Thinking about making some sex toy purchases but don’t know where to begin or what to expect? Read on for hot tips and cool toys to get your bedside table totally stocked and ready to rock.
Tip 1: Shop Around
Chances are, especially if you’re in a major metropolis, you have quality small business sex shops in your city. Shopping local, in-store, might sound uncomfortable but if you do some research in your area, you may find great sex and body positive companies just around the corner. If you’re up for it, go in, speak with a team member and see and touch the toys you’re considering. If you don’t have the luxury of quality and variety at your literal fingertips, a few keystrokes will give you access to a wide and wonderful world of online sex toy shopping.
Who you buy from is a matter of personal taste, price and convenience but other things you may want to consider include: the reputation of the brands you’re looking at, where the products are manufactured, and what materials they are made from. Small scale, independent toy retailers will often be 10-15% more expensive but they may have custom, niche and unique options that mass market sex toy brands don’t provide.
Tip 2: Make Healthy Sex Toy Choices
When it comes to body-safe toys, non porous materials like 100% pure silicone, stainless steel and glass are easy, available choices for penetrative experiences like vibes, butt plugs and dildos. Avoid less stable “jelly,” vinyl and rubber toys which can be porous (meaning they hold onto nasty bacteria) and can break down over time with toxic consequences.
Don’t forget to grab some lube while you’re at it! Water based lubes are all purpose because they can co-mingle with all types of toys. Silicone and oil based lubes don’t play nicely with silicone toys but they have more slip and staying power (great for anal!) than water based lubes, so consider what you’re using it for and which toys are applicable. Tread lightly with flavored lubes – they almost never taste as good as they smell and can be quite irritating to the delicate tissues of the anus, vagina and mouth.
Tip 3: Consider Uni-Task vs Multi-Task
Scrolling through an online retailer’s endless pages of sex toys is daunting if you’re not sure what you’re looking for. Remember that the sex toy industry is like any other: their purpose is making money, so before you toss your hard earned cash around on multiple toys, think about how you want to use the toys you purchase. There’s certainly nothing wrong with buying a vibrating toy and a separate penetrative toy, But if you’re into the idea of penetrative toys that buzz you may be able to make use of an insertable vibe and spend that other money somewhere else.
Dildos with flared bases are safe for both vaginal and anal play, and if sized right can be compatible with harnesses too, making them some of the hardest working toys out there. Vibrators come in many shapes and sizes, and can be used anywhere on the body. Rabbit style vibes can be good for the vaginal/clit combo and stronger, wand style vibes are task masters that can be used with or without other toys and can double as massagers for external vibrations wherever you need them.
Tip 4: Engage Your Senses by Going Solo
Masturbation is one of the best ways to learn what your body enjoys and what you need to help get it there. Knowing the kind of touch that works for you can be really helpful in identifying what toys will enhance those feelings. And remember: sex toys aren’t just for genitals and orifices and they don’t have to make you orgasm! Take time to learn about the sensations that get you off and get creative with the tools and toys you collect.
Don’t overlook sensory experiences of the skin like Wartenberg Wheels, nipple clamps, electro-stim, different fabrics and materials like leather or latex. The possibilities are endless once you start looking at what may work for you. A lot of people, even people with big toy collections, often include some “Pervertable Convertibles” – household items that come in handy in the bedroom (think clothes pins, rulers or belts for impact play, etc.) For insertable toys, I don’t promote many home made options, but as external sensory explorations, you can safely get creative if you go slow and use common sense.
Tip 5: A Sex Toy is a Worthwhile Investment
Sex toys are absolutely the kind of thing where “you get what you pay for” but you can curate an awesome collection without breaking the bank. Anything priced “too good to be true” is likely just that, and I guarantee you will regret a $10 dildo. Cold hard cash aside, it’s important to remember that sex toys can be a part of your self care regime and therefore have value beyond being just fun indulgences.
Spending the money and taking care of your toys by cleaning and storing them smartly, means that you can get lots of use out of inexpensive to mid-range toys. High end toys can be worth the sticker shock but just because something is expensive or well-made does not mean it will work for you and your body.
Sex toys don’t need to be intimidating, but they are very personal. Approaching your initial purchases with care can help you save money, find really amazing, fun, liberating and pleasurable toys, and help you learn about yourself. How and how often you use them is up to you, but if you’re curious about dipping a toe into the world of sex toys, or you’re wondering if they are for you, take the plunge: life is far too short to not enjoy everything we can.