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Everyone’s first sex toy was usually tucked away far, far, far into the back of a bedside drawer or sandwiched somewhere under the mattress. That’s definitely true for all of us here.

Cut to the present, that drawer is full, the box weighs a ton (and buzzes from time to time), and you don’t really care who sees it. You, my friend, have a bonafied pleasure chest and maybe you’re even ready to bring it into a relationship.

Wait, how will bringing sex toys affect my relationship? Will it ruin what we have?

Definitely not. The belief that vibrators replace boyfriends (the moniker, Battery Operated Boyfriend, comes to mind) or partners in general is a common misconception. What helps dispel these feelings comes down to healthy communication (we have tips on that here). Plus, odds are your partner might have a box of their own!

Sex toys don’t make better partners. They don’t offer an inherently better experience, just a different one. Whether it’s a remote vibrator or an everyday dildo, toys can bring a lot more variety to couple play. In fact, a 2016 study conducted by David Frederick, a PhD at Chapman University, found that couples who reported sexual satisfaction in their relationship were more likely to have experimented with some variety of sexual activities, including using sex toys together. It opens up new experiences that can bring you closer — you can see instances of that here with couples who’ve introduced the famous vibrators into their sex life.

So yes, bringing sex toys into the bedroom can improve your sex life. It can lengthen foreplay and make the buildup more intense. It’s also a great way to introduce your own self-pleasure experience into couple play, giving your SO insight into what makes you feel good and how YOU make yourself feel good. You can’t really ask for a better (and more fun) way to learn.

Okay, so how do I introduce sex toys to my boyfriend/girlfriend?

It all begins and ends with communication. If you’re curious about how to start a serious conversation about sex, we have some tips for you here.
As you reveal your box of goodies to your SO, here are three rules you should keep in mind when you explore new ways of pleasure with your partner, as told through the wisdom of Golden Girls GIFs.

1. DON’T make sex toys a “sexy” surprise

This one goes without saying. Whether it’s a rabbit vibrator or an anal plug, these things shouldn’t be brought out of the drawer and under the covers without consulting your partner first. ESPECIALLY the first time. Let them know and agree to what they’re getting into before it happens.

2. DO talk before/during/after

Make the build-up thrilling! Share visuals to get their imagination going but to also make sure you’re on the same page. Talk about what you want to do, how much you’d like to share the experience with them, and just how much you feel they’ll enjoy it too.
Whether they’re using the sex toy on you, you on them, or at the same time, consider not only the pleasure you’ll get from the experience, but also theirs as well. Check in during and after to make sure they’re enjoying the experience. “How is this?”, “Is this good for you?”… a few questions go a long way to making sure you’ll both thoroughly enjoy the experience.

3. DO make safety first

Some lower quality sex toys are unfortunately made of materials that are porous (which attracts and harbors bacteria) or have harmful chemicals like phthalates. Everyone has different sensitivities, so we highly recommend using protection when sharing sex toys.

When it comes down to it, you really shouldn’t be using low quality sex toys (treat your body like a temple!). Luxury quality vibrators like the those that can be bought online are specially designed to be completely safe for the body. Beyond Delights has a great breakdown of what a truly “body-safe” vibrator is and is not.

In addition, if you’re swapping the sex toy between each other, it’s also good to wrap it up to prevent cross-contamination. If you or your partner has an STI, there is a chance of it transferring through using the same toy. Using a condom ensures smoother transitions that won’t ruin the mood, as opposed to having to sterilize the toy every time. Kinkly makes a good case for using condoms when playing with sex toys here.

Bonus: DO explore together

Who doesn’t love a bonus rule? This doesn’t have much to do about using sex toys, but it’s still pretty important.

If you’re both curious about exploring your sex life together, then it makes sense to shop for a sex toy together. You’ll both learn what each other likes and what you look for when it comes to self pleasure, which can be pretty different from what one enjoys during sex. Check out our guide for first-time buyers and our guide for using your sex toy for the first time to get you and your partner started! Those who pleasure together, grow together.