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When I was a teenager, I decided I was not going to have a typical "first time." I wanted to make sure that I didn't confuse lust with love, that I didn't add more importance to the sex than sex, and that I ensured my first time was about having a good time, pain-free. So I went out and I bought a dildo.
It was one of the rabbit-style standards. Purple, 8 inches long, 1.25 inches in diameter, with a vibrating, rabbit-eared bullet affixed to the base. It took me a slow, solid several months of experimentation, but when I had my first orgasm, it was with my old, sturdy dildo.
Or, I should say, my first dildo.
When I did have sex for the first time, I knew I wasn't in love with the guy, but I was ready. I knew what I liked, how my body responded to what kind of stimuli, and we had a fun few months before I moved on to greener pastures.
And by greener pastures, I mean better sex toys.
For me, they've never been exactly about replacing another person, but they can very much be about enhancing the experience. There's a huge thrill to sitting down with your partner, opening up websites like Lovecorner.ph, and going through hundreds and hundreds of items, talking over whether or not you'd be interested in trying, what it might lead to, what other accouterments you might need to complete a fantasy.
Before I knew it, I didn't have so much a drawer full of sex toys as I did a steamer trunk. Ropes, handcuffs, strap-ons, butt plugs, anal beads, vibrators, nipple clamps, cock rings, ball gags, pillow gags, O gags, hoods, spreader bars, floggers, Fleshlights, paddles, riding crops, cock sheaths, Ben Wa balls, snake bite kits, bondage tape, bits, and bridles…
And dildos. Dildos that gyrate, that vibrate, that self-thrust; attached to gags and holsters and kneepads and suction cups. Short ones, skinny ones, massive ones; dildos that look like gophers and statues and dinosaurs.
Vibrators disguised as rubber duckies and lipstick and dolls and pieces d'art.
Some of them are lemons. Sometimes, you look at your partner and think, Oh, hell yes, let's try THAT, and then after you try, you find out it really wasn't your cup of tea. But maybe you'll try again someday.
With sex toys, I learn more about myself and my body, what I like and what I don't. Sex is very much trial by error — you just don't know what feels good until you try it and see how it feels to you.
Once upon a time, I talked a lot about my sex toys. I compared notes with friends, we recommended brands or styles to each other, we went to sex toy stores together and giggled and bought vibrators and then went out for drinks and went home alone and happy.
Now that I'm married, there's less of that. My sex life isn't just my sex life, and what my husband and I do is what we both like. But it's still exciting to open up those naughty websites and look around for something new, to talk about how we might add it to our repertoire, whether it excites us or not, whether it would be an improvement on something we already have, whether it might be fun to try something completely new, together.
The toys are still a fixture in my bedroom, but they aren't essential. They're the icing on the cake. They turn things up to 11.
And yeah, maybe I could buy some nicer clothes or a new winter coat if I cut my toy budget in half.
But let's be honest, the toys are a hell of a lot more fun.