Earlier this month, Norwegian fisherman, Bjoern Frilund, found a red bunny-rabbit vibrator in the belly of the cod he caught. While it’s true these types of vibrators are known for their multi-functionality, fish food is not part of their intended use.
Nothing lasts forever, including sex toys, and so when the fun’s over, don’t just toss them overboard. Instead, apply the three “Rs” of waste management and dispose of your toys the responsible way.
When I first started using sex toys, I spent little bits of money on a lot of different gadgets. Soon I found myself with a large collection of average quality stuff, which didn’t stand the test of time and had to be thrown out. Over the years, I learned more about what type of toys my body liked best and I was able to invest more money in fewer, higher quality items. Toys made of materials, like high grade silicone, metal, tempered glass, and leather, have a higher price tag, but with proper care they can last for decades, leading to less waste and lower long-term costs. If you’re looking at vibrating toys specifically, features like an internal rechargeable battery or waterproofing go a long way towards extending the life of your product.
In some cases, specific sex toys can go to a new home. First, the entire toy must be made of a non-porous material, like 100% silicone. These types of materials don’t absorb bacteria from the body, so as long as they’re properly cleaned, they won’t transmit anything from one person to another. And speaking of cleaning, you’re going to want to sterilize that sucker. The easiest way to do that is by boiling your toy, which means anything with a motor, or bits that might melt is out. Finally, if you’re considering the second-hand toy route, I strongly recommend that you only take from people that you know personally and really, really trust. Ebay is not the place to buy pre-loved sexy playthings.
Some sex toys can be recycled at specialty processing plants, where old toys are either professionally sterilized and restored, or ground up and the materials are remade into new toys. It’s a relatively new process that’s slowly gaining traction, so check with your favourite toy retailer or manufacturer to find out if recycling options exist in your neck of the woods.
Toss It . . . Just Not Overboard!
Sometimes when you’re done with a toy, the best option is to trash it. In which case, dump it in a garbage can, not the water. :-)
Here are some more sex toy shopping tips! And did you hear about this couple who are holding off on sex AND kissing until marriage?
For me, one of the challenges of being an educational sex writer is fighting the temptation to offer up advice and information like some of kind of sex talkin’ know-it-all. Don’t get me wrong. I’ve been lucky to learn a lot of cool things about sex over the years and I love sharing that knowledge. But being the “sex expert” sometimes lets me avoid being vulnerable, which for many of us, is a big part of being sexual.
Sometimes people learn about what I do and think that I’m sexy sex vixen who knows all the headboard-rattling, multiple-orgasm-inducing tricks of the trade. I have to admit there’s a part of me that’s reluctant to challenge that assumption. There’s a certain cachet that comes with being sexually skilled. “Great at sex” is a pretty cool reputation to have and I’m not a gal with an abundance of cool points, so it's tempting to take what I can get.
The truth is, as much as I’ve learned about sex in formal settings like school and work, the most profound lessons have come from the honest conversations I’ve had with people who were willing to share their own experiences–even when their sex lives weren’t perfect. And I can’t be good at what I do, if I’m not willing to do the same. The truth is, I do have to work on my sexuality...sometimes very hard. I make mistakes and I’ve had sexual problems I haven’t known how to fix. All the information I’ve gathered over the years certainly helps matters a lot, but it doesn’t mean that sex is always easy for me.
Now that we’ve dispensed with the excessively long lead in, I’m ready to get personal. Needless to say, there may be a bit of TMI ahead.
Lately I’ve been re-evaluating the role masturbation plays in my life and my marriage. I assume I’m one of those people who discovered wanking as a baby, because I literally can’t remember a time when I didn’t masturbate. I also can’t remember a time when I didn’t love it. As a child, it wasn’t at all erotic–just a feels-really-good thing I did, especially when I was falling asleep. As a pre-teen I discovered the sexual connection, and while it was fun, I came to understand it more as a kind of pseudo-sex, a placeholder activity until I started having “real” sex with a dude. Over time, my attitudes changed, but recently I’ve realized that some of those early pubescent ideas have stuck with me to this day.
