Pleasure Products can be wonderful assets to partnered sex, making a good thing even better! And it’s more common that you might think.
Science Loves Pleasure Products
In a study by Davies et al (2010), over 70% of participants reported using a vibrator while engaging in sexual activity with a partner. When asked about their partner’s reaction to using a toy, the response was overwhelmingly positive. 90% of participants who used a vibrator during partnered sex said their partners were “glad”, “happy”, and “enthusiastic” about the inclusion of the toy.
The study reported that vibrators enhanced the sexual experiences of women, triggering “a more intense and stronger feeling, and assist in experiencing more than one orgasm during a single session of sexual activity”. Fun!
Herbenick et al (2010) also found vibrator use increased desire, arousal, lubrication, and orgasm in women, while also decreasing pain.
Studies have also found benefits for men too. “Vibrator use among men during solo and partnered sexual interactions is common and is associated with a wide array of positive sexual health characteristics… Men who had used vibrators report higher participation in sexual health promoting behaviours, and also scored higher on erectile function, intercourse satisfaction, orgasmic function, and sexual desire”. – Reece et al (2009).
"I don't want to hurt my partner’s feelings" – Pleasure products help to deepen intimacy and heighten pleasure; they do not replace a partner, they do not devalue a partner or their ability to please you.
A helpful note for partners - Sex and Relationship Counselor Michael Castleman says,
"Would you badmouth a carpenter for using power tools? Off your course not. Power tools just get the job done quicker and more efficiently. A vibrator does not replace a partner, all it does is supply the intense stimulation that some women like or need. Vibrators don't change a woman's ability to respond to anything and everything else, they actually help women respond to other types of stimulation. Why? Because they enable them to experience their full range of sexual responsiveness — a key reason why so many sex therapists recommend good vibes." - Sex & Relationship Counselor Michael Castleman.
So, you’re keen to bring extra pleasure to the bedroom? Here are our tips for introducing toys to partnered sex!
- Having a conversation with your partner about introducing pleasure products can be helpful. It's totally okay if you feel vulnerable, feel free to communicate this with your partner. Ask that they receive your message respectfully and without voicing judgement. And that you will do the same for them. A non-judgmental and respectful approach goes a long way.
- Reassure your partner. Some partners may feel insecure about the idea of including pleasure products. Let your partner know that toys are not competition they're collaborators. They are not a sign that your partner is "bad" at sex, or doing the wrong thing. This could be a great opportunity for a discussion around said insecurities and a partner’s preconceived ideas or beliefs surrounding pleasure products. Perhaps you can offer a different perspective or open a conversation about the positive impacts toys can have.
- Don't apologize for voicing your wants/needs. You can be reassuring while also being assertive with your wants and needs. Your pleasure is as important as theirs.
- Frame your communication in a positive light and avoid criticism. This is an exciting opportunity! Communicate how toys could benefit both you and your partner.
The Right Timing
- When having a conversation about toys, choose somewhere private where you won't be interrupted. Ensure you’ve got plenty of time because you don’t want to feel rushed.
- An intimate setting, like a romantic bath, can be helpful as it promotes connection and closeness. Avoid starting the conversation during sex as some partners don’t want to feel it has been “sprung” on them.
- Explore your curiosities together. This can be really fun and super sexy! Show your partner products that interest you and vice-versa. It’s a great way to further build intimacy, connection and erotic tension.
- This allows both you and your partner to play an active role and feel included.
Look Beyond "Couples" toys
- Almost all toys can be used with a partner. Often the best and most versatile toys aren't marketed as "couple's Toys".
- Many traditional couple’s toys can be gimmicky. Many look and sound promising but don't live up to the hype.
Some of our favorite products to include in partnered sex:
Vibrators - Over 95% of vulva owner’s need direct clitoral stimulation to reach orgasm (Mintz, 2018). Vibrators are an amazing tool that can be used to stimulate the clitoris, and they often make it easier to orgasm too! They are a wonderful way to bring pleasure to your play during either solo or partnered sex. If you’re looking to purchase your first toy, or wanting to add a versatile toy to your collection, we recommend a clitoral vibrator like the “Swan Wand Mini”. Made from body-safe silicone, It can be used on its own or paired with internal stimulation (Toys, fingers, a penis). If your partner has a penis, vibrations from your toy on the clitoris can also be felt inside the vagina during penetration. This adds extra sensation for everyone. The Swan Wand Mini is really compact and super easy to hold, so it won’t get in the way of any love making. It’s the perfect accompaniment.
