The A-Z of Sex Toys
If you've ever wondered what a certain sex toy does and why people enjoy it, then look no further, as Lovehoney's A-Z of sex toys explains it all.
Baffled by sex toys? Confused by cock rings? Want to know what a Wartenberg wheel is? Lovehoney's here to help.
This is more than just a beginner's guide to sex toys. If you're at all curious about sex toys and want to expand your horizons you'll find this eye-opening list informative, with suggestions for further reading and toys to try out.
Video: The A to Z of Sex Toys
Anal beads are a set of balls, joined together securely, that are inserted into the anus. Often they start small and go larger along the length of the string, making them easier to introduce to the body. A great first anal sex toy, the widening balls feel incredible for both men and women during sex or masturbation. A popular technique is pulling the anal beads out at the point of climax.
An anal dildo is designed to stimulate the anus and as such differs from a standard dildo. Anal dildos are often slimmer in girth and are shaped in order to make them more stimulating for their intended area of use - especially when it comes to targetting a man's prostate gland. Often, anal dildos will have a flared base for added safety.
An anal douche consists of a bulb that is filled with water and a nozzle that is inserted into the anus. An anal douche allows you to safely introduce warm water into the rectum, helping to prepare yourself and your partner for clean anal play. An anal douche is a must-have hygiene accessory for those interested in anal play.
An anal vibrator is designed to give strong, deep vibrations. Unlike standard vibrators, anal vibrators are usually tapered for easier insertion and often have a stronger motor to ensure the vibrations travel well through the strong muscles of the sphincter and rectum. Anal vibrators often feature a flared base or finger loop so they are extra safe and easy to control.
A ball gag has head straps connected to a ball that is inserted into the mouth. The balls are sometimes punctured with air holes to ensure airflow and assist breathing. Ball gags without air holes prevent the wearer from breathing through their mouth. A ball gag is used to instill a sense of submission. Because the wearer can't talk, the wearer has to become more creative with communication and their partner better at understanding their lover’s requirements during play.
Ball Splitter & Ball Stretcher
A ball splitter or ball spreader is a bondage device worn around the scrotum, and sometimes the penis as well, to separate the testicles and force them into an unnaturally tight, symmetrical position. A ball stretcher is a device worn around the scrotum to stretch it downward. They often include loops for attaching weights to pull the testicles down even lower. If used extensively, results can last once the device is removed.
A bit gag has head straps that connect to a rubber or plastic bit - a long and thin solid object that sits between the teeth. Bit gags are smaller and more comfortable to wear than most other gags and do not restrict speech. The wearer is also able to breathe through their mouth during use. These gags are designed to look like a horse’s bridal and are sometimes connected to reins, but not all bit gags have reins and they’re not just for 'pony play'.
A blindfold prevents the wearer from seeing anything. Blindfolds can be styled in a classic sleep mask style, as a scarf that requires tying or as a full-head hood that covers the wearers face and head. By restricting eyesight, the wearer's other senses are sharpened. This can increase sensitivity to touch, taste, smell and sound. The blinfolded lover is likely to feel less self conscious about experimentation.
Bondage rope is designed specifically for safely tying people up or tying people to things. Bondage rope is thick enough to prevent knots slipping, yet with very little stretch to ensure that knots don’t accidentally tighten (a characteristic not shared by all rope). The surface of bondage rope is smooth and soft to prevent skin abrasions. Shibari and Kinbaku are elaborate forms of rope bondage, where intricate knots form body pieces that are a work of art in themselves.
Bondage tape is specially designed self-adhesive plastic tape that can be used to bind the wrists or ankles, gag the mouth and blindfold the eyes, or even make some nifty PVC clothing. Just like clingfilm, bondage tape sticks to itself so you don't need to tie knots and unlike normal tape, it will not pull on hairs. This means that bondage tape is reusable, just flatten it out and roll it back onto the cardboard tube.
Bullet vibrators are small, powerful vibrators usually used for clitoral stimulation. Because of their unintimidating shape and size, they're also perfect for couples to use during foreplay or to explore other erogenous zones. Bullet vibrators are some of the quietest vibrators on the market and a great choice for those who want a discreet sex toy.
