Why Sex Toys Aren’t Just For Fun

Purple sex toys in silhouette on a pedestal.

Let me just say up front that sex toys are a lot of fucking fun, and they’re supposed to be. I mean, having fun is the sole purpose of owning any “toy”, and fun is the biggest reason we all have sex (I mean… did we really need science to tell us this?) By this measure, sex toys are probably the most inherently fun objects on the planet. This alone is a fantastic reason to celebrate their existence, and the social changes of the recent past that have made them more widely available and less stigmatized, to the point that I can write publicly about using them as part of my profession.

I’d like to assert that while using sex toys just for fun is completely valid, it’s definitely worth exploring how they can support your overall health and quality of life. Feeling amazing on an average day can be much simpler (and sexier) than you think! Let’s just say I haven’t taken ibuprofen for a headache in a really long time.

 

Two Standard Glass Dildos, one purple, one blue.
Take two of these and call me in the morning (;

The Practical

It’s easy to understand what’s attractive about vibrators and dildos, your standard sex toy fare. Vibration feels good because it stimulates blood flow and makes us more sensitive, which often leads to faster and more intense orgasms. With dildos, a lot of folks, regardless of gender or sexuality, love being penetrated and feeling full. From there, desires and preferences diverge wildly, and collecting (or even just window shopping for) different toys can be the most useful way to teach yourself about your own.

Notice that your favorite insertables tend to be curved? You’re probably into g-spot/prostate stimulation. Don’t get the fuss over the Rechargeable Magic Wand? You might just need a more pinpointed shape like the Tango. Hate buzzy vibrations? Avoid anything powered by disposable batteries. Sex with just bodies usually can’t provide these insights, which inevitably expand our capacity for pleasure.

I have to take a moment to slam an unfortunate marketing trope that plagues the sex toy industry: the “battery-operated boyfriend.” Cringe-worthy, isn’t it? The idea that a vibrating object can replace a human being during sex is just absurd on its face. Is this vibe going to hold eye contact with me? Grab my ass and talk dirty to me? Oh, it’s not? Then give me my money back! I also hate the implication that sex with toys and sex with human partners are mutually exclusive, and that vibrators are only for straight single women who “can’t get a man.” Sex toys are literally for anyone with nerve endings, relationship status notwithstanding. It’s a pretty low bar for entry.

In fact, sex toys can improve partnered sex because buying or using them together facilitates communication, which is so essential. If you’re lucky enough to live near more progressive sex shops like Babeland or Good Vibrations, take your partner shopping. These shops are upscale, well-lit, and full of brilliant sex educators who help you make informed decisions. You will never meet bigger sex toy nerds in your life, so be sure to pick their brains. Plus, having a third party involved can take some pressure off and normalize the subject matter.

 

The Physical

Orgasms: they feel great. But did you know they can actually be medicinal? During sex, our blood flow is increased, we’re taking in more oxygen, and endorphins rush like floodwater. These physiological changes reduce tension, relieve pain, and boost your mood. So why not take advantage of this? The next time you’re super congested, try to make yourself come. Even if if your airways don’t completely clear every time, the sinus pain and pressure are probably gone!

Other toys don’t have to come anywhere near your genitals to ease your pain. As a writer, my neck and shoulders are always tense and hurting, but the Pure Wand has my back. Literally! It’s curve is perfect for reaching over my shoulders and working out the knots without straining the sore spots. The weight and head shape of the Pure Wand are so ideal for this you’d think it was the intended purpose.

Magic Wand Rechargeable, Pure Wand, Tori, Rose Quartz Chakrub
My favorite massagers: Pure Wand, Magic Wand Rechargeable, Chakrubs, and Tori

Beyond massage, sexual wellness products that aren’t quite “toys” can also have physical benefits. A Liberator wedge can ease tension in the neck when going down on a vulva, or make certain positions more accessible to someone with mobility issues. Kegel weights can be used to work toward more intense orgasms, to prepare for childbirth, or to help recover from surgery. Smooth insertables with tapered tips can be used as vaginal dilators. Items like these are why I tend to favor the term “pleasure products” over “sex toys.” They’re often so much more than mere playthings.

 

The Emotional

Like I mentioned earlier, sex and orgasms are extremely effective mood-boosters, which means they can work wonders on your emotional state. This is the case with or without sex toys, but using them can help meet specific needs. Maybe partnered sex is inaccessible to you for a prolonged period of time because of a traumatic event, or a chronic pain flare-up. Toys can break up the monotony of using just your hands to get the job done, or they can recreate sensations that are hard to achieve solo, like firm and consistent g-spot stimulation. Despite abstaining from partnered sex for years after being assaulted, having easy access to world-class sex toys through work meant that almost all of my varied sexual needs were met anyway, and then some.

Pleasure products crafted from natural materials have positive a impact on the body’s electromagnetic field and energy centers, especially when combined with sexual energy and the power of intention. This makes them quite effective at clearing spiritual and emotional blocks, as I’ve experienced firsthand. Working with crystal pleasure products over time can help to restore faith and trust in your body, and in your ability to heal, grow, and thrive as a person. This was one of the first healthy coping mechanisms I ever developed, and it remains an essential part of my self-care practice.

Crave Bullet with Sutil Lube, essential oil, palo santo stick, seashell, rose quartz chunk, and carrying pouch.
I never travel without this pouch! The Crave Bullet fits into absolutely everything.

There is no right or wrong reason for keeping a couple (or a couple dozen) sex toys laying around. If you ask me, every home should have at least one. More and more of them do. Don’t know where to start? Well, you came to the right place. Happy hunting!