Sex toys get a bad rap. Some worry that using them will affect their ability to orgasm from other forms of stimulation or that they’ll become addicted to them (not true). As an extension of these myths, others see sex toys as a threat, something that will replace them. Still others dismiss sex toys as a path of last resort, something couples must turn to when their sex life is suffering.

But sex toys are a tool like any other. You can use them to explore your body, discover the spots and sensations that give you pleasure, and convey that information to your partner(s) later on. You can use them when you’re alone and want an easy orgasm or five. You can use them as a form of stress release, a way to release tension in the body, and perhaps a way to fall asleep more easily.

And on top of all that, they’re nice to have in your back pocket when you want to spice up your partner play. After all, sex toys aren’t a replacement for sexual intimacy, they’re an additional form of stimulation you can use to enhance what you’re already doing in bed.

So how can you use them?

Rev Your Engine

If you’re slow to arousal — and maybe even low on desire — you can use a toy to get your motor running.

You can do this by yourself, perhaps relaxing with a clitoral vibrator or a penis sleeve before calling your partner to the bedroom. (I legit did this last night: “Hey! Hubby! My clitoris is awake! Want to join us?”)

Or you can do it with your partner, collectively building things to a slow simmer before they boil over completely. One way I like to do this is with a remote control wearable like Hidden Agenda, Box Office, or Our Little Secret. I tuck a bullet vibrator into my underpants, give my husband the remote, and then we Netflix and chill without missing the movie.

(Though, to be fair, it’s hard to stay fully focused on the film.)

The Main Event

There are several toys that have been developed specifically for couples that you can use during your sex play.

Use a c-ring (vibrating or not) during penetrative intercourse, giving your partner a longer-lasting erection and, perhaps, also providing you with some extra clitoral stimulation.

Use a textured, open-ended pleasure sleeve during penetrative intercourse to experiment with decreased depths while pleasuring the wearer. Some sleeves function like extenders and increase length and/or girth to provide additional stimulation to both partners. In addition to changing penis size or shape, sleeves are also known to help those who grapple with erectile dysfunction or premature ejaculation.

Or try a strap-on! There are strapless options that stay put thanks to their curved, insertable bulbs and, of course, the old-school strap-ons that stay in place with boxer briefs.

Any Toy Can Be a Couple’s Toy!

Couple’s toys aside, any sex toy can be a couple’s toy if you and your partner(s) use it together! Enter your partner from behind — perhaps in the reverse chair position, a spooning position, or doggy style — allowing for more space to use a vibrator on the clitoris. Move into the 69 position so you can pleasure each other, switching off between oral sex and toy-generated stimulation. Do the cowgirl, with the person up top brandishing a clitoral vibrator or suction toy.

Don’t feel like you have to limit all that stimulation to the genitals. Vibration or suction stimulation can also feel good on the nipples, the mons pubis, the inner thighs, the perineum …  the sky’s the limit!

What’s your favorite way to bring sex toys into your sexual relationships? Try using your favorite toy to tease a new erogenous zone or shop for the next addition to your collection with the above info!

Stephanie Auteri

Stephanie Auteri

Journalist, author, & sex educator
Steph Auteri has written about sexuality for the Atlantic, the Washington Post, Pacific Standard, VICE, and other publications, and has collaborated with folks at the American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors, and Therapists (AASECT), the Center for Sex Education, and Good in Bed. She is the author of A Dirty Word, a reported memoir about how female sexuality is so often treated like a dirty word.