A butt plug is a gently tapered sex toy that is inserted into the anus. Butt plugs usually feature a slimmer section at the bottom, to help the anus hold on to the toy, and a flared base for safety. A great first anal sex toy, men and women can both benefit from wearing a butt plug during sex or masturbation. Women often find that wearing a butt plug during sex increases the tightness of their vagina and provide new sensations for their partner.
Also known as a strap-on vibrator, a butterfly vibrator is designed to be worn so that it can give hands-free clitoral stimulation. The adjustable straps go around the legs, allowing the butterfly vibrator to be worn in such a way that it can vibrate on the clitoris without interrupting sexual intercourse. Butterfly vibrators can also be paired with dildos for solo play or used so the wearer can enjoy a hands-free orgasm.
A chastity device is designed to stop the wearer from sexual contact - with themselves or others. They can take on many forms including chastity harnesses, chastity belts and chastity cages. Some chastity belts are designed for playing in the bedroom, whereas others are for long term wear. The most common role of chastity devices is as a tool of tease, to wind someone up to the point of sexual frustration to enhance the feelings of sexual release.
A classic vibrator is a long, phallic-shaped sex toy that vibrates along the length of the shaft. Whether smooth, ribbed or textured they are excellent for both clitoral and vaginal stimulation and can even be used on him too. Classic vibrators are easy to use, often with a twist base, and their sleek lines make them easy to keep clean.
A clit clamp attaches to the clitoris or clitoral hood to cause pain or is a piece of jewellery that hangs over the clitoris for decoration. Clit clamps applied to cause pain can cause a numbing sensation to the clitoris to accentuate sexual frustration along with a slight pain that can be arousing. Clitoral clamps also cause enlargement of the clitoris which can be beneficial for assisting in clitoral contact during sex.
A clitoral vibrator is designed to be used externally on the clitoris and can feature nubs and textures to give a variety of sensations to your play. Clitoral vibrators are usually extremely powerful as a lot of women find that they need strong vibrations in order to orgasm. Often small and inexpensive, they are a toy box (and handbag and glove box) essential.
A clitoral pump applies suction and is intended to heighten the sensitivity of the clitoral area and temporarily enlarge the labia and clitoris. By engorging the area, a clitoral pump helps to improve sensations and enhance orgasms. Some clitoral pumps also incorporate vibrations to help make them even more pleasurable for the user.
A cock ring works by preventing blood from flowing back down the penis, which helps a man to maintain his erection as well as making the penis feel larger and harder. Cock rings are a great alternative to libido pills, sprays and creams. Beginners are suited to stretchy rings, while experienced users can opt for rigid metal cock rings.
A cock strap is usually made from leather and steel, its primary function is that of a cock ring - to assist in erectile enhancement and virility. The leather components can assist clitoral stimulation but are designed to emulate the Arab strap - a restraint device designed to manage stallions when they were reluctant to mate. Cock straps therefore have submissive overtones and are less likely to be worn by a dominant man.
A collar is worn around the neck to imply ownership, allow restraint or control at the neck or give the wearer a submissive appearance. Some collars feature lockable buckles which prevent removal by the wearer to accentuate the feeling of helplessness or being owned. Many collars are fitted with a frontal O-ring to allow leads, harnesses and bondage equipment to be connected to them.
A crop is a type of whip originally used for horse riding and racing but has found its place in the bedroom. Its connection with all things equestrian make it a favourite for 'pony play'. A crop has a relatively small surface area that makes contact with the skin, meaning the power of the swing is concentrated to a relatively small area of flesh, increasing the sensation felt. Crops can also be used in a similar way to a feather tickler by brushing the tip across the skin to excite the nerve endings.
Also known as a dong (and often mis-spelt as didlo or dido), a dildo is one of the oldest sex toys around. If you enjoy penetration and thrusting in particular, a dildo is your number one choice. From small to giant, or realistic to glass, the dildo is possibly the most versatile sex toy on the market.
