A What Now?
The warchest is a bit of inside jargon between Emily and I; it’s a term we came up with to describe the sum total of our “adult” item collection without having to constantly distinguish whether or not we were talking about toys, lubes, oils, or whatever. Lacking a term for our collection made conversations wordy and meandering. Simply put a warchest is whatever you use to enhance your sex lives as a couple represented as a collection. The size and variety of your warchest is personal and arbitrary. Your warchest could be as simple as a single go-to lubricant or it could more closely resemble ours—a varied collection of lubricants, oils, dildos, vibrators, restraints, clothes, candles, incense, and body fragrances—or anything between those two, or in excess of it. The point is, make it yours.
Do We Really Need That?
Need is a strong word but I highly encourage it. I dare you to have less fun with a carefully considered and stocked warchest. Let’s start with something simple, lubricant. Basic female fact, women experience sexual non-concordance far more often than men do. To put that in English, not everyone gets physically aroused with 100% lockstep to their mental arousal state, but women—for whatever reason—seem to experience less body-brain agreement than men. There are several reasons for this, some are biological in nature. Everything from cycle phase to pregnancy to childbirth, anything that effects hormone levels really, can cause vaginal dryness. So can just being sick or having a nutrient imbalance. There’s no sense in trying to force the body to agree with the brain in these circumstances and finding a good lubricant to keep on hand can just make that a non-issue. Suppose you and your SO like back-door fun too, obviously you need a lubricant for that as well. But front and back door lubricants have different needs, now you may need two lubes—we’ll go into specifics farther down. Now what if you wanted one just for fun; something a little slippy-slidey-messy like Bad Dragon’s infamous cumlube? Our example warchest has three items now and we haven’t even left the lubricant department. It’s funny how a little consideration for use case and a few “I want”s can balloon a warchest. Something as simple as keeping condoms around is a warchest too. Don’t box yourself into the fantastic when considering the term.
There are a few things that need to get done when planning out any warchest. Primarily, you need to be communicating with your partner openly and honestly. Some of these items can have negative impacts on self-esteem or make your partner uncomfortable. Let’s revisit the lube. What if you showed up at home with all these lubes from the example above in hand without communicating? Your partner may not know about sexual non-concordance. Some women think needing lube is a failing of their womanhood. Some men think it’s their fault if their woman isn’t wet and could take the purchase as an insult too. These issues need to be talked through if they exist and you’ll only know if you ask.
Anecdote time. I spent some time in my late teens working inside a meat packing/processing room in a super market. We always felt pretty isolated from the customers and talked about whatever. The work was hard, cold, and stressful. I’ve seen people lose bits to band saws. Environments like that tend to put more topics on the table than most settings. Sex came up a lot. We were talking about dildos one day and several of the fellas sounded off their opinions. I hadn’t really formed any yet, I wasn’t in a stable sexual relationship with anyone at the time, but I did pay attention to the answers. One answer that particularly struck me was, “toys are fine as long as they’re not bigger than me”. I found later that was a really common sentiment. A lot of guys think all there is to satisfaction is physical dimension, that an artificial object of sufficient endowment could literally replace the need for them. Yes, that’s insecurity, and it says a lot about what they base the relationship on, but it’s also a thing that’s real and an emotion you may need to be aware of. Some men just don’t know that despite hyperbolic reviews on product pages, many women find toys of any efficacy a poor substitute for the real thing. Education can be an issue too. There are a significant number of men and women that don’t really understand vaginal elasticity and think large toys or even above average toys will make someone ‘loose’. It’s good not to assume what your partner does or doesn’t know about sexuality. If you’re already communicating and in tune with each others wants and desires great! We will also be reviewing some books on sexuality soon. On that note, I don’t recommend warchest building with younger unestablished couples. Warchests have the potential to be significant investments and a pain point in a breakup.
We focus mostly on couples seeking or improving long-term committed relationships here however, so from this point on in this blog I’m going to assume that’s you, especially if you’ve gotten this far. We’ve covered the whats and the whys, so let’s dive into the hows.
If you’re new to the warchest market it may surprise you to learn that there are downright dangerous things being sold as safe. Dildos, plugs, and insert-able vibrators in particular are in a bad spot right now. Many of the most popular materials on the market right now—read: cheapest—are made of unstable plastics that break down and leech chemicals into the body. In addition these bargain bin toys are also porous and will collect chemicals, body fluids, bacteria, and all sorts of other nasties over time. I could write quite a bit about the specifics of this but I think it’s more useful to say what is safe.
When it comes to insert-able toys high-quality silicone based toys are top on the list of body-safe materials. Silicone can be cured to have varied textures and hardness to suit individual tastes and can hold a variety of interesting shapes. They’re non-porous, do not break down over time, and are easy to clean. Most are even dishwasher safe if that’s your thing. Properly cared for, a quality silicone based toy can last you decades. There are however counterfeits and ne’er-do-wells in this market, just like any other. Emily and I have two go-to providers for these types of toys. We go to Tantus for more conventional shapes and sizes for dildos and we also prefer them for plugs. We don’t find the ‘bullet’ solution to vibration that Tantus uses to be sufficient for our needs however and we have found a favorite in the Shibari Mini Halo wand. We also have quite the adventurous side and really recommend taking a trip to Bad Dragon if you ever find insert-able toys are starting to get routine. There are certainly other quality reputable manufacturers in this market but these are the ones we have personal experience with. However, I find Dangerous Lily to be a curator of integrity and you can’t go wrong with her. I’m not as strict in my preferences as she is when it comes to external toys but her highly informational deep dives into safe lubricants and toys are indispensable all the same. Seriously check her out.
