Are Sex Toys Normal?
It’s pretty common to wonder if we are the only ones doing something, when in reality what we are doing is totally normal. This is especially true for sexual experiences and the use of sex toys, largely due to societal influences.
Instead of openly talking about sex, society suggests that the subject should remain private. We have very limited sex education in the school systems and sadly, it does not teach us about sex and pleasure.
Uneducated children grow into self-conscious adults, who often have difficulty communicating about sex. Sadly, this cycle continues as this discomfort towards sexuality is passed on to our children. So, under these circumstances, it’s only natural to not know what others around you are doing- because not many people talk about it openly.
…But guess what?! People all around you are using sex toys, and they have been for a very long time. Phallic symbols have been in existence since 500BC. Text from worldwide ancient societies mentions the use of phallic-shaped objects (including fruit, vegetables, and stone) for sexual pleasure. These objects were used in religious and magic ceremonies, not only as martial symbols but also to ward off evil spirits and bad luck. The Italians even had a word for this. They called these objects “diletto,” which means “to delight.” It was from this word that the term dildo was born.
In the late 1800s, the first vibrator was made. Early vibrators were big and bulky and used only by doctors to treat women with a condition called hysteria. Hysteria had many symptoms including, but not confined to, anxiety, irritability, insomnia, sexual fantasies, and desires, bloating, fluid retention, heaviness in the abdomen, shortness of breath, and trouble-rousing. Bringing women to orgasm was found to help alleviate these many complaints. Much smaller versions of these vibrators became household objects in early to mid-1900s and were referred to as marital aides or body massagers. In the 1960s, the sexual revolution brought pleasure products into public view, and with them, female orgasms became a more open topic.
Currently, sex toys are a multibillion-dollar industry (vibrators making up roughly 20% of sales, followed by dildos and personal lubricants) and this provides solid proof that people are enjoying them. Pleasure products are easy to purchase and are sold in department and drug stores, online and in sex boutiques.
According to recent studies, sex toys are used by at least one person in roughly 50% of couples. Although men’s toys such as anal/prostate toys, sleeves, C rings and couples’ toys have expanded in use, women are more likely to be the toy-users. Wands are especially popular since they enable women to experience orgasms more consistently in their sexual encounters.
The age group between 18-24 use toys the least, most likely because it takes some time to become comfortable enough to purchase and use a toy. The highest user-group is age 35-44, at about 65%. Even couples 55 and older have a 50% use rate.
As sex toys become more prominent and society becomes more accepting of their benefits, the number of people using these products is expected to rise. Especially beneficial for older populations (as they lose partners, or their partners lose the ability for penetration), sex toys are wonderful tools as they provide stimulation that brings blood flow to sex organs and keeps these body parts in good working condition.
Vibrators not only produce genital pleasure but are also beneficial for massaging the sore muscles of these aging bodies. The message here is clear, sex toy use is quite normal. Pleasure tools have been around for ages, are used by many, and are here to stay. It’s totally normal- so enjoy them without shame!