Married and Sexually Frustrated

Dear Rachel and Claire,
I am very much in love with my partner.  I adore her.  We make sure to listen to each other and take each other’s feelings into consideration.  When our relationship first became sexual I did not like penetration.  My partner enjoys vaginal penetration very much.  But she does not like toys because she believes a toy is the same as a penis. We have done a lot of experimenting and discovered anal sex is great.  After watching her enjoy vaginal penetration so much I asked her to penetrate me.  Now I really like it and I find myself curious about toys.  She told me that if I ever came near her with a dildo or a vibrator she would break up with me and make it easier for me to get a man.  I love her, I am committed to her, and I don't want anyone else.  What can I do to save my relationship and to expand my partner’s mind a little? 
 
Sincerely,
Married and Sexually Frustrated

A:

Dear Married,

Dildos are not penises, and dykes who strap-them on aren’t stand-ins for men. In order to work your way out of the sexual stalemate you and your partner are sliding towards she’ll need to examine her fears around sex toys. Is she scared of being replaced by a toy, truly worried that you really want a man, afraid of being exposed if she likes it too much, scared of being disappointed, or does it bring up unpleasant memories or perhaps seem somehow desperate or tacky?  Or something else?  Many lesbians believe that using sex toys somehow means that they are sexually inadequate. That belief can be especially strong with lesbians who fear that their partners might really prefer a penis, and who are frustrated about their lack of one.  It’s fortunate that the two of you are comfortable sharing your feelings, because this is one of those problems that is gonna take some communication to straighten out.

If my lover uses a banana shaped sex toy it doesn’t make her a tree, nor if she uses a dildo shaped like a penis, does she become a man.  Fortunately dildos and vibrators come in all sorts of shapes and sizes. While some dykes use dildos for gender play, many penetration fans simply appreciate the range of sensations dildos offer. The delicious stimulation of the nerve endings at the opening of the vaginal canal, variable pressure on the G-spot and feelings of fullness can all be achieved with fingers and hands as well. But by incorporating toys with a variety of shapes, sizes and textures, you can expand those sensations. Strap-ons also provide the thrill of face to face and full body connection, and hip thrusting and motion, that can be hard to manage while delivering a fine hand-job.

There are a number of books which will be helpful:  The Good Vibrations Guide to Sex is a comprehensive sex guide that covers sex toys in detail.  The Ultimate Guide to Strap-On Sex is a good intro to dildos and harnesses, and Exhibitionism for the Shy is helpful for anyone who feels a little shy and wants to be braver and more expressive sexually.  Any of these could serve as a stepping-stone to actually trying a toy. In the meantime, work on an attitude of play and experimentation in your intimacy, which will make sex more fun. The communication you and your sweetie have already developed should help you get through this awkward moment.