I’ve been a long-time advocate of masturbation as a great sexual practice whether people are in a couple or not. But it dawned on me recently that I now tended to think of sex with my husband as the central expression of my sexuality. I never stopped masturbating, but when I did it, it was usually when my husband wasn’t available or with him actively watching me, as part of foreplay.
It occurred to me that perhaps I need to make masturbation–the kind that’s just for me–more of a priority. One of the things I often tell people is that wanking is a great way to get to know your body and what it likes. Now that I’m in my late thirties, I find that my own body is changing more as it ages and my sexual response is changing with it. I love getting it on with my partner, but I also need some quality Nadine-time so I can keep up-to-date with new clitoral developments.
Beyond the practical, the truth is I still just really enjoy getting myself off. I hope it doesn’t sound totally conceited, but sometimes I turn myself on. Sometimes I want to have sex with myself, by myself. Sometimes I want that private time alone with my porn or my fantasies and really have a go at myself, without taking anyone else’s needs into consideration. For me that’s as sexy as being with my husband, but in a totally different way.
But in spite of all of these good reasons, it dawned on me that I had still developed a tendency to be kind of secretive about my masturbation. I mean, yes my husband knew I wanked and vice-versa, but I typically didn’t do it unless he was sleeping or out of the house. I’m not sure why. I think it was just a habit I developed long ago, that I never thought about breaking before. And the thing is, my husband is the most lovely, accepting person I’ve ever known. There’s really no reason I couldn’t say to him, “I’m going to spend some time with my vibrators now.” I’d just never done it before and it felt really weird to start.
So instead of diving right in, we started with a conversation. I told him all the stuff I’m telling you now. Not only was he on board, he told me that he sometimes feels the same way. We both agreed that actively telling each other when we wanted me-sex, was probably a good idea, even if it might feel super-awkward at first.
It has felt super-awkward at times. But only in that moment when we fumble for the right words as we excuse ourselves. No one ever taught me I could say “I’m going to get off!” the same way I say “I’m going to get milk!”
But then it’s really good. For all the reasons I’ve said. And because masturbating makes me feel powerful and in control of my own body. I like having control of my own arousal. Knowing I’m free to give myself an orgasm whenever the mood strikes, is really neat. As I said this is still very new, and it’s not exactly easy but my husband and I are working out the kinks (no pun intended) as we go along.
My sex life isn’t always a smooth ride. It’s been a road with twists, turns and a bunch of bumps. But that always means I’m always learning as I go, and while it can be scary, ultimately I’m happy to share some of that journey with you.
At times like this, I appreciate ads that remind me I'm not the only one with a less than perfect sex life. But enough about me. Anyone for naked yoga ?
A recent story over at Mummy Buzz featured news of Jill Duggar (of 19 Kids and Counting fame) and her fiance Derrick Dillard. Reportedly, the pair have decided to hold off, not only on sex, but also kissing, until they’re married.
First of all, can I just say this milkshake-sipping pair are a-to-the-dorbs? I’ve never watched 19 Kids and Counting, but I’ve read a few quotes from the pair. They sound like smart people, who know how they want to proceed in their relationship. Premarital chastity — especially to this extent — isn’t a common choice these days, but that doesn’t make it inherently wrong. Jill and Derrick are adults. Presumably they’ve made the choice that feels best for them and their circumstances. Hopefully it turns out well and they continue to be very happy together.
This post isn’t meant as a criticism of their specific chastity. But after the Mummy Buzz post went up on Facebook, I saw comments from people expressing certain ideas about the pros and cons of abstaining from sex until after marriage. Personally, I’m for people abstaining from sex until they’re ready. If some people’s ethics, values and beliefs mean that that point of readiness is after they get married, that seems valid to me. But I have to admit that there are some ideas, both good and bad, around chastity that don’t sit well with me.
