The Benefits Of Using Sex Toys With Your Partner, Because They Don't Take Away From Anything
Ashley Batz for Bustle

I got my first vibrator when I was 18, yet I didn't start using sex toys with a partner until I was 26. Letting someone else in on my solo sex routine felt almost like peeing with them in the bathroom (which I've also done, TBH, so I'm not sure why this was a big deal). But I used a finger vibrator with my partner for the first time last winter, and now that I've experienced the joys of simultaneous orgasms, I ain't ever going back. I'm a total sex toy evangelist.

How did I not come around sooner? It seems so obvious that what will make you feel good alone will have the same effect in another's company. But the truth is, I'd always had a nagging feeling that sex with a toy wasn't "real" sex— that it would be less connected or romantic. The one time I suggested my ex use my vibrator on me, he confirmed this fear, saying, "I want to touch you, not a machine." Though he didn't intend it, that interaction made me feel ashamed. I wondered if I was too demanding in the bedroom, since my partner alone was not enough to satisfy me.

"There's this fear that sex toys are making people less into each other, that they're too mechanical etc, but they actually improve sex, make people want to be with each other, and can connect you over long distances," Claire Cavanah, co-founder of Babeland, tells Bustle.

Clearly, I've come a long way since then. Here are some reasons I love using sex toys with a partner and recommend that other couples try them.

1They Start A Discussion

Ashley Batz for Bustle

The first time I really opened up to my partner about sex was when I first brought up sex toys. I mentioned that since I review them, I get a lot in the mail. That was my way of telling him I wrote about sex, because even for those of us who broadcast our sex lives to the internet, that conversation can get a little awkward. But it wasn't with him. He told me about an octopus-shaped toy he'd heard of, since l love octopi and have one tattooed on my arm, and I felt right at home. I knew he was someone I could talk to about sex — including sex toys — without being shamed.

Once we'd managed to bond over an octopus toy neither of us owned, it felt like we'd broken a barrier and could talk about sex. And after we started using sex toys together, I could tell him which ones I liked best and why, which was great practice for discussing how I liked him to touch me. I even started letting him watch me masturbate, which informed his own technique. Ideally, we should be able to just start these conversations out of the blue. But if you can't bring yourself to do that, a sex toy makes a great excuse.

2They Inspire You To Experiment

Andrew Zaeh for Bustle

My boyfriend was never a sex toy user himself, but one day, I got an email from him telling me that a vibrator had arrived for me in the mail... and he was testing it out. Since then, he's used a few different products he'd never even heard of, let alone tried. And so have I. Using lube alone opened up a lot of new sensations (and helped us go a lot longer without anything chafing), and every toy we've acquired has added fun and variety to our routine.

3They Can Let You Orgasm During Intercourse

Ashley Batz for Bustle

First, let me say I would never want anyone to feel ashamed about how they do or don't orgasm. Orgasming during PIV sex is just not always possible and not necessary either. That's what foreplay is for, after all. Nevertheless, I was always curious about what it would feel like to come with my partner inside me — or even at the same time as him. And using sex toys lets me do that. I love how connected it makes us feel. Another bonus? Sex with a toy is highly efficient when we're short on time, since it takes care of us both simultaneously.

You always hear that most women can't orgasm from intercourse alone, but "alone" is the operative word. We shouldn't be embarrassed to enlist some help. If you have an orgasm during sex using a toy, it still counts as an orgasm during sex.

4They Don't Take Away From Anything

Andrew Zaeh for Bustle

I was initially scared to bring up the idea of using a toy during sex because I thought my partner would take it to mean he wasn't enough. But (shocker!) it turns out he enjoys himself more when I do, so he loves when I bring toys into bed. If you use a toy while you're having sex with someone, you're still having sex with them. There's still room left for your partner in your heart — or, in this case, your vagina.

Fortunately, for those who don't know where to start, there are tons of sex toys made specifically for couples. But any toy can be a couples toy, because if it enhances your pleasure, it'll probably enhance theirs too.