Sometimes known as a strap-on or strap-on harness, a dildo harness allows a woman to wear a dildo so that she can penetrate her partner. Dildo harness kits come with everything you need to get started, while a more advanced user often chooses a dildo harness that fits and feels comfortable and then buys a compatible dildo of their choice. Because the dildo can be changed, you only need one dildo harness.
Double Ended Dildo
Also known as a dong dong or double ender, a double ended dildo has two insertable ends. A double ended dildo can be shared so that two people can experience penetration together, or used alone so that someone can enjoy double penetration without having to wrangle with two toys. Some are set in the double penetration position, while others are flexible.
Double Ended Vibrator
Also known as a strapless strap on or vibrating double dildo, a double ended vibrator is usually worn by one partner (often a woman) while the vibrating shaft is used on the other. The advantage over a double ended dildo is that double ended vibrators add extra sensations for the receiver, and some pleasure the giver with vibrations too.
Electro Sex Toys
Electro sex toys use the same technology as toning belts, but the attachments are much more interesting with everything from dildos, butt plugs and bullet vibrators to electrified gloves, penis bands and nipple clamps. The sensation of electro toys is akin to vibration with a deeper-penetrating feeling. The levels are variable, so you can start off very gently and work your way up to ensure you’re always comfortable with the levels you’re working with.
Extra Quiet Vibrator
If you need discretion, you need an extra quiet vibrator. No vibrator will ever be silent, but extra quiet vibrators have been engineered to have quieter motors and are usually made from materials that do not carry the noise of the vibrations. Although they are usually rechargeable, battery powered extra quiet vibrators have specially designed casings to minimise rattling from batteries.
A feather tickler is either a single feather or a stick mounted with multiple feathers which are used to invoke a sensory reaction. The feeling of a feather running over the skin excites the nerve endings and causes you to get goosebumps, making you more sensitive to touch temporarily. Feather ticklers are often used during foreplay to enhance erotic sensation and cause a sense of anticipation for sexual contact which heightens mental arousal.
A finger vibrator is designed to slip onto the end of the finger and is used for clitoral stimulation. Finger vibrators are great for couples as they allow you to enjoy the full hands-on experience, but with extra pleasure at your finger tips. Versatile and easy to use, they're a great first toy and excellent for adding an extra buzz to foreplay and oral sex.
A Fleshlight is a male sex toy that is disguised as a torch (or flashlight, hence the name). Fleshlights have a soft and sometimes textured sleeve made from an extremely realistic material that mimics the sensations of sex and oral sex. Fleshlights enhance masturbation and add an extra dimension to foreplay for couples.
A flogger has multiple strands of leather or suede but can also be made of rope, cotton, rubber, metal or plastic. Floggers work in the opposite way to a riding crop by dividing the force of the hit across several small surface areas to lessen the force of contact and spread it across a larger area of skin for a gentle sting. The tails can also be used in a similar way to feather ticklers to excite nerve endings.
A gag is worn in the mouth to prevent speech, muffle sound, force the mouth to remain open or otherwise restrict mouth movement. Gags come in many guises with some covering the face and others sitting solely between the lips or teeth.
The G-spot is located a couple of inches up the front of the vaginal wall and a G-spot vibrator is specially designed to direct vibrations to this cluster of nerve endings. With a firm, angled tip G-spot vibrators give the pressure (and vibrations) required to stimulate the G-spot to give a G-spot orgasm and, if you're lucky, the key to female ejaculation.
A glass dildo is made from specially toughened glass that won't break and can be heated up or cooled for entirely new sensations. The firm material is wonderful for G-spot stimulation and the smooth glass makes insertion ever so easy and comfortable. Glass dildos are easy to keep hygienically clean, so as well as being perfect for extra safe play, they are often used for anal explorations.
Handcuffs are designed to bring the wrists together. Usually made out of metal, they have two individual cuffs joined by a short length of chain. Handcuffs are traditionally used to secure the hands behind the wearer's back but can also be used to secure the wrists around an object, fixture or fitting to prevent the wearer from moving from the position they are placed in.
