Published: November 28, 2012
What's the etiquette around (nonpenetrative) sex toys after a breakup? I bought restraints, a blindfold, etc. for my ex, and she left them behind. It seems a waste to throw them away. Is it a bit squicky for a guy to bust out an arsenal of old toys when a new gal comes along?
Alone With Accessories She Had
Jonathan Schroder, general manager of Mr. S Leather in San Francisco (mr-s-leather.com), suggests that you get rid of your bondage gear. Schroder is in the business of selling sex toys – Mr. S is famous for its high-quality bondage gear – but his advice isn't about his desire to move merchandise. It's about your desire for gals, AWASH.
"Personally, I think some of the best gear you can get is hand-me-down gear," Schroder says. "And there's a great tradition in the gay leather community about passing gear from older folks to younger folks. But my gut tells me that a new girlfriend might wig out about used bondage gear. We have a lot of customers and couples that have a strong preference for cleanliness. But straight women in particular prefer that things be wiped down, well-cleaned and shiny. So a woman who opens a dresser drawer and finds restraints with signs of wear and tear – and signs of someone else's sweat or fluids on them – is probably going to be turned off."
So get rid of your old gear, Schroder advises, but don't throw it away.
"Find someone who wants and can't afford bondage gear, and give it to them," Schroder says. "Gear is expensive, and there are people out there who can't afford it. Help 'em out."
If all people are naturally nonmonogamous – a point I've made about 10 million times – then from my perspective, polyamory and monogamy are relationship models, not sexual orientations. (And if poly and monogamy are sexual orientations, Lily, wouldn't going solo have to be considered one, too?) That was my point. Poly can be central to someone's sexual self-conception, and it can be hugely important, but I don't think it's an orientation in the same way that gay, straight or bisexual are orientations. People can and do, of course, identify as poly. But is poly something anyone can do or something some people are? I come down on the "do" side. Lily clearly disagrees.
But as @GetItBigGurl said on Twitter, where Lily and I engaged about my comments in last week's column, "Openly pondering difference between orientation vs. lifestyle isn't bigotry, legislating against polyamory is."
No one is legislating against polyamory here. Just thinkin' about things.
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