Dear Body Party,
I am going through a major dry spell, and I was watching that one Sex in the City episode the other night and fell into a Google hole- I spent hours looking up vibrators, dildos, butt plugs. How am I supposed to choose? They’re all so expensive and what I thought would be a quick solve for my sexual frustration is looking more complicated (and expensive!) than just trying to snag a Tinder date. Where should I start? Should I hit Lovers or hit the app store?
Honestly, screw Tinder. Fuck yourself instead. Searching for a new sex toy is a bit like opening a can of worms- there’s too many, they’re all different but serve the same basic purpose, and many of them tend to wiggle around a whole lot. Get it? Me neither. Sex is one of those complicated things that can actually be pretty simple- on a very basic level, good sex is about being honest with yourself about what you like, and being willing to ask for it- regardless if you’re flying solo or with a co pilot.
As usual, that’s nothing I can do for you. But, in the spirit of education and dedicated to my horny teenage self- who spent hours searching forums and shopping around before making my first purchase, I am more than happy to present a very basic beginner’s guide to buying sex toys.
The two most common sex toys are vibrators and dildos. A dildo is a phallic object meant for penetration, and a vibrater is, as you’d expect, a device designed to inflict pleasure through vibration. Vibrating dildos are dildos with a vibrating function, often with raised ‘ridges’ or ‘beads’ for added pleasure, or ‘wings’ for clitoral stimulation (this is the design of the infamous Rabbit vibe).
It’s important to know how to describe what you’re looking for, especially if you’re searching online. They come in a million shapes, sizes, functions, colors, and materials. While sizes, designs, and features are important when it comes to pleasure, one of the most important aspects as far as safety is the composition of the sex toy. Sex toys are unregulated (which is why they are often labeled as ‘novelty items’), which means that producers can get away with making them out of materials that are really unfit for their use.
The biggest example of this is the widespread use of ‘jelly’ toys, which have been known to contain phthalates, a chemical added to toys to increase their flexibility, that is being examined worldwide for its adverse health effect and is banned in the European Union in toys for children under 3. As the toys ages, they are likely to begin to release lead and cadmium in a process called ‘off gassing’. On top of that, jelly toys tend to be very porous and thus breed bacteria.
Besides jelly toys, which are very common because of their low price point, the majority of sex toys are made out of silicone, glass, or some sort of Cyberskin style ‘realistic’ plastic, which may also contain phosphates and also tends to be onerous and difficult to clean. Silicone toys are usually a safe bet as silicone is easy to clean and non porous- you can boil silicone dildos (nothing with batteries or wires!) for a few minutes to sanitize them- but stay away from silicone lube when playing, as like dissolves like.
Silicone or ‘realistic’ plastic dildos are a good intro toy, especially if you’re into penetration. They can be great for more than just one person as we with a strap on, you should make sure you buy one with a tapered, flat base that will fit in a belt. Glass toys are also nice, especially if you’re interested in playing with temperature. These toys are made with industrial grade glass that should protect against breakage but, of course, discontinue use if you see and cracks.
Vibrators can be a cheap, easy way to mess around or a major investment that pack a real punch. You can buy low quality bullet vibes— small vibrators about the size of your thumb that have only one setting and are meant for external stimulation— for less than ten dollars. There are also so many insanely cool high tech options on the market, the kind of toys that are sure to make any tech bro or average joe squeal, with a million settings for intensity and patterns.
Remote controlled vibrations are not just for vibrating panties anymore- many high end vibes hook up to apps to provide hands free pleasure. You can get elegant high quality gold and silver vibrating jewelry like the Vesper, a vibrator that simulates oral sex like the Lelo Ora, vibrators that simulated penetrative sex by using pistons to created weighted motion (called pulsators), or, if you’re a little more old school, a new Hitachi wand that features a (long awaited) rechargeable battery.
If you’ve thought it up in your fantasies, it probably already exists, and you can likely get it online for 15- 30% off this week in honor of Valentine’s Day- Adam and Eve is good if you’re looking for a wide variety of cheap options (with plenty of coupons and sales) and Babeland has a large selection of higher end toys.
Hope that helps—stay safe and have fun!