Why Men Need To Talk About Sex Toys (And Sex)
There was a time when revealing your plastic fling to a group of mates was met with a high-pitched, "You put your penis where?" as though you'd just admitted a six-month tryst with the toaster.
No matter what your kinky preference, from a Thrust Pro Ultra to a prostate massager, for a man to soup up his sex life with a gizmo was pretty unheard of, even as recently as the start of the 21st century.
Thousands of male sex toy sales later and in the wake of making 2016 the Year of the Male Sex Toy (when Lovehoney reported a whopping 40 per cent increase in sales... you're welcome) more and more men have turned to devices as a leisurely and logical way to get off.
Penile pleasure is clearly on the up, so why is nobody talking about it down the pub? For whatever reason (from individual shyness to societal conservatism), as a society, we still find it hard to talk about sex. But we bloody well should be doing it!
Here are some reasons why men need to talk about sex toys (and sex).
Sexual Health Benefits
Time for some quick schooling. Pencils out.
A 2009 study conducted at Indiana University found that 45 per cent of men aged between 18-65 had used a vibrator with a partner or on their own.
The report titled Prevalence and Characteristics of Vibrator Use by Men in the United States (what a page turner!) revealed these men not only enjoyed high levels of 'orgasmic function', but that they were also more likely to participate in sexual health behaviours, such as self-examination to check for symptoms of testicular cancer.
The Indiana study is a great example of the unseen (and uncelebrated) benefits of sex toys, but it also reveals the broader role sex plays in our day-to-day lives.
It's something pivotal to our mental and physical well-being, and research like this shows that being willing to listen to the sexual self (the bit of our personality with sexual anxieties and intrigues) is incredibly important for maintaining strong and sustained sexual health.
So, whether we're playing with a vibrator or discussing the Kama Sutra down the pub, taking the stigma out of sex can have great consequences.
Not only can it lead to better sex but it's also the way we beat the shame surrounding STDs, uncork untapped desires or resolve the anxiety of exploring bisexuality -- all very, very good things, I am sure you agree.
Exploring and Experimenting
Never underestimate the value of shared experiences. Think of it like this: if you read a good book or watch a funny movie you'd recommend it to your friend? Sex toys can function in the same way.
I will accept, however, that because of my career I have abnormally candid conversations with my friends. A weekend away in the Cotswolds, for example, may be punctuated with anecdotes about the trials and tribulations of cloning your willy or the essential DIY for putting up a love swing (I would wager Nick Knowles couldn't even help out there).
I will happily talk pegging over a ham sandwich. Others, it's not so easy and I understand that.
But one of the mistakes people make is to confuse naughty with taboo and inadvertently turn sex into something forbidden; something that should be tucked away, secret, and never spoken about. Tosh.
Sex is allowed to be funny and fun and naughty and silly and by simply sharing anecdotes (and no, they don't have to be graphic) we can help people to see sex as all of these things; sex as play.
When I encourage people to talk about sex, they often focus on the act of sex itself. The ins and outs, the all-abouts.
Sex-based conversations don't have to be nookie-centric. Quite the contrary. When talking to men about sex it can encompass all manner of issues well beyond the "...have you tried the wheelbarrow on page 47?".
Given time and effort, a group of male friends will eventually form a kind of trust zone, where they feel comfortable enough to talk about some pretty serious stuff.
Trust me, you'll be amazed at the kinds of things that come up once men feel able to discuss their thoughts and feelings.
It's important to remember that when we talk about sex openly, we're also exercising a need for human intimacy and empathy. More often than not, you won't have the answers.
But sometimes, simply opening up and sharing our feelings can be an answer all by itself.
Treat sex as something that shouldn't be talked about and it soon becomes something ignored. Treat it with the respect and reverence it deserves and you'll reap the rewards in happiness, mental health - and yes, orgasms too.
Written by Max Crumpet
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