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Sex Toys: Choosing and Buying What’s Right for You

satisfied-looking lube cartoon with safer sex gloves

Sex toys can be a fun, easy, low-risk way to explore sex and sexuality. You can enjoy sex toys by yourself, with a partner, or with a group of partners. There are many different kinds to choose from, so you can explore your options to find what works for you.

Choosing a sex toy – porous jelly or non-porous?

A big part of choosing the right sex toy for you is whether you want a porous jelly toy or non-porous toy, like silicone, metal, or glassNon-porous toys are generally safer for your body, but porous toys can be cheaper, and you can make them safer by using them with condoms.

Porous jelly sex toys

  • Are often made from things like jelly, vinyl, PVC,  sili-gel, cyberskin, and other soft materials.
  • Are more often clear or a bit see-through
  • More often say “Novelty use only” on the package, meaning it hasn’t been tested to make sure it’s safe for your body
  • Might have a strong chemical smell if you open it
  • Can release chemicals that can irritate your body and might cause cancer later in life. You can lower this risk by putting a condom over them when you use them.
  • Tend to fall apart, change color, or get a different texture sooner.

Non-porous toys

  • Tend to be more expensive
  • Are most often made from 100% medical-grade silicone, hard plastic, metal, or glass
  • Can often be sterilized by boiling or in some dishwashers, making them safer than just washing with soap and water
  • Are more often tested to make sure they’re safe for your body
  • Tend to be less soft, and keep their shape more
  • Typically last longer

If you choose a silicone sex toy, note that you using silicone-based lube with them can be risky. When you mix silicone toys with silicone-based lube, they can melt together, ruining your toy.

Choosing a sex toy – size and vibration

Be careful when choosing a size for your toy. Lots of people want large toys, but these can be hard to use if you aren’t ready. It can be smart to start with small or medium toys and work your way up to more challenging sizes. If you want more of a challenge, then you can go for it!

When choosing a toy that vibrates, it’s good to start with something that has adjustable levels of vibration. Some people enjoy intense vibration from their toys, while others prefer something with a lighter feel. It also helps to know if you want a more focused vibration, or something that will make the whole area vibrate.

If you’re buying a toy in person, you can use the “nose test” to see if a toy’s vibration is right for you. Hold the vibrating toy to the tip of your nose, which is about as sensitive as your privates. If the sensation is too much for you, you may want to try something with a softer vibration.

Where can I buy sex toys?

There are many options for buying sex toys, both online and in stores. Buying toys from a trusted seller is the safest way to find good quality sex toys.

There are lots of other online delivery services for sex toys. The McGill Shag Shop sells sex toys, alternative menstrual products, and safer sex supplies if you’re a McGill student or if you live in the area. Pinkcherry.ca is a large and comprehensive site that delivers within Canada. There are links to these and more at the end of the page.

One great place for gay, bi, and queer men to get sex toys is Kontak, which is run by our parent organization, ACCM. Kontak has free condoms and lube and wholesale prices for sex toys, with free delivery in Montreal. For more info, call 514-527-0928, text 514-941-SEXE (7393), or visit the link at the end of this page.

If you want to look at some of the sex toys for yourself, you can visit a local sex shop. There are many in Montreal and elsewhere, so a quick google search can show you where to go. The people working at these shops can also help you find what you’re looking for. They’re there to help and they’ve heard it all before, so you don’t need to be shy!

Can I buy a sex toy if I’m under 18?

Be aware that many sex shops won’t let you in if you’re under 18, but you can buy online at any age. While there are no specific laws in Canada about what age you have to be to buy a sex toy, many sex shops sell porn, which Canada restricts to people who are 18 or older. This means that some shops might not allow minors in specific areas of the store, or may not allow minors inside at all.

But, people of any age can buy sex toys and other safer sex materials online with a working credit card. If you don’t  have access to a credit card, you can look for an online store that takes PayPal or some other form of online money transfer. Most online sex toy shops offer discrete shipping, and don’t put the store’s name on credit card statements. If you’re not sure about a store’s shipping and billing policies, you can always call or e-mail them with your questions.

More info:

  • McGill Shag Shop

    Now online-only, the Shag Shop is a McGill campus safer sex & health boutique and  resource for sexual health information. Here you can find a variety of condoms, lubes, sex toys, and many other goodies for low-cost prices and delivery.

  • Kontak

    A program offering free delivery for at-cost sex toys, lube, and safer sex supplies. Run by AIDS Community Care Montreal (ACCM). Website includes depictions of sexuality, but not genitals, and is accessible to all ages.
    *You can also text Kontak at 514-941-SEXE (7393)

  • Pinkcherry

    A Canadian, sex toy retailer which offers discreet billing and shipping. 

  • DIY Sex Toys – Scarleteen

    An article on Scarleteen on using do-it-yourself sex toys.

  • 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.
    – 

  • Sex toy cleaning for different materials – Babeland

    Babeland’s site on how to clean sex toys based on the materials they’re made of.

  • Lube recommendations for silicone sex toys? – About.com

    Sex Educator Cory Silverberg talks about the best lubes to use with silicone sex toys – and why using silicone lube with them isn’t a good idea.

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