Toy joy: UB students share experience using sex toys
When Aliyah Hadid went to a sex toy store in Canada, she thought lonely, old women would be there.
She was surprised to find a crowd of couples, including a woman buying a rabbit-shaped vibrator with her boyfriend right beside her.
Single women and men looking to explore their sexuality or couples trying to spice up their sex lives can use sex toys. Toys come in a variety of different shapes, sizes and flavors. Some students say sex toys helped them get to know their bodies. A few students have even created their own sex toys by using fruit, such as bananas, for penetration.
Forty-six percent of UB students said they’ve used sex toys. Sex toys are predominantly used by women, according to Veronica Monet, a certified sexologist and founder of the Exquisite Partnership Formula. She said men have used pornography masturbation so excessively that there hasn’t been a big need for companies to create toys for them.
Abigail Jones’ sex life changed drastically once she started using sex toys. She said she finally got to know where her g-spot was and her sex life “took a turn in the right direction.”
“I feel like there’s this kind of stigma that sex toys are only for the lonely girl with no man,” she said. “No man can make me orgasm more than I can [do] myself.”
Jones masturbates with her vibrator at least five times a week.
Some students prefer “the real thing,” to sex with a toy.
“I want an actual penis, not a vibrating piece of rubber inside of me,” said Molly Smith.
Smith said she tried using a vibrator once, but it just didn’t give her the same feelings as partnered sex.
Sizzle up partner sex
Monet said it’s important to “bring your heart to masturbation,” when using sex toys. This makes emotional connection easier when having sex with a partner.
Hadid started using sex toys when she was 16 years old. She and her ex-girlfriend bought a sex toy online for about $25 and they began using it to have sex.
“If your relationship isn’t going too well in that department, it’s like what else are you going to do? Are you going to just break up,” she said. “You might as well at least try out sex toys.”
Sarah Ali bought a “kitty tail” sex toy from a local sex shop last year. The $70 tail is inserted into the butt during partner sex, she said.
“The butt plug part of it is stainless steel. It’s really good because it’s really easy to clean so it’s sanitary so there’s no plastic or any other [chemicals] rubbing off into your skin,” she said. “It’s kind of like kinky and makes you feel sexy in an animalistic way.”
D.I.Y. sex toys
Ali uses the water from a detachable showerhead to bring her to an orgasm.
“You have to make sure that the pressure of the lukewarm water is really low, otherwise it’s going to hurt you,” she said.
Ali said she also has used small transportable bicycle pump as a sex toys.
“I used it because it had a cylindrical shape so I thought ‘what if I insert it?’ It really hurt and I didn’t like it. So I thought what if I pump air in it? And I actually liked it,” she said.
Ali’s boyfriend pumped air into the bicycle pump and inserted it inside of her. It created a pressure as if something was going inside her vagina.
Ali has even used fruits like bananas, carrots and cucumbers as sex toys.
“In my head before I put the banana inside of me I thought, ‘this is not logical, what if it gets smooshed inside of me? I tried freezing the banana and it was just numb down there,” Ali said.
Know what turns you on
Eighty percent of women have difficulty reaching an orgasm from vaginal intercourse alone.
Monet said sex toys are largely important for women to discover what turns them on. If they learn to stimulate their g-spots or a-spots, they learn places where orgasms can be accentuated. She often has her clients who are unable to achieve orgasms purchase a small g-spot stimulator so they can learn what tickles their sexual fancy.
“I think sex toys help a woman to explore her vaginal response, which I think is a little mysterious for everyone,” she said.
Ali said, “if you can make yourself orgasm, you can teach your partner how to make you orgasm.”
Ali also thinks sex toys are essential for single girls to help them embrace their sexuality.
“A lot of girls rush into sex. A lot of people when they first lose their virginity, it’s not even good sex, or a lot of people don’t lose it in the right way or to the right person,” she said. “If you use sex toys [before you have sex], you’ll feel pleasure, you’ll love yourself more and that will help improve your own self-image.”
Ali believes sex toys can keep girls from having sex at a young age.
Safety of sex toys
Monet said most sex toys on the market are usually safe.
“I haven’t really heard of any [sex toy] horror stories other than people putting vaginal toys up into their butt and having to go to the emergency room to have it removed,” she said.
She warns to never use a vaginal toy anally because vaginal toys don’t have the phalange at the bottom to keep the toy from getting sucked up into the rectum.
She said using a vibrator on high and really stimulating the clitoris can cause spots from the abrasion, but the tissue usually heals pretty quickly.
Monet also warns people of the addictive use of sex toys.
“If any kind of sexual behavior becomes addictive then it can have some negative consequences. [I define addictive as] you’re doing it to avoid feelings and it’s starting to interfere with the rest of your life and makes you unhappy so if what you’re doing isn’t making you happy I think that’s something to question,” Monet said.
Monet said some people think sex toys can create insensitivity and women might not be as responsive to their lover’s touch. But in some cases, it’s just that their lover’s touch is “not educated, informed, subtle or intelligent.”
On the other hand, she said, any kind of masturbation, whether it’s to pornography or with a vibrator, can lead to habituation, so one’s body may only respond to certain stimuli.
“If you’re using sex toys or pornography to avoid intimacy and avoid connection then there’s a way in which you’re just going to have a heck of a time making that journey in a relationship so the relationship will feel flat and it will be boring or dull,” she said.
Women can sometimes be aroused by the mere sound or sight of their vibrators, according to Monet. If women keep their vibrators nearby during sex and incorporate it into partnered sex, that can help to sexually stimulate them, Monet said.
Are there sex toys for men?
Men don’t use sex toys as much as women, but there are sex toys specifically made for men. Fleshlight makes sex toys that “feel like a real vagina,” Monet said. There are also butt plugs, sex dolls and anal vibrators designed specifically for male pleasure.
The emotional component of sex toys
Monet worries some people may focus too much on the sensation sex toys produce and don’t grasp the emotional component of sex.
“Sex has a beautiful emotional component that doesn’t have to be about love and it doesn’t have to be about bonding and it doesn’t have to be about procreation,” she said. “That’s why I encourage people to connect with themselves emotionally when they’re masturbating.”
Ali also thinks people shouldn’t strictly rely on sex toys to improve their relationships.
“Use sex toys to connect yourself to your heart,” Monet said. “If you just get off on the sensation it’s going to lead you down a blind alley.”
*Editor’s note: Names have been changed to protect the privacy of these students.
Ashley Inkumsah is the co-senior news editor an can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org