How do I figure out what sex toy to buy?

Posted by Shaun Parker on

Q: I want to buy a sex toy, but I don't know the difference between a vibrator and a dildo! How do I decide what to get?

A: Generally speaking, vibrators are battery-operated or electrically powered devices that buzz or vibrate. They are used mainly for external stimulation, so if you're looking for clitoral titillation — which most women need to climax — a vibrator is your best bet. Some suggested types to try: "egg" or "bullet" styles, which have a speed-control lever and can be used for solo satisfaction or with your partner since they fit between the two of you; "hand-free" models that are held in place by straps that resemble a panty; or simple body massagers that you can use on your clitoris, as well as on sore muscles. (Body massagers are pretty powerful and often recommended to women trying to achieve the big O for the first time.) When choosing a vibrator, you'll want to consider the intensity of the sensation and the noise level (the softer the material, the quieter the toy). 

If you want the feeling of penetration, you'll want to try a dildo, which resembles a penis, usually doesn't vibrate, and can be used vaginally or anally. (If you want to try back-door play, make sure it has a base specifically designed so it doesn't slide up too far.) When choosing a dildo, you'll want to factor length and width into your decision. And if you're looking for G-spot stimulation, try a phallic-shaped toy with a specially curved top. For the best of both worlds, check out the ever-popular Rabbit, a two-in-one toy: The swirling shaft offers the pleasure of penetration, while the buzzing "rabbit ears" stimulate your clitoris.

You can pick up your passion prop at your local sex shop. Or, if you want to be a little more private about your purchase, you'll find it online at with pictures, descriptions, and specifics about cleaning and storage. 

Some playthings pointers: Read the instructions before using. Avoid materials that may give you an allergic reaction (e.g., latex), and wash your toy with antibacterial soap and hot water before and after use and let it dry completely. If your carnal contraption is made of a porous substance (like jelly rubber or cyberskin, which are harder to clean than nonporous products like silicone), or you want to use your toy vaginally after using it for anal action, cover it with a condom each time it's used to make sure it's clean.

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