Beginner's Guide to Sex Toys
Navigating the vast world of sex toys can be daunting, to say the least. Whether buying for yourself or someone special, it’s time to get sex toy savvy.
Want to know which sex toys to choose for a happier, more fulfilling sex life? Or maybe you’re curious about expanding your toy horizons but aren’t always sure about what goes where.
If you’re confused about cock rings, vexed by vibrators, or maybe baffled by butt plugs, then read on to discover the ins and outs of the wonderful world of sex toys just waiting to be discovered.
Best of the best: hottest-selling sex toys
Why do people use sex toys?
Sex toys can add a whole new dimension of excitement and pleasure to both solo and couple’s play, no matter your gender or sexual orientation. Many people use sex toys to:
- Experiment with different types of play and sensations
- Discover, explore, and expand on sexual preferences
- Achieve stronger, more intense, and/or blended orgasms
- Help with medical issues such as erectile dysfunction
- Revolutionize and optimize sexual happiness
Video: How to Buy Your First Sex Toy
Different types of sex toys
Vibrators are, as you might have guessed, sex toys that vibrate. They come in a huge array of shapes and sizes to give you as much pleasure as non-humanly possible. From classic realistic, phallic shapes to curved stimulators, rabbits, bullets, wands, and remote and app-controlled models, vibrators are all designed to give clitoral, vaginal, G-spot, or P-spot stimulation or a mix of various stimulation types.
Vibrators can be enjoyed by any gender identity and offer a range of sensations. Petite vibes are great for incorporating into partnered sex, with bullet vibrators often being inserted in hollow dildos and strap-ons.
If you’re looking for a great first-time vibrator, we recommend the pictured Lovehoney Deluxe Rechargeable Mini Massage Wand Vibrator, which is a customer favorite!
Most vulva owners require clitoral stimulation to achieve orgasm, which is why the vibrator is one of the most popular sex toys around. Many combine both clitoral and penetrative stimulation to give you the most mind-blowing of blended orgasms. They also tend to offer a wide range of speeds and patterns so you can customize the settings for what thrills you most.
Learn more about vibrators in our Beginner’s Guide to Vibrators.
Dildos are insertable sex toys that provide straightforward satisfaction and are ideal if you need some sort of internal stimulation to get off.
Available in many different colors, shapes, and sizes, they provide penetration pleasure in a wide variety of options. From long and girthy to petite and beginner-friendly, you can find just about any width or length you desire in the diverse world of dildos.
Dildos come in both realistic and non-anatomical forms. Many, like the pictured Lifelike Lover Luxe Realistic Multicolored Silicone Dildo, feature a suction cup base that makes them harness-compatible for those interested in strap-on or pegging play.
Learn more about dildos in our Beginner’s Guide to Dildos.
Love Eggs & Ben Wa Balls
Discreet and sexy, Ben Wa balls are small, egg-shaped balls that sit inside your vagina to give your pelvic floor a workout. They can be used solo, during foreplay, or out and about. Also known as Kegel balls, Ben Wa balls are a fantastic workout tool for vaginas; they strengthen your vaginal muscles to give you stronger orgasms during sex and can help you squeeze tighter during penetrative sex. You can learn How to Use Kegel Balls for exercise in our guide!
Love eggs are little balls that vibrate to give you extra pleasure in and out of the bedroom, often with a remote control so you can put the power in your lover's hands. They sit inside the vagina for internal stimulation, and the app-compatible or remote-control nature of many styles makes them ideal for couples’ play. Take the pictured and highly-rated We-Vibe Jive, for example, that lets you play with a partner from just about anywhere in the world. Check out our guide on How to Use a Love Egg for more information.
When you think of anal toys, a butt plug is usually the first thing to come to mind. Generally speaking, butt plugs (which can also be vibrating or inflatable) are conical-shaped, starting small and gently graduating in size. They usually feature a slimmer 'neck' at the bottom and a flared base for safety.
Butt plugs can be used to gently stretch the anus before enjoying something bigger, like an anal dildo or a penis, or as an erotic experience in themselves. They create a sensation of fullness and pressure while stimulating the sensitive internal and external nerve endings of the anus.
When the pelvic muscles contract during an orgasm, a butt plug can intensify the sensation as you're squeezing against something. Using a butt plug as part of your sexual repertoire can lead to intense anal fulfillment and amazing orgasms.
