I've changed sites. Click here to read this post at elodieonlove.com.
I went to lunch with my mother today, and she said she wonders what "middle-aged female academics" (which most of her friends are) could get from sex toys. Then she answered her own question: "I suppose if they want to spice things up." Very true, but it doesn't go to the heart of the matter.
We have been told, since we were born, in ways both subtle and overt, that there are right ways and wrong ways to experience sexual pleasure. The right way: missionary position vaginal sex between a man and a woman. Sex with the woman on top, facing her partner, is also usually considered permissible. You must show passion, but don't be too loud. Massages are fine, ropes are not. We make fun of men for masturbating, and mostly ignore the fact of women masturbating. Men are the ones with the over-the-top sex drives, right? Hormones on legs? Whereas women just don't care about that stuff; they want a ring and emotional commitment, and normally have sex mostly for men. Women are supposed to enjoy sex to a precise degree: too little, and you're frigid. Too much, and you're a slut.
I believe that the first step to combat these ideas is giving yourself pleasure, whether with hands or with toys. This applies to men as well as to women. The best way to start learning about yourself as a sexual being, and embracing your sexuality, is to spend time alone doing so. Look at your naked body, your genitalia, touch it, and learn what gives you pleasure. Toys can aid you with this. Treat your body with love and care, and teach yourself how wonderful you are. The rewards are immense.
Patriarchy has tried to control all of us, and what better method of control than leashing us sexually? Sex goes to the core of what we are. When you allow yourself to know and love yourself sexually, with or without toys, you resist society's hold on your body. You take control.