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Understanding Benefits and Cautions of using relationship enhancement

http://brown.edu/Student_Services/Health_Services/Health_Education/sexua...

How can I bring sex toys into my relationship?

Sometimes it’s hard to communicate our sexual desires to our partners, especially when wanting to bring something new into a sexual relationship. Some people may feel threatened by the thought of having sex toys added to their sexual life or they have stereotypes about who uses sex toys. Honesty and open communication are the best strategies for talking with sexual partners about sex toys. Your partner needs to understand where you’re coming from, what you’re interested in doing, and how you will respect their boundaries, in order for sex toys to be a healthy, pleasurable part of your relationship.

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What’s the best way to use sex toys?

No matter what sex toy you choose to use or how you choose to use it, there are a few things to keep in mind to make the experience pleasurable and help protect yourself from STIs.

Before using the toy check, for any imperfections, including rough seams, tears, or cracks.
Using lubrication is a great way to help enhance the pleasure and safety of sex toys. Ask your salesperson which lube is best for the toy or follow the instructions that come with the toy. For example, silicone lubes break down silicone toys after awhile. Flavored lubes may cause yeast infections for some females because the sugar can disrupt the balance of pH in the vagina. Oil-based lubes will break down latex condoms and dental dams, which will increase your risk for contracting STIs. Click here for more information on lubrication.
If sharing sex toys, such as dildos, butt plugs, or vibrators, use condoms and dental dams to help prevent the spread of STIs. If switching the toy to another person, make sure to use a different condom or dental dam. Remember, soap alone is not effective for removing STI bacteria or viruses from the toy.
Don’t insert a sex toy in the mouth or vagina if it has been used in the anus without a condom or without being washed properly. This could spread bacteria and viruses and cause infections in the urinary tract (for females) or intestines. If a condom was used with the sex toy, replace the condom with a new one before inserting the toy in the mouth or vagina.
If it hurts, stop! If you are using toys with a sexual partner, earn trust with one another. If you want to try again, relax and add extra lube if needed.
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What’s the best way to clean sex toys?

Proper cleaning of sex toys is essential to avoid bacterial infection or transmission of STIs. While some STIs die once the fluid they live in dries, others (such as hepatitis and scabies) can live for weeks or months outside of the body. If you want to prevent pregnancy, it is also important to be remove sperm that may be on the sex toy before using near or in the vagina. It’s important to keep the instructions for cleaning the sex toy and to follow them carefully. If you feel that cleaning the toy properly would be too time consuming or unrealistic for you, think about buying a different toy. The information provided below gives a general overview for cleaning different types of toys and isn’t meant to replace the manufacturer’s instructions.

For basic toy care, remove any batteries. Never submerge electrical components in water. Use a damp, soapy washcloth to clean your electric toys, preferably with anti-bacterial soap. Keep toys stored in a container or pouch (to keep them clean) and in a cool, dry place.

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