Playing with each other

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Let’s face it; two human bodies can only come together in so many ways. Once you’ve tried them on top, you on top and behind, you and your partner have probably exhausted about 90 per cent of the sexual positions two people can penetrate each other in.

For people looking to experience the excitement of the unknown — that feeling so thick at the beginning of a sexual relationship, but so fleeting a few months or years in — the vast world of sex toys could breathe new life into a stagnating relationship, or bring a vigorous one to new heights. Just don’t try to go “too big too soon,” warns L. Rae Stewart, owner of Top Drawer Toys.

“[Sex toys] are meant to be fun and meant to be helpful,” says Stewart, but pulling out a 60-centimetre-long rubber penis before sex may “make your partner feel like something is missing.” She advises starting small, with something “low key,” like a small vibrator, blindfolds or silk scarves.

If the question of inadequacy does come up, Stewart says it’s important to remember that everyone’s bodies are different, and not everybody can reach orgasm from the same way. “All [toys] do is provide a different kind of stimulation [ . . . ] and nothing replaces human contact,” adds Stewart.

According to Stewart, if you are looking to introduce toys to your love life, communication and trust is key.

“People need to be comfortable talking about it with their partner,” says Stewart, but she realizes it can be a difficult subject to broach for even the most committed partners.

“If you can’t say it on the outside, create a fantasy,” advises Stewart. “Tell [your partner] a really hot story about getting off with a vibrator in the bedroom,” or bring up the idea while talking dirty to one another.

After you’ve talked about it, Stewart says going to a sex-toy shop together can be one way that couples share the experience, although that might not be everyone’s cup of tea.

Once you’ve decided to get a toy, you should do as much research as possible, recommends Stewart, because there is a lot of crap out there.

Stewart advises people to avoid anything with the word “novelty” on it, but she says it can be hard to know what a quality item is; most importantly, you should trust the people in the store. “People don’t work in sex-toy stores unless they are comfortable talking about it,” says Stewart. She adds that if you find the idea of going to a store uncomfortable, the Internet is also a great resource.

Once you have a toy, Stewart says it’s important to understand when it is and isn’t safe to share: “Even if you’re with a life long partner [ . . . ] sharing can be dangerous.”

She points to pornography films that show toys going from one person’s anus to another’s vagina, and says those kinds of scenes really make her mad because that kind of use spreads potentially harmful bacteria. Stewart says if you must share toys, “set up a barrier, [such as a condom], so you’re not trading ‘bum fluid,’” and change that barrier each time the toy is used on a different partner.

Finally, even if your partner is not into it, that shouldn’t stop you from exploring the world of toys on your own. There are plenty of items out there designed for self-pleasure, and as Stewart says, “there is nothing wrong with rubbing one out before breakfast” if that’s what you need to get through the day.