Partner Play – Dealing with Dildophobia

While most of my posts are geared toward vagina/clitoris owners, this one is directed  more toward their penis-possessing partners. 1 You see, I’m an advocate of using sex toys not only for solo masturbation, but with partner(s) as well. Unfortunately, I have learned that making this happen is not always easy. I’ve seen my partners have a variety of reactions to the suggestion of adding toys to the bedroom repertoire, and sadly, most were not positive.

Given the lousy state of sex education in this country, the number of people who learn about sex from bad porn, and the way many sex toys are presented/marketed, it’s easy for misunderstandings about toy play to occur.  I set out to write a single post sorting through those issues, but realized a couple thousand words in that one post isn’t going to do it.  This introduction is for partners who may be feeling confused, apprehensive or nervous about getting acquainted with their partner’s toys.2

The first time I handed a realistically-shaped vibrator to a partner, he held it in two fingers at arm’s length as though concerned that it might bite. 3  He made a half-assed attempt at pleasuring me with it, and was clearly relieved when I suggested that we abandon the endeavor.  Based on my experiences, and a few helpful/hilarious anecdotes from friends, I’ve compiled a list of common worries that surface at the mention of sex toys… and hopefully, I can help them seem less daunting.


Worry #1 – I must not be satisfying her, she thinks I’m lousy in bed.

That’s most likely not the case.  Think about ice cream.  You like ice cream, right?   We know ice cream is pretty damn delicious all by itself…but sometimes, you want to make it even better, change things up.  You add hot fudge, whipped cream or sprinkles.  You put it on a warm brownie or a slice of pie.  You pair it with cake at a birthday party, or make it into a whipped concoction with candy bits.  Doing those things doesn’t mean that ice cream is inadequate.  It’s human nature to try making a great thing even better.  Those toys… consider them sprinkles for your sex life.


Worry #2 – I am kind of (or completely) weirded out at the idea of playing with a disembodied phallus.

First off, it’s distinctly possible that your partner’s favorite toy is not closely modeled after a penis. It might be a cute little clit vibe, a massager like the magic wand, or an abstract shaped vibrator.  And if it turns out to be a dildo, it’s likely that it may be stylized, brightly colored and look nothing like the equipment of any man on this planet. Before you get too worried, ask about the tools she’d like you to work with.

Once you know what you are dealing with, if the toy totally freaks you out, tell her how you feel.  Make an offer to go shopping together for something you’ll both enjoy.  There are plenty of toys out there that can accommodate both your partner’s tastes and yours.  If you need some help getting started, here are my recommendations:

  • Lelo toys, while pricey, are bright and beginner friendly. The Mona 2 is one of the most versatile vibes out there, and Mia 2 is good if you want a smaller clit vibe.
  • We Vibe’s Touch or Tango would be great choices for powerful clit stimulation in a small package.
  • Many Tantus dildos are phallic without being overly realistic. I’d lean toward Flurry, Echo or Vamp for couples new to toys, but there are lots of great choices.
  • Vamp Silicone makes gorgeous dildos in a wide variety of colors. You also get to choose between their firm, shiny regular silicone and squishier Softskin.


Worry #3 – I have no idea what she expects me to do with this thing.

If you’re new to sex toys, you may feel slightly lost when you contemplate adding them to your sex life.  It’s sort of like sitting down at one of those fancy dinners where there are entirely too many utensils beside your plate.  You’re convinced you’ll accidentally use something wrong and doom yourself to eternal shame.  Even a small, relatively simple clit vibe raises questions: Which setting? Patterns or straight buzz? Direct or indirect stimulation? During intercourse, or only as foreplay?

There’s no simple answer to this, no book of Proper Sex Utensil Etiquette to consult.  But there is a way to crack the code: communication.  Before you get going, ask about her preferences.   And when you’re in the moment, ask lots more questions!  The learning/teaching process can turn into some seriously arousing pillow talk… here are some of my favorite things to hear:

  • “Do you like it when I ________?”
  • “Would you like me to ________?”
  • “Do you want it faster/slower/harder/deeper?”
  • “Will you show me how you do it?”

Once you’ve got an idea of what works, keep the conversation going.  For me personally, hearing how much my partner loves watching me get off with my toys is a huge thrill.  As you get more comfortable, don’t be afraid to experiment a little bit.  Continue asking questions and use her feedback (verbal or otherwise) as your guide.


Worry #4 – She must think my penis is too small.

Speaking as a woman who likes her big fat dildos, I can honestly say that my partner’s size has never been my reason for wanting to crack open the toy box.  It’s been about different sensations, about variety, about fun… and occasional experiments with double penetration.  If you’re worried that bigger insertable toys will leave her unable to appreciate your charms, then I direct you to this post for education on the magical elasticity of vaginas.


Worry #5 – If she’s got sex toys, why does she need me?

I blame bad sex toy marketing for this one.  We hear about “battery-operated boyfriends” and toys that purport to be “better than the real thing”.  We even have toy manufacturers offering to set reviewers up “on a date” with their products.  Everywhere you turn, sex toys are personified and presented as replacements for men.

Epiphors's tweet about a date with Little Ricky

No matter how fabulous a dildo is, it does NOT feel exactly like the real thing.  No matter how many toys I own, I still crave the feeling of my partner hot and hard inside me.  Even the remarkable Vixskin pales in comparison. Furthermore, a partner is a whole lot more than a penis. My toys don’t have a heartbeat, fingers, lips, a tongue4 or a sexy voice.  Toys don’t cuddle with me when we’re through, and the post-coital conversation is lousy.

