Toys, not just for kids

Publish in the University of New Mexico‘s student newspaper, the Daily Lobo on Feb. 15, 2012.

Sex toys don’t have to be pricey, shaped like an animal or bright purple — you have five of the best sex toys on each of your hands.

Some people think if you are having good sex you shouldn’t need to use toys in the bedroom, but they aren’t a just a “sex-aid.” They’re more like a power-up.

They can be good for your relationship with yourself and with a partner, because they give the body a new sensation to get excited about.

They can also increase the release of phenylethylalanine (PEA), the chemical released in your brain when you experience the feeling of new love, according to Matie Fricker, the co-owner of Self Serve Sexuality Resource Center at Central Avenue and Morningside Drive.

Fricker said plenty of customers say after a few years in a relationship they don’t get the “rush” they did when they first met and dated. That isn’t necessarily a sign that your relationship is bound to crash and burn.

Over time your body stops releasing PEA in the amounts it did when you first met your lover.

“You can reactivate the phenylethylalanine by trying new things,” Fricker said.

Now back to your fingers. They have a larger range and diversity of motion than a penis and some other sex toys. They are also stronger.

Your fingers don’t even have to touch any genitals to be a sex toy. You can use them for massage or a much-needed back scratch, both of which are great for foreplay.

If you only have a little bit of money to spend on a sex toy, you can get a vibrating cock ring or a vibrating bullet for less than $20 in most shops. Both can be used as a vibrating massager on your fingers, a clit stimulator or a ball massager, and you can wear the ring during sex for a little extra buzz.

Fricker said most women need direct, sustained, unbroken clitoral stimulation to reach orgasm.

Her business partner Molly Adler said many women enjoy using a sex toy because it helps them reach an orgasm that is sure to be remembered.

“For many women vibrators are the fast-forward button,” she said.

Another less expensive sex toy is a masturbation sleeve or stroker. Don’t let the name fool you: you can use both during sex or foreplay with a partner.

A stroker is a piece of rubber that looks like a hollow cylinder, but on the inside the rubber is patterned with ripples and nipples to give the shaft of the penis a variety of soft and wet sensations when you add lube.

Fricker said the toy is great to use during a blow job or handjob because the shaft is pleasantly occupied while you focus your mouth or hands on the tip of the penis, balls or butt.

Some sleeves are only open on one side, so it provides a built-in semen catchment system.

Sleeves, or anything that vibrates, make the doer’s job easier and give them an opportunity to focus on doing one thing really well.

With any sex toy you need to know what it is made of and how to clean it properly.

Emily Gertz wrote an article for in 2005 called “Ever thought about the toxins in your sex toys?” in which she addressed how sex-toy labeling allows for less regulation when they are marketed as gag or novelty gifts.

“In order to be regulated in the U.S. under current law, sex toys would have to present what the federal government’s Consumer Product Safety Commission calls a “substantial product hazard” — essentially, a danger from materials or design that, in the course of using the product as it’s made to be used, could cause major injury or death,” she wrote.

The article also cited German chemist Hans-Ulrich Krieg’s study in 2000 that found 10 dangerous chemicals gassed out of some sex toys available in Europe, including diethylhexyl phthalates, a carcinogen. The study found some sex toys had phthalate concentrations as high as 243,000 parts per million.

The article also said “heat, agitation and extended shelf life” increase the chemical leaching. If you use sex toys with a fatty, lipid substance it also might increase the process.

You should use condoms with any toys made of plastic or acrylic, because they can retain bacteria on the easily scratched surface.

It is important to use the right lube with the right toy, Fricker said. For example, don’t use a silicone toy with a silicone-based lube; instead, go for the water-based lube.

The cleaning policy for sex toys also depends on the toy’s material and whether it has a motor. If it is motorless you can wash it on the top rack of your dishwasher, or boil it in water for three minutes.

You can clean most sex toys with rubbing alcohol or just a mild soap and warm water.

If you do buy a new sex toy, don’t just spring it on your partner suddenly. Tell them about it first and ask how they feel about using it. If you or your partner feels unsure or nervous, have him or her use it alone to get the idea and start to feel comfortable with it.

If you like sex toys after experiencing and experimenting with the smaller, cheaper items, you can move up in the ranks. Or if you feel perfectly satisfied going back to sex without toys, at least you won’t have paid a lot money for a toy you aren’t sure about.

Adult toy stores in the Albuquerque area
-Castle Megastore: 5110 Central Ave S.E.
-Mr Happy: 2418 Southern Blvd. Suite E, Rio Rancho
-News Stand: 5205 Menaul Blvd. N.E.
-Pussycat Video: 7901 Central Ave. N.E.
-Self Serve Sexuality Resource Center: 3904 Central Ave. S.E.

Hunter is a senior psychology major at UNM. She has a special interest in sex psychology and research. You can send your sex questions and comments to

One thought on “Toys, not just for kids

  1. Pingback: Sex toys and the nasty things they are frequently made of | SEXed

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