They sure can. They can also get to know each other if they have sex before getting married. It is totally possible to have sex with someone and also have platonic conversations and experiences. Having sex with someone doesn’t mean you can’t learn where they grew up or what their fears are or where their obsession with Star Wars Lego began. Furthermore, I feel that learning about someone sexually is getting to know them — a very important part of them. If people choose to wait for marriage before sharing the sexual parts of themselves, it’s all good. But if they choose to do it beforehand, they can still cultivate the kind of intimacy that stems from truly knowing one another.
This one irks me, because it isn't accurate. I’m not knocking anyone’s marriage. I’ve been in one for almost fifteen years and so far it’s working out like gangbusters. But marriage is not a condom or the pill or any other form of contraception or STI prevention. Yes, if you’re not having sexual contact with another person, your risk of pregnancy and sexual transmitted illness is virtually zero. But as soon as you start having sex, your risk goes up, regardless of your marital status. Getting hitched doesn't mean you’re prepared to deal with a pregnancy and if one happens unintentionally, it can still be very difficult development. Conversely, non-married people can and do become pregnant without it necessarily presenting a crisis. Similarly, reducing your number of sexual partners does reduce your risk of contracting an STI, but you don’t have to be married to do that.
And also, the thing that maybe makes STIs seem a lot worse than other types of sickness, is that people with STIs are made to feel ashamed about their illnesses. For example, I doubt that anyone is concerned that Jill and Derrick, sweet as they are, are putting themselves at risk of spreading colds, viruses, even a potentially lethal flu by sharing that milkshake.
Communication, in my opinion, is high on the list of healthy relationship must-haves. And I agree that when sex isn’t part of your relationship, you can really learn to communicate. You can also really learn to communicate when sex is part of your relationship, because being able to express your desires, your boundaries, your concerns, your discomfort because they’re squashing your arm, often makes the lovin’ even better. Perhaps Jill and Derrick feel more comfortable cutting their teeth on other ways of relating before they get into sexual negotiations. Totally legit. I’m just saying that sex can also be an opportunity, instead of a barrier to communication.
Unlike the other examples, these types of comments come from the Waiting Until Marriage Is a Bad Idea camp.
When I hear "sexual chemistry," I think of something where great sex just happens between partners automatically. It’s the thing that happens in erotic stories. People put their bodies together and orgasms ensue because hormones and pheromones and stuff we can’t control. Personally, I don’t believe in sexual chemistry. Or more accurately, I don’t believe that if it isn’t fireworks right out of the gate, you’re doomed to a lacklustre sex life.
I believe in sexual attraction, which I think of as that feeling of “I want to have sex with this person.” I believe in sexual compatibility, by which I mean what happens when our sexual wants and needs fit with those of our partners. And I don’t think you *have* to be sexually active with someone to find out if attraction and compatibility are there. Your body will tell you if attraction is happening. And compatibility you can talk about beforehand. Like hypothetically:
Partner One: Would you be willing to wear one of those animal-themed winter hats when we do it...maybe one that looks like a frog?
Partner Two: Yes, yes I would.
Partner One: Yay!
Whether or not you’re sexually attracted to someone is still kind of random. The attraction bit is pretty much hormones and pheromones and all that jazz. But just because Jill and Derrick aren’t acting on that stuff, it doesn’t mean they aren’t feeling it. And I don’t know what’s going to happen on their wedding night. They might be one of those couples who just get together and magic happens. If so, they are super, super lucky. And if they aren’t — well, a lot of us aren’t, in the beginning. I firmly believe that regardless of how you start out, if the attraction and compatibility are there, over time you can build a great sexual rapport with your partner.
At any rate, good luck to you Jill and Derrick. Continue to navigate your relationship as you see fit. I hope your first kiss, your marriage, and your lives together are everything you dream of!
Speaking of sexual compatibility, check out this fun and easy exercise that can help you negotiate frog-hat-nookie or anything else you might want from your partner. And did you know that what we think we know about the hymen may not be legit?