If you’re starting to look into sex toys for the first time, the number of options can be intimidating! Sex toys come in all sorts of shapes and sizes, for lots of different purposes. Not all sex toys are the same, and different people may use them differently. Sometimes people use different toys for different sex acts! If you’ve ever looked at a sex toy and wondered what it does, read on.
Penetrative sex toys
A lot of sex toys are designed for anal or vaginal penetration, or going in a vagina or anus. There are lots of companies making these toys, using a wide variety of materials and shapes.
A good way to tell if you can safety use a toy for anal or vaginal penetration is to look at the base of the toy. If it flares out, it might be for anal penetration. If it doesn’t, it’s better suited for vaginal penetration. A flared base helps keep toys used for anal penetration from getting stuck inside. This is less of a concern for toys that are just used for vaginal penetration.
Beyond that, there’s no end to the variation you can find in these toys. You can use them any way you want, but certain shapes may serve specific purposes better than others. For example, some people prefer curved dildos for g-spot stimulation.
Toys for clitoral stimulation
Lots of people have a hard time orgasming through penetrative sex alone. Clitoral stimulation can be just as important, if not more! There are lots of toys designed just for this. Usually, these toys have a motor inside them, making them vibrate. There are penetrative toys that vibrate as well.
Toys designed for clitoral stimulation may be small and battery-powered. There are other toys for clitoral stimulation that are larger, and have a different power source, like a plug for an outlet. Some might vibrate more strongly than others. Some people prefer a very strong vibration, while others like something more gentle.
Other kinds of toys
Sex toys go way beyond penetration and clit stimulation! There are as many different kinds of toys as there are ways to have sex. Chances are, if you’ve ever wished for a specific kind of toy, you can get it somewhere!
Some common types of toys that don’t fit into the categories above include:
Cock rings. These are bands of silicone, metal, or another material that are designed to fit snugly around the base of the penis. Some people use cock rings to delay orgasm, strengthen erections, or enhance sensation in the penis.
BDSM gear. BDSM gear can look like a lot of different things. It can range from handcuffs to tools for roleplaying, and so on. It can be fun to be creative with these kinds of toys, but remember to look up how to use them safely!
Masturbation sleeves. A masturbation sleeve is a tube-like device designed for masturbation with penises. Most manufacturers make these out of soft materials, sometimes lined with textures for extra stimulation.
Other accessories. There are lots of things that people use during sex that might surprise you! Some people use things like feathers or soft objects to tease their partner. Other objects can be used to create different sensations during sex. The only limits are what can be used safely, and your imagination!
DIY sex toys
Sometimes, you might want to try using a sex toy, but not be able to get one. There are all kinds of reasons for this. Stores that sell sex toys can’t sell them to minors, and ordering online usually requires a credit card and a private mailing address. Some people just might not feel comfortable buying a sex toy at all, but still be curious! That’s okay. There are ways to safely improvise with things you may already have around the house.
You may be able to use some objects you already own as vibrators — with some modifications. An electric toothbrush with the bristles removed, or an electric razor with the blades removed and a condom placed over the handle, can both provide clitoral stimulation. But, you might not want to use them for penetration. Some people also use removable shower heads and back massagers for clit stimulation!
You may have heard of people using food items, like cucumbers, as dildos. This is perfectly fine, as long as you’re careful, and put a condom over the object first. You also should not eat something that you’ve used as a dildo! These DIY dildos are best for vaginal penetration, since they don’t have a flared base.
Check the resources below for more on sex toys!
D.I.Y Sex Toys- Scarleteen
Learn what things you can use from your house to make your own D.I.Y sex toys at home.
List of Body Friendly Sex Toy and Lube Companies
A brief list of Body Friendly Sex Toy and Lube Companies. Provides a foundation for those who are interested in learning more about what kinds of sex toys exist, and what are some of the more common company names.
PleasureAble: Sex Device Manual For Persons With Disabilities [PDF]
A guide to sex toys and other assistive devices for people with physical disabilities.
Sex Toy Care and Maintenance – Dangerous Lilly
This extensive article looks at the best ways to use, clean, and care for your sex toys. It goes into detail on the different kinds of toys that are out there, and how you can maintain each to keep it at its best.
Sex toy cleaning for different materials – Babeland
Babeland’s site on how to clean sex toys based on the materials they’re made of.