You always remember your first. Something simple, perhaps with a wire (how quaint!). Or maybe it was battery powered with real batteries—AA and everything. The day that we bring home our first vibrator is a huge milestone, and that’s why if Old Faithful gets put out to pasture we become dizzy-headed. And even if it’s had many buzzy successors, if you’re buying a sex toy for the first time in a long time, where do you even begin?
Gone are the days where you’re just going to pick up a Silver Bullet, a classic Rabbit, or a Bed, Bath, and Beyond “back massager” (lol come on) and call it a day. The sexual wellness space is dominated by women who recognize that the orgasm gap is bullshit, which is swell. But that presents a happy paradox: Too Many Sex Toys makes finding The One easier and harder. Also, let’s be real, when they’re retailing in the triple digits, you want to make sure you get back on your investment.
Listen, you’re an adult now, one who deserves sophisticated, elegant, earthshaking orgasms. So we enlisted sexologist Alicia Sinclair, certified sexologist and creator of Le Wand Massager, to outline what to look for when investing in a sex toy.
What to consider before buying a sex toy
1. The material
For some of us, making sure there’s a checkmark next to “waterproof” is more than enough. In general, though, you should double-check that your next pleasure friend isn’t going to cause your vagina any problems.
“Unfortunately in the sex toy world, the phrase ‘you get what you pay for’ is particularly true,” says Sinclair. “When it comes to objects you’re going to put inside and/or around one of the most absorbent parts of the body, you want to make sure that it’s made out of body safe material.”
If “body safe” has your question marks floating above your head, Sinclair says that silicone and stainless steel are good places to start!
2. How you target your pleasure zones
Here’s a real-life lesson to apply to the world of adult toys: everyone is different. Maybe you’re perpetually on the quest for a blended orgasm and need a toy that can target a million different erogenous zones. Maybe you are just really into humping pillows. There’s no wrong way to get off, it’s just smart to check in and notice what sensations pique your interest (among many things).
“It’s also important to think about what types of sensations you particularly enjoy, or what types of sensations you’re curious and want to learn more about,” says Sinclair. “That will definitely point you in a direction of toy.”
So ask yourself, do you like broad, rumbly sensations, or are you really into suction? Does something with texture appeal, or do you like things smooth. Think about what areas and stimulation combos spark your desire and heighten your orgasm.
“Remember, the human body has many pleasure zones, so when you’re hunting for a vibrator it’s important to establish what you want to stimulate,” says Sinclair. “If this is your first exploration into the world of Pleasure Enhancing Products and you’re unsure of what you want to stimulate, a safe bet is a product that stimulates your clitoris.”
3. The strength (and numbers) of the intensity settings
It is the absolute worst to throw down $80 on a new device and it’s basically a lethal weapon, a great tool if you’re looking to drill or hammer, but not for, like, masturbation. Know yourself, and then know your settings.
“The strength of sex toys ranges from soft pulsations to deep and rumbling to fast and powerful,” Sinclair says. “To pick out the perfect vibe, it’s a good idea to know your general sensitivity level. Ask yourself if you enjoy soft or strong stimulation.”
Now here’s the tricky thing about not buying a sex toy in person: even though ecommerce makes literally everything easier, you won’t get much of a feel about how intense the movements are. So if you’re unsure if this a dangerous or mealy-mouth toy, your best bet is to just get you a vibe that can do it all.
“It’s smart to look for a pleasure product that has multiple levels of intensity,” says Sinclair. “This gives a person the ability to experiment with different intensities and choose between light to strong stimulation.”
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