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How to introduce toys to a new partner

By Maya Khamala

If you’ve ever used a sex toy, you probably agree—they’re fabulous and brimming with possibilities. But while many have no qualms with breaking out the toys for a solo sesh, bringing sex toys into a relationship tends to stir up a little more hesitation. This is a shame, considering they can open up fresh new universes of pleasure for all. 

Fact: toys can accomplish things our bodies can’t—like pulsing and vibrating in different modes. These unique sensations are the difference-makers that help many people to have more consistent, frequent, and quality orgasms. 

Even if you’re only occasionally inspired to use toys, simply having them on hand can help maintain a certain element of adventure and novelty in longer term relationships. That being said, there’s absolutely no reason you shouldn’t introduce them to a spankin’ new partner. Hell, there’s no reason not to introduce them to a one night stand! No matter how long you’ve known your lover, adding the right toy(s) to the equation can only expand your sex life.

But while sex toy taboos have faded significantly, many still worry that broaching the subject of bringing toys to bed may not be entirely welcome by their partner(s).

Consider the following rough and tumble guide to introducing toys to a new partner.

Normalize sexual communication.

Bringing sex toys (or anything else that might excite you) into your relationship will be easier if you and your partner already have regular conversations about sex. Telling your partner what they do that's working for you can be a good segue to talking more in depth about everything. After all, honest communication is vital to hot sex. Even if it’s a one night affair, what could be hotter than sharing what turns you on, and asking your partner what turns them on? After all, one night stands are still a chance for both of you to have your sexual needs met. 

As clinical psychologist and sex therapist Christopher Ryan Jones puts it, talking about sex and sexual preferences openly “can increase intimacy and provide the opportunity for each of you to better understand what is most enjoyable for you sexually.”

Choose your moment

Unless you know your new partner is into toys, consider not just whipping your toys out in the heat of the moment, as this can create pressure or stoke insecurities for some. Ideally you'd set aside time when not having sex to discuss sex toys. Of course, if it’s a one night stand, a quick “how do you feel about toys?” just might suffice. If you know you won't be seeing them again, you may feel more bold in your suggestions. Ultimately, consent is always the bottom line!

Although some may feel it’s wise to wait a few dates or until your partner feels they know how to please you without toys (begging the question: who says it’s bad to need toys?), sexologist Carol Queen insists that many find this conversation much easier to initiate in a new relationship, because that’s often when people are already openly discussing sexual preferences. Still, not everyone feels comfortable discussing their preferences early on—if ever. If you’re extra shy but you know toys play an integral role in your pleasure, consider presenting it as an idea you came across in an article, or while talking to a friend.

Don’t link toys to a sexual shortcoming

In other words, let suggesting sex toys be a positive, enthusiastic, sexy idea you can both get excited about—rather than something that needs to happen to improve upon a sex life that’s somehow deficient, or worse, performance that’s not up to par. 

This does not mean you shouldn’t communicate openly and honestly about all the things that turn you on and off, but if you want to smoothly introduce toys (or any new element) to your sexual repertoire, it’s usually more effective to bring up what’s hot about them rather than what’s not hot without them. This is particularly relevant if your partner is working on building up their sexual confidence. 

Think, inclusive exploration

Try coming at it from an inclusive angle: sex toys are but one of many delicious experiences you can try together to see what you both like. Discuss the kinds of sensations you both enjoy or want to try out and how you could see toys helping you explore all that. After all, there’s probably a thing (or ten) you could learn about your partner’s pleasure too.

Did I mention that sex toys are immensely diverse nowadays? There’s something out there for people of all genders, not to mention, toys specifically designed for couples. Introducing toys should be about enhancing pleasure for all involved. Maybe your partner will get off just watching how your pleasure deepens with a powerful new vibe. Or—maybe they’ll want to toy around too.

Show and tell

If you went ahead and bought the toy you want to introduce to your partner, you might propose an in-bed demonstration where you show your partner how you use it on yourself, potentially working up to guiding them to join in the fun. Sometimes, a sexy show-and-tell is all that’s needed to successfully communicate why something is a fabulous idea. 

You may also want to buy new sex toys together. After all, you have a unique dynamic, and you bring unique desires out of one another—why shouldn’t your toys reflect that? Bonus: toy research and shopping can be seriously hot, and it gives you the chance to show-and-tell together while building mutual excitement.

Bonus tip: clean toys are sexy!

Keeping your sex toys clean is crucial to enjoying them! Neglecting to wash your toy, using the wrong lube, or storing it wrong can damage the toy, or cause it to harbor bacteria, which can lead to an infection—and there’s nothing arousing about that, friends. How you sterilize your toys depends on the material it's made of. Here’s a handy guide for how to clean your sex toys properly. It's also best to consult the packaging for specific cleaning instructions and precautions.

If you or your partner already has a toy you’re excited about trying together, determine—with your new partner—whether you feel comfortable reusing them or not. Even with a one night lover, getting consent is 100% necessary before whipping out a used toy. While some are comfortable with used toys if they’re properly sterilized, others find it weird or disrespectful to use the same toy with multiple partners.

Bottom line: introducing sex toys to a new relationship can and should be exciting! Do it with openness, honesty—and a dash of humor—and you can’t go wrong. Just be prepared for the possibility that your partner may not be on the same page, and above all, keep the conversation going!

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