Dildos and bongs tied up with string, these are a few of my favorite things
When I was twenty-five, the first of my friends got married. Though I was thrilled for the couple and excited for the event, the institution of marriage made very little sense to me at the time. My youthful irreverence/ignorance of matrimony led me to what I still think is the best wedding present I’ve ever bestowed upon a newly betrothed couple: a footlong glass bong and a sizable purple jelly dildo. I wrapped them together—the dildo nestled inside the bong— and was quite pleased with the anatomy of the parcel.
The exchange of giving or receiving a sex toy is a delicate one. In retrospect, and despite my enduring admiration for the young woman who eschewed blenders and stemware for bongs and dildos, this gesture may have been a touch crass. Had I gotten married at twenty-five, sex toys and drug paraphernalia certainly would have been in some password protected area of my registry open to close friends and extra freaky relatives, but to assume the same for others—even close friends—is tricky and should be approached with care.
Years later I was on the receiving end. For my thirty-second birthday, my partner gave me a sleek black silicone vibrator shaped like a tooth. I cried. We fought. That birthday kind of sucked. I vowed never to use it then tucked it away in deep space, in the same place one might stash a pack of cigarettes when they are desperately trying to quit—let’s call it ‘trashcan adjacent.’
I had admired this very model of vibrator while perusing a sex shop with my friend, but at the time I couldn’t yet wrap my head around spending over $100 on a sex toy, so I forgot about it. Now here it was again, old blacktooth, presented to me by the same man who had, just months ago, sat next to me on a loveseat at couples therapy and listened while I lamented the loss of our once scorching sex life.
‘Oh,’ I first thought, ‘I didn’t realize this was a tag team match, and your bro blacktooth has been waiting on the ropes for the last four years while your dick was getting tired!’ My anger simmered. I eventually got over it—my ego got over it. Intellectually I knew the gift came from a place of generosity and trust. My partner was sometimes distant, always sleep-deprived and over-worked, but never sexually negligent. That was my own shit. And one day—like a fiend—I remembered where trashcan adjacent was, where blacktooth had been waiting patiently for me to come to my senses. I’ve since properly thanked my now husband for the thoughtful gift, and the many years of pleasure it has given us.
So I can say from experience, the giving and receiving of sex toys is a delicate process but when executed properly is pretty fantastic. This year I’ve been browsing adult versions of the head-shop-variety bong/dildo combo I gifted so long ago: slick marijuana vape pens and high-end vibrators for those I care about most.