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Sex Toys

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Sex Toys

People use sex toys when they are on their own or with partners. Although the majority of sex toys are sold to people who use them just to enhance their pleasure, certain of them have an additional value. They are commonly used in the treatment of sexual problems.

Films, audio tapes and reading materials can be extremely helpful in assisting an individual or a couple to overcome anxiety or lack of information.

Sexual devices have been particularly helpful too for some disabled people whose disability inhibits their sexual expression: vibrators, prosthetic penises and similar devices can be very useful to them.

Who Uses Sex Toys?

A lot of people and, to judge by the success of sex shops and internet mail order sex toys businesses, more people each year. In the Redbook survey of 100,000 married women, 39 percent of them used vibrators during sex, 11 percent used penis-shaped objects, and 24 percent used oils and lotions; 97 percent of the women found the use of their sexual toys to be pleasurable.

Eleven percent of the women in the Kinsey study used toys such as vibrators and streams of water while masturbating. Thirty-seven percent of the 1,000 gay men in one report on homosexuality used sex toys during lovemaking.

People who use sex toys do not, on the whole, use them every single time they want sex nor do they use the same aid(s) on each occasion. People choose to use an aid according to the context and according to the kind of pleasure they are seeking to give and/or receive.

What Sex Toys Are There?

The list could be a very long one indeed, limited only by the elaboration of human sexual fantasy. These are some of the common ones:

Ben Wa Balls. This is a device that originated in the Orient. There are two balls in the set. One is solid, and is placed in the vagina near the cervix; the other is partially filled with mercury and is also placed in the vagina, near the first one. Any movement causes the mercury filled ball to hit the deeper one, spreading vibrations through the general area.

Cock Rings. A cock ring is a metal, leather or rubber device shaped like a ring, usually from 1-1 inches to 2 inches in diameter. Some leather cock rings have snaps on them to make them adjustable. The testicles and the erect penis are slipped through the ring, which fits tightly, putting pressure on the dorsal vein in the penis.

 The idea is that the cock ring will stop the blood that has engorged the penis flowing out again. The man will therefore retain his erection longer and, supposedly, be able to prolong his sexual acts.

Some men also wear cock rings when they want their genitals to look large under their trousers. Cock rings are not worn on fingers, and the right fit is important if the penis and testicles are not to be bruised.

 The flavor is important for couples who want to have oral sex or indeed for people who want to kiss their partners' bodies all over.

French Ticklers. French ticklers are a little like condoms in that they fit over the penis. They are different however in several important respects. In the first place, they are not birth control devices; in the second, they are pre-shaped, whereas condoms come rolled up; in the third, their surfaces are covered with ridges and little probes to "tickle" the vagina during intercourse and increase sensation; in the fourth, they can be washed and reused.

Leather Garments and Accessories. Leather has a distinctly erotic appeal for some people. It is quite often used in sadomasochistic (S&M) sexual scenes to express dominance. Some people get excited if threatened by someone who is clothed in leather or who is using leather implements.

The dominant person in such encounters (the sadist) plainly also derives satisfaction from the proximity of leather. Leather is used too (in the form of harnesses, straps and so on) in bondage and discipline (B&D) experiences, one form of sadomasochistic expression.

Masturbators. There is a device called the Venus 2000 which has a moist sleeve into which a man can place his erect penis. The machine then operates like a pseudo-vagina and enables the man to ejaculate and reach orgasm. This may be helpful to a man who has retarded ejaculation.

Penis Extenders. A penis extender is a hollow penis-shaped device that is placed over the natural penis to make it seem larger. Usually it is held in place by straps or by a harness round the waist.

Vibrators. Vibrators are electrical machines powered by batteries or Plugged into electrical outlets. They come in different sizes and shapes but they all vibrate in a steady rhythm in high, low or medium speeds.

They are sometimes called massagers. The most common kinds are: the slip-over-the-hand models, with the vibrating portion on the outside of the hand causing the hand and fingers to vibrate in a steady rhythm; the hand-held vibrator with attachments for different parts of the body; and the battery powered cylindrical or penis shaped type.

