But how do you know when it's truly time to make that swap, or even upgrade? Below, Rebecca Alvarez Story, sexologist and founder of intimate product brand Bloomi, shares three telltale signs your favorite nightstand buddy isn't doing your vagina any favors and that it may well be time for a sex toy replacement.
1. You're planning to share your sex toy with someone new
Hey, I mean, sharing your toys is part of the core curriculum of preschool, and it's a good rule to bring with you throughout the rest of your life. And when it comes to sex toys, if you're engaging with a partner whom you trust, of course it makes sense that you'd want to play together and share. Still, since it's ill-advised to share sex toys with multiple partners, having a new squeeze is a good reason to spring for a sex toy replacement.
"It's good practice to replace sex toys when you have a new sexual partner." —sexologist Rebecca Alvarez Story
"It's good practice to replace sex toys when you have a new sexual partner," Story says. "Although toys can be cleaned well with soap and water—or for crystal toys, a few drops of tea tree oil with warm water—you don't want to take any chances or mixing bacteria from an old partner with a new partner.
Bacteriaand other unsavory substances, to be clear. On small 2014 study looked to whether traces of human papillomavirus (HPV) could be found on silicone or thermoplastic elastomer toys after being inserted vaginally. The results? Well, even after cleaning, 44 percent of the silicone toys and 56 percent of the thermoplastic elastomer toys had traces of HPV on them. So if you're playing with new friends, consider that even more evidence to get a sex toy replacement.
And anyway, doesn't it feel kind of weird to bring an old pleasure mainstay into a new relationship? I don't even feel comfortable taking a date to the dim sum place that was a go-to with my ex. Just as you may look to discover new "spots" with a new partner, use the new start as an excuse to bring new orgasmic energy into your life. "Start fresh, especially if you will be using the toys with your partner, and add a few new products to your collection," Story says.
2. You're getting regular yeast infections
"If you notice you are getting more yeast infections or bacterial vaginosis than normal, it's a good time to check all products coming into contact with your vulva and vagina," Story says.
Spoiler alert, that definitely include the bullet vibrator that you bought yourself for Valentine's Day...of 2013. Or maybe even 2020 if it's a vibe that just isn't compatible with your vagina, for whatever reason. "This may be a good time to re-evaluate your vulva wash, detergent, bedsheets, underwear materials, vulva moisturizers, sex toys, or any other items being used in this sensitive area," says Story.
3. You're not getting the return on your pleasure investment
Your toy has been faithful for like, ever, and now it's, just, y'know, dicking out (pun intended). It'll die without explanation when you're barely close to climaxing, or only has one working setting: "college freshmen boyfriend who doesn't know WTF he's doing." Essentially, it's just not completing the single job it promises to accomplish.
"The last thing you want is to be in the mood for pleasure or orgasm and your battery completely dies. No one wants that annoying stressor in their sex routine." —Story
"Replace sex toys if they aren't working as well anymore," says Story. "It doesn't make sense to have a toy that won't hold a charge and give you all the benefits possible. The last thing you want is to be in the mood for pleasure or orgasm and your battery completely dies. No one wants that annoying stressor in their sex routine."
"Stressor" is an important word to keep in mind when you consider wellness-related effects of your climax. See, your orgasm is important for a lot of things, including the release of stress-relieving oxytocin or "the cuddle hormone." If you're not getting that orgasm because your toy is basically useless now, you may as well be mayor of Cortisol City, stressed out as hell and throwing your useless sex toys at the wall.
So to keep calm and vibe on? Do yourself a favor and look for a new device.
These are some of the different kinds of vibrator models readily available on the market these days. And no matter how you plan to play, here are 12 common mistakes that might be keeping you from your orgasm.
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