The Case For Buying Your Mom A Vibrator

Photographed by Megan Madden.
My mom and I aren't the type of people who tell each other the nitty-gritty details of our sex lives, but I was never under the illusion that she stopped having sex after my conception (and if I was, that illusion would've been shattered by her surprise pregnancy 18 years later). So I never understood why the idea of moms as sexual people made so many of my friends act like they needed to dunk their brains in bleach.
Newsflash: Your mom (probably) has sex and (probably) enjoys it. And pretending otherwise is doing both you and her a disservice. So, I'm here to make the case for buying your mom a vibrator this Mother's Day. It's a good one. Hear me out.
The first thing you need to know about your mom, as long as she isn't asexual or hasn't denounced sex for other reasons (like the amazing Jane Fonda, who's just over it), is that orgasms give her the same kind of pleasure that they give you. Not only that, but they provide all kinds of health benefits like better sleep, glowing skin, and stress relief. Masturbation can even lead to higher self-esteem, and who wouldn't want their mom to be happier, healthier, less stressed, and more confident?
The second thing you need to know is that buying your mom a sex toy could open a whole new world of sexual exploration and empowerment for her, says Polly Rodriguez, CEO of sexual wellbeing company, Unbound. That's because she might not be confident enough to buy one for herself...or even think that she can. "For older generations, especially the baby boomers, sexual exploration was not only discouraged, but shamed — and that includes most of our mothers," Rodriguez says. Most women are gifted their first sex toy from a friend, according to research from sex toy company Lelo. But your mom might have missed out on that type of sexually open friendship due to social stigma that says women shouldn't talk about or be interested in pleasuring themselves. So why not be the friend who gifts your mom her first sex toy?
Even if the vibrator you buy her won't be your mom's first sex toy, it could open up conversations that you never thought you'd have with your mom; conversations that could help both you and her. "The gift could kickstart a conversation about sexuality, sexual development, and stories from when mom was your age," says Rosara Torrisi, PhD, an AASECT certified sex therapist and the founder of the Long Island Institute of Sex Therapy. "Many people forget that parents and grandparents have lifetimes of knowledge and experience that could be useful to younger generations — they were once the new, cool kids who were radicals and listened to weird music." So, talking about your mom's sex life, as awkward as it feels, could give you an idea of what to expect when you get to her age.
Of course, buying your mom a sex toy isn't as easy as buying her chocolates, so there are a few things you'll want to consider first. Start with a conversation, Rodriguez says: "Even if it’s awkward. Especially if it’s awkward." You don't want to just buy a vibrator without giving your mom a heads up. And if the conversation does feel too awkward, Dr. Torrisi suggests easing into it. "Try saying something about how you got yourself a toy and thought, Oh, wow! I bet anyone with a clitoris would love this!" she says. Then see how your mom reacts.
Whatever you do, don't give a vibrator as a "gag gift," Rodriguez says. "Female sexuality is not funny, and if we treat it with respect, we can really work to eradicate some of the stigmas that have traditionally been associated with it." Stigmas like assuming that moms never have sex. (See what I did there? The mom guilt trip.)
So, the plus sides of giving your mom a sex toy are: health benefits, confidence boost, sexual awakenings, and breaking down stigma. That seems like a pretty solid case for buying mom a vibrator to me. But, I understand that it's a bold move and one that not everyone feels comfortable making. So, if you want your mom to feel like the sexy and sensual person she is, but talking about her sex life still makes you want to dunk your brain in bleach, then there are ways to hint that you know your mom has sex (and you're okay with it). Dr. Torrisi suggests booking your mom a massage, a spa treatment, or a cooking class, or getting her some candles, bubble bath, luxurious lotion, or new sheets. Basically, anything that's going to make her feel relaxed and pampered.
So, go ahead and take any of those gift ideas. Or, if you want to join my #VibratorsForMoms quest, here are a few good suggestions.
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