Toys Coming Between Us

Dear Rachel and Claire,
I'm a male in a heterosexual relationship. My live-in girlfriend and I used to enjoy her "toys" together. She had only gotten them shortly before meeting me and was never that impressed with them. Once I learned how to really make her "gush" when she came, then we started to enjoy the toys together for a while and she learned how to do the same with the toys and began using them much more often. She would even deny me sex but use them as soon as I was gone.

I have since thrown them away and asked her to just to forget about them - masturbation is fine but manual stimulation, not mechanical. Our sex life is now maybe 3-4 times per week where it used to be every day and sometimes more than once a day - this was before the toys.

I basically wanted to know what your thoughts are on vibrators decreasing sensitivity to normal or manual interaction (intercourse, oral sex, etc.).

I have had several other women tell me that they get very used to the rapid mechanics of vibrators and wind up being desensitized to achieving orgasm through regular intercourse. I'm not a jealous or possessive person, but I do want her to enjoy sex with me and not have to rely only on the battery operated assistance to achieve orgasm. This was the main factor in my wanting to get rid of the toys as well as some other issues that I won't get into.

Thanks for any advice you can offer.

A:

Dear advice seeker,
You should not have thrown away her toys.  She does not belong to you and neither do her toys, nor does she owe you sex a certain number of times a day, week, month or year.  Trying to control her masturbation, or thinking of solo sex as sex stolen from you is not going to get you what you want.  That kind of behavior is more likely to cause her to withdraw from you than to want more sex with you.

Masturbation and partner sex are qualitatively different, and can fill different needs.  It is easy to understand that one could want the release of orgasm without the involvement of partner sex.  Studies have shown that women who have sex more also masturbate more.  Your partner’s decreased desire to have sex with you is not necessarily caused by her masturbatory life.

Some women do find it easy to come from vibrators, and may find that they become less patient with other forms of stimulation that take more work and more time.  If your partner (or any woman) wants to take a break from vibrators in order to focus on subtler “non-mechanical” stimulation that’s her prerogative.  Some find that taking a break makes for more sensitivity, just like if you didn’t touch yourself for a week or two you might find that it took very little to get you off.  The problem is that waiting for all that unexpressed sexual energy to build up can be frustrating, as can letting the fingers do the walking if relief is just a buzz away.

It may be some comfort to know you two have sex more than most unmarried cohabiting heterosexual couples-the average is about 2.8 times/week.  Disparate desire is a problem that is common to most couples- gay, straight, married, whatever.  It makes sense –why would you expect that two people would want exactly the same amount of sex as each other.  You should talk to your partner; find out if she is happy with 3-4 times a week.  She may well want less and already be pushing herself to accommodate you.  Different levels of desire is a couple’s problem- not hers, not yours.  Don’t get into blaming and forget about how often you used to do it- everybody does it more in the first blush of love.

How much and powerfully a woman comes is not just a product of the physical stimulation she receives.  More important than that is how turned on she is.  Rather complaining that you’re not getting enough, you should work on making sex more exciting for her.  Certainly it’s a problem- your dissatisfaction, and maybe hers as well, that will only be solved by communication between the two of you.

Lastly, replace those sex toys.