The Definitive Guide to Sex Toys for Solo Play, Couples, and LGBTQ+

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Key Points

  • Sex toys come in all shapes, sizes, and styles to bring sexual pleasure and exploration to everyone.

  • Sex toys promote self-exploration for increased pleasure, self-awareness, and self-confidence when used during masturbation.

  • Use toys with a partner to enhance your sexual experience, open communication about desires and pleasure, and connect more deeply.

  • Explore the pleasures of clitoral, G-spot, anal, prostate, nipple, penile, and full-body stimulation from a whole range of toys!

Do you enjoy the pleasures of life? Pleasures come from a sweet glass of wine, a beautiful sunset, a clear mind from meditation, an indulgent chocolate chip cookie, or a spine-chilling orgasm. Some pleasures aren't good for you and should be enjoyed in moderation, such as bingeing a Netflix series or tasting a cigar. Other pleasures are beneficial to your health, such as going for a hike or masturbating.

Sexual pleasure is an essential part of human behavior, whether that pleasure comes from yourself, a partner, or a toy. Everyone, regardless of age, gender, religion, sexuality, nationality, and race, deserves to feel all the pleasure their body is capable of. So, how do you find sexual pleasure in your life?

Sex Toys 101

A sex toy is an object or device designed for sexual pleasure and stimulation. They enhance sexual experiences for individuals or couples. Sex toys come in various shapes, sizes, and materials, and serve a wide range of purposes, including masturbation, foreplay, and intercourse. They're perfect for discovering your body, opening new realms of pleasure, connecting with a partner, and even maintaining your sexual health.

It's important to use sex toys responsibly, follow instructions for proper cleaning and maintenance, and ensure that all materials are safe for the body. Additionally, consent and communication are crucial when incorporating sex toys into sexual activities with a partner.

There's no right or wrong way to use a sex toy. If there's consent and it feels good, you're doing it right! However, there's an intended way to use each toy. Learn how to pleasure yourself and your partners through the limitless world of sex toys.

Emergence of Sex Toys

The sex toys of the 2020s are very modern, but they weren't always so advanced. Even ancient civilizations used objects for sexual pleasure. Ancient Egyptian artifacts depict the use of dildos, which look similar to items found in archaeological sites around the world. This indicates that various cultures were using dildos thousands of years ago! Some of the earliest known sex toys were made from materials like stone, wood, and leather. There has always been a human need for sexual satisfaction.

Rubber dildos were first manufactured in the 19th century. They were more pliable and safer than earlier materials. However, they were marketed as medical devices to treat hysteria in women. Female hysteria was a bogus medical diagnosis for women experiencing symptoms of anxiety, shortness of breath, nervousness, and sexual desire. Doctors would manually stimulate a woman's genitals until orgasm to relieve her symptoms.

In the 20th century, vibrators emerged as a medical device to help doctors treat female hysteria. These vibrators became household items soon after — it seemed the patients and doctors liked the results! By the 1970s, as sexual pleasure became more normalized, specialized "adult product" specialty stores emerged.

Today, sex toys are widely accepted and accessible in many countries. According to widespread market predictions from September 2023, the sex toy industry will continue to grow immensely in the next decade!

The internet is a magical place to find any sex toy you want, delivered discreetly to your front door. They come in diverse forms and materials, catering to various preferences and needs. They're now seen by most people as tools for enhancing sexual pleasure, improving intimacy, and exploring one's body and desires.

The acceptance and availability of sex toys varies by culture and region. Sex toys are even illegal in many Asian and Middle Eastern countries, such as Thailand, Vietnam, and Saudi Arabia. More shockingly, it's illegal in the state of Alabama to sell sex toys. Hopefully, we'll soon live in a world where sexual pleasure is openly discussed and encouraged.

Sexual Wellness

Sex toys aren't just for fun — even though that's reason enough to love them! The use of sex toys also has a positive impact on your sexual wellness, sexual relationships, self-confidence, and mental health. The first and most obvious impact of sex toys is their contribution to overall sexual satisfaction and well-being. For individuals who have difficulty reaching orgasm or experience sexual dysfunction, sex toys help to explore your body and achieve sexual satisfaction.

Sex toys encourage self-exploration and experimentation. They allow you to learn more about your body, desires, and preferences. They boost self-esteem, body positivity, and your sexual relationship with yourself. Start by masturbating with the goal of exploration, and incorporate toys that fascinate you to discover all the magic your body holds. Accept yourself as a sexual being and ensure you have better sex from now on!

Sex toys are vital in making sexual pleasure more accessible to individuals with physical disabilities or medical conditions that may limit their sexual experiences. These disabilities come in countless forms, including physical handicaps, sexual dysfunctions, and more. Having a disability shouldn't disqualify someone from experiencing the pleasures of their body, and sex toys are here to aid them in their journey of sexual discovery.

Incorporating sex toys into a relationship brings greater intimacy and connection with a partner. It's exciting to explore a new toy together, and you bond deeply through the fun experience. It also fosters open communication about desires and fantasies, strengthening your emotional and physical bond. New toys add a level of excitement to sexual relationships. They prevent the stagnation of sexual routines and encourage consistent satisfaction.

