Dear Dr G,
I am a 38-year-old man and have been married for 10 years.
In recent years, my wife and I realised our bedroom matters have become a bit of a routine and it does not excite us anymore!
Don’t get me wrong, I still find my wife very attractive. However, we are hoping for a bit more “spice” between the sheets in this New Year and the years to come.
Although I am generally not a shy guy, but her suggestions really made me blush!
For the New Year and a new beginning, I am hoping to put Dr G on the spot to enquire more about adult toys.
What exactly are sex toys? How many variations are there? Are they for men, women or both? Where can I get them? How safe are they? Do they have instructions of use?
I hope it is not a taboo to discuss this issue on sexual health for your first column in 2018.
Let’s hope your answers can spice up ours, and many readers’ bedroom mundane!
On that note, wishing Dr G a Happy New Year!
The so-called “sex toy” is an object or a device to enhance sexual pleasure.
Although calling such objects as “toys” may not be acceptable to the conservative society, the same devices may be described by some as marital aid or bedroom enhancers.
However, technically, the term “marital aid” is not synonymous with “sex toys”.
Marital aid, in a broader sense, includes medications and supplements that help couples to enhance their sexual experience.
Erotic stimulation with the aid of devices has been documented for many centuries, across different civilisations.
Only after the 1960s sexual revolution, the industry of the adult toys has consolidated a wide range of products.
Most popular sex toys are designed to resemble human genitals. Perhaps some of which had also gain mainstream attention after erotic novels such as Fifty Shades of Grey.
Sex toys can broadly be divided into several categories. The devices can be gender specific or gender-neutral, penetrative or non-penetrative; and electro or non-electro-stimulation.
Of course, there are many crossover versions that may not fit the bill, but the exact mode of use and effectiveness are generally user-dependent.
The most widely known and recognised sex toy is perhaps the female-orientated dildo. Such toys are made of various materials and come in various shapes and sizes, to cater for all bedrooms needs.
The erotic devices may also be either static or vibratory in nature. On the other hand, the male-orientated sex toys are also available, but perhaps less publicised.
The aid may be in the form of artificially-shaped female sexual organ. Again, the variation of toys include the form of mouth or anus, vibratory or otherwise, which may strike the users’ fancy.
Sex toys are usually sold as novelty items and need not adhere to regulatory restrictions.
Although the majority of devices are made of inert materials, some people may argue the objects should be regulated as medical devices.
This is because certain toys may contain phthalates that can be harmful when inserted in the body.
Needless to say, the devices that are electrical in nature, should at least have the assurances that they don’t go “haywire” when used in human orifices.
The sale of sex toys is widely available in the Internet, over the counter in drugstores and in countries with "adult shops".
However, the sale of sex toy is illegal in conservative countries such as India and South Africa where the products are considered “obscene” and “intended to be used to perform an unnatural sexual act”.
Hence, the purchase of sex toys in such jurisdictions may, in theory, land innocent couples in hot water!
The embarrassment of having adult toys in the bedroom appears to prohibit open acceptance for couples.
The Ethiopian born, Swedish-raised chef and restaurateur, Marcus Samuelsson once said: “Even just a few spices or ethnic condiments that you keep in your pantry, can turn your mundane dishes into a culinary masterpiece.”
In many ways, Dr G sees similarities between bedroom and culinary art.
So when he is put on the spot on his views about the necessity of toys between the sheets, his response is: “The constant thought of adding spices or condiments to the ingredients of sexual health, is the first step for couples to make their experience between the sheets a bedroom masterpiece!”
One that note, I wish all readers a "Happy Spicy New Year"!
> The views expressed are entirely the writer’s own.