Sex toy reuse?
November 27, 2009 6:03 PM   Subscribe

Is it squicky to reuse sex toys with a new lover?

Lesbianfilter (but others, please weigh in if this seems relevant). I'm at the butch end of things. I have some lovely toys (expensive ones) that have been used with a former lover. Must I buy new ones for romps with the new femme in my life? I believe that they can be sanitized in the dishwasher, so this is more about whether suggesting them would be impolite and/or yucky.
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (27 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite

I think this is one of those things that fall under the umbrella of "I know that the person I'm dating has dated other people before me, but let's just ignore that idea."

Clean the toys, obviously, but I don't think you need to bring it up with a new partner.
posted by runningwithscissors at 6:07 PM on November 27, 2009

Toys are expensive. Wash them and use condoms on them where appropriate.
posted by ClaudiaCenter at 6:08 PM on November 27, 2009 [1 favorite]

My boyfriend had some props and toys that he'd used with a former lover, and even though I knew it was silly, it bothered me. I felt like those things had memories attached to them, of that other woman, so we threw them out and got new ones just for us.
posted by cottonswab at 6:10 PM on November 27, 2009 [1 favorite]

I'm a guy, but bear with me for a sec...

It's going to be all about presentation.

SUCCEED: The mood is going right, wine is flowing, lights are dim, and one comes out and it's thrilling and exciting and fun...

FAIL: You reach under the bed and start rummaging through several shoe boxes, and there's clanking as you toss some aside and the occasional buzzing as you test batteries, and you're muttering, "Not it ... not it ... shit, where's that orange one from that one time...?"
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 6:18 PM on November 27, 2009 [9 favorites]

I'm saying in the first case, the question won't even come up. In the second, your new bunk buddy will be left thinking, "How many are under there? And where did she get them?"
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 6:19 PM on November 27, 2009

Sanitize, condoms where appropriate, etc. Honestly none of us expect each new lover to invest in hundreds of dollars of new toys (yes, when you add it all up :-) Make sure they're all in good condition and that the silicone is still smooth. Take the time to clean everything well.

But... a new addition can also be a *hot* gift. Especially if you're dating rather than just hooking up casually (I hear there are lesbians who do such a thing, ha!).

For some reason a fresh new bottle of lube is REALLY nice. Old, half-empty, half-sticky bottles just aren't as sexy.

Happy sexy frisky safe hawt holidays, you two!
posted by barnone at 6:21 PM on November 27, 2009 [1 favorite]

Also, I'd love to recommend Sugarbutch Chronicles if you haven't discovered it. She has some really thought-provoking posts and some good commenters. And she's been on a total self-discovery ride through the blog itself, and is excellent about reflecting on that journey towards identifying and exploring different gender roles, sexual preferences, ideas, relationships, community, etc. AND good sex toy reviews.

Send me a message if you want other reading recommendations!
posted by barnone at 6:26 PM on November 27, 2009 [3 favorites]

i've never had a problem with the idea of sharing either my or my lovers' toys. my lovers haven't had an issue either.

good cleaning and condoms where appropriate.
posted by rmd1023 at 6:38 PM on November 27, 2009

This is not from personal experience, but the nearest and dearest butch in my life seemed to make it clear that it was de rigueur to buy new toys pour la femme nouveau. I think that it is less a measure of sanitation than it is of squickiness. So, albeit anecdatally, I would suggest new toys.
Generally, if you fear that something may be impolite, it is always best to err on the side of caution and be overly polite.
posted by Cold Lurkey at 6:39 PM on November 27, 2009

I think you should probably ignore most or all responses from straight men in this thread! I think the rules are different in same-sex relationships, and reusing toys is fine. Perhaps it's because the toys seems more like yours than an ex's?

I mean, if a straight guy has toys clearly designed for a woman's body, it looks like he bought them for a previous partner, which is just too close for comfort and TMI for many new girlfriends, but if a gay women has them, it's conceivable that they're just hers, and doesn't draw past partners into the situation in the same way. I think this goes double for strap-on type dicks, which are expensive, hard to find the right one, and sort of an extension of you.