Sometimes known as a strap-on dildo, a harness dildo is a dildo with a wide, flat base that will fit into a harness and allow the wearer to penetrate their partner. Once you have a harness that feels comfortable, you can select from a range of harness dildos that can be used interchangably to suit your every need.
A hog tie is a bondage restraint technique where the submissive's wrists and feet are bound together behind the back, inhibited movement. Many experienced bondage players enjoy using a hogtie restraint to achieve this position. A hog tie is normally comprised of two wrist cuffs and two ankle cuffs which can be clipped together.
Inflatable Butt Plug
An inflatable butt plug is perfect for those who enjoy the sensation of being filled and stretched as the inflatable butt plug starts small and can then be pumped to the desired size. Inflatable butt plugs allow the user to get the girthsome, full-up feeling without having to pass a toy with a wide circumference through the anus.
An inflatable dildo is designed to be inserted and then pumped to a size that satisfies the user - especially useful for those who enjoy a filled-to-the-brim sensation. Inflatable dildos allow the user to enjoy a wider girth and a full-up feeling without having the difficulty of inserting a toy with a large circumference. Available in small, medium, large and monster (our best seller).
Jelly vibrators are made from soft materials that are often coloured to make the vibrator look more attractive. Because the jelly material is less expensive to manufacture, a jelly vibrator is a good choice when you need a cheap sex toy. Jelly rubber vibrators have a porous surface, so should always be used with a condom and stored separately as the materials in different jelly toys can react with each other and melt together.
With a variety of different names (including Ben Wa balls, Geisha balls, duo balls, vagina balls, love balls or love eggs) Kegel balls are the term we used to describe balls that are designed to be inserted into the vagina in order to exercise and strengthen the pelvic floor. Often weighted, Kegel balls can also give pleasurable sensations to the wearer while exercising the Kegel muscles.
Also known as a leash, a bondage lead can be attached to collars, harnesses and piercings as a controlling device in 'pet play'. Individuals connected to leads are pulled in the direction or position that the dominant partner desires. Also used as a slave training device to correct improper behaviour or convey ownership in public.
The term 'luxury vibrator' is usually applied to toys that have a significantly high build standard and a slightly higher price. Luxury vibrators are usually better quality, including the materials they are made from, the power of the motors and functions such as rechargeability and waterproofing. Built to last, luxury vibrators are often an investment purchase that will gradually match the cost-per-use figure of cheaper sex toys that need to be replaced more often.
Massage Wand Vibrator
When people talk of a wand vibrator, they're often referring to the Hitachi Magic Wand which is no longer sold in the UK. Other vibrators have since taken the classic magic wand design features of a large head, flexible neck and rigid body. Covering a large area and often mains powered for the most intense vibrations, magic wand vibrators are perfect when other vibes don't work for you. They're also great for massage!
Also known as a stroker, fake vaginas or pocket pussy, a male masturbator is a hand-held textured sleeve that can be penetrated by a man to enhance solo sessions or add a new dimension to erotic foreplay as a couple. Often combining a variety of textures, male masturbators create incredible new sensations during hand jobs. Lube is an essential purchase with a male masturbator to keep things slick and sensual.
An erotic mask is usually an elaborately decorated face adornment, with the main purpose of disguising the wearer’s identity. Commonly worn at fetish and swingers parties and events to avoid being recognised in person, in photos or on film. Masks are also used in roleplay between partners to create a new image.
Medical fetish describes a sexual persuasion toward medical scenes, instruments, costumes and roleplay. Medical fetish equipment is often the same as that found in hospitals and doctors surgery and includes a vast array of equipment from stethoscopes and latex gloves to speculums and urethral sounds.
A mini vibrator is an unintimidating, pocket-sized vibrator that's ideal for travel. They also tend to be cheaper so are great for experimenting with toys for the first time. Small and beautiful, mini vibrators pack a punch as they only have to power a compact body and are ideal for clitoral stimulation.
