Should You Use a Dildo?

When the subject of wives who have difficulty orgasming comes up, oftentimes people suggest using a vibrator. That can be a good addition to a couple’s sexual intimacy, if it’s mutually engaged and doesn’t get in the way learning how to arouse one another well and enjoy skin-to-skin contact. You can see more about my thoughts on that here: Q&A with J: Is It Okay to Use Sex Toys?

But what about penis-shaped vibrators, or dildos?

Women have long used dildos.

A dildo is defined as “an object resembling a penis used for sexual stimulation” (Merriam-Webster). And dildos have been around a loooong time. The first written use of the word dildo comes from a rather bawdy poem written by Thomas Nash in 1592-3, but given its use, the word was probably well-known before then.

Preshistoric Phallus
Thilo Parg / Wikimedia Commons, License
License: CC BY-SA 3.0

Go back further to ancient Greece, 411 B.C., to be precise, and Aristophanes presented the play Lysistrata, in which women go on a sex strike against their husbands to end a war and bring them home. In the wives’ original complaint, Lysistrata explains: “And not the slightest glitter of a lover! And since the Milesians betrayed us, I’ve not seen the image of a single upright man to be a marble consolation to us.” The Milesians manufactured those “marble consolations,” aka dildos, but they were no longer being imported because of the war.

Take your time machine back even further: Archaeologists have discovered penis-shaped objects dating back to prehistoric times. Although experts largely dodge the issue of whether they were used as sex toys, when you see them, it’s a little tough not to think that someone could have used these phalluses for stimulation.

Thus, whether or not to use a dildo is an age-old question. But these days, it’s far easier to get one—just click on an online store and in a few days it’s delivered to your door.

Click to listen to our podcast episode on sex toys!

Are there are concerns about dildo use?

Hygiene

If you looked at that museum photo up there, you might wonder about the hygiene involved in using a stone phallus like that. But today, we have cleaner materials, hot, running water, and cleansers that can help you keep sex toys safe for use.

So hygiene shouldn’t be a big concern, as long as you regularly and fully clean the item according to instructions.

Your expectations

We get used to things when we use them, whether it’s our favorite pair of broken-in jeans or the appliance we finally figured out how to use or the toy we incorporate into our sex life. Using a dildo sets up expectations within your body about size, stimulation, and satisfaction. If you grow to enjoy the sensations of a dildo, will you enjoy the other stuff as much?

Plenty of people argue they’re just expanding their repertoire, and this is a different sensation, not a better one. That’s a good point. Except I’ll be honest: I’ve heard too many wives say things like, “I don’t even need a man. My vibrator works does the job as well or better.”

A too-large number of women have grown used to the stimulation of a vibrating dildo and believe it’s as effective or more effective than their husband’s penis. So let’s ask the tough question of what expectations we’re setting up with the marital aids we use in our bedrooms. How do they change what our body expects and desires?

Your husband’s feelings

Let me share with you an email I received recently from a husband. He wrote about finding his wife’s dildo at their house. He didn’t know about its existence before he came across it, which is clearly an issue that needs to be addressed. But he also says this:

It’s a dildo and the first thing that came to my mind was how inadequate I felt next to that thing. I could understand if the dildo was a little bit smaller, the same size, or even a bit bigger. But this thing is double my size. 9 or 10 inches and really wide. I’m not a very big guy 4.5 inch long and kind of thin. I can’t compete with that thing when it comes to intercourse.

Yep. Dildos can do things men can’t do. Because we can engineer them that way—longer, wider, differing temperatures, vibration, and so on.

I’m always mystified when a wife wonders aloud why her husband opposes the use of a vibrating dildo in their bedroom. Given that the average penis is 5.16 inches in length and 4.59 inches in girth (see Q&A with J: “Is My Penis Big Enough?”), and many dildos are 6-7 inches, how do you think that comes across to a husband? Not to mention that he can’t make motions like that. So is it really surprising to discover that a wife begging to use a dildo could make her husband feel inadequate?

Let’s turn the tables. Imagine if in the midst of lovemaking, your husband said, “I don’t want to penetrate your vagina. I’d rather use a penis sleeve.” (For those who don’t know, a penis sleeve is a hollow, cylindrical device, made with materials that mimic or “improve on” the vagina, into which a man can insert his penis and experience sexual stimulation.) That might be reasonable if your vagina is absolutely, under no circumstances whatever, an option. But to know that your husband prefers that would be hurtful for many wives.

So I get it when husbands object or secretly feel hurt.

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Are dildos really that bad?

Using or not using a dildo is not a salvation issue! And you are free to disagree and choose a different path for your marriage bed, because God gave us free will.

