The Sex Toy Stigma

Darling Dove Darling Dove
I'm pretty sure everyone here has probably seen or had personal experiences with this- I know I have.
For some reason, it seems to me, whenever someone finds out you have sex toys, they think you must either be:
1. So bad looking you can't get normal sex
2. Just a very pathetic person who never gets out much
or 3. For girls, they sometimes refer to us as 'someone who has never had a real cock in their lifetime.'

Now personally, I've never understood this stigma at all. I agree, sometimes I find it a bit funny myself, like laughing at something you don't quite agree with yet you find it funny anyhow. But WHY was such a stigma created? It seems to be even worse for men to own toys, much more of a stigma for them, but to be honest I've never even heard of a guy who owned anything more than lube or possibly a cockring at the VERY most, outside of this site- so it seems to be much more rare.

Why, though? Sex is on TV, on billboards, everywhere. Sex and sexual pleasure is always looked upon as some guilty thing- dripping in taboo, to the point that once it goes anywhere OFF of the tv, nobody wants to speak of it. Even I, who do own a lot of toys, get so very intimidated when in brick and mortar toy stores, since all my life I'd heard my mom referring to the people going into them as perverts and whores.

I know, since a lot of toys are made to enhance partner sex, the assumption that anyone who owns toys never gets any for real is very very wrong- It is for me, at the very least. I'm not exactly shy about owning those things, but somehow as soon as a guy or anyone else knows, they treat me a bit differently. My friends make jokes about me 'running the batteries dead' or they jeer at me saying they hope not to hear any 'vrrrrrrrr' noises whenever they are over to spend the night, but where they get the notion that I have no self restraint whatsoever, I haven't the slightest clue.

I suppose this is probably a bit of a serious issue for a sex toy site, however asking people who just aren't into toys or who dont know anything about them BESIDES the stigma, yields sarcastic, and joke answers. So, what's the view on this from the 'inside' of the group of people who likes toys?

Personally, toys for me are a bit of a fetish in themselves. I've always been a tech girl so it turns me on to use technology in ways that make me blush, plus, it keeps me from being cranky all the time.
What's your guys' and gals' viewpoints?
10/20/2008
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Sleeping Dreamer Sleeping Dreamer
Quote:
Originally posted by Darling Dove
I'm pretty sure everyone here has probably seen or had personal experiences with this- I know I have.
For some reason, it seems to me, whenever someone finds out you have sex toys, they think you must either be:
1. So bad looking you ... More
I've been told I'm insatiable and that I use toys because I can't get enough cock. It's partly true.

As far as your mom referring to people in sex shops as perverts and whores- that's her generation. This is ours, it's up to us to change it. In the last decade "sex positivity" has garnered a lot more attention but it's definition has been changed over and over again. Most people still don't know what it is, and unfortunately, a lot of companies out there (edens excluded) use it to exploit and profit from. If we ever want to make an impact on the present we have to take a stance. Sex needs more positive attention. The first step you can take is through your blog (if you have one). It's just one small thing you can do, regardless of how many people read it, whoever does will most likely be impacted and will reevaluate how they view sex, sex toys, and themselves.

As far as friends teasing you go, my friends do as well. But we all own toys, most of these friends I've attended toy parties they've hosted. The first toy party I went to was right after my husband and I got married. I didn't know it was so socially acceptable, these were dowdy military housewives inviting me into their quaint, pristine homes to play games with double ended dildos and pin the cock on the big ass black dude poster. I saw different sides of people, I'm sure your friends have different sides. Perhaps the reason why they're insensitive enough to make jokes about your toy usage is because they themselves own toys and would rather put the attention on you so it could never be put on them. Maybe they focus on that stigma and use you as the escape goat. Just broach the subject, tell them it bothers you, that yes, you love toys but that their comments are negative and do not reflect the person you are or the attitude you have towards sex. You can change how they see you if you take the initiative to talk about it. Maybe they've been dying to ask you about your knowledge of sex toys but they themselves are worried how they'd come across. You never know until you open the lines of communication.
10/20/2008
Epiphora Epiphora
I know exactly what you mean. Unfortunately, I don't really know why sex toys are so stigmatized. As you mention, sex is everywhere, BUT I would point out that sex with sex toys involved is NOT everywhere (think of how people "discovered" rabbits thanks to a "revolutionary" Sex and the City episode). Why? I don't know. Possibly because sex toys have always been associated with the dirty side of sex or the sex industry... kind of along the same lines as porn. Weirdly, tons of toys are marketed for women, while tons of porn is marketed for men. It makes no sense...

