But he should be focused on the reality that at least half of all women cannot reach orgasm through intercourse only - so we need to either help out manually, orally, or with toys. Personally, I suggest talking with your partner and she what she likes, and then do that. If she likes a vibrator, so what? Why wouldn't we do whatever it takes to bring her to ecstasy?
This story originally appeared at Salon.The display next to the register reads “Viagra substitute.”
“Do you have anything like this for women?” I ask the cashier, nodding at the display.
“Those are for women,” she says.
I place the vibrating sex toy, which is packed in a plastic container with the words “Diving Dolphin” written in a wavy blue script, on the counter along with my American Express card. It’s been about one week since Deb and I argued at the Wig and Pen. That’s one week without sex.
“They are?” I say. I pick up a package of the Viagra Substitute, which appears to contain two pills. I scan the label. “No,” I say placing the packet of pills back in their box. “They’re for men.”
The cashier removes the Diving Dolphin from its package. It’s a complicated-looking thing with two vibrating eggs, each fitting into separate rubber compartments. She inserts two double A’s and pushes a button on the little plastic control panel. The Diving Dolphin hums loudly. “I might argue,” she says.
I laugh. “Yeah,” I say, “but what I need is something that makes a woman, you know … want to, you know … in the first place.”
“We don’t carry anything like that,” she says. “But I know where you can get something.”
“Where’s that?” I say.
She motions toward the door. “Coralville liquor store,” she says.
“They got something there?” I say.
“Yeah,” she says. “Liquor.”
Most guys don’t want to talk about vibrating sex toys. We’re ashamed. But I don’t know what there is to be ashamed about. If a guy could cut an hour off his commute time, he’d spare no expense to do it. And he wouldn’t be ashamed to tell everyone how he did it. Yet everyone keeps quiet about a vibrating sex toy. The vibrating sex toy is the time-saving device of the century.
There will come a time in your relationship when you will look your wife in the eye and say, “OK. You know I want sex. And I know you want sex. Right? OK. So what do you say we take our clothes off and both just … get the job done. All right? And then we’ll get some sleep. OK? Because I’ve got to be in Cedar Rapids at 7 o’clock tomorrow.” Of course this approach will fail. Your wife will refuse you. No woman wants to hear these things. But just because she doesn’t want to hear these things, doesn’t mean she isn’t amenable to the spirit in which they’re spoken.
A sex toy can do lots of things that your penis can’t do. A vibrating dildo, for example, can remain in the same rigid shape for years upon years. A vibrating dildo can also vibrate. Not a bad trick, I’d say.
I told a friend of mine one time that he really should introduce the idea of the vibrating dildo to his girlfriend. He, of course, didn’t want to talk about it. But I pressed the issue. “You should,” I said.
My buddy said, “Yeah. I’m sure she’d be just thrilled if I pull out some giant plastic thing in the middle of sex.”
“Tell you what,” I said. “I’ll bet you a hundred bucks right now. I’m serious. A hundred bucks. That if you do pull out that giant plastic thing at the right time, she won’t complain at all.”
“OK,” he said, “let’s look at it another way: Say she likes it. Then, when I go at it the old-fashioned way again, it won’t be enough. We’ll have to kick-start the dildo every time. What about that?”
To me, this argument holds no merit. What we’re talking about here is a vibrator. It has no soul. It runs on double A’s. It’s not your rival. It’s your helpmate. Think about the guy who rows out to sea every day. And then, after 10 or 12 hours of fishing, he rows back to shore again. One day, someone hooks him up with an outboard motor. If the guy wants to row, he can row, for Christ’s sake. If, on the other hand, the guy has grown older and he is getting tired of rowing for 50 or 60 minutes from shore to fishing ground and back again, he can go ahead and crank up the Evinrude. His choice.
All the pressure is off. If you’re afraid you won’t be able to make it to the shore, you have your helpmate. If your paddle seems inadequate, you have your helpmate. Your helpmate will never leave you. Your helpmate will never cheat on you. Your helpmate is there for you whenever you need it. All you need to do is remember the double A’s. That’s all.
When I went shopping for my first helpmate, I ended up buying a model that was an exact duplicate of an actual penis. Only larger. And purple. It was embarrassing to look at and to buy. When I brought it to the counter, I couldn’t look the cashier in the eye. As if she had never sold a vibrator before. As if her shop didn’t have 500 different types of vibrators to choose from. Ones with big bumps all along the shaft. Little eggs with remote switches. Gigantic ones with hand cranks.
When I got home with my prize and pulled it out of the bag (right before dinner), Deb seemed put off. She didn’t want to look at it. She didn’t want to think about my fantastic, purple vibrating dildo. She wanted to feed the baby and give him a bath and get him to bed. In hindsight, I know I should have waited. But at the time, it seemed like it was too important to put off. I wanted her to see my vibrating dildo. Our vibrating dildo.
Now that I’m older, I’m much cooler about it. I don’t need to buy the enormous vibrator anymore. I know that a medium-size vibrator will do just fine. I even ask the woman at the counter if she can plug batteries in so I can try it out. I’m like a wine connoisseur checking out an expensive bottle of Bordeaux. “Ah. A fine, tingling vibration on this one. But somewhat lacking on the lower register. Very nice. They’ve done a really nice job with this model. They’re improving. Improving. But I think I’ll pass. This time. Can you bring me another vibrator? Something with more, I don’t know … range? Yes. Exactly. Thanks. You’re a doll.”
I hide the Diving Dolphin in my gym bag. I figure I’ll smuggle it inside and wait for the right moment to produce it.
Joe Blair is a pipe fitter who lives in Iowa with his wife and four children. This essay is adapted from his recently released memoir, "By the Iowa Sea."