Q&A: How do I get past my sexual trauma?

All names are changed for the purposes of anonymity.

Hi Sh!

I wonder if you could advise me or whether this is outside your advice area.

I have never bought a vibrator or any sex toy as my first relationship was with a very controlling, abusive man who even thought touching yourself was cheating (me, not for him) and my second and current relationship is with a fairly shy man (husband) who has only just decided to let go and open up on experimenting and communicating openly about these things. Before both relationships was a rape and before that nothing (I was brought up on nothing before marriage rule which it took a while to break). I’ve had a baby in the last 9 months with a painful episiotomy and am just starting to feel back to normal sex drive and comfort levels. I am generally pretty experimental and adventurous in other areas of life so it seems a shame to miss out here.

Despite this not awesome start to my sex life, I am very positive about broadening my horizons and interested in vibrators, silver balls, etc but no clue where to start. Any idea how to choose the right toy?

This is an extremely open email to a stranger so a bit scary!



Hi Leanne

Many thanks for your email, and many thanks for being so open. We meet many women in similar situations, and we hope we can offer advice that will be useful for you.

It is really great that you are thinking about your pleasure. Sexual arousal often starts in the brain, so this is an important step in the right direction.

Before introducing a toy, we’d recommend exploring yourself using just your fingers and some lube. Lube is the most amazing thing, and a drizzle over the fingers and vulva can make a huge difference in how things feel. It’ll make things smoother, but also heighten arousal. It could also be a great idea to download some great erotica written by women for women (no offence guys – but we find female erotica authors often have a way with words that can really get the juices flowing…)

Clitoral Pleasure VibeThere are no right or wrongs when it comes to choosing a toy – it’s all about what the individual person might enjoy. For you, a small toy for external pleasure may be a good starting point. We have a great selection of vibrators for clitoral pleasure on our website and in our shop. These are designed to stimulate and tease the clitoris (and with 8000 nerve-endings on it’s tip, it does like stimulation!). In terms of vibration, it’s always a good idea to choose a toy with more than one speed, as this gives you variety and options. You might find that you like just plain vibration, or you might find that you like fancy pulses and patterns.

Love balls (silver balls) are great fun, and can be used for toning the pc muscle (especially important after having given birth) and also as sex toys. You can pop the balls inside whilst you explore the outer vulva with your fingers or vibrator. Having something to grip onto can feel super-sexy, so we recommend exploring what feels best for you.

If you’d like a toy to use with your husband, we have a fun selection of couples toys, like vibrating cock rings. These rings are great for newbies, and a gentle way to introduce sex toys into a relationship.

If you live in or around London, you might like to come along to Cafe V sometime. Cafe V is a support group for female survivors of sexual violence and assault. We talk about sex and sex toys, and we drink tea and eat pastries. It’s set up by My Body Back Project in collaboration with Sh!, and it’s definitely worth checking out.

Have fun, and let us know how you get on!


Team Sh! xx

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