Tag Archives: Christianity and sex toys

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!

Q&A with J: “Is It Okay to Use Sex Toys?”

Today’s question is brief. Here’s what the reader asks:

Is it okay to use sex toys or would that [go] against God??

You know, when I first started writing about sex, I wasn’t interested in sex toys, but I didn’t really have a strong opinion about them. Early posts on this subject include:

Is It Playtime? Sex Toys

Why I Don’t Use Sex Toys

But the more I’ve researched, heard from people, and studied what the Bible has to say about sex generally, the more I’ve come to believe that what really matters is how and why you’re using the sex toy.

Sex toys as marital aids.

Some sex toys are helpful aids to deal with challenges in the marriage bed. For instance, a man who has difficulty achieving or maintaining a strong erection could benefit from the use of a penis ring. Or a woman whose physiology makes it extremely difficult to orgasm could benefit from adding a clitoral vibrator.

Sex toys used in this way are essentially the same as any other treatment we might advise someone to use, like taking testosterone to address low male sex drive. And frankly I’m grateful there are options available for those who struggle with a physical challenge and need some help. These marriage beds are likely blessed by the inclusion of certain sex toys.

Sex toys as periodic spice.

Others use sex toys as an occasional activity to experience different sensations. This I totally understand as well. It’s perhaps in the realm of changing your location or position to add a little spice now and then, just like I talk about in Hot, Holy, and Humorous: Sex in Marriage by God’s Design.

Such couples are selective about what they use, making sure it adds to their marriage bed rather than taking away. They view it as a treat, like pulling out the flavored lube instead of the regular lube. And both spouses feel pleasure and respect in how the sex toys are used.

Sex toys as a substitute.

Here’s where things shift. God’s ideal for sex in marriage is that we can bring one another to pleasure and peaks — physiological obstacles not withstanding — using our bodies. Although you can make a case of locations and positions being mentioned in the Bible, you can’t find any place that suggests the use of a sex toy to fulfill one another sexually. Fulfillment comes through engaging with one another’s bodies, yet plenty of sex toys mimic body parts.

Not only are there toys that resemble or simulate vaginas and penises, they improve on them. That is, those toys can do things that no vagina or penis can do. Moreover, if you incorporate sex toys regularly into your lovemaking, you might find that you lose some of the pleasure you could and should get with your spouse. Just read this post: Q&A with J: “I’m Desensitized to My Husband’s Touch!”

Are such sex toys a sin? I can’t say that, but they’re unlikely to take you in the direction God wants married couples to go with sexual intimacy. Thus, their use is unwise.

Sex toys as “chasing a high.”

Finally, I’m concerned that too many Christian couples are chasing a high. Because of the varied sensations sex toys can produce, it’s tempting to find anything that gives you new and/or better pleasure. Toy choices can become kinkier and kinkier.

But it isn’t the kink that matters so much as the sheer selfishness of this approach. God created sex to help us become one flesh (see Genesis 2:24). But when it’s just about the physical high you can get, your sexual encounters can become more like parallel play. Perhaps you’re both feeling a lot of pleasure, but it’s not from each other; you’re just in the same space while you use the toys.

We have to really think about how and why we’re using sex toys, to make sure that we’re not just chasing a selfish sexual high. Rather, again, it’s about intimacy.

For more discussion of sex toys and whether they’re good or bad for a marriage, listen to our podcast episode on that very subject by clicking the image below:

Sex Toys - Is it Okay for Christians to Use Them?

Why I Don’t Use Sex Toys

Despite my willingness to try new things and experiment in the bedroom, I’ve been reluctant to include sex toys in our marital intimacy.

I don’t have a moral or emotional aversion to them. I believe it’s fine to include sex toys in your marital lovemaking as long as it is mutually agreed upon and enjoyed and they don’t become a crutch. So why don’t I use sex toys?

The names. When I look at what these things are called, they don’t invite me to use them. “Nipple clamps”? “Cock ring”? “Penis pump”? “Butt plug”? Even the word “vibrator” isn’t the least bit appealing. I think these products need some serious relabeling. Perhaps the makers of sex toys need to consult the teams who name amusement park rides. Perhaps that vibrator should be renamed the Thunderbolt Express or El Toro. Personally, I suggest “The Pleasurator.”

Oddly-shaped vibrator

Don’t know what this is, but at least it’s called…
The UFO Masturbator
Pic by Morderska, via Wikimedia Commons

The stores that sell them. Most of the stores that sell sex toys also sell porn. The most popular sex-products store near me has lingerie, sexual aids, novelty items, and then a back room full of pornography. I would be incredibly uncomfortable doing business with a store that promotes and profits from porn. Thankfully, these days there are Christian retailers online who sell “marital aids” or “intimacy products” for married couples. While I haven’t purchased sex toys from them, I have bought other sexy items through such retailers.

The scary stuff alongside the sexy stuff. Enter the store I mentioned above, and you’ll see a range of products. Sure, there are the racks of lacy nighties, displays of romance and sex coupons, and the wall of vibrators (seriously, a whole wall), but there are also items that remind me less of sex and more of medieval torture. Life is painful enough without introducing pain into the bedroom. Once I see such things, I can’t get them out of my mind. My cringe-radar goes off, and I find it hard to focus on the sexy stuff.

“Designer Vibrators”
Pic by Eva K., via Wikimedia Commons

The machinery. Technology is awesome in many ways. I love my car, my cell phone, this laptop, the Internet that allows me to blog, etc. Getting a new gadget can put a smile on my face for a week. But I guess reading science fiction novels and watching The Terminator more times than I can count has also caused me a little trepidation about using machines for everything. Do I really want to invite “the rise of the machines” into my marriage bed? You know, it never ends well in science fiction when the machines take over.

The lack of flesh. One of my favorite things about sex with my husband is the skin-to-skin contact. I confess that I have never liked using condoms for that very reason. So the notion that I’d give up the feeling of my husband’s hand or penis in exchange for a synthetic substance touching me — no matter how “talented” it is — doesn’t appeal to me. Perhaps even more than having an orgasm, I like being touched.

The cost. Okay, I admit it. I’m a cheap date for my husband. He doesn’t have to buy me dinner or bring home flowers or toss jewelry in my direction to get me in bed. (Although if you’re reading this, Spock, dinner out would be lovely.) Sex may be the least expensive and most fun thing we do. For the cost of a small bottle of lubricant, a nightie or two, and a candle, we can create hours and hours of mutual enjoyment. But sex toys cost money. I’ve yet to look at a sex toy and think, “I want that so much that I’m willing to shell out $___ for it.” Maybe I’m still waiting for a marital-aid company to send me free samples . . . you know, given my Christian sex blog and all. But for now, I’d rather use my money on a dinner out . . . or even better, a dinner in.

The contentment. This is the number one reason we don’t use sex toys. We really like our sex life the way it is. My husband and I are able to get aroused, pleasure one another, reach orgasm consistently, and feel satisfied with our sexual encounters. We’re not really feeling the need for more in that area. If I’m going to invest in a toy that would improve our marriage, it would probably be something more like a self-vacuum cleaner or a universal remote — both of which would save us time and allow us more time to make love.

So what are your reasons for using or not using sex toys? Do you think they enhance marital intimacy or detract from it?

See also Is It Playtime? Sex Toys.