Does the Use of Sex Toys Hurt Relationships?

Apr 25, 2024

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Many couples today are turning to intimate tools such as sex toys to juice up their sex lives. You think your sex life might appreciate some novelty, too, and you’re curious about introducing some sex toys into your relationship. But what would introducing them do to your relationship? Could sex toys hurt your relationship? Or could they improve it?

Bringing up the Topic of Sex Toys with your Partner

Maybe you’d like to introduce sex toys into your bedroom, but feel anxious about discussing the topic with your partner. You might worry that they will reject the idea or, even worse, feel offended. Alternatively, you may feel embarrassed or uneasy discussing sex experiments and novelties, fearing that your partner will judge you or perceive you as vulgar. You may also feel concerned that you will hurt your partner’s feelings, as they might think your interest in sex toys indicates your dissatisfaction with your sex life.

If you don’t know how to start a conversation or express your desires and fantasies to your partner, sex therapy can help. Your sex therapist will create a secure and nonjudgmental atmosphere to discuss your desires and boundaries in an effective and thoughtful way. A qualified sex coach might provide insights and tips to help you use sex toys in your relationship healthily and positively.

But before you decide to discuss this topic with your partner, let’s look at how sex toys impact relationships and how to use them in a way that brings you and your partner closer together rather than pushing you apart.

How Sex Toys Impact Relationships

Using intimate toys may increase one or both partners’ pleasure in bed. But does it improve their overall relationship satisfaction?

Sex Toys Don’t Mean You’re a Bad Lover

Some men may worry that if their partner wishes to use a vibrator or other sex toys, it means they aren’t very good in bed. This jumping to conclusions could undermine your self-esteem and diminish your sexual desire and enjoyment in bed. While common, this fear is often far from the truth. Sex tools are meant to spice things up and help both partners find new pleasures together, not to replace one partner’s performance in bed.

Research shows that couples who experiment with new forms of intimacy often experience sustained passion and higher relationship satisfaction over time. However, these couples are more likely to engage in other bonding activities, such as sharing showers and planning regular date nights.

Sexual Excitement, not Compensation

Maybe you and your partner fantasize about integrating these playful add-ons into your sex life, but, as previously said, you’re afraid that bringing it up will make the other person think you’re unhappy with your current sex life. This misconception may hold you back from experimenting and improving your sex life.

Instead of viewing sex toys as compensation for something missing, try to see them as an opportunity for exploration and pleasure enhancement. Use them to add variety and excitement to your relationship or to discover new elements of your connection, not because you are unhappy with the sex in your relationship. By bringing sex toys into the bedroom, you and your partner may discover new ways to please each other, breaking routines and keeping the sexual aspect of your relationship vibrant.

Sex Toys Can Increase Intimacy and Communication

For some couples, even buying a sex toy is connected with more communication; those couples who purchase sex toys tend to talk more often about sex, some studies show.

When you and your partner discuss the purchase or explore the use of sex toys together, this might lead to a more open discussion about your sexual needs, desires, and boundaries. This, in turn, leads to trust and stronger emotional connection.

According to an Indiana University study, those who use sex toys frequently report improved relationship quality and sexual performance. These findings show that rather than damaging relationships, sex toys can help improve mutual enjoyment and intimacy.

When Can Sex Toys Ruin Relationships?

Sex toys can become problematic if they are not introduced with open communication and mutual consent. For instance, if one partner feels pressured or if expectations around the use of sex toys are not aligned, this can lead to misunderstandings, feelings of inadequacy and hurt, and conflicts.

How to Overcome Obstacles to Using Sex Toys

The keys to navigating the discussion about introducing sex toys into your intimate life and relationship are open communication and vulnerability. Discuss your feelings, concerns, fantasies, and boundaries regarding sex toys before incorporating them. To avoid misunderstandings and issues, and boost your pleasure, make sure you both feel comfortable and agree on how the toys will be used.

Gain a Deeper Connection and Shared Enjoyment with Sex Toys

Sex toys can improve your relationship by increasing closeness, encouraging open communication, and bringing variation to the sexual experience, resulting in deeper connections and shared enjoyment.

However, discussing the use of sex toys with your partner may feel uncomfortable or difficult. Some partners may feel intimidated or worried that these items might replace their affection or skills in the bedroom. Sex therapy can help address these concerns by encouraging you to communicate openly and share your feelings and expectations in a safe environment.

Let’s connect soon so we can set up a free consultation.

Filippo M. Forni, CST, LMFT is a certified AASECT individual and couples sex therapist. Mr. Forni sees patients throughout California and Florida. His goal is to provide high-quality and effective goal-oriented therapy services to his clientele. He has extensive training in sexuality and multiculturalism and serves as an adjunct professor at Pepperdine University Graduate School of Education and Psychology.