Power up: here’s everything you need to know about sex toys
Choosing a sex toy can be overwhelming. For one thing, masturbation (while completely normal) can still be a pretty taboo subject, and for another — there’s so much choice. Broadly speaking, some toys (i.e. anything that vibrates) will feel good to anyone that uses them. Others, however, are specifically designed to hit certain spots, and so may not bring much pleasure when used differently. Here’s some suggestions if you’re unsure where to start.
The Cardinal Rules of Sex Toys
1) Only put things in your vagina or up your bum that are supposed to be there. In other words, try to avoid household objects and use sex toys that have a base, handle, or string, so you can pull it out if it gets stuck. (Unlikely, but it can happen).
2) Always use toys made of body safe materials and avoid materials that contain phthalates. Bad materials include PVC, vinyl, jelly rubber, jelly, ‘Jell-Ee’, ‘crystalessence’, ‘gel’, ‘skin’ or ‘futurotic’ or anything similar-sounding. Good materials include silicone, ABS/hard plastic, metal, borosilicate (‘Pyrex’) glass, aluminium, stone, wood, ceramic. Most sex toys list their materials, and if it’s not listed, it’s best to skip it and search elsewhere.
3) Don’t share sex toys with someone without cleaning them thoroughly first. If you know you will be sharing, use toys made of non-porous materials, such as glass, as they’re much more hygienic.
4) Lube will make it more comfortable and pleasurable. But check that the lube you use is suitable for your toy. Using the wrong type of lube can degrade certain materials. Definitely don’t use silicone-based lube with silicone sex toys.
Okay, so let’s talk more about some of the most common sex toys out there.
Dildos are basically a stand-in for a penis. They usually do not vibrate. You can get them in a variety of styles, including realistic, non-realistic, veiny, smooth, double-ended, very tiny or extremely large. Harnesses are available for use with a partner – if that’s what you’re both into. You can use dildos for either your vagina or your anus. If you use your dildo for both, be sure to clean it thoroughly before you swap it between the holes. No double dipping.
Vibrators come in many, many forms. Your basic ‘cheap and cheerful’ toy is a bullet vibrator. You can use bullets internally or externally. Definitely think twice about using one anally, however, as they could quite easily get stuck. For external use only there are clitoral massagers such as the wand vibrator. Wands are great because you can actually use them as massagers anywhere on your body. For internal use, curved vibrators target the G-spot. Lastly, ergonomically designed dual-action vibrators, such as the infamous ‘Rabbit’, hit the G-spot and clitoris simultaneously. So plenty options there.
Butt plugs and prostate massagers are specifically designed for anal use. This is great because they usually have a ridge that will prevent them getting… lost. You can get vibrating and non-vibrating versions, and some p-massagers are hands-free. Size is definitely an issue here, so don’t overestimate what you can comfortably accommodate. So take it slow and definitely use lots of lube.
Toys for Penises
These toys probably won’t bring pleasure to anyone who doesn’t have a penis. The most well-known of these are male masturbators. Think of the Fleshlight. Masturbators are textured sleeves that sheath the penis and take the concept of a posh wank to a whole new level. If the whole beige, hairless vagina thing doesn’t do it for you, there’s plenty of neutral looking masturbators.
Toys for Couples
Cock rings restrict blood flow to the penis, consequently causing harder and longer-lasting erections. Cock rings that vibrate also provide pleasure for both people. There’s also a lot vibrating toys that come with a remote control, allowing one partner to take charge of the other’s pleasure.
Not strictly for pleasure, you insert kegel balls into the vagina and wear them to improve pelvic floor strength. Kegel exercisers may improve your orgasms and may prevent a range of long-term health problems. But there’s no guarantees there.
Always remember that sex toys are by no means a requirement of experiencing either solo or shared pleasure. But they can be great for helping you get to know your body and figuring out what you enjoy. You can buy lots of different toys for different sensations, and there’s lots of affordable options. So get experimenting.