LifestyleSexologist: "Sexual gadgets are not evil. Even doctors recommend them"

Sexologist: "Sexual gadgets are not evil. Even doctors recommend them"

Do Polish women like to use erotic gadgets?
Do Polish women like to use erotic gadgets?
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1:43 PM EDT, October 4, 2023, updated: 8:59 AM EDT, October 5, 2023

"Many couples do not talk about their desires or needs. Therefore, conversations about gadgets - that they can be an addition, a supplement to intimate life, or a help in realizing fantasies - are often missing," says Anna Ciucias, a psychologist, sexologist, psychotherapist, and co-owner of the Your Therapist clinic.

Ewa Podsiadły-Natorska: 37 percent of Polish women declare that they have used or have used in the past erotic gadgets. Why only so many?

Anna Ciucias: There are many reasons why women relatively rarely use erotic gadgets. Sex is still a taboo. There is a lack of reliable education, which results in a lack of knowledge about sexuality. There is also a lack of awareness that it is about more than just the sexual act itself.

Do we also know little about gadgets?

Unfortunately, it's often about a lack of knowledge about erotic gadgets - what they are, what they're used for, how to use them, how they can help. Erotic gadgets can serve different functions; besides giving pleasure, they are often recommended by sexologists in cases of experiencing sexual dysfunction or to improve the quality of sexual life. Another matter is that the relentless pursuit, multitasking, and the associated lack of time mean that we don't pay enough attention to our own sexuality.

Every tenth surveyed woman claims that gadgets "have bad associations for her," also for every tenth woman, they cause disgust. Meanwhile, 1 percent of women consider using erotic gadgets as a form of cheating. Are you surprised by these answers?

I would be far from judging this, as everyone can have a different definition of betrayal and there's nothing wrong with that. I wouldn't call it "medieval thinking". What's important is that these definitions within the couple are aligned.

Alright, however, the market for erotic gadgets has greatly developed, with an increasing number of discreet, delicate, intimate accessories. Perhaps women are not aware of this? Hence the responses that gadgets are associated poorly or provoke disgust.

Indeed, ignorance is one of the reasons why women don't reach for gadgets. But there are still many false beliefs and harmful stereotypes. For example, that a woman who has many partners is promiscuous, and using erotic gadgets is perverted, vulgar. This evokes shame, guilt and a feeling of "abnormality". These are not pleasant feelings, especially in the context of sexuality, which should be associated positively - and such messages can reinforce the belief that we are doing something wrong. And even if at the level of conscious values, principles we do not agree with this, it does not mean that such feelings or emotions will not awaken in us. Added to this is the cult of beauty and sexualization promoted in the media, through which it may seem to us that sex is not for everyone - including gadgets.

Of course, this is not true.

Absolutely, after all, we are all sexual beings. If it wasn't for sex, humans on Earth wouldn't survive. Fortunately, we have recently had the trend of positive sexuality. Nevertheless, there is still too little talk about the pleasure that comes from sex. Another issue is communication - there is a lack of conversations between women about sexuality, as well as conversations in relationships. I see in my office that many couples do not talk about their desires or needs. As a result, there are often no discussions about gadgets - about the fact they can be an accessory, complement intimate life or help in realizing fantasies.

Maybe we are embarrassed to buy "such things"?

Indeed, some people may experience fear that "someone might think something of me if I order such things." There are people very focused on how others see them, judge them. And even if it was a courier who brings a package suggesting what's inside, it can cause these people anxiety and embarrassment. Likewise, shame might discourage us from entering a sex shop - after all, someone might see us, and what if it was an acquaintance? Another issue is the prices of gadgets, quite high, especially for higher quality accessories.

Well yes, it's not a product of first necessity.

It's not. If we are talking about gadgets costing several hundred zlotys, not everyone can afford such an expense. There is another reason for not using erotic gadgets: hygiene issues.

In what sense?

Some people live with the belief that gadgets inserted into the body can cause various types of inflammation, infections, allergies, especially in women who are prone to such conditions. There are people who think that this will certainly have a negative impact on their health, and it's better not to use them at all.

People who use gadgets most often point to vibrators (69 percent), intimate gels (54 percent), and erotic lingerie (50 percent). Harnesses, handcuffs, costumes, or geisha balls are rare.

It does not surprise me at all that a vibrator is the most popular gadget. Likewise, intimate gels and erotic lingerie are popular. Everyone knows how to use them. However, other, less known accessories can cause anxiety and fear: where to insert it, how to use this, what is it even for. And here again, potential difficulties arise - I lack knowledge, so I must visit "adult" websites, and what if someone records that I'm using them? And asking about this directly may evoke various reactions from the other person. We can't be sure whether our question will be met with openness - especially if we operate in an environment where sexuality is taboo. That's why it does not surprise me at all that when it comes to women, they choose vibrators most often.

It is interesting what you said - that there is a lack of conversation about sexuality among women. How can they be encouraged to do so?

Theoretically, it's easy to say not to be ashamed, but when we have a deeply ingrained belief that sex is something to be ashamed of, it is not that simple. I would definitely encourage talking - after all, it is a topic related to health, physiology, and needs. It is the same kind of need as sleep or food! Remember, when this need is not satisfied, it can lead to health problems, so I would certainly encourage trying to break this taboo. This topic can cause a lot of emotions, fears, but the point is to talk about it regardless. You can always see a sexologist as a first step in overcoming the fear of talking about sex. In their office, we can do it in safe conditions, especially since we have someone in front of us who talks about sexuality every day. Also, our friends, partner are people with whom we can potentially try to step out of the comfort zone.

And what if we both are embarrassed about this topic in a couple?

It happens. There are people who reduce sexuality to just the sexual act or physiology. And where is the pleasure in all of this? Our sexuality is something more. It's something natural and normal, as are our anatomical and visual differences. Broadly understood, sexuality is a part of life - something to not be ashamed of. Often in our homes, we don't talk about sexuality, so it's no wonder that later as adults we have trouble with it. Every person experiences sexuality - that's why I encourage, despite the embarrassment, to just try and have those conversations. I encourage women to talk with other women, openly and directly. It can offer a valuable and interesting perspective - that of older, experienced women, such as our mothers, grandmothers, or aunts.

The statistics come from the "Study on the Sexuality of Polish Women" conducted in July 2023, Gedeon Richter x Pollster Research Institute

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