Learn more about anal plugs in our guide on How to Use Butt Plugs.
Anal beads are a great way for beginners to explore anal stimulation. They generally consist of a string of smooth plastic, metal, or glass beads joined together by flexible material. The first few beads usually start off small but slowly graduate in size, allowing you to enjoy more and more length and girth.
These beads can be used alone for unique anal stimulation or during masturbation or intercourse. With their graduated shape, smooth spheres, and ergonomic, easy-to-use design, anal beads give you a 'filled-up' feeling that many people find incredibly pleasurable and can turn a regular orgasm into an earth-shattering experience. Pull these smooth and durable beads out just before orgasm to experience an intense experience unlike anything else!
Anal beads are a great way to experiment and experience anal play, allowing your body to adjust slowly and gently to the increasing size. Smooth and spherical, anal beads are easy to insert and non-intimidating. If you’re trying anal beads for the first time, we recommend the pictured ROMP Amp Silicone Anal Beads.
Learn more about different types of anal beads in our Beginner’s Guide to Anal Beads.
Strap-ons are a great sex toy for all types of couples. They allow you to penetrate your partner while keeping your hands free for other forms of fun. Ranging from strap-on harness kits, pegging kits, hollow strap-ons, vibrating strap-ons, double-penetration strap-ons, Vac-U-Loc strap-ons, and even strapless strap-ons, there is truly something for everyone.
The majority of strap-ons come with a strap-on harness that sits around the wearer's hips to give greater control over the toy during use. Pictured is the beginner-friendly Tracey Cox Supersex Strap-On Pegging Kit, which is filled with just about everything you need to get started using strap-ons.
Whether you're looking to add a bit of kink to your relationship or are a seasoned veteran of strap-on play, there’s a wide variety of strap-ons and kits available to fulfill your every need.
You can learn more about the different types of strap-ons out there and how to use them in our Beginner’s Guide to Strap-Ons!
A cock ring (also known as a ‘stamina ring', 'love ring', or ‘penis ring') is a stretchy ring that prevents blood from flowing back down the penis. They can provide penis owners with longer-lasting, harder erections and can also help increase mutual pleasure for couples during penetrative sex. They also come in myriad styles to appease different stimulation desires.
Cock rings are easy to wear and should be used with lube. They should be put on while you're flaccid; as you grow harder, the ring should feel begin to feel snug but not to the point of discomfort. You should notice the benefits almost immediately.
Vibrating cock rings are available in both single and double-ring designs and feature a vibrating unit that heightens stimulation for the wearer and their partner. Most have a textured, forward-facing vibrating protrusion that stimulates the clitoris during partnered sex, while some focus stimulation towards the balls, anus, or perineum to thrill the wearer.
A cock and ball ring (like the beloved and buzzing Lovehoney Bionic Bullet 5 Function Vibrating Cock Ring pictured to the left) features a ring that sits around your shaft and balls. Some cock and ball rings feature 2 rings (one for your penis and one for your balls) to give you the benefit of both designs in one toy.
Like standard cock rings, cock and ball rings (also known as ‘double cock rings’) should be applied while you're flaccid. You'll need to put the ring around your balls first, followed by your penis. Put plenty of lube on the inside of the ring and on your member to make the process smoother. Slip one ball through the loop, followed by the second and once both balls are inside the ring, slide the head of your penis through so that it surrounds your entire package.
Strokers (including Fleshlights)
Male masturbators like strokers and sleeves are a go-to sex toy for penis owners and with good reason - they're easy to use and provide out-of-this-world stimulation along the entire length of the penis. They come in a bevy of different shapes, sizes, and colors and can offer amazing textures that simulate or surpass the feeling of the ‘real thing.’
Perhaps the most well-known of all strokers is the Fleshlight, beloved for its discreet cases and the hyper-realistic sensations the textured sleeves provide. Some Fleshlight models are molded from the parts of renowned porn performers, while others like the pictured Fleshlight Flight Pilot have non-anatomical openings.
Though strokers have a reputation as being a solo sex toy, they can also make a great addition to partnered play by spicing up any type of hand or mouth action. Many couples enjoy using sleeves and strokers together as they’re non-intimidating and brilliant for revolutionizing foreplay.
Learn more about strokers in our guide to using male masturbators.
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