What would you ask in sex education, if you could do it all again? Do you know where the vulva is located? Or how to introduce sex toys into the bedroom?
There's a lot of confusion and queries surrounding sex toys, and questions that we might not feel ready to ask our friends. To clear up some of the common questions surrounding sex and sex toys, we caught up with Kate Moyle, a Sexual & Relationship Psychotherapist and the Sex Expert for LELO.
So, strap in, and get ready to learn a little bit more about sex, toys, relationships and bodies!
What are the different kinds of female stimulation?
Direct clitoral stimulation is the way most women achieve orgasm, where around 8000 nerve endings are located. The glans of the clitoris is the visible part, but the greatest structure of the clitoris is internal, and like a penis it increases in size when aroused. The structure also means that indirect stimulation of the clitoris through the vaginal walls can also offer pleasure.
The vulva is also highly sensitive, and so touch with hands, sex toys or other forms of stimulation, such as oral sex, can play a part in building up desire and arousal.
As with all aspects of sex lives, it's about you exploring what types of touch and stimulation feel good for you, and knowing which don't. All bodies and preferences are different, and feeling confident in that can help you to communicate what you like with partnered experiences.
What's the G-Spot?
The G-spot is part of the clitoral network, located on the anterior wall of the vagina. Rather than being an anatomical 'spot', it's more of a sensitive area. It's best found by women exploring themselves and finding what feels good for them, rather than looking for something specific.
Often described as best reached using a 'come hither' motion, it's easiest to find and explore when you are already aroused. To discover it on a solo mission, try Lelo's Gigi 2, which has a curved design to accurately target the area.
What's the Orgasm Gap?
The orgasm gap is the pleasure gap between women and men. Men are much more likely to reach orgasm in every sexual situation, ranging from first-time to long-term partners.
- 50% of 18-35 year old women say they have trouble reaching orgasm with a partner
- 64% of women vs 91% of men said they had an orgasm at their last sexual encounter
- 55% of men vs. 4% of women say they usually reach orgasm during first-time hookup sex
In general, studies have found that heterosexual women are the group having the least orgasms during sex. This is likely due to a lack of education and awareness of anatomy and its function. In 2016, The Eve Appeal undertook research that revealed that 44% of women were unable to identify the vagina on an anatomical diagram; and that 60% were unable to identify a vulva on the same diagram.
Aside from education, sex toys can also help to close this gap, helping women to reach orgasm. Toys can help you to find what kind of pleasure or stimulation works best for you, letting you learn more about your body.
Where do sex toys come in?
How do I find the best sex toy for me? (for beginners)
If you are new to sex toys, it's best to start with something simple. Different toys offer different experiences; some toys are designed specifically for clitoral stimulation such as Lelo's Sila, and others like the Gigi or the Liv for penetration.
There are also dildos designed for penetration that work without the sensation of vibration. It's all about finding what you are looking for in terms of pleasure and finding what works for you.
How do I explore new territory? (for the more advanced)
A more intensive experience is something like Lelo's Enigma. The Enigma is a luxurious dual action sonic massager that stimulates both the internal and external part of the clitoris.
Do I need lube?
Yes! Using a good quality water-based lubricant is the best addition to any sex toy, especially for clitoral stimulation. Do not use silicone-based lubricants with silicone sex toys, as they can break down the rubber over time.
Toys & Partners
How do I introduce sex toys to the bedroom & bridge the conversation with my partner?
Introducing a sex toy into your relationship is like any other aspect of our sex lives - it's all in the communication.
Don't just spring it on them, because even if you have had time to think about it, they may not have; and you may also feel more ready to try something new than they are.
Talk about it in a conversation, and listen to what they have to say. Try 'How would you feel about trying something new together,' or 'I read about something fun that we can try', or 'I would love to try something new with you'.
If you focus on it being something that you want to do with your partner as a joint experience; then it won't create the anxiety that some people feel, which is that they will be 'replaced' or that a sex toy can do something that they can't.
A sex toy and a partner offer different experiences and sensations that can either be used together or separately; they don't have to be mutually exclusive.
If you want to make it a shared activity with your partner, then you can always look at a sex toy website together and choose one. Or, talk about which ones you like the look of, and the ones that you don't. If you are both on board then it will make it a really fun experience.
How do you use a toy with a partner?
Don't just spring it on your partner, ask them first and you can always suggest it before you start having sex.
Make sure that it's a) charged, and b) the toy, and any lube you may want to use is easily in reach. You don't want to be scrabbling around because you can't find it and interrupting the fun.
With a simple handheld vibrator, incorporate the toy into touching and teasing - don't rush into it. You can run it all over each other's bodies including nipples, inner thighs and down the spine to build up desire and arousal.
Or, run a smaller vibrator across the testicles or along the shaft of a penis for a male partner, which is a great way to mix up sensations for them too. You can use vibrators and the sensations they create to mix up the routine.
Which toys are best to use with a partner?
It completely depends on the type of experience that you want to have.
For couples having penetrative sex, try a ring, worn around the base of the penis. It's a great way to stay hands-free and incorporate a sex toy into intercourse.
A handheld vibrator can be used in almost every way, for clitoral stimulation during intercourse, for mutual masturbation, alongside oral sex and for mixing up all kinds of touch and sensation.
There are also toys that allow you to give up control to your partner, such as the remote-controlledTiani 2. As one partner takes charge, these toys can add a different element, building suspense and anticipation.
How do I clean my sex toy?
Bodily fluids can leave behind bacteria, which can build up and trigger an infection, so cleaning your sex toys after use is important.
The LELO Premium Cleaning Spray is paraben and alcohol-free, utilising a non-irritant formula to keep your toys clean and hygienic. However, unscented or antibacterial soaps that you would on your body are sufficient to clean sex toys. Just make sure that they are dried and stored afterwards.
What's the best material for a sex toy?
Another thing to consider when buying sex toys is the material that they are made from. You want to avoid anything that is porous as it can take on bacteria.
Look out for terms like 'medical-grade silicone' or 'body-safe', as well as materials that are phthalate-free. As with everything else in life, we need to be conscious of what we are putting into our bodies.
What about glass sex toys?
Sex toys can also be made of non-porous materials such as glass, or medical-grade stainless steel. These types of toys allow you to play around with different temperatures. For example, you can start with a glass toy being cooled in cold water, and then it will warm up with your body temperature.
Do not put sex toys in the freezer or boiling water and then use them straight away as they can burn or stick. Always test a toy's temperature somewhere like your wrist before using it.
Want to learn more about Sexual Wellness? Find the perfect sex toy for you, or take your sex knowledge up a notch with our Complete Guide on Female Vibrators.