People also don't "get" it when I tell them I love/review toys because I'm in a long-term relationship. Why oh why would I ever want to masturbate anymore!? I don't even know what to say to people. They're so weird. The idea that one man, one penis, should be all that I ever use for pleasure is just so strange. There are so many interesting ways to pleasure yourself, and I want to explore them. (Not to mention I can't get pregnant from masturbating).

I find my friends kind of don't want to hear about my toys. It probably makes them a little uncomfortable (maybe because of the idea that the toy I'm showing them at the moment has been in my vagina at some point?), but some of them also have this weird attitude that seems to say "I'm above using sex toys." People really still view toys as a fall back for when "actual sex" isn't within reach. It really sucks...
10/20/2008
Airlia Airlia
I don't get the stigma about sex toys. I haven't been to sex shops in the states in a long time but I remember them being shady stores that middle aged men lurked around. If they made them bright and sexy and appealing maybe that would reduce the stigma, or have they done that already? In Europe sex and toys are more widely accepted but still has that slight bitter taste to it when you say toys. I honestly don't get it, you can stop for prostitutes but you stop for a toy to enhance your sex life and you're taboo.

like Sleeping Dreamer I found a different side to military wives when we had a sex toy party. People don't talk about this because they aren't sure about the response they'll get. It's frustrating but I think forums like this allow us all to get the information we need and frustrations out.

And Epiphora - I use my toys in my long term relationship too. I think it enhances it, changes it up and makes us hornier than ever for each other. I mean one night we could be masturbating in front of each other with different toys, or I could fuck him, or he could keep me spread apart, or I could be tied up, or he could be rubbed down or.... there are so many options now instead of hmmm you on top or me this time????

I think it is getting better with time, baby steps!
10/20/2008
Epiphora Epiphora
Quote:
Originally posted by Airlia
I don't get the stigma about sex toys. I haven't been to sex shops in the states in a long time but I remember them being shady stores that middle aged men lurked around. If they made them bright and sexy and appealing maybe that would reduce ... More
There are some bright and appealing sex shops, about one in every major city. Babeland is probably the most well-known. I think things are changing, in that sense. Feminist/women-run sex shops are cropping up. But we still have a long way to go.
10/20/2008
Backseat Boohoo Backseat Boohoo
I get a lot of horseshit sometimes because I'm a lesbian. It's bad enough hearing, "Well, you just haven't found the right man yet," it's even worse when people assume I secretly want a penis because I use toys.

I don't mind playing with a penis or two. It's the men attached to them that I don't want! =P
10/20/2008
Epiphora Epiphora
Quote:
Originally posted by Backseat Boohoo
I get a lot of horseshit sometimes because I'm a lesbian. It's bad enough hearing, "Well, you just haven't found the right man yet," it's even worse when people assume I secretly want a penis because I use toys.

I ... More
I so did not know you were gay. Rock on!
10/20/2008
Backseat Boohoo Backseat Boohoo
Quote:
Originally posted by Epiphora
I so did not know you were gay. Rock on!
LOL! I'm somewhere between homosexual and bisexual. Maybe about a 5 on a Kinsey scale.
10/20/2008
Beautiful Dreamer Beautiful Dreamer
I'm pretty open to most of my friends about my sex toy use and my reviewing. My boyfriend however, needs to keep things a little more quiet because of the stigma.
He has one friend that knows that he enjoys prostate stimulation, I'm sure the rest would resort to using lots of childish words and he'd be kicked out of the "circle" forever.

