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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?
The answer: At first, I didn’t disagree with your man. I couldn’t see why you’d choose a toy over the real McCoy. I’ve always been a believer in the real deal over imitators. I’ll take a classic Coach wristlet over anything on Canal street; a good wheel of cheese over processed slices; butter over margarine, any day. And I believed that a faux-penis couldn’t hold a candle to an authentic one.
I needed to see why you won’t give up your vibrator, so I headed to Come As You Are, a co-operative sex shop in Toronto where four workers own and operate the store and test-drive every single thing they sell. I figured if anyone would prove me and you husband wrong about toys, it’s these folks.
Eyeing the abstract, mildly hipster window collage of neon penises, I take a deep breath (and a quick hit of my puffer) before entering.
It’s a bustling place: A sexy, suited man mulls over lubricant; a handful of barely legal young women play with fingertip vibrators; and two 40-something women swoon over dildos like they’re at a shoe store.
“They’re all so pretty. Look at the colours! Oh, Susie, these are new!” exclaims one of them. Susie, ever the practicalist, scolds her friend: “No, you always do this. Don’t even tempt yourself. Let’s just get your lube and get out.”
This isn’t your average sex shop, and one of the owners, Jack Lamon, isn’t your average sex-shop employee. He is wonderfully knowledgeable about every toy, massage oil, lube, harness and DVD in the place. He’s approachable and funny and talks about sex toys in a brainy, philosophical fashion.
“For a long time, men have been dominating the ejaculatory space and I think it’s time we change that dynamic,” he says, waving the orchid, a flashlight-esque wand that helps women have G-spot orgasms.
He says he’s seen hundreds of customers that have had your same problem: Either women stash their vibrator away from their partner or the husband is jealous of the toy.
“People who are threatened by sex toys generally have a very traditional idea of what sex toys are. They immediately think of the black, 12-inch, vibrating dildo.” (Which, by the way, is all my eyes can focus on after he says this.) “We don’t sell anything that people can do. People don’t vibrate – it’s not an either/or situation.”
But what about the possibility of women replacing men with these items, circa Charlotte in Sex and the City becoming bed-ridden with her “rabbit.” I tell him that my friends have joked that if they have a lawn mower and a vibrator, who needs a man?
“If you dug a little deeper, you’d probably find out that isn’t true. There’s no replacing human contact, human intimacy.”
He explains that having sex with your husband is like eating the same meal every single day, so you want to shake it up. Sounds like his issue is being excluded – include him in the fun, I think he’ll be pleasantly surprised. You have to be willing to share and show him your vibrator isn’t a substitute, but an aid.
Lamon recommends taking your husband with you on a shopping trip, or better yet, giving him the challenge of buying a toy for you. But be sure your husband knows your favourite colours: “If you hate green and he gets you a green toy, you’re going to hate it, no matter what.” I scoff, as I pick up a bright fuchsia penis.
Then I see it: the holy grail of sex toys, a shimmering display of the best of the best: the Lelo showcase. A slick floor-to-ceiling exhibit of chrome and black and purple toys with the design simplicity of an iPad.
“So, these are like, the Cadillac of vibrators?” I ask, foolishly.
“Oh no,” Jack says with a snicker. “We’re talking Porsche here all the way. Luxury, modern, multiple speed, rechargeable – top.”
He leaves me alone for a minute to peruse the selection and I have to admit: I’m reformed. I’ve always loved gadgets and I can’t see how this wouldn’t make sex more fun. In mere moments, I have four vibrating penises in my hand that I can’t figure out how to turn off. One wiggles out of my hand, and gyrates across the floor.
Thankfully, I’ve caught it by the time Lamon returns, who hasn’t seen my display (or is nice enough to ignore me).
Lamon explains that the most popular of these toys, the Tiani, will be right up your, um, alley. It’s a C-shaped vibrator, where one end is inserted during sex. It sounds awkward, but trust me: One look and I can see the appeal. The best part? It’s remote-controlled – your husband will find a lot of power and manly man-ness in being the one in the driver’s seat.
Ultimately, you have to explain to your husband that you love sex with him. Reassure him that nothing can replace his manhood.
But like most things, sex becomes way more interesting when you add a little technology to the mix.
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