(I hope this makes sense, I have a migraine!)
posted by crabintheocean at 6:45 PM on November 27, 2009 [4 favorites]

Even if you owned an industrial autoclave, I'd put this well into the squicky category, but then I'm a straight guy, so get confused. I just can't imagine any straight woman being fine with a toy "left over by my ex." I don't live in a world where that could happen.
posted by cjorgensen at 6:47 PM on November 27, 2009 [1 favorite]

There's no reason to choose -- old (clean) toys *and* new (clean) toys.
posted by ClaudiaCenter at 6:52 PM on November 27, 2009

And yeah, it probably does matter that you're a hot butch. *Especially* in that situation, I think of her toys as an extension of her, not belonging to her former girlfriend. I know they're not always used that way, but really -- don't worry about it. Clean, condom, polish, get new lube, and get something new for fun. Most expensive toys are silicone and very easily sterilized.

Don't worry as much about the straight guys responding in the negative here -- they haven't navigated these waters in the same way.

After all, they don't exactly have to sanitize their penis, fingers, or tongues in an 'autoclave' after each lover. Clean toys (in good condition, properly sterilized) are probably safer, when you think about it!

have fun!
posted by barnone at 7:00 PM on November 27, 2009 [9 favorites]

My toys come with me from partner to partner, just as my partners' toys have stayed with them. I'll be honest that I've definitely paused before using a toy with someone new that was a favorite with someone else, but I have yet to retire a toy completely (the one exception is a toy that my ex gave me to use on her, and that somehow got lost when I moved but that I couldn't have imagined using with someone else anyway). Often, when I'm dating someone new, I do buy a new toy or two that seems particularly appropriate to her tastes - but I don't totally phase out the old. Hence, I have a foolishly oversized toy collection given my currently single state.

Congrats on the new romance - have fun!
posted by serazin at 8:10 PM on November 27, 2009 [1 favorite]

As a guy who made the mistake of bringing out a toy used by a previous girlfriend, don't. The (then) current girlfriend was caught between "What kind of guy has toys lying around?" and "Wait, that's from his last relationship?" Granted, I think it's perceived as more acceptable for a single woman to have a sex toy than a guy, for whatever reason, so in some ways you likely wouldn't have to deal with the first part, but still, there's going to be a moment (or more) of "Huh?!"

Instead, shopping for new sex toys together can be fun. Think of it as one of the ways you can grow together with your partner, and at the same time, find out their preferences/kinks, which leads to its own fun.
posted by Ghidorah at 8:28 PM on November 27, 2009

Huh. Straight woman here who didn't have any problems using boyfriend's (now husband) "left over" but clean toys. They're expensive! We did go shopping for new ones together, but nothing got thrown out.
posted by kiripin at 9:05 PM on November 27, 2009 [1 favorite]

When "toys" equal harness, dildos, butt plugs, etc. they go from relationship to relationship. When "toys" equals something like a collar? ditch it.

I have no idea how old you are, but I can tell you from going on twenty years (ouch) of sex toy/butch side behavior that there will always be women who get squicked out by this. Those women have never been worth my dropping another $60-120 on a new dick. Not once.

If you care enough to invest in some high quality gear then you should feel confident in saying "this X is about me and how I navigate my sexuality" and allow your partner to make room for that. If she takes the hard stance you might try the "have you ditched all of your panties, bras and lingerie you've ever worn for another lover?" argument.

But ultimately... you have to decide.

And YAY! I love learning there are some Butch/Femme folks on MeFi. Woot.
posted by FlamingBore at 9:06 PM on November 27, 2009 [9 favorites]

From a former professional dominant, lots of toys:

Yes to the new bottle of lube.

Yes to new special toys.

Yes to old toys properly sanitized and still new-looking - as Cool Papa Bell notes, it's the presentation that counts!

For you in your own head-space...

NO NO NO to anything with special significance/memories. It doesn't matter how expensive that shit was - throw it away.