10/20/2008
Bulma Bulma
The stigma bothers me too, and honestly this site has been the only stigma-free zone I've been able to find. I live in a very rural state, and even though I live in one of the biggest cities here, ALL the adult stores are dark and shady. This place just isn't big enough to warrant a nice clean and bright toy shop.

There is a lot of stigma here involving sex toys, anal sex, kink, male sex toys...it seems like the list just goes on forever. I do think it is slowly changing though, in the younger generations at least. People 20-30 seem to be the most open to it here. BDSM and couples toys are the ones most accepted by people I've met here. Prostate toys are the big unmentionable. The "only gay men enjoy anal stimulation" thing really bugs me, and it is the most prevalent. I of course, do not believe that anal play has anything to do with sexual orientation, because it honestly doesn't, but obviously some other people in this state don't agree with me.

I do think things will change though. It is better for us than it was for our parents, and hopefully it will be better for our children than it is right now. I hate the stigma, so I do small things to reduce it where and when I can. This place is a great place to talk about it and spread the word. I feel that if a young man (legal age of course) comes on here curious about anal toys, perhaps he'll come into the forums and see that it really is okay if he enjoys that wonderful realm. Then he can make informed choices and be one more person who has been liberated of the fear and guilt associated with masturbation and toys in general. I hope the same thing for all people actually, not just males, and not just the young adults either.
10/20/2008
Viv Viv
backseat- i'm completely there with you on getting shit for enjoying penetration toys but i'm marrying a woman and have no interest in being anyone else. it's ridiculous. its the same argument for men who enjoy prostate stim must be gay. completely unfounded. i mean, it's like if you have an itch on your back that you can't reach and you use a backscratcher- that automatically means you have a deepseated and denied fetish for long wooden arms.

okay, so it's not like that at all, my it's very late where i am and i just finished writing one of my midterms
10/20/2008
Snappy Snappy
I honestly don't understand why sex and sex toys are stigmatized. I don't understand the schizoid relationship that Americans have with sex.
10/21/2008
Oggins Oggins
Quote:
Originally posted by Viv
backseat- i'm completely there with you on getting shit for enjoying penetration toys but i'm marrying a woman and have no interest in being anyone else. it's ridiculous. its the same argument for men who enjoy prostate stim must be ... More
"it's like if you have an itch on your back that you can't reach and you use a backscratcher- that automatically means you have a deepseated and denied fetish for long wooden arms."

Sheeesh! I just can't stop laughing about this one! I'm dying over here! It's soooo true though!
10/21/2008
fishkiller fishkiller
That attitude has been around for a very long time. I believe the generations of today are mor educated, and aware of their sexuality, and more able to express themselves. I have gone into a number of adult stores ofer the many years, and am finding the clerks are reluctant to talk with me. I believe that to be a generational issue that will never be settled. Some of the clerks are overly anxious to help, to the point of being a pest. As far as being the "odd one", the person who like a variety in their sexual life, your're not alone. I'm 65, my wife of 45 years is 64, we have lots of toys and play with them on a regular basis. Are we odd? I dont think so! Do we like some variety, you betcha!!!
12/23/2009
EffinSara EffinSara
Among my friends, I'm the one that's always in a relationship. I don't stay single for very long, and my relationships tend to get pretty serious. My friends know I love sex, so among them there's no question that when I say I use/review sex toys that it's not because I can't get my hands on a hard cock.

