Ask DeAnn: I’m Buying a Toy for my Wife for the First Time. What Should I Get?

first_timeDear DeAnn,

I want to buy a sex toy for my wife. I travel, so I want her to be satisfied while I’m gone, and maybe take some sexy pictures for me with it. She’s never used a sex toy before, and I want it to be a surprise. I don’t know anything about toys either except to stick with safe materials (I follow your blog). I was thinking something small, but I noticed you have sex toys that are compatible with cell phones. Can you tell me more about that?


Surprising Husband

Dear Surprising,

While I’m happy to help you shop for toys, and I enjoy helping first time buyers find a toy they’ll love, I’m concerned that you want this to be a surprise. From our follow-up conversations, you’ve told me your wife has showed little to no interest in toys, and you don’t even know if she masturbates when you’re not around. This is a red flag.

There are dozens of reasons why this is a bad idea, but one really sticks out. A colleague recently mentioned that surprise sex toys are non-consensual, in a way. Think about it: if you buy her a toy, she suddenly feels pressured to use it. Women are culturally expected to be gracious and not to disappoint people. She’s not in the position to say no to this sexual thing, and that’s the farthest thing from what you want.

There’s a disconnect somewhere in your communication. If you don’t even know if she masturbates while you’re gone, there’s no way I can get enough information from you to help you buy a toy she likes. This is an item you can’t return if she doesn’t like it. She’ll feel pressured to tell you what she thinks you want to hear, which will further drive a wedge in the communication gap you already have.

You need to talk to her. Outside the bedroom, find some time alone and ask her about it. See how she feels. If it’s an awkward question or you can’t find the words, that’s actually a good sign – it means you’ve identified a shame-inducing communication block. Here’s how to get over it: call it out. Say, “Hey hon, I have been wanting to ask you something, but it’s kinda awkward. I don’t even know why this is so uncomfortable to talk about but I was wondering: what are your thoughts on toys in the bedroom?” Boom! You’ve sucked the power right out of that shame and asked an open-ended question she’s free to give positive or negative responses to. If you can get that far, your sex life has the potential to get seriously amazing with or without toys.

If she’s not into toys, don’t buy her one anyway. It should go without saying, but I’ve seen marriages almost end over stuff like this. See if you can drill down why it matters so much to you what she’s doing while you’re gone. You might want to pick up Dr. Emily Nagosaki’s book Come As You Are to learn the difference between spontaneous desire, which may be what you experience, and responsive desire, something women tend to experience more often. Focus on really communicating and seeing each others’ points of view. Maybe she does masturbate, but is happy with what her hands and fingers can do. Maybe she’d be willing to take sexy pics without toys – of course, let her have “no” as an option for that, too.

If she’s into the idea, has thought about it, or even has a “secret” vibrator she hasn’t told you about (do not express anger if she does), shop together. If you’re local to the San Antonio area, I do personal, private consultations with couples. You have up to 2 hours of my time and I bring a vast array of products to your home. I ask a series of targeted questions and let you peruse the sample collection. We put together a list of products you’d like to try, narrow it down to what you’d like to start with, and I take your order personally. Products ship out within 1 business day and you can even have them overnighted. You can also come in for coaching sessions, where you will learn tips and tricks on using the toy together.

Not everyone can afford a Secret Concierge or Passion Coach, though, so you can try it on your own. Shop online together, or visit various shops. Read online reviews from professional sex toy review bloggers. Find out what types of sensations she likes. Try a few things that are affordable or made just for beginners, with simple controls and straightforward functions. Let her decide.

When it comes to sex toys in the bedroom, it’s important that they be a consensual choice you make together. Good luck!

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