Present and correct: sex toys for Christmas

I just saw my first Christmas advert. Halloween’s barely even past, but already the world is gearing up for gift giving. I actually like choosing gifts, but I’m chronically lazy, so I tend to do most of my shopping over the internet. My ideal present is something personal, useful and unusual, that arrives right at my front door. So what better to give that special someone than a sex toy!

Um, actually, we might have to think about this a little bit. The giving and receiving of gifts can be a complicated and occasionally fraught business, and that’s without bringing your sexual life into the equation. There’s a reason so many people stick with socks: they’re nice and neutral. It’s hard to be offended, or even that disappointed, when you receive something appropriate but bland. After all, you might have hoped for something more interesting that socks, but you’ll still end up wearing them.

Buying sex toys as gifts can be a tricky business. This is largely because each toy comes with a series of implications and allusions

This post is going to be about why you should totally consider buying sex toys as gifts, but let’s go through some of the major sticking points first. Hopefully we’ll address a few common concerns, and then you can do all your Christmas shop without leaving your desk.

Buying sex toys as gifts can be a tricky business. This is largely because each toy comes with a series of implications and allusions – it’s not just the gift itself, it’s what the gift might mean.

Say you have a work friend of the opposite gender, and they aren’t getting much *wink* “company” at the moment. A male masturbator aid might actually be quite a good gift – like socks, they’re probably going to end up using it – but the giving isn’t as easy as tying a bow on it and leaving it in their desk drawer.

Said friend might be offended, bemused, or plain weirded out. They might wonder if you’ve been harbouring some secret attraction for them, and that perhaps this was the only way you could think to show it. Whatever the case, questions are likely to be asked (or equally likely, long awkward silences develop).

So regardless of whether they’re a good gift, sex toys are best given to those you know very well. If the person to whom you’re giving can ask you for some context, you can clear up any misinterpretation. And a solid friendship allows you to share some aspects of your life that people otherwise wouldn’t care to hear about. If you know someone well enough to really care about their needs, then maybe it’s cool to just say, “This is the world’s best vibrator, and I want you to share in the joy.” Then just tie a bow on it and leave it in her desk drawer.

But sex toys can be difficult gifts for even the closest of relationships. Buying a sex toy for your partner is just as complicated, if not more so. You can’t just tie a bow on it and leave it under the tree.

With a close friend, your role in the process stops with the giving. Once you’ve bought a friend a sex toy your interaction with their sex life is over: what they do in private is not your business. If they’re looking a little more flushed and smiley the next day you can just think “Gosh, what a pertinent and thoughtful gift-giver I am” and leave it at that. You can’t demand to see the gift in action.

But if you buy something naughty for your partner, they might assume two things. The first is that you expect them to use it. The second is that you expect them to use it for you.

Neither of these inferences is necessarily true. But because sex toys are not a common gift, and are not in any way neutral, giving them leads to rationalisation. If you buy a pair of socks, the person you give them too will just assume you’re a boring bastard. They won’t expect to have to try them on in front of you, and possibly go for a walk. If you buy your partner a sex toy, they might unwrap it and be hit by a perceived expectation. If they don’t use it, or don’t let you use it, they will have disappointed you.

This is a common situation, more common than you’d think. And it comes about because people forget the first rule of giving: you buy for the receiver, not the giver.

They’re original, they’re unexpected, and some of them are beautiful.

If you are expecting your partner to use said sex toy with you, then you’re buying a sucky gift. If you expect them to use it at all, just because you bought it and you like the idea, then it’s a sucky gift. The best present is one that’s thoughtful, that fills a hole in someone’s life (quiet at the back), they didn’t know they was there. The best gift comes with no expectations attached.

A carefully chosen sex toy can be a fantastic gift. But buying a sex toy simply to bring about a change you want isn’t the same. Buying a sex toy can be a non-threatening way of saying you want to try something new. I’d heartily recommend it, in any other context. But it’s not a great Christmas gift.

So should you buy naughty things for Christmas? Oh, absolutely. They’re original, they’re unexpected, and some of them are beautiful. (Seriously, look at them). They can be thoughtful and well placed. But when you buy them, try and follow the same rules you would follow with any other type of gift. Is this present going to make them feel pressured or put upon? Is it actually something I want, that I’ve just stuck a bow on?

If you can buy your partner a sex toy that they would really like – if you consider their needs and views and desires and ignore your own – then they will be charmed, as well as turned on. And once they see sex toys as something that can be bought as a gift – with no expectations, no pressure, just a way of being thoughtful while being sexy at the same time – they might consider reciprocating in kind. And that, friends and neighbours, is a gift that will keep on giving.

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