Is a sex toy an appropriate gift for a newly married couple?
It might seem a little risqué but sex toys can make good gifts. People often aren’t always willing to traipse around a shop or have the goods delivered to their door for fear of being caught out. They want to try them, without the potential embarrassment of buying them. That’s why sex toys can be kind presents for birthdays or at hen parties. But are there certain scenarios in which a sex toy becomes an inappropriate gift? Would a sex toy be an appropriate present for a newly married couple?
Sex, after all, is still a private matter, and while a sex toy given to an individual is done so with the implication that they can enjoy some self-pleasure on their own, a couples’ toy makes a fairly bold recommendation for two people’s love lives. Would giving a sex toy to a married couple play into dated ideas about waiting until married, implying that post-wedding would be the first time they had sex?
Would it send a message that you think their sex life is too vanilla and needs livening up? Or does it cheapen marriage, acting as though a couple’s bond can be summed up with a glow-in-the-dark vibrator? Where’s the line? We spoke to a sexpert, Cecile Sharpe, who told us it’s all about your friendship with the couple.
‘You can probably gauge whether giving a sex toy is a good idea by how comfortable your friend is with talking about sex,’ Cecile explains. ‘If it’s something you regularly chat about together, and you know they already own a sex toy or two, you’re probably okay to go for something like a couple’s vibrator or love ring. ‘The most important thing to remember is that everyone is different – just because you swear by your favourite toy, doesn’t mean your friend will be as thrilled to unwrap a set of anal beads or wand vibrator. ‘If they tend to be quite private about their sex life, or you’re not sure what their reaction will be, stick to their gift list or go for something non-intimidating but sensual, like a luxurious massage candle or oil.’
Whatever you choose, be discreet, she added. While your coupled-up friends may approve of a nice set of bondage gear, they might not want to open that particular gift in front of their parents and elderly relatives – give them a head’s up. One issue with giving sex toys as a gift is that they can be seen as making a joke about a couple’s relationship. Journalist Joe Lo tells us: ‘If the sex toy gift is from friends then it’s not really inappropriate but, for a joke present, it is very unfunny. ‘The joke’s based on the premise that couples only have sex when they get married which is obviously outdated. As a joke present, it’s a waste of good money and good rubber. ‘Just buy the newlyweds something useful and let them get their own sex toys.’
In lots of cultures, premarital sex is frowned upon so once two people tie the knot, it is assumed that they’ll become sexually active. In orthodox Christian or Muslim upbringing for example, sex is taught to be enjoyed only by two married individuals. In these instance, it might be appropriate to give a couple something to experiment with which will intensify their relationships. But again, it depends on your closeness with them and how experimental they are. You also don’t want to intimidate first-timers with anything too extreme. You’ll also need to consider both parts of the married couple. You might be certain that the bride will enjoy a vibrator as a gift, but you need to be confident in their partner’s reaction, too.
Model Lorna Connolly says that toys are usually accepted as being a girl’s thing while men are still bashed for using them. ‘I personally think a sex toy as a wedding present is a lovely idea and would find it a valuable gift, however, I think my husband would be rather embarrassed,’ she said. ‘He’s quite old fashioned and prudish, but I’d say men don’t use sex toys and are therefore not as accepting.’
So to recap, while we’re all for embracing sex toys and getting rid of any lingering shame around sexual pleasure, the appropriateness of a sex toy as a wedding gift is still a blurred line. You really do need to know the couple incredibly well and make your statement with the gift clear. If you have the tiniest fear that your friends will be embarrassed, offended, or will think you’re making a joke, it’s probably better to stick to the more traditional gifts. If you’re mates with a couple who are open about their sex lives and fancy trying new things, just make sure you choose a sex toy that’s right for them.