Having fun with sex toys isn’t just a bit of self-indulgent pleasure, nor is relieving boredom the only real benefit. Sex and the pleasure we feel as a result is as much a basic need (for most people) as it is a way to feel good and have fun. For plenty of people, sexual pleasure requires the use of sex toys.
The next time you think you’re being selfish or overly indulgent in your own pleasure, remember that you may also be taking care of your mental health, too. Here’s what the experts have to say about it.
Exploration is Healthy
Dr. Nagma V. Clark, a certified sex therapist, states, “It is the act of exploring sexual pleasure that enhances one’s mental and emotional health. Women who have never had an orgasm or struggle with weak orgasms report an improvement in their emotional well being when they are able to have a strong orgasm by using a vibrator.”
Therapist and relationship expert Rachel Madorsky agrees. “Novelty of any kind enhances the senses. When we expand our sexual repertoire with sex toys we are increasing our capacity to explore, to try new things, to feel alive, and even to trust ourselves.”
“It is likely the exploration of sexual pleasure more than the actual sex toy itself, that enhances mental health. There is increased self-confidence that comes from being adventurous and saying YES to one’s self,” states Madorsky.
Dr. Clark adds, “[Women] feel confident because a vibrator provides consistency in being able to reach orgasm.” The confidence boost — to try new things as well as experience new experiences aren’t limited to just women. “Some of my male clients in my sex therapy practice have always wanted to try stimulating their prostate but don’t feel comfortable asking their partners to do so. They have the option of using a prostate stimulator which enhances their sexual pleasure.”
Higher Self-Esteem, Lower Shame
Clinical psychologist Daniel Sher at Between Us Clinic states, “Sexual dysfunction affects both men and women. For men with performance anxiety, erectile dysfunction or premature ejaculation, sex toys allow you to give your partner new and exciting forms of pleasure. This, in turn, can help improve your self-esteem and romantic connection, which is therapeutic for people who struggle with performance anxiety.”
“I encounter a lot of shame and stigma with the use of sex toys because of various misconceptions and stereotypes associated with sex toys. Some women feel that using a vibrator to orgasm means that there is something wrong with them since they are not able to orgasm on their own during partnered sex,” states Dr. Clark.
She continues, “Some men feel threatened if their female partners want to use sex toys because it brings up feelings of inadequacy in the male partner. There are also other issues related to shame around owning one’s sexual pleasure or the idea that people who use sex toys are promiscuous or are addicted to sex.”
Reduce Anxiety, Increase Happiness
“People report feeling sexually empowered, more in control of their sexual pleasure and report a renewed sense of excitement in their sexual connection. All of this enhances feelings of happiness, emotional well being, satisfaction with sex and helps reduce feelings of anxiety, dread, and hopelessness that is common in cases of sexual issues/dysfunction,” says Dr. Clark.
Indigo Stray Conger, a sex therapist and writer for Choosing Therapy adds, “Our nervous systems are more able to regulate stress hormones when experiencing sexual play and orgasmic release. Knowing your body and sexual response cycles through the utilization of sex toys can also improve partnered sex. Integrating sex toys which you are already familiar with when engaging with a partner can deepen connection and enjoyment.”
Normalizing Sexual Pleasure Helps Everyone
Madorsky states, “Many people are indoctrinated with beliefs around the normalization and morality of sexual pleasure and the use of sex toys. The more we can educate and share openly about the mental and physical health benefits of being curious and exploring one’s desires, the happier and healthier both singles and couples will be.”
Conger agrees. “Exploring the ways in which you can access stimulation, arousal, orgasm, and comfort through a wider repertoire than just manual stimulation has benefits for both mind and body. People often wrongly associate sex toys with an inability to have a healthy sex life, when the opposite can actually be true. Having a healthy relationship with your sexuality does not require a partner and the expression and experience of sexual desire is an important part of being human.”
Use your sex toys because they feel good or because they help you get off. But also, feel free to use them because you know you’re doing something good for your mental health, too. There’s no single sex toy that will make you feel good, so look for what suits you best and have a good time!
Have you experienced any of these benefits when you use your sex toys? Let us know down in the comments!