Overall, sexual satisfaction promotes relaxation, stress relief, better sleep, release of endorphins, and general good feelings. Explore sexual wellness products beyond toys, such as lubricants, dilators, sensational gels, condoms, Kegel balls, and more.

Types of Sex Toys

Ahh, how lucky we are to live in 2023, with such a diverse array of sex toys! There's something on the market for anyone to find pleasure. Enjoy the feeling of vibrations on your clitoris, pulsations on your G-spot, suction on your nipples, pressure on your prostate, different textures on your penis, and so so much more. To discover what type of sex toy you need, learn about the different genres of toys available!


Vibrators are a type of sex toy that, well, vibrate. These vibrations have buzzy or rumbly tempos to bring you deep stimulation. Vibrators come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes to suit all bodies and activities. This genre of toys is often used to stimulate the vulva, clitoris, and other parts of the vagina. Some vibrational toys are for stimulation of the scrotum, testicles, and prostate (but more on that later).

Wand Vibrators

The original vibrator is a wand vibrator. These toys are large, handheld devices that you plug directly into the wall for use — don't worry, most of them are cordless now. They have a vibrating head that goes to town on your clitoris. Wand vibrators are quite powerful when you want them to be. They're also perfect to massage other parts of your body! These vibrators are a classic design and one of the earliest manufactured sex toys. They're great for beginners who want simple functionality and pros who need an extra kick to get off.

Rabbit Vibrators

Rabbit vibrators have an internal portion to stimulate your G-spot and an external piece to wrap around your clitoris. The external part looks like cute little rabbit ears on each side of your clit, giving this iconic toy its adorable name. Rabbits are perfect for women in search of dual stimulation. They come in an endless variety of shapes, vibrational patterns, colors, and sizes.

Clitoral Vibrators

Clitoral vibrators are incredibly versatile. Since these toys are for the outside of your body, they come in a large variety of shapes, with some even looking like a pretty rose, a heart, or a rubber duck. These toys usually have a large variety of vibrational patterns and intensities to suit anyone's preferences. They often live a double life as a masturbation tool and a couples' toy. Some clitoral vibrators fit perfectly between you and your partner during sex to give women that extra clitoral stimulation for orgasm.

Bullet Vibrators

Bullet vibrators are handy little toys that fit right in your purse like lipstick. They're small, so they're discreet and appear inconspicuous, but they're also quite powerful. Bullets stimulate the outside of the body, usually with a focus on the clitoris. Find a spot that feels good for you and play with various vibrational patterns and pressures to please yourself or a partner.


Dildos come in many shapes and sizes, but typically with a shape similar to a penis. These toys provide internal stimulation to the vagina, anus, or mouth through penetration. Some are slightly curved to better reach the G-spot. Some have a thrusting pattern to replicate sex. Some vibrate to bring a new sensation. Some come with two ends so partners can enjoy penetration at the same time. Some have two heads facing the same direction to engage in double penetration.

Whether you want a big one, small one, purple one, penis-looking one, vibrating one, or crystal one, there's a dildo for anyone who enjoys penetration somewhere on their body. Typically made with silicone, dildos have a smooth exterior and a stiff shape. Control them with your hand for the best penetration, show your partner how to use them on you, suck on one while you masturbate, or put one in a strap-on harness to penetrate a partner.

Anal Plug Sex Toy neon glow icon illustration

Anal Toys

Do you like anal play? If so, you need anal toys in your life. If not, start exploring with a finger and work your way up to toys. If you incorporate anal play into your sex life, plenty of anal toys are available for you to experience new kinds of pleasure. A beautiful aspect of anal toys is that they're for anyone regardless of gender or sexual orientation — you just need to own an anus!

Butt Plugs

The shape of a butt plug is similar to a strawberry, with a wide base at the end. When putting anything up your bum, it's important the toy has a wide base to prevent it from getting lost in your rectum. Butt plugs come in various shapes, sizes, and materials. They provide a full sensation in your anus, adding heightened pleasure for other sexual activities. Choose a size suited to your experience and preferences, and don't forget to use some lube when inserting it. Opt for a butt plug made of soft silicone, one with an ergonomic shape, one that vibrates, or one with an animal tail for some added kink.

Anal Beads

Anal beads are a sexual pleasure device that looks like a string of beads. They bring your anus pleasure through movement, as opposed to the static, full feeling of a butt plug. This string of beads, often made of silicone, gets inserted into your anus one at a time. The beads sit there during sex (or during a romantic dinner) and your partner moves them around or gently plucks them out to stimulate inside your anus. Make sure they have a handle on the end to prevent them from getting lost, and always use lube for easier insertion.

Prostate Massagers

Prostate massagers are a lovely anal toy for any prostate owner. These devices have an ergonomic shape to slip comfortably into the anus and rest on the prostate. They have a wide base to avoid full insertion and often come in a smooth silicone. Prostate massagers come in a variety of shapes, but many look like a large, curved finger reaching for that magical P-spot (male G-spot of the prostate). Choose a shape and size according to your experience and preference. Select the perfect functionality for your desires, from massagers that move inside like a finger, internal vibrations, or external vibrations at the base of the toy. Enjoy!

