SEX toys are now so popular they feature in July’s Good Housekeeping magazine
Whilst Good Housekeeping is a publication whose usual idea of titillation is a lemon-drizzle cake recipe. Has anything so risqué happened since the WI stripped?
Is a sexual revolution unfolding in the Home Counties?
I suppose we are meant to be scandalised that a 131-year-old lifestyle magazine more used to recommending kitchen tongs has turned its hand to advising readers on DIY orgasms. But I’m not. Is anyone, really? Sex toys are now such a staple of modern life I’d be shocked if any girl I know didn’t own one vibrator at least. In a survey, Good Housekeeping found more than 50 per cent of women aged 31-76 owned a vibrator and 81 per cent were happy to talk openly about it. My guess is those numbers would have been higher if they had been able to drag more readers away from their flower arranging.
Even ITV show This Morning has got in on the act.
Inspired by the magazine’s survey, it tested a selection of sex toys yesterday — leaving hosts Holly Willoughby and Phillip Schofield in fits of giggles. Most women I know are blasé about sex toys. We don’t just talk “openly about them”, they provide an endless source of stories.
One mate of mine told us she had bought her mum a vibrator for her 50th, jamming it into the centre of a bouquet of flowers for shock value.
Only for her mother to causally reveal she already owned one better suited to her needs.
Another friend cackled as she told us she came home to find her cleaner had arranged her sex toy collection on a shelf in her bedroom — in order of descending height. Of course sex toys are no longer shocking. It is two decades since the Sex And The City episode featuring a Rampant Rabbit seemed radical.
It is also big business. The industry is worth £10billion globally and experts say it could rise to £35billion by 2020.
Ann Summers’ chief exec Jacqueline Gold is a CBE, earned for “services to women in business”. (We all know what that means.)
We now live in an era where women are astute at getting what they want between the sheets. We embrace one-night stands and our sexual fluidity as we zip through Tinder and try out girl-only sex parties.
Owning a vibrator seems pretty tame on the scale of sexual expression we could be embracing. In some ways I am disappointed to see sex toys in the Domestic Goddesses’ bible. Is there anything less arousing than the words “Good Housekeeping”?
That a magazine so conventional now features vibrators feels like it could be the end of something exciting.
I worked in a sex shop for women at university. My boyfriend at the time was so embarrassed he refused to meet me from work, let alone visit.
I liked that. It made women getting their kicks feel rebellious. But in Good Housekeeping, sex toys feel like the latest home gadget. Their venture into self-pleasuring features a sombre panel of women commending the Lovehoney Desire vibrator “for its great range of speeds”. Has an orgasm ever sounded so boring, like buying a washing machine? Yet ultimately the arrival of vibrators in Good Housekeeping is important. It signals that sex toys, once reserved for hysterical women or euphemistically whispered about as “marital aids” have crossed into mainstream acceptability. And with them, women’s pursuit of pleasure has become normal. And that’s something worth celebrating.
Here, RUTH HARRISON meets six brave women of varying ages who talk openly about their battery-operated buddies.
‘I have 20 orgasms a week’ … Tracy says women are now more open about their sexuality
‘I have three of them’
SINGLE mum Tracy Kiss, 28, lives near Aylesbury, Bucks. She says:
My first boyfriend bought me a silver bullet vibrator for Valentine’s Day. At the time I was living at home with my parents and we had a chihuahua called Joey. He used to come into my room, steal things and chew them up – and one day I couldn’t find my vibrator anywhere. A week later I was talking to my mum and spotted it on her bedside table. She thought it was a car part and had no idea what it was. Over the years, I’ve worn out a couple of sex toys. Guys my age are insecure about them – they see it as an insult. Nowadays, women are more in touch with their sexuality. All girls have sex toys but they just don’t talk about it. It’s a shame but I think women don’t want to be judged. My vibrator keeps me smiling all day, every day. People talk about coffee or chocolate giving them a buzz. I get mine from a vibrator. I have three. I use them two or three times a day and have up to 20 orgasms a week. It makes me feel good and it’s not as if it’s a drug.
