When Lucy Wark founded NORMAL, the Australian sexual wellness brand, she was on a mission to revolutionise the way we approach sexuality. And she’s done exactly that, creating not only a sex toy brand that offers up chic (yes, chic!) and diverse toys for all kinds of pleasure, but speaks to a modern community. The result is a brand that provides the tools, information and confidence to explore sexuality without stress or shame.
Among her trusted team is certified sex coach Georgia Grace, (or as you might know her, @gspot_ on Instagram), who has helped countless clients overcome their sexual issues. Bringing her signature openness and expertise to the NORMAL community, Grace works to educate and inspire everyone to explore sexuality and sex toys in a way that is both empowering and uplifting.
As part of Her Black Book’s ‘Love Edit’, we asked Grace to answer a few of your burning questions about sex toys (where to even start?), her favourite NORMAL products and the common misconception she’s tired of hearing.
“Well, I guess this is a pretty individual question based on how you experience self love, but sex toys allow for you to experience heightened pleasure, whether that's on your own or with someone else. They allow more people to experience orgasm and they build arousal in your body. When you masturbate and when you climax, your body is filled with all of these feel good neurochemicals, serotonin, dopamine, oxytocin, which can be felt in your body for up to an hour after you climax. These are often referred to as the “love” or “cuddle” hormones. So basically, hormonally, you can experience self love through the act of masturbation- and sex toys can help you get there.”
“So anytime I'm asked the question,’Is this normal?’ we need to get a sense of your ‘normal’. Often in session, we'd look at something called your libido baseline. So how often do you typically want sex for a fulfilling sex life, and then we'll go from there. But as you've also said, lately, I'm curious about what's changed, what's happened? Are you now in a long term relationship and it no longer feels novel or exciting or different? Are you more stressed at work? Has something in life gone on? How is your sexual confidence? How are you feeling in your relationship? So let's look at what's changed recently. It is totally normal for your desire to feel like it goes up and down, that is very human and very expected. But if it's affecting you, it may be useful to book in with a professional or just start to track the changes and see how you can bring in more things that create a context for desire for you.”
“Anytime you're trying something new, I want to validate that it can feel kind of nerve wracking. You're not exactly sure what it will feel like, how to use it and what to do with it. So that is completely normal that you're experiencing that. The first thing I would recommend is actually going to itsnormal.com and doing the sex toy quiz because based on your specific sexual needs, you'll be recommended a toy that may be best for you. The best thing about Normal is that we also have a 100 night stand policy. So if you don't love the toy that you've got, then you can always return it and make sure you're getting something that's perfect for you. Often what I'll do with my clients is invite them just to use it on a part of their body that isn't their genitals. So they may use it on their hand, or their neck, their chest or their stomach and just get used to what these vibrations feel like. Then you can also get a sense of the different settings and the pressure you like to use. It’s a great way to sort of horizontalize the experience in that you're not trying to make your stomach climax or your neck climax, but you're just exploring this new sensation. If you're wanting to bring it into sex with someone else, you may say something like, “Hey, I'm really curious about exploring sex toys with you. How would you feel about using one sometime soon or the next time we have sex?” If they're into it, great. Maybe you could go shopping together, find something that is great for both of your needs or something that excites you. If they're not into it, maybe you just thank them for letting you know their boundary and you go and explore it on your own. Sex toys are fun, they're healthy, they're normal and they're a really great thing to add to any sexual experience. Their sole purpose is basically to support you in feeling more pleasure. So let's just normalise using them and find something that's perfect for you.”
“I would actually say most sex toys can be integrated into sex with someone else. Let's just move beyond this linear idea that sex is just penetration or sex is naked bodies doing stuff together. Sex can be a range of things so often there are some pretty popular couples toys. I would say a cock ring if someone in the relationship has a penis because often they are vibrating and can work to stimulate someone's vulva or anus as well as someone's penis. If you're wanting to do something more externally, a wand is an incredible toy to start with because it can stimulate your whole body but it can also stimulate the vulva, the clitoris and it can also stimulate the frenulum which is a really sensitive area on the penis as well as the perineum. I would say it's a great sex essential and even one to start with. You might also opt for something like a palm vibe so anyone can have it in the palm of their hands and put it between bodies, and that can sit really nicely on the vulva or the perineum. It can fit between bodies as well. But then basically let's just not limit ourselves to thinking that this sex toy needs to be integrated into penetrative sex with ease.You could literally use anything because if you are doing mutual masturbation or oral sex or any kind of other position, whether you're stimulating your body or they're stimulating your body with the toy, it's just a great tool to build sensation and enhance pleasure together.”
“This is the one that is so infuriating, and sometimes even sexual wellness professionals will say this, and it is that “Sex toys will desensitise your genitals”. A sex toy will not and cannot desensitise your genitals. Say, for example, if I were to bring a vibrator to my hand and leave it on my hand everyday for the next ten years, I'm not going to rub away nerve endings in my hand. If anything, I might build awareness of the sensation that is there, I might feel more pleasure, and know how to stimulate my hand better. But often there is this fear that when we integrate something that isn't a man and a woman making love, that it is a piece of technology, then it's not an intimate way to have sex. So this is a misconception I am tired of, and I think that is something that we need to educate about. So anytime you're having sex in a very specific way, using the same hands, the same stimulation, looking at the same porn, lying on your back, clenching your breath, doing all of these things, your body will learn to anticipate or expect that form of stimulation. So then when it comes to having sex with a partner, where you absolutely will not be able to receive that exact kind of stimulation. Also, there may be elements of feeling less present because you're thinking about what they're thinking or wanting or needing.There's a whole other dynamic when we bring more people into sex with us.That's where this misconception comes from that it will ruin you for partnered sex. However, just like you can learn to experience more pleasure, you can learn to do things differently. So if you're finding that you're using your vibrator every day, and it's now affecting how much pleasure or sensation you're feeling when it comes to partner sex, mix it up. Maybe use your other hand to use the vibrator. Maybe in between sessions, you use your fingers or you hump something instead. Maybe you change or switch up positions. You haven't destroyed yourself. You haven't rubbed away nerve endings. We would not be selling vibrators or designing these products if this was the case. I'm pretty fired up about that one.”
“I always use the lubes, they are part of every sexual experience I ever have. My number one favourite toy for solo sex masturbation is Quinn. It is like the best oral you will ever get, but also that's a great toy for partnered sex. I love the Palm vibe, Billy, because it reminds me of the first sex toy I have had. It's so soft and it's so fun to use in any kind of sexual experience. My favourite internal toy is Darcy. Darcy is our G Spot vibe and it just feels like it's the perfect size and the perfect material. It's fun to use with Quinn and it's also a crowd favourite as well as being double ended. So if you're having sex with someone with a vulva, you can use both ends.”