Once, in my early twenties, I woke up in a bed I didn’t recognise. In my early twenties, so this was a common occurrence. I vaguely remembered being put to bed by a friend after an evening (and morning) of idiocy. Everything else was eclipsed by a headache of such spite and savagery I feared my forehead was going to cave in. Someone had thoughtfully left a glass of water on the bedside table (probably – hopefully – the night before, and not several weeks ago). But I needed painkillers, or I was going to die.
I opened the drawer in the bedside table next to me. This was a shocking invasion of privacy and not one I am proud of, but times were desperate. I forced my gritty eyelids apart and peeked into the drawer. And I would like to say now that there was a packet of paracetamol buried in there, so it’s hard not to feel justified.
I’m talking old-school, neon-coloured, huge motor inside, stuffed with ball-bearings or something similar. It was about the length of my forearm and must have made a serious racket when switched on.
Slightly more on display than the packet of painkillers was an enormous rabbit type vibrator. I’m talking old-school, neon-coloured, huge motor inside, stuffed with ball-bearings or something similar. It was about the length of my forearm and must have made a serious racket when switched on. But I had more important things to worry about than a gargantuan mystery sex aid. I swallowed 3 pills and clamped my eyes shut again.
It turned out that I had passed out in the bed of an absent female flatmate, who returned in the early afternoon. It took a second to realise that I was meeting the owner of the giant plastic vibrator, and I think I did a good job to keeping said realisation off my face.
What she and her vagina got up to in private was up to them, and, I should stress, absolutely none of my business. Unfortunately I was in my early twenties, and a reminder than women occasionally masturbate was all it took to get me warm under the collar. I was more attracted to the lady in question than I otherwise might have been (but this part of the story doesn’t really go anywhere, since, being in my early twenties, I obviously fluffed it).
I firmly believe that what I get up to in private is my own business, and it’s not anyone else’s place to judge
A few years later and the thought of someone opening my bedside cabinet and finding a… romantic aid in there is mortifying (but unlikely. My sextoys are hidden better than Batman’s). I firmly believe that what I get up to in private is my own business, and it’s not anyone else’s place to judge, but I’d be terribly embarrassed if someone found anything there.
Which is not very enlightened of me, I think. Embarrassment is understandable, and tough to avoid, but it’s also kissing cousins with shame, something that I think we need to think about whenever it appears. Think about the most… non-standard sex toy you own. Picture some acquaintance discovering it. If this thought doesn’t fill you with anguish then have a gold star, you can skip to the end. If it brings you out in a cold sweat, I’d like to ask you why?
Is it because it’s big? Is it because it’s scary looking? Is it because of what you think it says about you?
A big old dildo means you’re a slut. Butt stuff means you’re weird. Bondage gear means you’re emotionally damaged, serious bondage gear means you aren’t to be trusted. If you’re a guy, masturbators mean you’re a lonely weirdo, anal toys mean you’re secretly gay.
No matter how weird or surprising someone else might find your sex toy, all it really says about you is: “I like sex.”
This is, quite obviously, horseshit of the highest order. It’s possible that your chosen sex toy might give some hint at your personality, but to draw some major conclusion from it is ludicrous. No matter how weird or surprising someone else might find your sex toy, all it really says about you is: “I like sex.” This hardly distinguishes you from the rest of the population.
I’m not suggesting you keep your wanking tools in a display cabinet. And if you find someone ferreting through your drawers I advise smacking them round the mouth rather than proudly showing them the shoebox under your bed. But regardless of the item in mind, we need to get away from the idea that owning a sex toy is uncommon, embarrassing or something you can make inferences about.
Getting turned on by something doesn’t change you as a person. You have nothing to be ashamed of.
Which means, finally: you should probably just go on and buy that one that you’ve been eyeing up. The one that makes you flutter just a little bit but seems too embarrassing to ever dream of owning. The one that makes you wonder about yourself. Stuff that. Getting turned on by something doesn’t change you as a person. You have nothing to be ashamed of. Still, privacy is important. Get a lock for your drawer, then buy it.