‘I have 24 sex toys’ … Violet dreams of finding a silent toy
‘I’m lucky to work from home’
WRITER Violet Fenn, 46, lives with her two children in Shrewsbury and is dating a life model. She says:
Like most people my age, my introduction to sex toys was when Sex And The City was big in the Nineties. I didn’t think too much of the products on offer at the time. They felt cheap and nasty, so I gave up. I was in a relationship for 14 years and our sex life was almost non-existent. With no sex, you’d think I’d be out there looking for sex toys but as it wasn’t a part of my life, I just shut down. Then I started experimenting with toys. We’re in an age where a woman can go to a spa for the day, get her nails done and treat herself – why wouldn’t you treat yourself to a sex toy? I’ve got around 24 and I have ones I prefer. My new favourite is a We Vibe Nova. I use my toys around two or three times a week. The holy grail is finding a silent toy but I’m lucky enough to work from home, so there’s no one here. It’s a bit of me time. My boyfriend isn’t threatened.
‘I didn’t tell my husband’ … Shirley was worried her hubby would be upset
‘They gave me my mojo back’
RETIRED office worker Shirley Patterson, 61, a divorced mum of two, lives in Willesden, North London. She says:
¿I turned to sex toys to get my libido back after having my first child. I’d lost my mojo with my then husband. In those days, sex toys were taboo and it was my little secret. It had been a year since I’d had an orgasm with my partner and I felt there was something wrong with me. For six years, I didn’t tell my husband about my vibrator. By then, I’d bought several sex toys and it encouraged me to initiate sex later that night. Eventually, I told him. I was thrilled that he wanted to experiment with me. It really improved our sex life. I own four sex toys now I am single. One of them is a tiny grey vibrator with bunny ears.
As you get older, you don’t care as much about what people think. I used to think that having sex at the age of 60 or 70 was ancient, but at this age I still feel about 16. I’m very happy to continue experimenting with toys for years to come.
‘There are always new toys to try’ … Victoria says she has more than 100 gadgets
‘They add spice to my relationship’
VICTORIA TRAVERS, 30, who runs the sex toy website Knicker Rocker Glory, lives with husband Paul, 41, in Stansted, Essex. She says:
I was a teenager when I bought my first sex toy and I felt awkward. Once I got home I started experimenting and began to find out what felt good for me. I’d use it a couple of times a week with my then boyfriend and it was like a learning curve for us.
From then on, I started popping into Ann Summers, buying lots of different sex toys to try out and then I began looking at forums and ordering products online. Now I have more than 100. There is always a new and better toy I’d like to try out. My favourite at the moment is the Bamboo Mini Vibe. It’s £15 and looks like a designer lipstick. I’ve been married for ten years and we like trying things together. Sex toys are like seasoning to us – the extra spice to our relationship. We don’t have to use them but they enhance our sex life. I play with toys up to four times a week and half of that is with my partner. My sex life is playful, open and awesome, thanks in part to sex toys.
‘It’s more intense than sex’
Michelle says she always has an orgasm when she uses a sex toy.
MAKE-UP artist Michelle De Feo, 24, is single and lives in Colchester. She says:
At the moment I am off men after a couple of bad experiences, so the closest relationship I have at present is with my “bullet”.
I bought it two years ago when I hosted an Ann Summers party at my home. I’d never used toys before that and frankly they were a revelation. I always have an orgasm when I use them which I can’t honestly say I do with men.
They’re not a substitute for a relationship – men can do things that sex toys can’t. And of course there is the emotional side as well. But sex toys are so well designed they absolutely hit the spot. Sometimes I use them a lot, sometimes it can be as little as once or twice a month. The thing is they are always reliable and they are always there – unlike a man. But the experience is very different. It doesn’t last as long as real sex although the orgasm can be more intense. My mates and I talk about sex toys a lot. But I don’t keep them on display — I keep them hidden in a drawer.
‘Online shopping changed everything’ … Rachel uses toys with her husband
‘I have a ‘toy’ box’
STAY-AT-HOME mum Rachel Gully, 31, of Ashford, Surrey, is married to Paul, 39, and has four children. She says:
Sex toys have been a big part of my life since I was 18 and I got my first one when I went into a sex shop in Soho with a friend. It was all a bit of a joke back then. I had been curious but there was still that embarrassment factor of going into a shop and buying one. Online shopping has changed that and made them accessible to everyone, thank God. When I first met Paul I did wonder how he would feel when I whipped out a bit of buzzy plastic kit. But he was open to using them with me and they have continued to add a fun dimension to our love life. My toy box helps keep everything fresh and alive. We have loads of different types. Being open about using toys and enjoying them is important for women. I occasionally use something from our toy box without Paul there but mostly they come out when we are together. The couple who play together, stay together.
Article written By KATIE GLASS, featured in The Sun 26/5/16
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