Image via iStock.
Then as a joke present for our engagement, one of his mates gave him a fleshlight – a sex toy designed to feel like an artificial vagina to use during masturbation. I think the inference was that married people don’t have sex, so he’d soon be having to resort to this.
When it was first unwrapped, I laughed along semi-ignorant to what it actually was. When I got home and actually realised what it did, I immediately told him I wasn’t comfortable with it, that it was degrading, and requested that he get rid of it.
“It’s a joke – of course I’m not going to use it! But if it upsets you that much then fine,” he said, placing the box in the bin. I told him I appreciated him taking it seriously and thought that was the end of the conversation.
I remember actually recoiling at the touch and knowing that all I wanted was to be as far away from it as possible. With Liam due home from work any minute, I was fighting back tears trying to work out what to do. Assuming that there must be a reasonable explanation, I decide to simply bring it up when I saw him.
After he’d set down his coat and joined me on the couch, I casually told him I’d found something unexpected in the laundry. His face immediately reddened, before he regained composure and tried to play it cool. “And what did you find?” he said.
“That THING you promised me you’d thrown away. Were you ever going to mention it?” I replied, feeling more upset by the second - until his total nonchalance almost sent me over the edge.
“It’s not a big deal - when I found out how expensive it was it felt a waste to throw it out,” he said.
Seeing me getting angrier and angrier, he tried to justify himself.
“Loads of people use them I don’t know why you’re making such a fuss about it,” he said.
The thought of him actually using it hadn’t even crossed my mind and before I burst into tears, I ran out of the room.
Him lying about it in the first place was one thing and I was hurt enough by that betrayal - after all, what else could he be hiding? - but deep down I knew it was the thought of him using this fake vagina that really upset me. (Post continues after gallery.)
It made me feel inadequate, like the real thing wasn’t good enough and that he preferred that perfect stupid mechanical version that was ready whenever he was. How many times had he snuck out of our bed to use it? How many times had he turned me down because he had plans to use it - or worse already had?
I’m not an idiot - I know it’s good for both men and women to masturbate, and using sex toys is a perfectly healthy thing to do. It just wasn’t something Liam and I talked about (or something that I preferred not to think about) and it took me by surprise that it was something he did regularly.
That said, I know if it had been me who had the sex toy and he’d told me to get rid of it, I’d have told him to forget it - it’s an expression of sexuality and pleasure that I had the right to use and enjoy.
But I don’t have a vibrator or dildo and had never felt the need because in my mind he was enough. I thought he felt the same.
After an argument that felt like it went for hours with me crying and him exasperated, he said “Alright, whatever - it’s gone”. We made up, but I couldn’t shake the hurt feeling - or that he was lying to me once again.
That was almost a year ago and while the fleshlight quickly disappeared from the laundry cupboard, every day I expect to open a drawer or a forgotten box to see it staring back at me once again.
We haven’t mentioned it, but I wouldn’t be surprised if “it’s gone” simply means “I’ve found a better hiding place.”
Does your partner use sex toys?