Vibrators must be used gently or sensitive body tissue can be bruised: some people use a towel between the skin and the vibrator to cut down on the intensity of the sensation. They are never to be used in or with water, and battery models may overheat if used for extended periods of time.

One person emailed: "I heard you could get addicted to a vibrator. Is that true?" But addicted is too strong a term. It is rare that people become truly dependent on the device, and find themselves sexually at a loss unless it is present.

Most people who use vibrators learn what gives them particular pleasure and use them or not as they see fit at any given time.

Worrying about dependence is probably unnecessary and will only interfere with your pleasure.

As a society, we are still in conflict about the rightness of sexual pleasure. Sex toys are designed solely to increase pleasure, so it is not surprising that they are subject to all sorts of popular misunderstandings. Many people feel ambivalent about using sex toys.

Using mechanical things during intimate moments is simply contrary to the way they believe feelings should be expressed; it is unnatural, depersonalized, a substitute for the real thing.

Other people, by contrast, find toys enriching and enjoyable; they do not feel that a machine is replacing them, nor that it alienates them from their partners.

And some sexual devices sound weird to some people. However the key factor is not whether they sound weird but how they are used and what their use means to an individual or to a couple.

 If a person regularly uses a sexual device in such a way that it prevents sexual expression with another person, then the use of the device and its significance for that person need to be explored.

If the use of sexual toys objectifies or depersonalizes sexual experiences there may be a problem that requires attention.

If feelings of inadequacy and inferiority are at the root of the use of any sexual device then it is serving as a crutch, as a defense against emotional stress. Under these circumstances sexual toys can be unhealthy substitutes for more rewarding interpersonal relationships.

Some people find that sex toys fit comfortably into their relationships, others find they do after some experimentation and some couples prefer to do without them altogether.

"I didn't think I'd enjoy a mechanical device while I was making love, but after a while it became a pleasant addition."

Using sex toys is not a sign of being liberal, just as rejecting them for personal use is not a sign of being prudish. It is simply a preference expressed within the context of a relationship. It is normal to use them and normal to prefer not to.

 If they are used to add variety to pleasure, well and good. If, however, they are used as substitutes for more meaningful sexual expression, both partners would be advised to consider their own feelings and to seek to discover what the problem is in their relationship.

Another emailed: "I would like to try a vibrator when I am making love with my husband, but he thinks it means something is wrong in our relationship if we do."

Many men feel they are responsible for creating the proper sexual climate with their wives, so he may see your idea of using a vibrator as a sign of failure on his part. He may feel that he is being replaced by a machine.

Probably the most useful way to proceed is to see if he can get comfortable with the vibrator by using it on himself- or by having you use it on him. Then move on to both of you using it, and including it in your lovemaking.

People tend to feel about sex toys rather as they feel about pornography. Both are about sexual pleasure, rather than about procreation, with the result that many of us feel uneasy.

We have been taught for so long that sex is a legitimate pleasure as long as it consists of marital intercourse, which, sooner or later, may result in the birth of a child. Seeking sexual pleasure for its own sake is still formally frowned upon by some religious authorities.

Traditional religious teaching, Catholic, Jewish or Protestant, is that sexual acts are proper if directed in the long run toward procreation. Sexual pleasure is incidental to that main purpose, and it is regarded as immoral or sinful to seek pleasure for its own sake.

Although most sects have never ruled clearly on sex toys, the understanding is that they are dehumanizing and contrary to the wishes of God. Reformed or progressive teaching is taking a much more liberal view.

Recent Catholic theology and pastoral guidance tends to say that if an act is growth-enhancing, responsible and enriching both to the individuals concerned and to the relationship it is morally right.

Reformed Jewish and liberal Protestant groups take a similar view. In this context, sex toys can be legitimate; their use need not be sinful or immoral. This change of view is not a fundamental change in religious law.

Rather, it represents a cautious recognition that not all parts of the law will apply equally to all people in all situations.