That said, we often ask this question: Where’s the line? That is, what can I include in my bedroom that won’t cross some invisible boundary?

And it’s the wrong question. That approach is about how much you can selfishly pursue rather than what leads to mutual pleasure, marital intimacy, and mature faith. Instead, we should ask: How can we best honor God in our sexual intimacy?

So should you use a dildo? Will that honor God in your sexual intimacy?

I can imagine a situation where the answer would be yes. For instance, a man who is physically, medically incapable of becoming erect could find it intimate to pleasure his wife with a penis-shaped object while touching her in other ways as well. And she might enjoy that experience as well. Even then, I’d consider which dildo to get, but I can see such a choice honoring God’s design for physical intimacy in a marriage.

But most of us aren’t in that situation. Rather, the desire to include a dildo in sexual activity comes from several possibilities, including:

  • Lack of sufficient sexual frequency for her
  • Frustration at not having an orgasm yet, either ever or during penetration
  • Husband not spending enough time or knowing how to help her become aroused and/or reach orgasm
  • Desire to “spice things up” by adding a sex toy

And there are ways to address these issues without the drawbacks dildos often bring. In fact, this blog and my books are chock-full of ideas. I suggest starting with Hot, Holy, and Humorous: Sex in Marriage by God’s Design.

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For more great tips on how to have sizzling sex, check out this book for wives!

23 thoughts on “Should You Use a Dildo?

  1. Brian

    If I ever found a dildo in the house that was noticeably larger than my penis, I think I would be devastated. Just reading what that man wrote made a feeling of horror roll through me with a sick feeling in my stomach. Nothing would emasculate me more than that.

    Reply
  2. Lovely lady

    Many good points here. My question is what if your husband enjoys using a toy on me to see and watch me enjoying it? We still continue making love naturally, and ‘finish’ naturally, but he is aroused by adding a toy to use on me. Do you think it’s okay to use one in this way, or should we reconsider?

    Reply
    1. J Post author

      A toy or a dildo? Because they’re different. Regardless, it sounds like this is a mutual decision, and it’s not getting in the way of your skin-to-skin contact and other intimacy.

      I might make a different decision, but I can’t criticize this one with the information you’ve given here.

      Reply
    1. J Post author

      I think it is different to look at naked women and masturbate (involving third parties is a form of adultery), but I get your point that it is expending sexual energy elsewhere. And it sounds to me like you’re pointing out that a husband could feel just as hurt by this action.

      Reply
      1. Jay

        Hmmm…. a physical object that replaces the arousal that your husband is supposed to bring is not a third party but a virtual picture doing the same, is?
        Wouldn’t a romantic movie be a third party then too?
        Please don’t misunderstand me, I’m NOT advocating for men to use pictures or porn to masturbate to!!! I think that is dumb and wrong because it shuts out and completely replaces the other partner! I just find it challenging when women are super black and white about what turns a man on but leave lots of room or even get defensive over women introducing things (third party objects) that have little or nothing to do with their husbands.
        Btw. We have a vibe that we use almost every time. My wife has definitely become used to it. It is much harder for her to orgasm without it now then it was all the years before she used it. We got it to spice things up. Even though I’m ok with using it and I will be the one grabbing it usually when I realize that her mind is not in it enough that she would be able to orgasm by what my body has to offer, it definitely feels like a third party.
        On the other hand, years ago when she had a bit of an adventurous phase, we watched a few erotic massage videos together, (upon her request) that were beautiful and very enjoyable for both, that sparked much needed and helpful conversations between us and gave us great ideas how to use coconut oil that we still implement to this day. But the thing that was most arousing to me wasn’t what we watched but the adventurous spirit and what she was open too! Those are some of the best memories I have of our marriage.

        Reply
        1. J Post author

          Well, here’s the thing, Jay: People. It matters whether it’s a person or a thing you’re dealing with. This is one reason I’ve contended that as bad as both erotica and porn are, porn is a little worse because it involves real humans—children of God being mistreated and misused.

          But at the end of the day, this shouldn’t be a comparison of activities so much as a warning. I’ll be very honest (as I always am):
          – Watching porn tends to increase frequency and openness to experience AT FIRST. As often happens, a sin can be pretty good at the beginning, benign perhaps or even positive. But any expert willing to actually look at evidence has rightly concluded that porn use undermines and even destroys relationships.
          – Erotica is also really problematic, for the reasons of setting up erroneous expectations and turning attention away from one’s spouse to an imaginary lover. I’ve talked about that on my blog, and it’s been the subject of a podcast episode we did.
          – I literally said in this post that a dildo could be a problem for some of the same reasons. But of course it isn’t a third party when it’s not attached to anything. Just because it doesn’t get called “a third party” doesn’t mean it is wise to use. It might be, it might not be. But it’s not a person, either real or imaginary, and I can’t change definitions to make it so.

