I don’t normally have such strong reactions to stories about masturbation, but a recent column from the Globe & Mail filled me with rage. Her answer to the readers’ below question bordered on ridiculous. While I’m all for people having their own opinions on sexuality, if people are paying you to have an opinion you better make damn sure that opinion is informed and that maybe you have a better knowledge of sex stores and toys if you’re going to write the sex column for a NATIONAL newspaper. *head explodes*
I couldn’t stop thinking about it, so I decided to answer the readers’ question from my own perspective. I can’t guarantee that I hit the nail on the head, so I’m hoping for your comments and suggestions (keep them friendly, please). Let’s try to have a non shameful conversation about sex, shall we?
The question: I have been married to a wonderful man for four years. We have two kids and we’re really busy parents; I have sex with myself often. My husband recently found my vibrator and was angry. I thought he was joking at first, but he was serious. He said he should be the only sex toy I need. That’s not true, but I couldn’t say that. I love my vibrator and it gives me something different. I am refusing to get rid of it. What should I tell him?
My answer: Hurrah for self-love! I’ve always been an advocate for having sex with oneself and applaud you for making time to connect with yourself sexually while living the life of a busy parent and wife. It’s wonderful that you have found something that you truly love and value. I definitely agree that you should not be getting rid of your toy because of this.
However. While I disagree completely with your husband’s statement that he should be the only sex toy you need – can he vibrate as fast as a Lelo Tiani or Hitachi Magic Wand? (If yes, you might want to have him checked out by the doctor) – I can understand why he may have been upset upon the discovery of your vibrating friend.
Now let me be clear. I don’t think for one second that he has any right to be angry at you for pursuing a healthy sexual relationship with yourself outside of the sexual relationship you share with him. If anything, as your partner, he should be supporting and encouraging this behaviour – a stance that seems to often play second fiddle in society behind the wacky idea of self-love being akin to cheating or deception within a marriage or partnership. What he may be dealing with though is feelings stemming from the fact that you kept this from him. If you have sex with yourself often and love your vibrator as much as you say you do, why does it appear to have been kept a secret?
The answer, of course, is pretty obvious. Masturbation, though one of the healthiest things we can do to support our own sexuality, is still considered taboo by so many people. We might be moving into an era where more people are talking openly about their personal, needs, wants, and desires, but we’re also not that far away from the time when our mothers would insist we’d go blind if we put our hands down our pants one more time. Everybody might be doing it, but still barely anyone is talking about it, so you likely didn’t tell your husband about your vibrator because really, you didn’t see the need and are used to it being something private.
But the reality of the situation is that you should have told him. You don’t have to tell him every single time you decide to pop one off in between making dinner for the kids and making sure their homework is ready for the morning, but letting him in on the fun little secret that is you and your favourite toy, might have gone a long way in ensuring he had a more supportive reaction upon its discovery. He might have still had his pig-headed reaction that I can only imagine stems from a lifetime of being told that the man is born to please the woman and should the woman find pleasure elsewhere, well the man is then irrelevant, but at least you would have been having the conversation on a level playing field, where he’s not feeling like you deliberately kept something hidden from him.
My suggestion to you would be that you first apologize for keeping it from him because he is the person that you share your bed and the rest of your sexual self with. It might not seem like a big issue to you because you love it and it gives you orgasmic fun (and if so, then why hide it), but it’s necessary. We’re all allowed to have our fantasies, desires, and time to ourselves, but I personally don’t believe that hiding your toy from your husband gets to fit into this category.
Next, I think it’s important that you find a way to explain to him what you get from your vibrator and why it’s a valuable piece of your personal sexuality toolkit. A toy can never replace human contact and intimacy – a fact that you may want to reiterate to him – but it can be a valuable, sexy, and healthy addition. The best way to explain it to him might be by giving him a show. Let him watch you use it, seeing your reactions and the way your body moves, and hearing the sounds you make. It may end up turning him on so much that he wants to join in and show you his own self-love tricks. Mutual masturbation is a very fun activity for couples to do and it could go a long way to show him that your toy isn’t a threat, (which is such a ridiculous concept when you look at a bright pink silicone vibrator that’s shaped like a garden gnome and sounds like a swarm of wasps.)
Finally, think about suggesting that you use the vibrator together during sex. The combination of clitoral stimulation and your husband’s thrusts could possibly feel amazing for you and he’ll get a kick out of seeing you get that extra pleasure.
Assuming hopefully that it’s true, explain to your husband that you also still love sex with him. While he doesn’t always need to be in the room while you’re having sex with yourself – nor do you need to tell him every time it happens – inviting him into that intimate and personal space of yours occasionally will hopefully go a long way to help you further your intimate connection with one another. He’ll feel good that you’re sharing sexy “secrets” with him, and you’ll feel good for still partaking and not having to hide. And then who knows, maybe soon you’ll be hitting one of Toronto’s amazing sex shops to buy some more toys together!