Assume you work in a sex toy store. When the doorbell rings, you peek up from behind the counter to see a woman enter. “I’m searching for a vibrator, but I don’t want to spend more than $20,” she exclaims excitedly when you ask if she needs help finding anything.
This is a fairly regular occurrence. Elise Shuster, M.P.H., worked at Babeland, a prominent sex toy shop in New York and Seattle, for ten years. She often saw people come in wanting to have a vibrator but hesitant to pay the money it takes to get a high-quality sex toy. There are a variety of reasons why people might be hesitant to spend a lot of money on a sex toy (or any toy for that matter), but one of the most common is the widespread belief that sexual pleasure is a frivolous indulgence. Shuster, who is also the CEO of the sexual wellness app OkaySo, tells SELF, “We frequently don’t value our enjoyment economically the same way we do other things.” “We still have a lot of work to do in terms of making people feel that their pleasure and desire are amazing and worthy of attention.”
Nickey Robo, a sex educator and employee at Smitten Kitten in Minnesota, tells SELF that a lot of behavior stems from shame. If you’ve been taught that your enjoyment is an embarrassing aspect of your personality, spending money on it may seem irrational. This is why, according to Robo, employees at Smitten Kitten attempt to make customers “feel like their bodies and pleasure are worth being treated.”
We’ve put out the case for spending more money on a more expensive item in the section below. While paying a little more money doesn’t always equate to better quality, when it comes to sex toys, a little more money usually equals greater value (and more enjoyment).
But first, a disclaimer: the coronavirus epidemic is forcing us to negotiate an economic crisis, and let’s be honest: a sex toy isn’t exactly at the top of Maslow’s hierarchy of requirements. While self-care and joy are especially important right now, they don’t have to be expensive or require “treating yourself.” Right today, there are a plethora of low-cost options for finding a release.
If you don’t have the funds to purchase an expensive vibrator right now, it doesn’t mean you can’t locate a nice sex toy if that’s what you’re looking for. On the cheaper end of the spectrum, the Satisfyer Number One ($20, Satisfyer) is a popular choice. Even if you have the financial means to do so, you may still be determining which sex toys are best for you. If you’re just starting to explore your sexual pleasure, for example, you don’t want to jump right in with a Le Wand Massager ($170, Le Wand) if your body turns out to be too sensitive to handle the intense force wand toys are known for.
“The beautiful thing is that you’ll usually always be able to find something a little bit less expensive that’s comparable in shape to the more expensive toys,” says Lisa Finn, a sex educator and brand manager for Babeland. Starting in the lower range can make a lot of sense if you’re new to toys or want to try something different. You can then upgrade to something more expensive with a comparable size and form once you’ve figured out if that style of toy is right for you.
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