So You Wanna Buy A Sex Toy? A Sex Therapist Weighs In
Where to start — and how to hide them from your nosy kids.
There’s an odd expectation in society that mothers should be saints. They don’t think about themselves, they don’t think about what they want, and they definitely aren’t supposed to think about sex. Nevermind that children come from somewhere. Of all the silly and unreasonable expectations society puts on mothers, this one — the sex one —gets me the most. There’s nothing odd or wrong or unusual about being a sexual person before AND after you have kids. And yet, people get really, really weird about parents and sex toys — especially moms and sex toys. Consequently, a lot of parents don’t know where to find sex toys or how to use them.
I’ve been a sex therapist for five years, and when it comes to sex toys, I’ve heard it all. People will ask, “What if my kid finds my toys?” Or they’ll say, “I know moms aren’t supposed to do this…” Then, there’s my least favorite: “It’s a guilty pleasure, but…”
Sex toys shouldn’t make you feel guilty; they should sexually empower you. But how do you get started? How do you shop discreetly? And where the hell do you hide them? Well, I’m here to tell you.
What To Look For
Let me start with something simple: Buy something you want instead of something you think would be appropriate. Think about what you like; poke around online and see what catches your interest without second-guessing or judging yourself. There are plenty of lists and guides, but a simple vibrator or dildo is a great place to start. You don’t need to overthink it, or buy something with a bunch of bells and whistles.
If you’re looking for a place to start without breaking the bank, the Svakom Alice rabbit vibrator will give you the most bang for your buck. You can use it like a normal toy or let its “intelligent mode” take the wheel for you. It’s high quality but far cheaper than other top-tier choices.
Rabbit vibrators do the trick for most of us — yes, even if you have a penis. Their shape can be a little awkward for prostate stimulation, but using a vibrator on the head, shaft, or perineum of a penis can provide an incredible sensation and improve erections.
If you’re more interested in traditional dildos, the Calexotics Shower Stud is affordable and gives you the perfect toy for the shower. I always recommend getting something with vibration options. If you don’t want to use it, you don’t have to, but it’s better to have the option than not.
For people with penises, I often recommend the custom fleshlight, which is pricier than my other recommendations, but it's built to last. Plus, the customization helps you feel like you have a hand in your partner’s self-pleasure. If you’re doing long-distance, travel often, or even just have too much time to yourselves, the fleshlight can sexually satisfy your partner. Even if you aren’t physically together, it feels good to know your partner is pleasuring themselves with a custom toy that you gifted them.
In my time as a sex therapist, I’ve found that couples who are open about their sex toys have better sex lives. If you’re starting your sex toy journey, you should involve your partner as much as possible. I like the idea of getting them a sex toy for Valentine’s Day, a special occasion, or even just a surprise gift. This strengthens your intimacy and prevents your sex toy use from creating distance in your sexual relationship.
How To Shop
If you’ve got kids who use your computer or phone, I recommend shopping in your browser’s incognito mode. No one wants their kids to stumble upon their search history, especially if it involves sex toys.
When it comes to discretion, it’s often better to go with the bigger retailers online. They’ll tell you what kind of packaging your toy will come in, and the transaction on your bank statement will look normal. This is what most people are scared of when buying their first sex toy, but trust me: It won’t come in a dick-shaped box, and you won’t have $50 charged to “DILDO CITY INC” on your monthly statement. Generally, retailers are transparent and want you to be happy with your shopping experience and understand that you don’t want the entire neighborhood to know about your sex toy preferences. Just make sure you read the info before buying so you know what to expect.
Always, always, always read comments and reviews before you make a purchase. Nothing is more disappointing than getting a brand-new toy, only to discover it’s not as good as advertised. If something is wrong with the product, the delivery, or even the customer service, the reviews will tell you.
Where To Store Them & How To Use Them Discreetly
When your toy does arrive, you’ll need to find a good hiding place and work out when you’ll have time to use it. If you’ve got a toddler, hiding your sex toys might be as easy as stashing them in a top dresser drawer. It’s important, however, to update your hiding spots as your kids get older. You’re eventually going to need a lock, even if it’s just for your room. Teens and preteens will always snoop through your room at least once, so if you don’t want them to discover your toys, you’ll need a lockbox, safe, or even just a closet that’s always locked.
That said, don’t let this derail you from getting what you want. You aren’t setting your kids up for years of therapy just by ordering a dildo. If they do discover your toys, they won’t be traumatized or scarred for life; chances are, they’ll just pretend it never happened. You want to keep your toys a secret, but it won’t be the end of the world when the secret gets out. For most parents, it does get out eventually, and that’s totally normal. It’s an awkward conversation, but the healthiest way through it is to be as honest as you can.
Still, you’ll want to mask the sound. Some of my clients have their toy time in the shower, so the running water masks the noise. Others will play loud music in their room and lock the door, or just wait until the kids are asleep.
If you have a partner, sex isn’t always possible when someone’s got to watch the kids. You can, however, both take turns in the bedroom with your toys. For many of my clients, this helps them and their partners feel like they’re able to take care of each other sexually and helps their self-pleasure time feel more secure.
The long and short of this is simple: Don't be intimidated. There are plenty of toys out there; figure out what you want, and go for it.
Aliyah Moore (she/her) is a certified sex therapist with a Ph.D. in Gender & Sexuality Studies. One of her missions is to educate and empower people, especially women, to embrace their sexuality and identity.