Awkward. You saunter into the living room and there’s a vibrator on the coffee table, or perhaps you head for a shower to find a suction cup dildo stuck on the tiles.
It’s not that you have a problem with sex toys, you have your own carefully curated collection, but it might be a little gross to find someone else’s just hanging out in the open like that.
So what do you do when you find something you were probably not meant to see? We have some tips on how to tackle a slightly difficult situation.
It’s perfectly acceptable to be pro-sex toy and anti-sex toy left in plain sight in communal areas. Even the most sex-positive of people know there are still some boundaries. Not to mention the unsanitary aspects of it all.
Leaving any kind of sex toy on the table, bathroom, kitchen, top of the washing machine, or wherever, no matter whether it’s a dildo, a leather whip, or even a well-thumbed erotic novel that falls open on certain pages, is a boundary violation.
The shock and embarrassment of finding your roommate’s private belongings in a common area might feel disrespectful, even if it was clearly an accident, but when you do bring it up and talk to them, it’s vital you don’t shame them.
It might be an idea to open with asking if you can give them some feedback, and framing the conversation as an ‘X-Y-Z’ statement - “When you did X in situation Y, I felt Z” - then try setting up a policy or rule about personal belongings remaining in each roommate’s personal space.
The other aspect is that a stray sex toy on a common area implies it was also used in the same common area. The idea that a roommate was using a shared sofa for sex or masturbation may cross a boundary. But when addressing the issue, it’s better to discuss the toy rather than how or where it was used.
It might be best to treat found sex toys as you would with any other personal hygiene item such as a toothbrush. This can then remove the ‘sex’ part out of the equation when discussing the issue. If the roommate thinks you are policing their sexuality and/or practices, the discussion might not go so well. It becomes a conflict about identity, not about an object.
Your roommate is likely highly embarrassed that you found the incriminating item, so it might just need a friendly, gentle reminder that personal items should remain personal.
Many of these awkward moments derive from the efforts to try and balance mutual interest and respect each other's autonomy. Try stick to the core principles of how do I show respect to another person and ask others to respect me?
Or, putting it another way, how would you like the roommate to approach you if the situation was reversed.
And if all goes well, and you can both laugh about it afterwards, then there are plenty of cheap dildos online in the UK for the household Secret Santa!