G-spot stimulators – Our glass g-spot stimulators are absolute heaven for those who enjoy internal stimulation. Their curved design makes them easy for you or a partner to use during play. For an intensely pleasurable experience, have your partner use the glass stimulator on your g-spot during oral sex, or while you use your vibrator. This can create what is called a blended orgasm.
Penis Strokers – Penis strokers can be a great way to enhance hand jobs and oral sex for both the giver and receiver. The “Optimum Pro” silicone stroker is an open-ended, silicone stroker that is ribbed inside and has a vibration function. This allows for extra sensation for the receiver, and makes things easier for the person giving pleasure. If your partner is well endowed or you have a sensitive gag reflex, an open-ended stroker can be the perfect addition to oral sex. This can help to make oral sex more comfortable for you while still producing intense pleasure for your partner.
Anal plugs, beads, prostate stimulators – Butt plugs, anal beads, and prostate stimulators can be left in while you enjoy other sexual activities such as oral sex, penetrative sex, or while you use a vibrator. Lubricant should always be used when engaging in anal play of any kind. The anal region is not self-lubricating like the vagina, so to avoid pain or injury you must always lubricate generously. We recommend the Sliquid Organics water-based gel, or Sliquid “Silk” hybrid blend. The use of butt plugs and anal beads can be intensely pleasurable for both vulva and penis owners.
The Ohnut - For vulva owners that experience pain or discomfort during penetrative sex, we highly recommend The Ohnut. This ingenious product is made up of super soft rings that sit at the base of a penis/fingers/toy to help control the depth of penetration.
Lubricant - Lubricant is so darn great! It makes all variations of sex even better! It removes friction, which we all know is very uncomfortable. Even with a vagina’s self-lubricating system, the addition of extra lubricant can bring you a more pleasurable experience. During penetrative sex, the use of lubricant also lowers the risk of condom breakage. We recommend starting with a quality water-based lubricant. For couples wanting to spice up their oral sex game, we also have a line of sugar free flavoured lubricants.
Ways to use a toy/s during partnered sex
-There are no rules. Exploration is part of the fun!
- Many people enjoy using a vibrator on the clitoris during penetrative sex. Vibrators can also be used to stimulate the vulva, vagina, nipples, the base of a penis during oral sex, or for perineum massage.
- Adding a glass g-spot wand for internal stimulation during oral sex or forelay.
- Wearing a prostate massager or butt-plug while receiving oral sex or during intercourse can help maintain a stronger erection and provide intense orgasm for penis owners.
- Using pleasure products together during mutual masturbation.
- Using pleasure products to stimulate each other.
- The list is endless, the world’s your oyster!
Involving toys with a partner/s is fun, normal, and healthy. For many vulva owners, they're necessary for achieving orgasm. This is an exciting and joyful opportunity for exploration, to deepen connection, intimacy, and pleasure.
Browse our collection of quality, body-safe toys and lubricants with your partner, discuss what products would work best for your play together. Most importantly, have fun!
Davis, M.C., Blank, j., Lin, H., & Bonillas, C. (2010). Characteristics of Vibrator Use Among Women. Journal of Sex Research, 33:4, pp 313-320, DOI:10.1080/00224499609551848
Reece, M., Herbenick, D., Sanders, S., Dodge, B., Ghassemi, A., Fortenberry, D. (2009). Prevalence and Characteristics of Vibrator Use by Men in the United States. The Journal of Sexual Medicine, 6:7, pp 1867-1874. doi.org/10.1111/j.1743-6109.2009.01290.x.
Herbenick, D., Reece. M, Sanders. S., Dodge, B., Ghassemi, A., Fortenberry, D. (2009). Prevalence and Characteristics of Vibrator Use by Women in the United States: Results from a Nationally Representative Study, The Journal of Sexual Medicine, 6:7, pp 1857-1866. doi.org/10.1111/j.1743-6109.2009.01318.x.
Herbenick, D., Reece. M, Sanders. S., Dodge, B., Ghassemi, A., Fortenberry, D. (2010). Women’s Vibrator Use In Sexual Partnerships: Results From a Nationally Representative Survey in The United States. Journal of Sex and Marital Therapy, 36:1, pp 49-65. DOI: 1080/00926230903375677
Mintz, L. (2018). Becoming Cliterate: Why Orgasm Equality Matters and How to Get It. Harper Collins Publishers.