Help! My Wife Hardly Used Her Vibrator Before She Died. Can I Give It to My New Girlfriend?

Advice on manners and morals.
March 14 2013 6:15 AM

Things That Make You Go Hmmm …

I’d like to give my new love the hardly used vibrator of my deceased wife. That cool?

Emily Yoffe.
Emily Yoffe

Photo by Teresa Castracane.

Get Dear Prudence delivered to your inbox each week; click here to sign up. Please send your questions for publication to prudence@slate.com. (Questions may be edited.)

Got a burning question for Prudie? She'll be online at Washingtonpost.com to chat with readers each Monday at noon. Submit your questions and comments here before or during the live discussion.

Dear Prudence,
In the summer of 2011 my wife and I purchased a top-of-the-line Jopen vibrator. We used it a few times and were just beginning to really integrate it into our sex lives when my wife died suddenly of a heart attack. (The vibrator had nothing to do with that.) Now, more than a year later, I've begun to date again. I've met a woman with an open mind, and I'm thinking she might be interested in using the vibrator. But I'm not sure how, or whether, to suggest it. Is it creepy to offer a dead woman's vibrator to someone else? And if so what else can I do with it? Sell it on Craigslist? It's an expensive piece of equipment, barely used, and it should be employed (and loved) once again. All of my wife's other major possessions found wonderful new homes with dear friends of hers. But then again, a vibrator's got a different—well, vibe about it. Sell it, toss it, or share it?

—Oscillating

Advertisement

Dear Oscillating,
Talk about a buzz kill. I can’t even imagine raising the idea of asking your new squeeze to party with a vibrator “loved” by your late wife. Even if you’ve cleaned it off with Antibacterial Toy Cleaning Spray, this suggestion is going to cause unnecessary friction. I understand there is a piece of equipment, one permanently attached to you, that has been washed and used again with your new love. But paradoxically, intimate inanimate objects can feel more personal, and sharing certain ones would likely make anyone shudder. If just before her death your wife had bought a $140 Philips Sonicare HX6932/10 electric toothbrush, offering it to your girlfriend would make her gag. The Vanity by Jopen is also $140, comes in magenta, and its motor is apparently so powerful that when the user comes she’s probably magenta herself. But imagine trying to explain to your girlfriend that your wife only had a short time to enjoy her Jopen before her heart gave out—unrelated to the use of this equipment. There’s the rub: you don’t actually want to have that conversation. As for selling it on Craigslist, yes it’s possible that could find the vibrator a new home. But I would not want to meet the kind of person who would ring my bell in order to get a used vibrator. I understand you consider your Jopen investment-grade, but sometimes expenses just can’t be recouped.

—Prudie

Dear Prudence: Young White Supremacist

Dear Prudence,
I have been married for 16 years and can count on one hand the number of times my husband and I have had sex. For the first five months of our relationship sex was frequent and passionate. Then I got the engagement ring and the excuses started. I married him because he was the love of my life and hoped things would get better after the stress of planning a wedding was behind us. I was also in my mid-30s and wanted children. The honeymoon was a huge disappointment. Our two children were conceived through IVF. We have been in counseling, but at this point, I’m not attracted to him anymore. He is kind, smart, funny, and a great provider. He is a fabulous father and he and our young teenage twins would be devastated if we divorced. In five years, the twins will be in college. Do I leave him after the kids go and try to find someone else? Or stay and live in a comfortable but platonic marriage?

—Too Good to Go, Too Bad to Stay

Dear Bad,
On your way to the fertility clinic to mix up your gametes in the laboratory because your physically capable husband is so phobic and twisted about sex that he won’t do the deed with you, I wonder if an inner voice said, “This is completely crazy.” Yes, you were eager to have children, but when your husband insisted on a celibate honeymoon, that was the time to recognize the extent of his pathology. If you have a normal sex drive, I don’t know how you can consider continuing your monastic existence (actually, I’m betting a lot more sex has taken place at monasteries than in your marriage) once the kids have gone. Frankly, I don’t know why you should condemn yourself to another five years of this. If for the sake of your children’s stability that sacrifice seems worth it to you, that’s your choice. But I’d suggest you go back into couples therapy and discuss the possibilities of divorce or open marriage. Your husband has reneged on one of the basic principles of your union, and you’re entitled to seek a physical connection elsewhere. Since you must be incredibly sexually frustrated, I know a place where you get a fancy Jopen vibrator, cheap.

—Prudie

Dear Prudie,
I'm a single mother and my ex-husband has stopped paying child support (I'm working on that, but there’s no money now). I’ve got a new job in health care which is secure but low-paying. I have $20 in my checking account and am about to file for bankruptcy. My 11-year-old son and I are barely getting by, but I'm grateful for what we do have. He is not. I've shielded him as much as possible from our financial straits but that leaves him wondering why we don't eat out all the time like his friends, go out for entertainment like his friends, or constantly upgrade to the latest-and-greatest-whatever like his friends. What do I tell him when he asks for something and the real answer is, “I'm broke"? It’s not that he’s always asking for things that are extravagances. One week, we were out of milk and I couldn't get more because I didn't have the money. When this happens, what can I say?

—Trying to Be a Good Steward

  Slate Plus
Slate Picks
Nov. 21 2014 1:38 PM What Happened at Slate This Week? See if you can keep pace with the copy desk, Slate’s most comprehensive reading team.