What I worry about is people thinking that I use sex toys because *my partner* can't get the job done. I'm concerned that they might think that he's inattentive, bad in bed, or even impotent. I am so lucky that my partner doesn't feel like he's not giving me enough, and that he doesn't feel threatened or overshadowed by my toys. And he *is* amazing. I'm just worried that not everyone will understand that toys can be a great addition to already fantastic partnered sex, and are not simply an aid for sexually dissatisfied partners.
12/24/2009
Gunsmoke Gunsmoke
I never thought much about this - sex for me is very personal. I never talk with anyone about whether we use toys or not - not because of shame or fear - just privacy.
12/24/2009
Victoria Victoria
Quote:
Originally posted by EffinSara
Among my friends, I'm the one that's always in a relationship. I don't stay single for very long, and my relationships tend to get pretty serious. My friends know I love sex, so among them there's no question that when I say I ... More
Yeah, I think some people worry about this - I certainly have heard it in the past. It's just sad, to me. When sex toys make people feel insecure, there needs to be more communication. Feeling threatened by a partner having toys means there is a misunderstanding about what it means to be sex-positive and comfortable with oneself. A happy and fulfilled partner is a GOOD thing! In my opinion, not all sexual pleasure should come from a partner - far too often people rely on someone else to make them feel good.

And @Gunsmoke, I agree - it's ok to have a private part of your life that is just between you and your partner... that's part of intimacy, right?
12/24/2009
Fearsome Fearsome
Using a sex toy is REAL sex, who gave anyone the idea it wasn't?
most people I meet are happy to see my collection, or buy a toy off me,
or even have a silly dildo fight! these people are comfortable with their sexuality and have no reason to fear toys, or be mean to those who keep them.

I like weird dildos, in all colors and shapes and sizes. I have yet to meet anyone who treated me badly about my ownership of these whimsical items, no jeering, no leering and no 'you just need a REAL dick' sort of stuff. everyone I've opened up to seems to understand my motivation.

If I wanted a real dick just to get off, isn't that really selfish and cruel?
what about the guy's feelings? what if I don't want a fuck buddy, and want a relationship? does it mean I stick a nickle between my knees and wait until Mr. right waltzes in, cock in hand?

Sex with a real live person is dangerous, both emotionally and physically.
he could cheat and give me an STD, or I could break his heart by falling out of love. Hell, I could cheat and give HIM an STD if he's a terrible person and I make a bad decision.

Toys are safe and easy to clean, need little to no maintenance and won't bug you in the morning. You can pick favorites, use as many as you like and never
have to answer to anyone other than yourself. (unless you have a husband/wife or boyfriend/girlfriend that plays with you already!)
05/08/2010
Elodie Elodie
I love sex with a human being. That will always be the most fulfilling for me.

However, that doesn't mean I don't enjoy playing by myself often. They're just totally different things to me. No matter how often I want sex with my boyfriend, with or without toys, I still want to play alone too. No matter how often I play alone, I still want lots of sex with my boyfriend. They fulfill completely different needs. Though I've found the more I play with toys, the more I want sex with my boyfriend...
05/08/2010
Jade Jade
Quote:
Originally posted by Elodie
I love sex with a human being. That will always be the most fulfilling for me.

However, that doesn't mean I don't enjoy playing by myself often. They're just totally different things to me. No matter how often I want sex with my ... More
I feel the same, I love my toys, but nothin' beats having fun with the hubby.
05/10/2010
Gardenvy Gardenvy
Quote:
Originally posted by Epiphora
There are some bright and appealing sex shops, about one in every major city. Babeland is probably the most well-known. I think things are changing, in that sense. Feminist/women-run sex shops are cropping up. But we still have a long way to go.
Babeland is a quality shop, I agree!
05/10/2010
Persephone's Addiction Persephone's Addiction
Quote:
Originally posted by Darling Dove
I'm pretty sure everyone here has probably seen or had personal experiences with this- I know I have.
For some reason, it seems to me, whenever someone finds out you have sex toys, they think you must either be:
1. So bad looking you ... More
I think people are uncomfortable with the idea of a woman owning her sexuality. When a woman has sex toys, it indicates that she is in charge of her own pleasure, she's comfortable with her body, and that she enjoys herself.
I never considered getting sex toys when I was younger, mostly because I had a under-developed sexual identity and was completely satisfied with my rampant fucking. I didn't really understand my needs, so I was fulfilled with whatever sex I got. Now that I'm older and wiser and know what I want, I want more than I can get from my current partner. Even if I did have a Herculean sex partner, there are times when you just need a good orgasm without all the pretense and concern with someone else.
Anyway, I think that the sex toy stigma is really just a sex stigma. I also think some people are uncomfortable with women being sexually autonomous. Good ol' institutionalized sexism.
05/18/2010
Persephone's Addiction Persephone's Addiction
Quote:
Originally posted by Fearsome
Using a sex toy is REAL sex, who gave anyone the idea it wasn't?
most people I meet are happy to see my collection, or buy a toy off me,
or even have a silly dildo fight! these people are comfortable with their sexuality and have no reason ... More
You're awesome.
05/18/2010
winterwhite winterwhite
You know it's funny, because I was REALLY not into the whole idea of sex toys until my current partner openly told me that not only would he be OK with me trying them, he wanted to use them with me! Now we both love them.

