It’s a long winter if you don’t have anyone to warm you up – so why not heat up the bedroom on your own?
The first time I ever bought and used a sex toy I had just had a terrible breakup. It was a little bullet vibrator which cost about a tenner, but it was a great way to get into using them. For a lot of people, sex toys are mysterious, taboo, used by lonely people, and nowhere near as good as the real thing. Honestly, this perception couldn’t be further from the truth. Sex toys are a way for everyone to learn about themselves and empower themselves to have great sexual experiences.
First of all, I want to tackle the myths and misconceptions surrounding sex toys: the idea that sex toys are illicit and wrong to talk about stems mainly from the fact that sex generally is considered taboo. Like other aspects of sexual health, understanding what you like and dislike is crucial to having great experiences – solo or with company! The fact is, they aren’t just for lonely people: whether you’re single or in a relationship, sex toys can be a great way to connect with your body (or someone else’s). It shouldn’t be an insult to bring a toy into the bedroom, and there shouldn’t be any shame in spending some quality one-on-one time with yourself and your favourite vibrator.
During the strange times we now live in, so far away from everyone and everything we know, we do anything we can to feel some semblance of normality. At the moment, unless you have a partner you live or are in an extended household with, sex with a partner is likely off the table for the foreseeable future. So, if you’ve been hesitating to try something new, now is probably the best time to go for it. For the first part of lockdown, I was unable to see my partner for a couple of months, which meant I had lots of time to get to know myself again in the bedroom.
One of the big benefits of using a sex toy while masturbating is that you’re in complete control, and it really is all about you. There’s no possibility of terribly awkward sex, having to try to remember the name of the one night stand you took home, or worrying that you’re sending the wrong message to your friend with benefits. There’s no strings attached, the only thing you need to worry about is if you have enough battery. Furthermore, there’s no need to even leave your flat, no need to brave the cold weather in Glasgow without a coat, because it’s ruining your look.
It may seem daunting – where to start? When in doubt, it’s best starting small. Don’t go for the biggest or the flashiest, especially things which are inserted like butt plugs or dildos, as you can do some serious damage if they aren’t used properly. Make sure you get proper equipment for the job too: if it’s going up your anus it needs to have a flared base, otherwise you can end up with some very uncomfortable conversations in A&E. And if it hurts, stop. Things like bullet vibrators are a non-intimidating starting point, are quite versatile, and usually don’t cost too much. Don’t be afraid to use lube too, as this can both stop any injuries and can enhance your experience.
There are plenty of places to go for toys; Luke and Jack in Glasgow, or Ann Summers and Lovehoney, both of which do student discounts. Make sure to do your research so you pick the right thing for you – there are loads of different types and it can be very overwhelming. When it comes to materials, it’s important that they’re non-porous (so they’re easier to clean and prevent bacteria from developing). Make sure to also clean them after every use with a cleaner and make sure they’re dry before putting them away. Silicone toys should also not be stored together or used with silicone lube as they can react together and melt! Don’t panic though: Lovehoney has a help page explaining what you need to take into account when buying toys which is a good start place.
It’s a shame that we as a culture are so terrified about the mere discussion of sex that we struggle to get advice and opinions on the topic of sex toys. Their use is far more common and widespread than we think, and I think most people would benefit from having a conversation with a friend about them. Like anything with sexual health, if we normalise talking about it we all benefit. After all, sexual health should be treated like any other part of your health.