I'll never forget the first time I went shopping for a sex toy. Naively browsing the aisles of an ~adult~ store, I remember feeling distinctly overwhelmed by the many brightly colored, phallic objects waving in my face from every direction. Even though I've long considered myself a sex-positive person, I remember being embarrassed just looking at all the over-the-top sex toys and wondering why the only aesthetically pleasing, modern-looking toys were those specifically labeled "discreet" — as if sex toys need to be either totally undetectable or else hidden away under your bed in shame.
"Over the last decade, our culture has begun waking up and challenging the stigma that has plagued this category for so long," Ti Chang, co-founder and VP of design at sex toy company Crave, tells Bustle. "With the rise of women across the globe in various movements, women are also demanding serious design and consideration for products for intimacy. So the design of sex toys is evolving to meet the design and manufacturing standards of other modern consumer products. Why should a product for pleasure be any less beautiful or functional than any other everyday product?"
Preach. Fortunately, the stigma surrounding sex toys is slowly fading, and women (and men, too!) are being presented with more and more options for toys that fit *into* their lifestyles instead of standing out. But well-designed sex toys do so much more than just look good: having access to these kinds of products can help people embrace their pleasure, which has positive repercussions pretty much across the board.
"When people embrace their pleasure, it helps them lead richer, more expressive and more empowered lives," Chang says. "Products for pleasure should enhance this, both with the object itself and also the experience of using that object. An object that you feel you need to hide after use because it is embarrassing to look at is not a good experience."
When we have toys that we're proud to show off (though you don't have to wave them in anyone's face per se), it can help us feel more proud of our own pleasure, too. So if you're looking for a new sex toy that's both beautiful and gets the job done, here are seven toys that you can proudly display on your bedside table instead of shoving under your bed.