For most of my adult life, I’d reserved the words “sex toy” for a kittenish whisper into the ear of a partner behind a closed door. The phrase had certainly never made it from my lips to the public radio microphone I sit behind every weekday.
But if you’ve poked around in our SmartSex newsletter archive you know how a conversation with my co-enthusiast, Teresa, changed that.
At last month’s SmartSex Salon for Couples, we asked you to confide a few things on a survey about your sex lives.
What we learned persuades us that we’d be making more merry if we stuffed our Christmas stockings with sexy playthings.
Secret Stash: More than a few of our female SmartSex-ers said their partners would be “shocked” if they revealed their “secret collection” of sex toys. Not so much.
Sex therapist and Passionista author Dr. Ian Kerner says when guys or gals talk about their “I wants”, watching a woman pleasure herself is high on the list. Indiana University researcher, Dr. Debby Herbenick, writes in Sex Made Easy: “Most people who bring sex toys into their masturbation or partnered sex play don’t do so because they need to, but because they want to.”
Besides, why should you be hiding your sex toys in a bottom drawer when we’re turning our iPhones and Apple watches into vibrators? The “iMassageU” app is described as something that can “relax and relieve stress after a long day.”
Getting a visual on that?
Sex and the City: Remember the “Turtle and the Hare” episode? The girls are noshing in a New York diner when Miranda (Cynthia Nixon) declares that men will be obsolete in 50 years. “I mean, already you can’t talk to them,” she says. “You don’t need ‘em to have kids with. You don’t even need them to have sex with anymore, as I’ve just very pleasantly discovered.”
“Uh oh,” says Samantha in a sing-songy voice. “Sounds like somebody just got their first vibrator.”
“Not first. Ultimate. And I think I’m in love.”
Sex and the City made masturbation and sexual self-empowerment hip again. It still is. Eva Longoria told Self Magazine that she gives Rabbit vibrators to all of her BFFs. “The best gift I can give them is an orgasm.”
Self-Entitlement: If you’re of a certain age or you spend too much time on YouTube, the phrase, “Because I’m worth it” conjures up a series of bouncy-haired righteous babes making the case for L’Oreal hair color.
The ad campaign came out in the early 70s and revolutionized advertising to women. Top L’Oreal executive, Beatrice Dautresme, said that up until then, women weren’t talking into the camera about their feelings and experiences.
Well. We’re no longer camera-shy–Facebook Live and selfies, anyone?— but we’re still not convinced we deserve our pleasure.
When I talked to Dr. Madeleine Castellanos, author of Wanting to Want, for our SmartSex podcast, she told me women have to be more “ruthless” about their pleasure. She reminded me that our biology gives us more estrogen, “the caretaking hormone.” But that we’ve also been socialized to take care of our sexual partners. We might not ask, “Was it good for you?” But we’re thinking it.
Think of it like a sexy GPS. Until you’ve mapped out the way to your own pleasure, your partner is driving in circles with his/her headlights off.
So, this year, shake up that Xmas list and blow Santa’s socks off.
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