          Reply
          1. Jay

            “ It matters whether it’s a person or a thing you’re dealing with.“
            See that’s where I’d disagree! Strongly! In his commandments God didn’t make a difference between people and things. In fact he was just as upset over things (a golden calf or a wooden figure) that replaced Him as if it was a real person (King or Queen or prophet, etc). Any dildo or toy is made by people, just like a picture or movie or video is made by people. It’s not a person any more then a video or erotic story is a person. But often is modeled after a real person, usually some “hung like a horse” porn star with some possible enhanced features that don’t even exist in real life. Don’t tell me a women using THAT isn’t going to be tempted to let her mind wander as to where it came from and what the real thing would be like any less then a man looking at a picture!
            I know a woman who had never seen a man, in real life or pictures, who masturbated regularly with her stuffy turtle that had a conveniently sized neck and head. What do you think her imagination went to?
            I’m not advocating for either side here. I’m just calling a spade a spade.

          2. J Post author

            It’s as simple as this: Does God prioritize people or things? Which one is made in His image? Obviously, it’s people. So pornography in which people are misused and mistreated as if they were objects is more problematic. Because it does damage to a person. The golden calf got pulverized, as well it should, but that didn’t hurt the gold. Do the same thing to a person? Well, that’s a whole different thing.

            OF COURSE it’s a problem to lust after someone or something that isn’t your spouse, but if we’re just playing “which is worse,” I don’t see how there’s a question here. Pain caused to God’s own children must be considered a worse problem.

  3. diabetic and deflated

    We were never interested in a dildo except that I would love to see my wife enjoy the pleasure she used to enjoy when I would get hard and stay hard. I was never real big but bigger than average for sure and we both enjoyed that shared pleasure. She occasionally enjoyed a finger stimulated orgasm but most of the time it was easier to have and over the top good orgasm with me inside. But hard hard has disappeared long ago and lately we considered a dildo to give her that full feeling. She can still have a good orgasm if she is on top after long foreplay and maybe one a month or less compared to 2-3 times a week. I miss see her really having that pleasure and would not feel a bit intimidated by a dildo that is bigger than I ever was if that felt good to her. My pleasure was always enhanced by hers. We tried everything else rings, viagra, t replacement, nothing works very well.

    Reply
    1. J Post author

      I assume you talked to your doctor about it. I do know a couple of men have gone the penile implant route, but I really don’t know a lot about that surgery…yet.

      Reply
  4. Hannah

    My husband and I were talking about this last night. After 5 years of me trying to have an orgasm, we are now open to trying a vibrating penis ring or a vibrator, but a dildo…does not appeal to either of us. I feel badly for the man who found his wife’s dildo. That would be a major blow. Wishing them healing in their marriage.

    Reply
  5. ThePhilZone

    I tried posting about this earlier but it didn’t show up so if it comes up twice I apologize. To the letter writer, I am so sorry for you! On the other hand, I am happy you found the little surprise. Now you know where you stand with your wife in bed and in her head. Now maybe she was just curious and didn’t tell you because she didn’t want to hurt your feeling but keeping secrets like hiding a sex object says a lot. I would tell you to have a safe, intimate conversation with your wife and let her know how this whole situation makes you feel. Her response should be enlightening. Rebuild with her. Luckily, my wife and I had serious conversations about what lines couldn’t be crossed when we were dating and it was obvious we would be together forever. It looked like this. No physical or emotional cheating. No physical or emotional abuse. These lines will be different for everyone and the list needs to be short. We love each other for our trust and keeping up our ends of the bargain. We feel we can handle anything else that comes up. I hope you can heal and know that at least I will be praying for you. Draw some lines and verbalize some expectations.

    Reply
  6. Etta

    My husband actually suggested one. He left it up to me to find the size I was comfortable with, as I was not 100% sure about it. Oddly, I think it helped him more then it helped me – I think he just enjoyed having something else to do with me. Do I enjoy it? Eh, I think I just enjoy that he enjoys using it. I really could take it or leave it.

    Reply
  7. Jack

    We used to scoff at any of these extra helpers but bing over 60 now and hormones not being what they used to be… things have changed. We use lube now most times and would never need it in earlier days. A few kisses and caresses and we’d both be [wet] which was another turn on. But things are different now. Some of this is more available, more useful and more needed than it used to be? Ok we can still get it on and get up but not always just that easy.

    Reply
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  9. B

    So I am the guy who sent that email. I would like to give the update on the situation.

