What’s the Difference Between a Marital Aid and a Sex Toy?


Written by Sheila Gregoire at "To Love, Honor & Vacuum"

Is there ever a need for devices to make your sex life better?

Yes, I think there can be, and since we’re talking about embracing your sexuality this week, I thought I’d tackle this one to wrap up.

I’ve written several posts now on how I don’t believe that sex toys are necessarily a great idea (and how those Christian sex toy parties make me nervous!) Sex is supposed to be intimate physically, yes, but also emotionally and spiritually. And sometimes when we feel like something is missing in our sex lives we try to find a gadget so that we feel awesome. But that can leave us empty. What really brings the most physical pleasure quite often is boosting our intimacy in other ways. When I wrote The Good Girl’s Guide to Great Sex, I found that the women who were the most sexually responsive tended to also be the ones who felt closest to their husbands. The more that we grow the emotional side, the more the physical will tend to feel good. And sometimes we short circuit that process and miss out on the best.

I don’t believe that such things are necessarily sinful; only that we should tread carefully.

And in our porn culture where so much has made sex impersonal and anonymous, sex toys can reinforce that rather than work to create emotional and spiritual intimacy.

What's in The Good Girl's Guide to Great Sex?

That being said, I do think that there is a role for marital aids.

So let’s look at the difference! Many sex toys’ purpose is to bring someone to orgasm faster, or to replace certain body parts. Others are meant to be part of “sexual play”, such as bondage gear.

The problem with the latter can be that it prevents real intimacy by making sex “hot” because it’s degrading, rather than because it’s intimate. The problem with the former is that it can create almost a solitary sexual experience. You receive pleasure, but your spouse has very little to do with it. And if the toy makes it easier to reach orgasm than it is without your spouse, then that can actually detract from sexual intimacy, not contribute to it. It can also make it harder to respond physically to your spouse.

Again, I’m not talking about sin. I’m talking about how it’s important to be wise and to ask if this is something that will actually help your intimacy or take away from it. Like Paul said in 1 Corinthians 10:23:

“I have the right to do anything,” you say—but not everything is beneficial. “I have the right to do anything”—but not everything is constructive.

Marital aids, I would say, fulfill a different role than standard sex toys.

Some people have physical issues that prevent intercourse from being physically stimulating enough to reach orgasm. When physical issues bar normal sexual response, then marital aids can indeed serve a very good purpose.

Marital aids sounds like an archaic, embarrassed way of saying sex toys. But honestly–some products are genuinely AIDS that we need to know about!

People who have movement or pain issues may benefit from certain “toys”

Those with paralysis, fibromyalgia, or other pain conditions may find different positions impossible or taxing, or just plain painful, making thrusting difficult. In this case, some help may very well be warranted!

Men who have arousal difficulties or erection difficulties could benefit from certain devices

Some medical conditions can make erections very difficult (even after certain cancers, as well). Some devices, such as rings, can make erections easier to maintain. Other devices he can use on her to help her feel good, even if he can’t.

People who find intercourse isn’t stimulating enough due to being too loose after childbirth

When your vagina is too loose after you’ve had multiple children, especially if your husband is on the smaller side, this can cause quite a bit of distress and frustration. While there are exercises that you can do, for some that isn’t sufficient, especially if he is on the smaller side. Le Snuggle was developed by a Christian family who reads this blog, for the purpose of helping couples get maximum sexual enjoyment even if things aren’t fitting the best!

It’s a device that you insert before intercourse that “fills” you up a bit so that you’re more snug, giving a tighter sexual experience. And it’s medical grade silicone, so it’s pliable and won’t stretch you out anymore than you already are. (So don’t worry about that!)

Gail from Houston said this:

“After having had 5 children, my husband and I have tried everything out there to improve our fit. Le Snuggle accomplished this the first time we tried it. I was looking into vaginal rejuvenation surgery when we were asked to participate in testing of this product. I have since cancelled my appointment.”

God designed us to experience sexual pleasure in marriage, and if health conditions or physical conditions are keeping you from being able to do that, it’s absolutely okay to get some help! It doesn’t mean you’re a failure (any more than wearing glasses means we’re failures). And it isn’t something you need to be embarrassed about. It’s a way to keep sex fun, exciting, and pleasurable even when physical changes come.

What about people with vaginismus?

What if you’ve got the opposite problem–that you’re too tight, rather than too loose? There’s information on what aids can help you when you’re too tight as well. One word of caution, though: I know many women suffering from vaginismus who have been told to use a vibrator. I’d steer clear. Even if you’re too tight for penetration, your husband can still bring you to orgasm manually or orally, and that way you both will get to know your body better. And do seek out a pelvic floor physiotherapist who can help! There are things you can do to help you recover (I did!).

I do get a LOT of questions about sex toys. Indeed, every time I do my Girl Talk event at churches where I talk about sex and marriage (I’m doing some in Australia in May!), there are ALWAYS questions about sex toys in the Q&A period.

So I wanted to clarify a little bit my thinking on it. When it comes to just making sex “hotter”, I’d exercise some discernment. But if you have physical issues that are making normal sexual arousal and response difficult, then please seek out some marital aids where available. They’re there to help you–and it’s okay to need help!