The bottom line?  Your partner is asking you to use sex toys because she wants you to give her orgasms.  She wants to get off with you, to share her pleasure.  I hope you won’t let pride, nerves or obnoxious marketing tactics get in the way of taking her up on that offer.

  1. Try saying THAT three times fast…
  2. The original working title of this segment was “OMG, She Wants To Use Her Toys With Me… Now What?!”
  3. In his defense, it was a jelly toy and therefore scarier than I knew at the time.
  4. Oral sex simulating toys are notoriously ineffective/disappointing
  • Camryn
    June 2, 2014

    I love the new header! So cute!
    Also this post is amusing and laid back, so I’m sure it’ll help reassure someone!

  • John
    June 6, 2014

    Although I am a penis-possessing bag of Carbon atoms in a relationship, I am not sure the post was aimed at me!

    I bought my wife her first sex toy when we were at University
    I have bought and introduced dozens of toys since.
    She has found that she loves some of them – especially her PalmPower and her glass dildo.

    I still find it amusing that some people are shamed by sex toys or see them as a substitute; my penis can do a few things, but it can’t vibrate at 9000rpm, nor having spinning beads or be stored in the fridge for 15 minutes on a cold day.


    • Lunabelle
      June 6, 2014

      I applaud your efforts and attitude…and I suspect your wife does too! It’s great to hear from a guy who appreciates the awesome power of sex toys. 🙂

  • AustinFetish
    June 8, 2014

    Lunabelle, I think this is a much needed article. I think the percentage of males that have these fears is dropping each year, but there’s still too many men that have these worries and fear their partner using a dildo.

    I myself felt fear about my first girlfriend using larger objects, back when I was younger, but I did a 180 degree turn by the end of that relationship. After becoming more sexually open and taking on different perspectives, I wanted desperately to see her enjoy sex with a larger toy, or well endowed guy.

    Regarding size, I have to say that it is OKAY for a woman to crave using a toy because she is craving or needing something bigger than her partner’s penis. You wrote that sometimes you want to include a dildo in a session because, “It’s been about different sensations, about variety, about fun… “. Well, in my opinion, enjoying different sizes is one of the things that can deliver different sensations and certainly some variety. I think that males should not allow themselves to be intimidated by this. They should just realize that sometimes more friction is helpful, or more fullness. At the same time, they should realize that this isn’t needed or wanted EVERY time. So, their penis still has a role to play.

    I take on the perspective that the dildo can be part of me just like it can be the penis of a person that wears it as a strapon because they were not born with a penis. In this same way, I work the dildo and feel happy that I am working that wonderful cock to pleasure her. It isn’t in competition with me. It is just part of the whole experience, just as I am part of the experience.

    Now, a woman that I’m dating frequently asks me to use a dildo on her, of which all of them are thick. This happens if I’ve reached an orgasm before her, or if she is having trouble reaching an orgasm during that session. If she hasn’t had an orgasm in a few days, she can orgasm with my penis doing the thrusting, but if she has had an orgasm the day before she often needs more friction/pressure. I don’t feel intimidated by this. It is quite easy for me to understand, It could be because I enjoy being penetrated as well and have an appreciation for feeling stretched also.

    Also, sometimes instead of using a thick dildo, I use 3 fingers to rub her front wall with more pressure and consistency that I can apply with my penis. She has had some seriously intense orgasms this way, just as she has had with the larger dildos. Being able to give her these intense orgasms with my fingers or with a big dildo has built my confidence with her in the bedroom.

    We have also started using a sheath from Oxballs. I’ve been able to orgasm with it on as well.

    I agree with you on all of the other arguments that you’ve made on the other concerns about why a woman would want to use a dildo. It really isn’t something to worry about. It is something to celebrate!

    • Lunabelle
      June 9, 2014

      Austin, I figured you’d chime in since I know you’re a big fan of toy play! 🙂 I agree with your comments about toys helping to fulfill unmet needs and extend play through “downtime”, so to speak. That sort of thing, I think, could be a post all its own…and it may well be at some point.

      On the size issue…it’s true, sometimes I (and other girth fans) like being filled up more than any man on Earth is capable of managing with his penis alone. So when we bring up playing with big toys, it’s not something that anyone should take personally!

  • Lena Charon
    March 14, 2015

    OMG, I am currently working through these exact issues with my partner! He is completely comfortable with the idea of me using toys during solo play, but has had trouble with toys during couple sex. At first he was insecure about his performance and I had to reassure him. Unfortunately, he is still a bit squeamish about the phallic-shaped toys even if they’re not realistic! At least he’s now OK with the small clit vibes. I JUST WANT ORGASMS! AAAHHH!

    • Lunabelle
      March 15, 2015

      Well, if he was able to progress to clit vibes, there’s hope that his opinions will continue to evolve. If you’re both into the idea, sending him pictures or video of you using phallic toys might be a good way to work toward that. His mind will start to associate those toys with sexy images and arousal instead of getting all caught up in how much this piece of silicone reminds him of a penis. Good luck!!!

  • Kinkykrissy
    October 30, 2017

    i’d never used a toy before i met my 2nd husband, i was 30 years old, and thought i knew everything, mostly because i had 3 kids LOL

    on our 1st “get together” he introduced me to a vibe.
    since i really had no idea what to do at first, he used it on me, and provided a helping hand to my 1st “artificially induced” orgasm
    i used it on myself multiple times in the following weeks, usually while i was on the phone with him, until we got together again.

    ive tried out several types, and sizes but my rabbit vibe is my favorite!!

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