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To all the men wanting to talk their wives into sex toys

You can’t simply come home one night with a sack of vibrators and a glint in your eye.

A headless man holding a Magic Wand and a realistic dildo toward the camera.
Don't you want them? Vixen Johnny and Magic Wand Original, coming at you.

I can see through you, and I don’t like what I see.

You email me under the guise of caring. Of wanting your wife to experience something new in the bedroom. You love her, your wife — you make sure to state that outright. You tell me her age, and yours, for some inexplicable reason. She’s gorgeous, and you’ve been married for many years. You’ve tried to convince her to try sex toys before, but there’s just one nagging detail: she’s not interested.

You’re a modern, enlightened man. That’s why you read sex toy blogs, and research squirting techniques, and email bloggers for advice. Sometimes you not-so-slyly brag about your “amazing” sex life, estimating that your wife has an orgasm 97% of the time. She’s content, obviously. It’s just you have ideas for making sex better. There’s this dildo all the bloggers are raving about, and surely your wife must experience it too. Never mind if it makes sense with her body or her desires, never mind if you know what any of those desires even are.

You’ve come to me for reassurance. Because I am a sex toy fiend you assume I’ll be on your side, ready to leap to your defense and proclaim the transformative power of sex toys. You expect me to coddle you, to nod in virtual agreement and eagerly dish out advice on how best to frame the conversation with your wife.

Men. It is not about framing.

I read through your email, my eyes catching on the part where you refer to your partner as “the wife,” wincing when you divulge how hot it would be to use toys on her, frowning as you describe the reasons she is wary. Her objections to sex toys are multiple, layered, painfully unexplored — and judging from your email, you’re not willing to do much work to explore them. You’d rather blast on with your own plan. You’re confident she’s missing out, and you’ve cast yourself as savior.

There is no simple answer for you, sir, because women are not a puzzle to be pried open with just the right tool.

I know what you actually want from me: ammo. You want stats and conversation strategies, and you want my gender, as it holds more weight. You’d like me to ignore the fact that your wife is a complex human being I’ve never met — one with her own fears and needs — to participate in this coercion. Inadvertently or not, you’re prioritizing your satisfaction over hers.

Sex is collaborative, and I think somewhere along the line we forgot that.

There is no simple answer for you, sir, because women are not a puzzle to be pried open with just the right tool. They’re varied, and nuanced, and talking to one woman is not like talking to all of them. Yes, I spout certain truths — vibrators won’t numb you permanently; nobody’s broken for wanting one; they won’t make anyone obsolete — but I’m not your wife. It takes actual effort to undo these misguided beliefs, because spoiler alert: mainstream society totally enforces them! You cannot simply come home one night with a sack of sex toys and a glint in your eye.

In a perfect world — which we do not live in — sex toys wouldn’t detract from intimacy at all. But in situations where communication is poor, they can do just as much harm as good. And I can tell communication is not at the forefront of your mind; you’d prefer a quick answer and validation, so you can buy the damn thing already and expedite the process. This is glaringly obvious in sex toy retail: men don’t like waiting.

There’s, as they say, a lot to unpack in your email. So I keep it brief. I type out a response, disguising my distress with a jolly tone. I recommend talking to your wife directly. I point out that you wouldn’t want to waste money on a sex toy your wife won’t use — maybe that’s how I’ll get to you, the money angle. I carefully express the importance of respecting your wife’s boundaries, but I say it in a veiled way, because I want you to listen. My restraint is truly commendable. I never get a reply.

Maybe next time I should ask for your wife’s email address.