GOOD FOR HER: Exploring Sex Toys with Carlyle Jansen

WAXON recently had the pleasure of chatting with Carlyle Jansen, the founder of Good For Her, a premier sex toy shop in Toronto. Carlyle is an author, speaker, and relationship counsellor focused on sexuality. Since 1997, Good For Her has provided the community with a safe and comfortable environment allowing people to explore their own sexuality in an honest and open way. We asked Carlyle all about sex toys, and how WAXON women can get the most out of their toys!

Q: What are the most frequently asked questions at Good For Her? 

According to Carlyle, the most commonly asked question at Good For Her is “what is the best toy?”. It’s a tricky question to answer, because there isn’t just one toy that works best for everybody; people have to find what works best for them. Staff at Good For Her are also commonly asked if people will get addicted to their toys and if using a sex toy will ruin partner sex. As Carlyle explained later in the interview, sex toys actually tend to improve partner sex, so this myth can be de-bunked. Funnily enough, Carlyle also mentioned that one of the most frequently asked questions is simply how to turn the toys off! Those hidden buttons can be confusing. 

Q: What should people consider when looking for their first sex toy?

Look for something versatile. When you buy a childrens toy that only does one thing, your kid is likely to get bored pretty fast. The same can be true for sex toys, so look for a toy that can do more than one thing. As a beginner, it can be hard to know what you will like so Carlyle suggests finding a toy that is long and thin. A toy like this can be used on a large surface area and can be inserted or used for external vibration; the more versatile the better! A good tip is to look for something that has both up and down speed buttons so you can easily maneuver the speed of the toy - those damn buttons again!

Q: What can people look for when they are looking to upgrade their sex toy?

Suction toys are really good for people looking to branch out. They suction around the clitoris providing a different sensation than a vibrator. There are also thruster style toys, which mimic the thrusting action of penetrative sex. If you’re feeling extra adventurous, Carlyle suggests trying out an app based vibrator and having a partner control the speed. This can be a fun thing to do when in public; just try and keep a straight face when ordering your next iced latte when wearing a vibrator controlled by your partner!

Q: How else can toys be used with your partner?

Try out a toy as part of light bondage or teasing! Carlyle explained that bondage doesn’t have to mean pain; it could look like being tied up and teased to the verge of orgasm, for example. Toys can also simply be tools used during partner sex to help you orgasm. Some people require a vibrator in order to orgasm at all; just like some people need eye glasses to see, or calculators to do math, vibrators can be a vital part of someone’s healthy sexuality. In this sense, a sex toy would be very important to use during partner sex. While it might be intimidating to suggest a toy to your partner, Caryle says that most partners tend to be open to the idea - most of the time, it’s making their job easier! 

Q: What is good sex store etiquette? 

Don’t pick up the toys and wave them around in someone’s face! Or in other words, don’t “yuck people’s yum”. The variation found in Good For Her exists for a reason - people like different things, and that’s good! It’s okay to try something and not like it, or to say that you aren’t interested in trying something yourself. But don’t go around the store saying something is gross or passing judgement on why someone would want to engage with certain sex toys. Carlyle suggests coming into the store with an open mind and some curiosity. Another important piece of store etiquette involves the staff. Please don’t ask staff what they like personally, if you can try toys out on them, or ask them on a date. Don’t comment on their looks or ask them about their personal sex lives. The people working in the shop are regular people; some are very open about their person lives, but some people aren’t. Don’t come into the store with assumptions about the people working inside it.

Q: How can women become more sex toy positive?

Sometimes, even just seeing sex toys can help open people’s minds. When Good For Her first opened, most sex toys were modelled on visual representations of a penis - think lots of viens, flesh coloured, etc. The sex toy landscape is very different now and people may feel more comfortable with the sleek new look of toys. Carlyle pointed out that engaging with anything that makes you uncomfortable is the number one way to getmore comfortable. Pop into Good For Her, take a look at the sex toys. Read up on why people like their toys, why they use them, etc. It’s a good idea for people who are unsure about sex toys to do the research and to normalize toys for themselves. These aren’t fringe experiences and you don’t have to look too hard to find people talking openly about why they love their toys. As a sex therapist, Carlyle suggested that people start redefining what sex even is! It isn’t always a penis inside a vagina, and when we start looking at sex as a broader experience there are many more avenues available to you to find pleasure. And that can only be a good thing. 

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