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Sex Toy Myths Debunked

In our society, most forms of sexuality are still highly stigmatized. Sexual preferences, needs, and desires are often showered with judgment, shaming, and pathologizing. What makes stigma so insidious is that narratives are constructed in order to justify and make sense of the unexplained discomfort some have around various sexualities. When these narratives are based on little more than fear and anxieties, I call these narratives myths. Sex toy use has not escaped the wrath of this puritanical construct. So this is my way of saying I'm going to go ahead and bust some myths around sex toy use!

Myth 1: Vibrators are for loners & losers

Truth: To put simply, statistically that's inaccurate. According to a 2009 study out of Indiana University by Dr. Herbenick and Dr. Reece (Prevalence and Characteristics of Vibrator Use by Women in the United States), 64 percent of vibrator users are either married or in a relationship, while 25 percent are single.

However, statistics shmatistics. Even if you are single and like to use sex toys, that doesn't make you a loner or say anything about your character at all other than you like to keep things pleasurable and interesting while exploring your own sexuality. Which, by the way, will then also enhance partnered sex. Not that that's the main point.

Myth 2: Sex toys take the place of your partner

Truth: Well, this one is kind've related to myth #1, and one that I like to use an analogy for in order to demonstrate how perspective is easily shifted when you take the element of sexuality out of the equation. Does a Playstation or deck of cards take the place of your friend? No. You can play video games alone or make it a fun two-player game. You can play solitaire or gin rummy or whatever card games kids are playing these days. Frequently, couples stroll into sex shops and one partner begins to look sad with the thought that maybe all these devices are replacements for their own loving touch. If your best friend acted that way at Toys R Us, it would be pretty clear that maybe your friend had some insecurity issues that they need to work out.

Myth 3: Using a sex toy means that there's something wrong with the way your partner makes love to you

Truth: 70 to 80 percent of women require direct clitoral stimulation in order to have an orgasm. While there are some positions and angles that can help facilitate stimulating the clitoris during penetrative sex, more often than not, that alone will not do the trick. You can use your old trusty finger on the clitoris while having PIV (penis in vagina) sex, but for some that may not be quite enough stimulation or may be too much bedroom acrobatics to focus on at the time. Why not make your lives easier so you can spend more time in wild abandon?

There is no correlation between how good of a lover your partner is and whether you use sex toys, except that perhaps a more attentive lover will be open to sex toy use to please their partners because one of the things that really makes for a good lover is attentiveness. Other indicators of a good lover is willingness to discuss what kinds of erotic play each other likes, an ability to not only listen to how your partner likes to be touched but not having to be reminded of this every single time, and respecting each others comfort levels.

Finally, there are many reasons why people use sex toys. They can be props for various types of erotic play (restraints, floggers, vibrators for compulsory orgasms, etc.), they can help you achieve things that may otherwise be physically difficult or impossible (sex slings for gravity defying sex, vibrators with long handles for those with mobility limitations, sex furniture for some ergonomic chemistry, etc.)

Myth 4: Vibrators are addictive. They';; ruin you!

Truth: Vibrators will rarely if ever cause any permanent nerve damage. Sure if you're using an industrial strength vibrator like the Original Magic Wand for hours on end you may end up feeling a little numb (and hopefully blissed-out). But that goes away. As someone who has gone on these vibrator marathons, I can tell you personally that with the right person, the right touch, the right fantasy, or the right mood, I can still orgasm with barely a suggestion of a touch.

So that leaves psychological desensitization. Also a fallacy. Here's another analogy: Driving is pretty convenient. Road trips are pretty fun. Does that take away the enjoyment of strolling through the avenue or going on a hike? Driving does not desensitize you from the pleasure of walking. There are those who believe that they can't have an orgasm without a vibrator because they are addicted. The fact of the matter is that before the wider spread use of vibrators, a large percentage of women were never able to experience an orgasm either. In fact, sex toys have bridged the orgasm gap between the genders.

Myth 5: Using a vibrator is a shortcut. It's cheating!

Truth: Is using a washing machine instead of hand washing your clothes cheating? Sure they can be a shortcut—a very convenient one if you're squeezing in a quickie. But they are often used in conjunction with other fun sensation play. People enjoy woodworking as a hobby and yet they still may use a power drill!

Myth 6: Vibrators are only for women.

Truth: Vibrators are used to stimulate nerve endings. All genders have nerve endings that love to be stimulated. Another 2009 study out of Indiana University showed that 52 percent of women have used a vibrator while 45 percent of men have also used a vibrator. There are vibrators specifically designed for penises and prostates, but part of it is marketing, so don't limit yourself. Go ahead and try that pink one if you want.

More by Ally Booker

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