How To Add Sexy Accessories Into Your Love Life
By Natasha Burton
All sorts of taboos come along with bringing props into the bedroom, which probably explains the association a lot of us have with these items being kinky or kinda creepy (or both). We wanted some tips on how to brave this touchy topic, so we called up Ethan Imboden, the founder of Jimmyjane: a decidedly non-creepy sex toy company that makes vibrators look downright glam. He gave us some tips on how to play with grown-up toys without feeling weird about it.
How did you end up in the sex toy business?
I went to a sex toy trade show in Los Angeles [to research a potential design project] and my first reaction was ‘Whoa.' The show was overwhelming ... After coming back from L.A., I went to a dinner party, and the host introduced me as a sex product designer. After that, the subject of the party turned towards sex, relationships, toys and products. It became very obvious that people really wanted information on the subject, and they were looking for an opportunity to talk it. And, in spite of the fact that many of the vibrators on the market were scary — porn stars on the boxes, some [made of] toxic materials, noisy — all of the people sitting around the dinner table were still buying them and trying them out. There was a really strong interest, so I started sketching, and one thing led to the next ...
How did the design concept of your products come about?
[When I entered the industry] there were only two options: products that looked literally like severed anatomy (penises) and also really goofy wind-up or jumpy novelty items. The message was that toys could either be pornographic or comical. But people just want these items to reflect self-image. The clothes that we wear, the cosmetics that we use, the cars that we drive — these are intimately tied to our self-image. Sexuality is incredibly united with our sense of well-being and our aspirations, as well. If we choose to be intimate with somebody, there is a decision. Intimacy is vulnerable: psychologically, physically, and emotionally. If anything should be beautifully designed, it should be the products that are closely tied with our sexuality. It's my fundamental belief that you never feel better than when you feel sexy. And, unfortunately, the converse is true; you often feel really bad when you're not feeling sexy. Sexiness should be easily accessed and not in any way taboo.
What's the best way to start exploring with our partners?
Because sexuality is very important to us (and tied to our self-esteem and self-worth), men and women both have all sorts of hang-ups like 'Am I normal? Is it okay to explore in this way? How do I talk about this?' People who step over these concerns will find that their friends and partners are really receptive. People do want to talk about this and engage in this — it's just about finding the entrance that is comfortable. So how do you suggest that, as a couple, you try a vibrator? And not in such a way that [you're suggesting] there is something wrong and that [the vibrator] is the remedy? It's important to skirt the potential inadequacies and realize that this is all a great exploration to embark on together — these are accessories, not the main point, of your enjoyment of yourself and others.
How do we integrate new items into the bedroom?
Scented candles provide soft, warm light and can be used as sensual props. Scent is the only sense that bypasses all of the cognitive areas of the brain and goes straight to the luminal area of the brain — your instincts. That's why scent is so strong in conjuring mood and evoking memories. The power of scent sets the tone, and each Jimmyjane candle has an aphrodisiac scent. There are some that are relaxing, some that are a bit edgier (sort of animalistic or lusty). They're a great tool. They look great and smell great and there is a subtle sexual aroma. The next step would be to use a massage oil. It will inherently start the sex product conversation. 'I'll use it on my body; let me give you a massage as well.' These are natural segues into sexual interaction, and to begin exploring in new ways.
What about taking the next step, and using actual toys?
When choosing a product like a vibrator, I recommend these guidelines:
1) Start simply: If vibration is new, there is no need to go over the top and with a bang. Find out if vibration is a sensation you enjoy, and where and how to use that.
2. Start with something approachable: Approachable means a product that is smaller — if [the vibrator] is going to be used with a man, there is a physiological hurdle. If it's small and you focus on external stimulation, men are more cooperative. It may be surprising to women, but many men think vibrators are exciting and very sexy; they are intrigued by them.
3) Start with something beautiful: Bring home a well-considered product. And make using it an elegant proposition.
To check out Jimmyjane's full line of products, visit their website here.
Jimmyjane's elegant massage stonesCourtesy of Jimmyjane
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