Sex toys 101: Whether single or in a relationship, these are your best friends

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  • Treat yourself! Fun, drama-free, risqué, low-maintenance and empowering.
  • Sex toys and gadgets can deliver magic, help you know more about your body and fine-tune your orgasm.
  • A doctor says the best times for introducing sex toys are when there are issues such as erectile dysfunction. 

“I called it George!” she says, laughing. “I call my lady bits Georgina, so George made sense, I guess. Don’t ask me why,” says Boitumelo Ramasodi when she tells the story of her first sex toy – a purple dildo.

Boitumelo bought ‘George’, in 2005.

“I was 30 years old and I really think, at first, it was curiosity,” she says.

With lockdowns and stay-at-home orders being the norm, we’d get memes, videos and pictures of people’s sex toys lying around everywhere. Who can forget the picture that went viral of the woman who had a sex toy on her bookshelf in her interview with BBC Wales?

There were sexcapades, relationships were booming and others were ending. For some, this allowed a self-exploration and self-care of a different kind: giving yourself an orgasm.

Obstetrician and gynaecologist Dr Karabo Tlale says that the use of sex toys is increasing in popularity among women, and there are a number of reasons this is happening.

“The main reason is that many women are not in relationships due to lack of choices, incompatibility with males and being scared to be in relationships due to high rates of infidelity,” she says.

“Also, women feel they get deserved pleasure from the toys and cannot be limited to how often they get that pleasure. You will be surprised how many women who are in relationships or even marriages own sex toys. This is to make sure that they cater for their needs, which are often neglected by their partners,” Dr Tlale adds.

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Boitumelo agrees, saying, “You’d be surprised how many women have never reached orgasm, and they are way into their 40s! Using sex toys has had an impact on my sex life in such a positive way.

“I know my body better. I know what makes me happy and what I don’t like. It’s made it easier for me to direct my partner in terms of what I like, and this then makes sex more enjoyable. Most times women just have sex because they have to, or because they have to please their men. I don’t want that.”

Spoilt for choice

Sex toys have evolved from being these explicit things into being chic, cute and almost decorative pieces. These days, designs are not limited to penetrative sex only. The toys have extended to include massagers, vibrators, remote-controlled toys – and some are made for couples. It isn’t limited to self-pleasure only, and that’s an additional appeal to having a sex toy in your cupboard.

“The introduction of sex toys by people who are alone or of the same sex is usually easy, whereas for people in relationships it becomes difficult. Discuss with your partner about incorporating sex toys when voicing out existing problems with your sex life as a couple. Take time to explore them at sex shops or sex shows to be comfortable with them, and introduce them slowly, eventually trying different kinds of toys, ” Dr Tlale says.

She adds that most people are very reluctant to have sex toys play a role in their relationships.

“They see their use as a sign of inadequacy, especially when they don’t consider themselves disabled in any way,” she says.

Her advice is that the best times for sex toys are when there are issues such as erectile dysfunction.

“This can be as a result of medical conditions, for example diabetes or neurological conditions where the nerves are not functioning well, and also as a result of advanced age in males, whereby the strength in penile muscles is reduced.

“Smoking and excessive use of alcohol and other drugs may also play a role. In such cases, the introduction is done with proper discussion with the male partner,” Dr Tlale adds.

For Boitumelo, the experience with integrating sex toys and a partner has been easy.

She says, “Fortunately, all my previous partners have never had an issue with that, or maybe they just accepted it because I put it out there. But the interesting part, now that I think about it, is none of them has ever asked to see George.

“My current partner is very reserved, and he has seen my latest toy – a clitoral vibrator – which is my favourite. I call it Pinky Pinky, and my partner is okay with it. He’s even used it on me.”

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What about reproductive health? Dr Tlale says you shouldn’t worry, as sex toys don’t affect one’s reproductive health in any way – except in instances where they’re used anally without care to not damage the anal canal – and this is not part of the reproductive system.

“There are plenty of benefits to using sex toys. Guaranteed pleasure, lack of restrictions in frequency of use, and understanding your body better,” She says.

And medical concerns?

“There are instances when sex toys get interchanged among partners or a group of people having sexual acts together. Sexually transmitted diseases can be passed on during the exchange of toys, and this can pose a serious health risk. Safe storage and proper cleaning after every use also has to take place,” Dr Tlale says.

Boitumelo’s advice is that it’s important for women to play with themselves to be able to know their bodies better.

“Reading erotica also helps. This then makes it easier to explore with toys and gadgets,” she says.

Where to start your sex-toy adventure

Mzansi has numerous options for you to buy sex toys, get beginner guides, adult gadgets, and even edible underwear.

Olivia Grey -

Matilda’s -

Adult World -

Lola Montez –

Dr. Eve Store –

Allure Sensuality Emporium -

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