The Top Eight Sex Toy Myths Debunked
There are so many amazing ways to give and receive pleasure—including using sex toys alone or with partners. There is no one “type” of person who uses sex toys: your neighbour, parents, teachers, married and single friends, and colleagues might use them. But even though people may be comfortable discussing other aspects of their sexuality, the use of toys is sometimes still kept a secret—even from a partner!
Although the use of vibrators, dildos, penis, and anal toys is accepted as a healthy sexual practice, many myths resurface regularly in our workshops and with our clients about what it means to use them.
We're going to debunk some of the most common sex toys myths once and for all:
MYTH 1: Only single people who are desperate and unable to sustain a relationship use sex toys.
Actually all kinds of folks use them. Statistics show that people of all genders, orientations, and relationship statuses use sex toys. In fact, 78% of users report being in a relationship. Some folks reserve the use of toys for solo play, but many also include them in partnered-sex. They are a part of many sexual escapades just as lubricants, condoms, and massage oil might be.
MYTH 2: Sex or orgasms from using sex toys are not ‘real’ or ‘natural’.
What is real sex anyhow? We all have different reasons for having sex: is it about connection? Release? Pleasure? Orgasm? Intimacy? Reproduction? Toys can be a part of sex for whatever reason, even if it’s about reproduction (although you’ll need some additional ingredients as well for that purpose).
What is real is that technology is a part of life: from communication and work to making and shipping everything from roses to condoms, from where our food comes from to transportation. Any type of interaction that produces connection, intimacy, and pleasure seems pretty natural and real, whether toys are included or not. And sex can feel just as good or better with toys, so we say it's very real.
MYTH 3: I might be replaced by a sex toy.
No one has left a relationship because they fell in love with a toy instead. Toys don’t cuddle, are often not much fun to lick and kiss, and don’t make great dinner companions (although they are great at listening without interrupting). In reality, people who use toys in partnered-sex can be better lovers by incorporating pleasure in ways that work for everyone.
Some think that “giving” a partner an orgasm without the use of toys is proof of their sexual skill and prowess. However, sometimes what a penis, tongue, or hands can do are not as effective as pleasure with toys. This reality is a reflection of what the receiving partner needs and not the giving partner’s skill. It's important to take the ego out of the equation and to be open to whatever is helpful for a partner to feel pleasure in order to “give” more fully. This approach is more likely to reduce faked pleasure and orgasms as well.
MYTH 4: People who need to use sex toys are broken and sex with them is unsatisfying.
Lots of folks use glasses in order to see and calculators in order to do math, and some of us need a little more power in order to orgasm. The use of penis pleasure items, vagina and vulva stimulators, and anal toys can enhance the kind of pleasure we enjoy and sometimes make orgasm possible, which is awesome. We all have our challenges, skills, and roadblocks. Let’s embrace the options we have to make sex better rather than focusing on our limitations.
For example, the Hot Octopuss Pulse is a sex toy that people with penises can use to feel pleasure whether they have an erection or not. And their partner can climb on top of the toy to pleasure their vulva or perineum, simulating intercourse. In this case, both partners can feel vibration at the same time. This combination also works well whether the receiving partner cannot accommodate or enjoy intercourse. Any sex where there is pleasure, connection, and communication is bound to be awesome and satisfying.
MYTH 5: People who use toys with a partner are obviously incompetent, lazy, and lousy lovers.
People who use whatever it takes to bring pleasure to their partners are awesome lovers. Being open to multiple types of sex is a fabulous quality that will help keep sex alive in a relationship for many years.
MYTH 6: People get addicted to their toys and can never have “regular” sex again.
We can certainly get used to certain stimuli and patterns: if we always drive everywhere it can be hard to switch gears to take public transit, walk, or bike when the car breaks down. But after a few days of a new routine, most of us get into a new groove. Another way of looking at it is that the more we do things in different ways, the more easily we can switch between those ways.
What is “regular” sex? Vibrators and dildos can be a part of regular sex: they add variety and often make a partner’s job easier. And as mentioned above, for some folks, sex toys are a fundamental aspect of feeling pleasure and/ or orgasm.
MYTH 7: Using sex toys is unsafe.
Walking outside can be unsafe without the right precautions. If we don’t talk about sex, people can do many sexually unsafe things in general. Some safety tips for toys include:
- Use body-safe toys (e.g. silicone dildos, glass, or stainless steel toys if possible, avoiding latex toys with phthalates)
- Don’t insert anything anally without a flared base
- Don’t forget anything inside of you (e.g. bullet vibrators)
- Use condoms on toys that you are sharing with others with whom you do not share sexual fluids (e.g. if you use condoms, gloves or dams to protect yourself against sexually transmitted infections (STIs), don’t share your toys without covering them with condoms—some STIs have been found on dildos even 24 hours after cleaning them)
- Use proper lubricants and cleaners based on the manufacturer’s suggestions; many silicone dildos without internal vibrators can be sterilized in boiling water for 3 minutes
- Learn correct safety protocols of any kink or bondage equipment
- Do not use the same toys for vaginal play after anal play without thoroughly cleaning them in between
- Research anything you are unsure of or ask a reputable retailer about safety when you make a purchase
MYTH #8: The best sex toy is…
Just like there is no one best restaurant, haircut, or car, there is no one best sex toy. Depending on budget, ability to orgasm, as well as a preferred type of stimulation, size, pressure, and style, there are lots of popular choices available, but there is no one-size-fits-all option.
Sometimes it takes a few tries to find the right choice, but the more you know about your body and pleasure and what works and what doesn’t, the better you are able to make a good choice for yourself. A knowledgeable salesperson such as can often help narrow down the choices for you to make a more successful decision. If you are at all unsure, check out our guides to Shopping for a Vibrator, A Dildo, or Anal Toys.
Go ahead and explore, we know a great place you can start!