A nipple clamp is form of clip that is attached to the nipple to create anything from a mild pinching sensation to discomfort and pain. Usually adjustable to allow you to control the pressure exerted on the nipple. Vibrating nipple clamps follow the same principal but are teamed with vibrating bullets to enhance sensations further. Once the clamps are removed nipples appear swollen and feel more sensitive.
Each nipple sucker creates a vacuum to suck at the nipple and causes it to become erect, increasing their sensitivity to touch once removed. Regular use of nipple suckers can permanently increase the size of nipples and their sensitivity.
A penis extender is used to add extra inches, girth and texture to the penis. By slipping on a penis extension sleeve or hollow strap-on penis extender, you can have an temporarily enhanced member without having to use sprays, creams, pills or other medical intervention. Penis extensions also have the added side-effect of reducing sensation which means they help the user to last longer during sex.
A penis pump is designed to give a stronger, larger erection for more satisfying sex or better feeling masturbation. To use a penis pump, you insert your penis into the airtight cylinder and pump to create a vacuum. The suction inside the penis pump increases blood flow and makes your penis harder, larger and more sensitive. Results are temporary to begin with, but may become permanent after extended use.
Also known as a Wartenberg wheel or neurological wheel, a pin wheel device is a piece of medical equipment designed to test nerve response in patients suffering from a lack of sensation. The wheel has small points or teeth that rotates when the wheel is pushed over the skin. These points excite the nerve endings in the skin, causing goosebumps and shivers and increasing the skin's sensitivity to touch.
A pussy pump applies suction to the entire vulva/pussy and is intended to heighten sensitivity and temporarily enlarge the labia and clitoris. By engorging the vulva, a pussy pump helps to improve sensations and enhance orgasms. Some pussy pumps also incorporate vibrations to help make them even more pleasurable for the user.
A man's prostate gland is located inside his anus and when stimulated can give stronger orgasms and, with practice, a 'Super-O', 'hands-free' orgasm. A prostate massager (often mis-typed as prostrate massager) is designed to make stimulating the prostate/P-spot easy so that 'milking' the prostate gland is achievable by every man. You can also find vibrating prostate massagers on Lovehoney that give additional sensation.
The rabbit vibrator is the best selling sex toy model in the world. Rabbit vibrators are dual action vibrators, designed so that the 'ears' on the outside stimulate the clitoris while the rotating shaft gives brilliant internal sensations. Rabbits can be slimline, extra thick, thrusting, G-spot shaped or triple stimulating (with extra ears to stimulate the anus). With such a range of styles, you're sure to find something perfect for your needs.
A realistic dildo is crafted to feel like a real penis and often features the glans, foreskin, veins and sometimes the balls too. Some are even moulded from real people. Lots of realistic dildos may be realistic-feeling but still be bright purple and glittery! Others are realistic feeling and made from lifelike materials (that need a little extra care and attention) for the most realistic sex simulation.
Realistic Dildo Vibrator
A realistic dildo vibrator gives you the lifelike feel of a penis, often complete with a crafted glans, veins and balls, but with the addition of vibrations. Lots of realistic dildo vibrators may be realistic-feeling but still be bright purple and glittery, while others are moulded from real people. Some are realistic feeling and made from lifelike materials (that need a little extra care and attention) for the most thrilling sex simulation.
Remote Control Vibrator
A remote control vibrator, sometimes known as a knicker vibrator, is a vibrator (usually egg-shaped) that is controlled by a remote control. You simply insert the egg and get ready for the fun to start. Remote control vibrators allow you to put the power in someone else's hands (or go hands-free if you fancy it!) which makes them a perfect teasing toy for couples.
Technological advances mean you can have a super-powerful rechargeable vibrator that gives you hours of playtime after a short charge time. Rechargeable vibrators are initially more expensive, but you soon make up for the inital cost by not having to spend out on batteries. Once you've found the type of toy that works for you, upgrade to a rechargeable model and you'll never scramble around for batteries again.
Also known as a love doll, an inflatable blow up doll is a cheap way to experiment with hands-free sex in positions you would use with another person. The cheapest sex dolls have plain holes into which you can insert a realistic masturbator for a better experience. More realistic sex dolls are a real investment and give incredible sensations without you having to make any modifications.
