Agony Aunt Maggie Ellis answers readers' questions on sex and relationships...

"Is it OK for Christians to use sex toys? My girlfriends at work have given me a vibrator for a laugh. I would never have bought it for myself, but reading the box, it says it can help you have an orgasm more easily. To be honest, although I sometimes climax, I often can’t get there, which is frustrating. I’m finding myself tempted to get the vibrator out and give it a try. My husband thinks we should give it a go together, but I am unsure. What do you think?"

As with other questions, such as ‘is oral sex ok?’ the Bible of course says nothing about sex toys and therefore we have to apply the principles we know from scripture into what becomes an area of conscience.

A vibrator can certainly make it easier to have an orgasm, and I believe God is pleased when we can find this little gift he has designed for our pleasure and release. A lot of women find orgasms hard to achieve and a vibrator may well help because however diligently your lovely hubby may be working out at the gym he is not going to be able to compete with a battery! However, we need to weigh up the potential consequences and context.

I wouldn’t advocate using it by yourself, as I believe sexual pleasure is given to draw us together and feel like a gift. It is at its best when it is not just mechanical and a physical release but intertwined with love, romancing, being appreciated and feeling the attentiveness of the other.

So, if you decide you both feel happy to experiment with it, then I would recommend strongly that you incorporate it into your love making together. However, do be careful that it doesn’t become addictive so that you become reliant on it to orgasm. I would advocate just using it occasionally for the sake of variety and in the meantime teach your husband how to touch you well. Remember that the majority of women don’t achieve orgasm through penetration but through digital stimulation. Let him know when he is hitting the spot of your clitoris and when he is missing it. Do this positively so it does not become an area of pressure or annoyance. Share with him what type of touch you like around there. Don’t allow the vibrator to be an easy way out to avoid these harder conversations. Maybe God in his wisdom has deliberately designed our differences to get us into talking and going beyond ego or embarrassment so as to build true intimate knowledge of each other and a deeper wholeness.

I wonder if the real question behind this ‘sex toys’ question, is how to grow in your ability to release the experience of orgasm. There is a secular book called Becoming Orgasmic (Piatkus) by Julia R Heiman and Joseph LoPiccolo that you may find helpful. But having an orgasm is not just about better touch, but will also take you into the realms of your psyche. We have to be prepared to let go control and feel good about being in that place of abandonment. We have to pull all the strings of our minds into one intense place of focus: a focus on sheer physical sensation in the context of love and security. We have to be at ease with being purely sexual in that moment, trusting the other with this aspect of who we are. It is a profound place of trust which is why it gets easier as we get older as it comes with selfconfidence and security with the other person.

So…is it OK for Christians to use sex toys? Think carefully about what it could add as well as what it could detract from your intimacy. Personally, I don’t think there is anything overtly wrong with using them if they are just used occasionally and you let it add to your good communication, not be a cop out to avoid learning, so long as both partners feel at ease with it and it is not detracting from your focus on each other.

Do you need sex toys or will you have a better sex life with them? Absolutely not – God has given us all we need within our natural bodies and minds to fully satisfy and bless because that is his design.