chapter
23 Pages

Sexual objects

Using ‘sex toys’

This chapter focuses on women's everyday experiences of buying and using objects that can be grouped under a broad category of 'sex toys'. The chapter's discussion of the use of sex toys is framed by wider questions regarding the role that the consumption and use of material objects plays within the construction and performance of sexual identities. For some women, using a vibrator alone represented one of their earliest experiences of masturbation or orgasm. Some women had built up everyday relationships with their sex toys over time in ways that seemed to be legitimised by but also partially exceeded the popular discourse of self-improvement or care of the self. Sex toys and indeed other material objects are often perceived as external 'extras' to the partnership of two sexual bodies. Sex toys were framed as both enablers of and barriers to intimacy with partners, depending on the nature of the relationship, and the kind of object and how it was used.