A sex machine is a device that is designed to pleasure the user sexually without the need to manually manipulate toys with your hands. Often electronic, but sometimes working with momentum, sex machines offer a sexual stimulation that is closer to the experience of someone else touching or having sex with you than a handheld sex toy.
A sex swing is a seat or harness that allows you to get into brand new positions for sex and oral sex and experience some of the deepest penetration of your life. The straps and stirrups of a sex swing make getting into acrobatic positions comfortable and practical. Different sex swings are designed to be suspended from the ceiling, hung from doors or attached to a purpose-built stand alone frame.
Silicone is a superior sex toy material as it's smooth, quick to warm to body temperature and easy to keep hygienically clean. Most luxury toys are made from silicone, and we sell a wide range of affordable silicone vibrators and silicone dildos. Silicone sex toys should not be used with silicone lube and silicone toys should be stored separately from each other.
A spanking paddle is a flat device designed for spanking your partner’s bottom. Most paddles are made from leather, which is much softer against the skin than wood and provides an audible ‘thwack’ that accentuates the experience of being paddled or spanked for both partners. Spankers are often used as part of sensory play to accentuate touch by awakening the nerve endings and inducing an adrenaline rush in the spankee.
A strap on is the general term for a dildo that is worn by a woman. Strap ons are great lesbian sex toys, or brilliant tools for 'pegging' (where a woman uses a strap on to anally penetrate a man). We sell strap-on dildos, strap-on vibrators and even strapless strap ons that are inserted into the vagina for harness-free pegging.
A strapless strap on is a form of double-ended dildo that allows a woman to wear it in her vagina and then penetrate her partner. They can be used by lesbian couples or heterosexual couples who enjoy 'pegging' (where a woman anally penetrates a man). Because there are no harnesses required, strapless strap ons allow for a greater level of physical contact and our reviewers have reported this helps heighten intimacy.
A clitoral suction vibrator offers a spine-tingling combination of delicious vibrations and gentle suction. These vibes have taken clitoral stimulation in a whole new, totally climactic direction, with some users reporting orgasms in mere seconds.
Want suction AND vibration? Your wish is Womanizer's command - the Womanizer Duo G-Spot and Clitoral Stimulator blends delicious clitoral stimulation with G-spot vibrations.
Vibrating Butt Plug
A vibrating butt plug is a tapered sex toy that is inserted into the butt, with vibrations that tingle the sensitive anus and, in a man, stimulate the prostate gland. Vibrating butt plugs usually have a slimmer section at the bottom and a flared base to ensure the plug stays in place. The vibrations are either controlled at the base via a push button, or with a wired controller that some people find easier to use.
Vibrating Cock Ring
The most popular couples' toy on Lovehoney, vibrating cock rings provide all the benefits of a regular cock ring (restricting blood flow to create a larger, firmer erection) while adding vibrations. A vibrating cock ring hugely increases the chances of coming together. A vibrating cock ring most often features a clitoral stimulator at the top, but some also have a second bullet at the bottom of the ring for pernineal and testicular stimulation.
Vibrating Love Egg
A vibrating love egg is a versatile egg-shaped vibrator that's a favourite toy for both clitoral and vaginal stimulation. Often featuring a wired controller or separate remote control, they can be inserted and then used hands-free by you or your partner. A great first sex toy, vibrating love eggs allow you to experiment with a huge variety of playtime situations.
A waterproof vibrator either has a rubber ring around the battery compartment to stop water getting in, or is designed with no open parts (such as waterproof rechargeable vibrators). A fantastic addition to the toy box, waterproof vibrators can be taken into the bathroom for a more stimulating shower or relaxing bath. Waterproof vibrators are also great for those concerned with hygiene as they can be completely immersed in water.
A whip is a flexible device with a contact area that is used to inflict pain upon impact with the skin. The most common whips are bull whips (a la Indiana Jones) which were traditionally used for farming to keep cattle under control, horse whips such as riding crops and the longer dressage whips and floggers.