're still feeling anxious, reassure them that they're in charge, and whatever they ask you to do is how you'll respond. As they become more confident, you can offer suggestions—delicately, of course. We're sure they'll soon respond as eagerly as you want them to once they start to uncover the enhanced sensations using toys together will bring.
Anyone who's used toys alone already knows how much they can enhance their personal pleasure time. There are significant advantages to bringing those heightened sensations into partner play; not only will it intensify your sex life, but it will strengthen your relationship communication, too.
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