I was worried he would think that he wasn't satisfying me, or that I wouldn't want him any more, but that's not the case at all. I love having him next to me and inside me, and having the toys takes the pressure off our sexual relationship because he doesn't have to be giving me orgasms all the time, and I don't feel like I have to get them from him.

I use them without him and I tell him about it. It's added a really nice dimension to our relationship especially since we only see each other once or maybe twice a week.
05/19/2010
sumie sumie
I get the impression that more people have them than are willing to admit to owning them although I am seeing more women open to the idea of using them. Recently I saw I couple of college girls in the drugstore purchase one of the toys made by Trojan or Durex (I can't recall which). I think shops like Babeland, those toy parties and TV programs on HBO are helping to change peoples personal opinions-most just won't voice it.

I use them with and without my boyfriend. I find the more I use them, the more turned on I am in general and the more I want to have sex with my boyfriend and try new things sexually with him-which is a very satisfying thing!
08/17/2010
P'Gell P'Gell
I think Persephone's Addiction's comments about people being afraid of women owning their own sexuality has a LOT to do with it. I LOVE to play with men. I LOVE sex with men. But, men (or women) and sex toys can certainly be part of the same relationship. Also, like PA said, sometimes you just want to get off, and not have all the baggage, other times, toys are really helpful for partnered sex.

I think Americans, particularly, have a sick, twisted relationship with sex. It's used to advertise everything from cars to toilet paper, but try to even talk about REAL sex and REAL satisfaction and you're a pervert or a nympho, or just plain weird. IMO, the people who refuse to OPEN their sex lives to all the pleasure that can await them are the ones with the issues.

I left an other discussion group because it had become invaded by prudes and those who were very Sex Negative. Thank the heavens Edens have safe, sane people, and a place where we can talk about the things that mean a lot to us, and not be judged.

.
08/17/2010
twistedheartsx twistedheartsx
I think all three of those stigma's are a big joke. There are many couples that use sex toys together which completely kills at least two of those stigmas. It's just so many people have a closed mind and probably don't realize that their neighbor who bashes so and so probably has a whole sex toy collection!
08/28/2010
SleepyPanda SleepyPanda
I don't think that sex toys are talked about enough in America at all! It's so unfair, we're surrounded by sex but told we're not supposed to have any, and then if you're a girl you're just not supposed to have a sex drive at all, at least in my experience. I grew up in a household not talking about sex at all and my sex ed was a joke. I was always so guilty about masturbating until I found online sites like EF. Why not talk about masturbation and sex toys to teenagers? Hello, they're an alternative to sex! You can be intimate without being intimate!
Thank God for discreetly shipped brown packages. I don't think I would have lived.
09/13/2010
Shellz31 Shellz31
I havent had anyone make any stigma comments. I did have one guy ask if I was a nymphomaniac cause of my collection.......lmao. Personally, I dont care what others think - their probably just jealous!
10/11/2010
Naughty Student Naughty Student
When I started out my collection and become more knowledgable, I started to try and initiate my friends into the use of toys.

The remark I often get from girls is "I'm not there in my relationship yet" which I assume means my relationship is not going bad enough sexually that I need to rely on sex toys...which sort of makes me confused and how ignorant people can be about toys.

I try to explain that my sex life is awesome and toys are just a perk but they still dont get it. Oh well.
10/11/2010
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