Glass and metal are also alternatives to silicone and we do own quite a few glass toys. Quality glass toys are expensive however, but that didn’t stop us from falling in love with this unusual twisted piece. I don’t have any recommended manufacturers for metal toys unfortunately.
As for lubricants, look for top shelf brand names and check for ‘paraben free’ lubricants. That’s not the only irritant, that’ll vary person to person, but several manufacturers have started adding ‘natural’ lubes to their line-ups to address these issues. Sliquid offers a wide range of lubricants and is one of my go-to suppliers. When we’re looking to go for the rear we lean on Gun Oil. While the site says it’s ‘for men’ it’s really just specialized in anal friendly lubes. They’ve started a women’s section and while I’m not sure about the toys there the Pink lineup of lubes is quite a selection. I mentioned earlier that there are different lubes to get different jobs done. I’d recommend Dangerous Lily’s lubricant guide if you find all the options dizzying. On a quick note, I’ve recommended silicone toys here. DO NOT use silicone lubricants on silicone toys, you will RUIN them. Always be sure to read manufacturers recommendations and warnings.
That should cover the safety section. Let’s get to the fun stuff.
Oh The Options.
So we’ve covered the whats and whys. We’ve covered issues of safety and I’ve thrown more links at you already than I can shake a stick at. It’s time for some fun stuff.
Mood Setters – Don’t forget these essential parts of your warchest. Properly fragranced candles can double as mood lighting and olfactory pleasers. The brain is the biggest and best pleasure organ in the body, don’t neglect it. Use mood setters to clear away the thoughts that inhibit, well, the mood. This can be smells, the lighting, background noise or music, even which room you’re in. Just about everyone knows about the most ubiquitous mood setter, lingerie. Mood setters can make all the difference.
Lubricants – we already went over these a good bit in the safety section, and for good reason. Anything that goes in someone’s body needs to be thoroughly vetted. Just remember that there are a few basic types. Water based lubricants are easy to clean and typically don’t stain. They’re meant to augment natural lubricant and if they start to dry out can be ‘refreshed’ by a little water or natural moisture. Water based lubes are also condom and toy safe in the vast majority of cases, worry not with water. Thicker oil and silicone based lubricants and gels are better for anal play. The anus and rectum don’t naturally lubricate and lubes that aren’t absorbed by the body and ‘stay put’ better are preferable for this use case, they are harder to clean however and may stain.
Dildos – Are you a size queen or a texture fiend? Do you even know yet? Start with the basics and figure out what it is you like. Do you like girth, smoothness, ridges? This varies person to person. Only one way to find out! While a majority of women actually prefer external stimulation for getting off, women like Emily have a hard time making the magic happen without feeling full. If that’s you this is your stop.
Plugs – These are another item that benefit a lot from the qualities of silicone. Metal makes a large appearance here too as some people like their plugs to have a lot of weight. As for whether or not plugs are for you that seems to be one of the more individual tastes. Emily doesn’t really care for them even though she likes a good anal thrusting. Some people, men and women alike, seem to just do much better with some presence there in the same way Emily has a much easier time if there’s something inserted vaginally. Just like with dildos, if you’re curious and inexperienced with these chase things in ‘starter’ size. That’s where the similarities to dildos stop though, don’t treat these that way. For the best experience you need to be well lubricated, and very relaxed. Many women find it useful to get off once or come very close to it prior to anal play. Remember those mood setters.
Vibrators – As I just mentioned above, most women actually prefer getting off on clitoral stimulation and vibrators are designed to achieve that. When I say designed, I mean it, vibrators were originally invented as a medical device to relieve ‘tension’ in under-served wives. Until recently, vibrators haven’t really changed much since they were invented: Stick an electric unbalanced oscillator to a power source and feel the thump. Recently however there’s a new type of vibrator that uses puffs of air. We haven’t had the chance to try one of these yet but most of the reviews are very positive. If a more traditional vibrator is for you, check the reviews. Some are buzzy, some are rumbly, based on the type of motor used. That’ll be a personal preference.
Massage Oils – I could stick this under mood setters but I think massage oils deserve their own special mention. Unless specifically stated these are for external use only, which is a good thing. This lets massage oils be suffused with things that warm, or chill, or tingle, or smell good, or a combination. It’s a real good way to arouse the brain while you arouse the body. If you need to cheap out here, you totally can. Baby oil has a reputation as being a cheap but wonderful go-to here, especially if like me, you have a baby and buy the stuff in large quantities anyway, no one bats an eye!
Restraints – Rope, cuffs, whatever, these items are for couples that are into power play. You likely already know if this is you, but if you’re curious try it out. Besides, knowing how to tie a good quick release knot is a practical skill outside the bedroom too. There are safety concerns with this too. Ropes that are too tight are a bad thing. Check this page out to get started.
For long term couples, especially those with children, there are several logistical things to consider when building your own warchest.
- How and where will the items be cleaned/maintained?
- Do you need batteries and if so how many?
- How much physical space can you dedicate to these items and where will they be stored?
- What are you willing to spend?
- How obvious are they? (Noise, smell, etc.)
- How much prep time is involved?
- How frequently will they be used?
And that’s about it! As this blog goes on we will be reviewing some of these items specifically and in detail, so stay tuned for those. At this point we aren’t taking requests, we’ve got quite a collection to work through first. I hope this has been a practically useful and informational post.
I am not a paid reviewer. My content comes from me and I was not solicited in any manner for this review. My thoughts and opinions are my own.
Have a comment or a question? Is there a topic you’d like discussed? Let me know through my contact page.