In conclusion: Create new memories & Have Fun!
posted by jbenben at 9:19 PM on November 27, 2009 [2 favorites]

Barnone and FlamingBore FTW!
posted by crabintheocean at 11:41 PM on November 27, 2009

I'd clean and sanitise the toys as appropriate, and then ask the other person. The last thing I'd want during sex is the thought "this dildo has been up someone else's butt. I wonder if he cleaned it properly....". I'd be more concerned about cleanliness and the transfer of bacteria/whatever than what face his ex was pulling when it was being used on him.

That said, using condoms on the toys would considerably reduce any worries I might have. Being able to whip a toy out of one person and straight away use it on another is fun sometimes. And each person having their own toys for use on themselves, or use on them by the other person, is another option.

Then again, I'm a gay man, so I'm doubly removed from this. :)
posted by Solomon at 2:09 AM on November 28, 2009

I think it's perfectly acceptable to have a toybag as long as your toys are clean and well maintained. Toy condoms are key. Safer sex should absolutely include your toys, and if your partner can recognize that, I think a lot of potential squick factor is negated.
posted by Cat Pie Hurts at 7:23 AM on November 28, 2009

When feasible, always keep the original packaging. Then you can "unbox" with your new partners. Problem solved.
posted by BobbyVan at 8:34 AM on November 28, 2009

Isn't this a matter of "I'm gonna leave and take my toys..."?
The toys are your toys; not your relationship's toys.

Yup, it's all about the unveiling (presentation).
posted by Drasher at 8:45 AM on November 28, 2009

When feasible, always keep the original packaging. Then you can "unbox" with your new partners. Problem solved.

That's pretty squicky in and of itself.
posted by Cat Pie Hurts at 9:02 AM on November 28, 2009 [2 favorites]

When feasible, always keep the original packaging. Then you can "unbox" with your new partners. Problem solved.

Yeah, I'm with Cat Pie Hurts. That's pretty squicky. There's no need for deception here! Really! Adults can have sex with things that did not grow on their body and they don't have to be put in a biohazard bag immediately afterwards!

You can acknowledge a previous sexual past, one that involved bodies, toys, minds, and emotions. It's *healthy* to do so, in order to address any diseases, preferences, fears, desires, triggers and you know, the whole not-being-a-virgin thing is a relief in its own right.

Actually I know at least one woman who (only sort of jokingly) refuses to sleep with another lesbian who doesn't own her own toys or has never used one. It's not a perfect litmus test of the dreaded 'bicurious in a relationship with a man' genre, but it's a fairly good indicator. Having an arsenal of toys is also somewhat of a sign that the dreaded LBD (lesbian bed death...see straight guys, you're outta your league here, sorry!) has a chance at being kept at bay. Obviously toys don't prevent LBD, but they do indicate an active interest in sex, pleasure, fun, experimentation, chemistry, power dynamics, creativity and a willingness to trust and be trusted. That goes a long way.

But thanks for the giggles. Autoclave! Rewrap old toys! Sometimes I'm so glad to be queerer than a $3 bill.

I have to admit, it brings a whole new meaning to 'dick in a box.' :-)

And I, too, love it when the dykes of MeFi unite.
posted by barnone at 9:41 AM on November 28, 2009 [6 favorites]

The way I see it... most people are reusing their dicks/vaginas and ect. It's safe to say they have "used those" with other people before too. Obviously the same health issues still apply, but other than that - Meh?
posted by mu~ha~ha~ha~har at 12:02 PM on November 28, 2009 [3 favorites]

This femmey bisexual girl sez that it's totally fine (clean, in good condition, etc.) as long as you're clear in your head about the toys belonging to you, not to the former relationship. If you're feeling a little unsure, perhaps start with a brand-new toy until you can confidently dig into the bag of your favorite toys.

The kind of girls who would demand that you buy a whole new arsenal of toys...well, that's insight into their character. Do with that knowledge what you will.

(Weighing in from both sides of the fence here, yes, this issue tends to play a little differently in heterosexual sex.)
posted by desuetude at 12:27 PM on November 28, 2009

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