    1: I was more upset about it being a secret and hidden from me. We had many long talks over weeks and months. I did my best to listen and not cast judgement or be angry. Though we were talking our marriage bed did suffer as I wasn’t able to let go and forgive.
    I did discover some things during our talks. She told that she was just curious about sex toys in general. She showed me another one that was strictly a clitoral vibe that she also had hidden. And the dildo was only that big because the pictures made it seem smaller than it actually was. She did say that the toys were not a reflection on my lovemaking ability or my size. It took me awhile to believe her. We also agreed that we wouldn’t masturbate alone and only together.

    2: After I was able to let go and forgive we got our marriage bed back in order. But there was some changes. I asked her to use the toys in front of me. I guess I needed closure and I expected to see my wife as sexual deviant or a whore (which was wrong of me). But what I did see surprised me. I saw my wife was staring at me with longing. That she was the same blushing shy girl I married 10 years ago.

    3: I can’t say if toys are good or bad. I can say that I am no longer threatened by them. I can say that as soon as we talked about it and resolved the issue it enhanced our intimacy.

    4: As far as the toys go I do have to say that we use them together. She lets me control them. Mostly we use the mini vibe. But sometimes the dildo gets used. And while it’s true that toys are designed to be better than the real thing I use them as a tool. Because sometimes it’s a bit easier to get the job with a power tool. And sometimes it’s easier to drive the nail with a bigger hammer. Yes she gets the most intense orgasms with the dildo but after it’s all said and done she wants me. And we finish together.

    Thanks for your prayers and concerns

    Reply
  10. Noknowing

    My situation is a bit different. My wife was fine with our normal sex life. I was the one who wanted to use toys as an added spice. I do occasionally get stress induced ED. A penis ring has been a Godsend. It boosted my confidence and I have far less ED issue even if I don’t use it.
    Vibes are also fun and could be used as a warm up or for teasing/foreplay. Speeds things up if we are going for a quickie

    My wife never had more than one orgasm until we added toys. Takes a lot of pressure off both of us to perform.
    Toys are not for everyone. Every couple have to ask if this is what they want or need.

    Reply
    1. J Post author

      I agree that couples themselves have to make this decision. I just find this sentence interesting: “Takes a lot of pressure off both of us to perform.” Personally, I like the idea of having to put forth real effort into our lovemaking. Mind you, various factors can mean the effort required is too much, and marital aids can address that.

      Reply
  11. Rob

    To preface things I was born with a micro penis and have early onset ed. I had always pleasured my wife orally and with fingers but wanted to give her powerful vaginal orgasms and not just clitoral ones. I started out with small dildos and over time she became accustomed to larger ones and I was able to learn how to reach her g spot & a&o spots around her cervix to give her explosive o’s. I later started buying much larger porn star replicas of mens penises and we started to roleplay these men having sex with her. My wife was becoming addicted as I was to, to playing out sex with other men to the point that our sex was more about the thrill to us of forbidden sex than us being passionate to each other. Also the fact of us both lusting an immoral sex act. So we both agreed that we as Christians cannot do this anymore. So I tossed out all the sex toys and thought that was the end of this until recently when I found a pornstar dildo and a dvd of men with large penises masturbating. I approached her about this and she said it was my fault why she now wants porn and pornstar penises. I know this all is my fault. She threw away the dvd but wasn’t willing to toss out sex toy. Is it ok for her to keep it if she only uses it when im with her and we dont act out another guy with her?

    Reply
    1. J Post author

      Sigh. What a frustrating situation! Yes, you both messed up here, but I’m a little amazed that she blamed you for her sin and you accepted it 100%. Whatever happened before, SHE decided to watch porn and do it with the dildo. You need to both own your part in this and work on the solution together. Which, at this point, is to toss everything and get used to one another again.

      Porn is lusting after others, but a heavy reliance on sex toys is lusting after yourself, so to speak. It’s putting your sexual pleasure above your partner and the intimacy God created sex to be between husband and wife. Yes, it can feel physically good, but you have both missed out on the one-flesh experience God intended.

      I would suggest first of all that you address your physical issues with a doctor, seeing what can be done to get you fully functional in the bedroom. If the doc says that’s not a possibility, then you can look into pleasing her exclusively with your hands and mouth. However, for the time being, the sex toys need to stay out of it, because she’s become dependent on those instead of you to become aroused and satisfied. (See Q&A with J: “I’m Desensitized to My Husband’s Touch!”)

      You could reintroduce a marital aid later, like a clitoral vibrator, if you want. But it needs to be in the context of a healthy sexual relationship, not a substitute for one. Praying for your situation! Blessings.

      Reply

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