"South Asians have sex!"
Sex toys sometimes referred to as adult toys or marital aids, are objects people use to have more pleasure during sex or masturbation.
Sex toys can also have medical uses if you have sexual dysfunction or a medical condition.
There are many different types of sex toys, and people incorporate them into their sex lives for a variety of reasons.
It’s normal to use sex toys, but it’s also totally normal not to – it’s a personal decision, and everyone’s different.
As long as you’re using sex toys safely, there’s nothing harmful about it.
Whilst the use of sex toys is becoming more mainstream, the culture of shame surrounding sex in the South Asian community remains.
DESIblitz explores British Asian attitudes towards sex toys alongside the health benefits associated with them.
Why Do People Use Sex Toys?
All kinds of people may choose to use sex toys, for many different reasons.
For some, using sex toys is the easiest or only way they can have an orgasm. This is especially common for people with vulvas.
People also use sex toys to help them masturbate.
Anisha Mustafa, a British Asian woman from Solihull, says sex toys is more than just pleasure:
“I bought my first sex toy when I was 26 and my only regret is that I didn’t buy one sooner.
“Without sounding cheesy, I honestly think it changed my life so much so that I’ve gifted sex toys to my friends on their birthdays.
“I think every individual would benefit from using one.”
“Mainly women though as we’re often led to believe that there is only one way to have sex and that can be really damaging.
“At first, I used to hide mine in a drawer because I didn’t want my husband to know I had one.
“But as I’ve gotten older, I’ve brought up the subject of sex more times than I can count and we’re totally open with one another.
“I’m grateful for my husband for understanding and respecting my choice to own and use it.
“Using a sex toy is not purely for pleasure. It’s about self-love, accepting your body and recognising your flaws. It can also be pretty therapeutic!”
For transgender, nonbinary, or gender-nonconforming people, certain sex toys may help affirm their gender identity.
Some people with disabilities or limited mobility use sex toys to make it easier to masturbate or do sexual activities that would otherwise not be possible for them.
Sex toys can also help treat the symptoms of certain disorders, like erectile dysfunction, genital arousal disorder and orgasm disorder.
Some also find that sex toys help them deal with the side effects of certain medications, health conditions, or menopause.
Types of Sex Toys
There are so many different kinds of sex toys and ways to use them that figuring out where to start may feel a little overwhelming.
Going to a sex toy shop and asking someone who works there about different products can be a great way to learn more about sex toys and what might work well for you.
You can also just try something that seems interesting and go from there.
Amrit Bassi, who describes herself as “sex-positive” says:
“I used to have a vibrator and I’m not embarrassed to talk about it, or my sex life in general.
“I was pretty young when I first used a sex toy but I was curious and it ended up being a healthy way to explore my body and discover what I do or don’t like.
“That then helped me when I started dating and seeing people.”
“Using a sex toy before I had sex with someone else made me feel confident.
“A large part of the reason I used one before having sex with a partner was that I wanted to feel in control of my body and understand it before someone else touched me.
“For people who feel ashamed about them, I would say that they shouldn’t take the situation too seriously.
“Yes, sex can be an intimate thing but it’s also not always that deep, sometimes you just want to get off after a stressful day and that’s it.
“I think people shouldn’t shut down using one instantly without considering it first or at least trying them first.
“They’re not a crazy concept or mysterious thing anymore.”
Helplines, as well as sexual health apps, may also prove helpful when trying to find more information about sex toys.
On the other hand, you may decide sex toys aren’t for you, and that is fine too.
No matter who you are, sex toys can be an option for you.
Sex Taboo & Shame
Whilst it is easier said than done, you should never feel embarrassed or ashamed about using sex toys.
Enjoying a healthy and positive sex life is nothing to be ashamed of, and using sex toys to elevate your pleasure should be celebrated.
If you feel timid when the topic comes up, remind yourself that more people are using them than you would have guessed.
With any type of shame, you may feel uncomfortable just because others are.
However, their discomfort doesn’t mean you need to be.
Sumaira Wahid, a British Asian individual from Derby, says conversations about sex need to be encouraged:
“South Asians have sex!
“It’s not a secret so I don’t understand why we still treat it like it is.
“I grew up in a very open household. My mum was very vocal about dating and relationships.
“She was a single parent so I think that played a part in our close relationship.
“I remember when I went to uni, she brought me condoms which some of my friends find hilarious.
“I never felt uncomfortable talking about sex and my partners.
“The main thing she taught me was that sex, in general, can be embarrassing and awkward at times but that it is normal.
“I’ve grown up as a very sexually open and adventurous person.”
“Exploration is part of a healthy, happy sex life so toys are not a taboo subject for me.
“There are so many ways they can help people, no matter your identity.
“We just need to continue talking about sex and everything that comes with it so everyone understands that their sexual desires are nothing to hide.”
A confident person should not feel ashamed about incorporating sex toys into their love life.
Additionally, using them doesn’t automatically mean that you are inexperienced.
It means that you are sexually confident enough to know what you want and be open with the ways you can achieve it.
Using sex toys shows you are comfortable with yourself and your body and take your pleasure seriously.
Sex toys have been associated with improved sexual function as well as proactivity concerning sexual health.
As well as offering pleasure, they can be a useful adjunct to medical treatment.
Samantha Evans, co-founder and managing director of sex toy company Jo Divine, says an increasing number of customers are looking for products to help with specific health conditions:
“Sex toys can be helpful in the treatment of menopausal symptoms such as vaginal atrophy, vaginal pain and tightness, neurological conditions such as multiple sclerosis, lack of arousal, and low libido.”
Some medications can also impact sexual function and pleasure in both men and women, including cancer treatments and antidepressants.
Samantha adds: “Using sex toys to enhance sexual pleasure and orgasm can help you to sleep, boost immunity and relieve pain.
“They have few side-effects, unlike medication, and can help many women enjoy orgasms.”
“Sex toys can also help people continue to enjoy pleasure when penetrative sex is not possible.”
Whether you use them to improve your sexual function or to have fun with a partner, they are worth considering for a multitude of reasons.
Regardless of your identity, sex toys are a valid tool for pleasure, self-acceptance and discovering your preferences.