By this point, you’ve hopefully already done your Christmas shopping, but before you make a terrible, terrible mistake, I felt the need to weigh in on the debate of whether or not a sex toy can be an appropriate gift. I mean, you don’t want to give your mother a “vibrating back massager” à la Girls with Slingshots! And even in a relationship, a sex toy as a gift could be devastating if given too soon.
The guideline with friends and with more than friends is that toy sex is a lot like regular sex. You want to know the other person’s comfort levels and limits before you just go ahead with things. This applies both to whether you should get this particular person a sex toy and what sex toy you should get them if this category is fair game.
The tricky part is that, unlike with sex, you can’t just ask someone straight up what they want as a gift if you want to maintain the element of surprise. This is where a little subtlety comes in or what I like to call “Cosmo coy.” With sex, this is a terrible idea. Never take Cosmo’s advice about sex (see Pervocracy Cosmocking for more details on this). But for gifting, this is pretty much your only recourse because, if you’re going to give someone a sex toy, you should have a basic idea about how they feel about the darned things.
Example: if you’ve joked around or even just talked about sex toys with this friend/partner before, and they seemed cool with the subject, sex toys as a gift might be fair game. Don’t just take this as a universal green light, though. Being cool with sex toys in general doesn’t give you the OK to buy the person a butt plug. Frankly, it doesn’t even give you the go on a clitoral stimulator. You never know how people feel about certain sex acts, and unless you have an inkling already, you probably aren’t at the level of intimacy required to buy a person a sex toy in the first place.
That brings me to another important point. It’s really all about the person. I’d say you probably should not get a sex toy for someone in your own family (unless it’s a very open sibling relationship) because, let’s face it, no one wants to be thinking about their family members when they’re getting off, and making you think about the giver is exactly what a Christmas gift does. If you’re giving it to a friend, it’s best if it’s not a middle-of-the-road are we ever going to hook up kind of friendship. That kind of gift for that kind of friend can get awkward real fast. Ditto with acquaintances and new relationships. Any kind of relationship that is on the fence either way is just a bit too risky.
Basically, if you’re not absolutely sure on this the day of Christmas Eve, you might want to have a backup scarf for this person, or if you’re just not sure of the type of toy, eliminate doubt, and get them an Eden Fantasys gift card instead. Let them pick their own sexual fantasy instead of giving them yours.