Couples' Toys

Explore a whole other flavor of sex toys — those for couples to use together. Truthfully, any sex toy is a couple's toy if you want it to be. Incorporate your favorite masturbation toy into the bedroom or introduce an enhancer for you to reach orgasm. However, there are some toys specifically for you and your boo to use together.

Cock Rings

A popular sex toy that brings pleasure to both partners is the cock ring. Cock rings are often the first toy couples try together as they're straightforward and easily accessible. Even sex toy enthusiasts enjoy the sensations and reliability of a cock ring. These toys wrap around the penis like a little collar or choker necklace, typically at the base, although some go closer to the head to add texture during penetration. Cock rings come in reusable and disposable versions.

When secured around the base, a cock ring increases blood flow to the shaft and head of the penis to heighten pleasure. Some cock rings also wrap around the testicles to get those boys in on the action too. Some cock rings stop at just the rubber ring to increase blood flow and provide a point of contact to the clitoris or other body parts of the penetration receiver. Some cock rings have a vibration or sucking device attached to stimulate the receiving partner and increase the chances of orgasm during penetration. This is perfect for women who need some clitoral action!

Harnesses & Strap-Ons

For non-penis owners who want to engage in penetration, there are harnesses and strap-on dildos. Although these accessories are popular in women-to-women relationships, all couple can use them for a new adventure or double penetration. Simply wear the harness around your pelvis and attach your favorite dildo front and center, then get creative. There are also strap-on options that already have a dildo attached for ease of use.

Partner-Oriented Sex Toys

Unique and creative partner-oriented sex toys provide shared pleasure too. There are hands-free vibrators for a vulva owner to wear while their partner finagles with the remote control. Play with a wearable clitoral vibrator during sex. Enjoy the sensation of a lay-on vibrator while your partner penetrates you from behind. Play with BDSM toys like blindfolds, massage candles, feathers, whips, and Wartenberg wheels. Invest in a versatile, bendable vibrator for you both to use in creative ways. Check out the revolutionary vibrators that wrap around the penis and have a dildo-shaped end for dual stimulation.

Sex Furniture

Although perhaps not a sex toy, sex furniture is a sexy way to explore new pleasures and opportunities in the bedroom. Stop piling pillows and building elaborate scenes just to hit the right angle — invest in some sex furniture to explore all possibilities for pleasure. Sex furniture is firmer than pillows to provide the support you need to really enjoy doggy-style, anal, or whatever other acrobatics you bring to bed.

Some sex furniture is as simple as a wedge to lean over or lay down on. Other types of furniture include sex swings, lounge chairs, hole-in-the-seat chairs, restraints attached to the bed, massage tables, bondage boards, and other funky-shaped pillows and furniture. If you prefer to stimulate yourself in the bedroom, use sex furniture to explore all the realms of possibilities. If you want to explore new scenes or incorporate some BDSM, add a sex swing to the back of your door or an obedience chair with restraints to the corner (you may need to hide it when Grandma comes to visit).

Oral Sex Toys

Do you love receiving oral but don't always have a mouth available to go down there? Find a toy that simulates oral sex! Let's be real, they'll never feel exactly like your partner's tongue caressing your genitals, but wow, it's still amazing.

If you have a clitoris, there are toys that suck or rub your clit to feel like oral sex. These toys have emerged in more recent years, phasing away from the classic vibrator or dildo. Some oral sex toys, such as the famous Womanizer, create a seal around your precious little bean and create suctiony, pulsation sensations. Many women find this comparable to oral sex, and nearly all agree that it makes your toes curl. Other oral sex devices, such as the LELO Ora 3, have a little node that flicks your clit, similar to the way a tongue does. Pick a toy based on your preferred oral sensations.

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Penis Toys

Ahh, masturbation sleeves for men. Choose a small, silicone sleeve to add some texture to a hand job. Purchase an egg carton with different sensations in each silicone egg to provide texture to your head and shaft. Opt for a full-blown device in a bulky casing and automatic functionality. Just put your member inside, adjust the suction and settings to your preference, then lay back and enjoy. The famous Fleshlight looks like a flashlight with secret pussy inspired silicone on the inside.

There are plenty of toys meant to replicate the feelings of actual sex, even oral sex. Explore sleeve masturbators that feel like a mouth deep-throating you. Find sleeves, strokes, or masturbators in tons of shapes and sizes. They come with a variety of options, including warming technology, suction sensations, tongue flicking, stroking, massaging, and squeezing. There are even toys that replicate the mouths of pornstars. Enjoy watching them suck someone off while you experience the "real" feeling at home. Add some lube so it feels wet like a mouth, and make sure you clean it properly after use.

Find something that turns you on, and try it out! You'll be ready for a collection before you know it.

Nipple Toys

If you like it when your partner licks, sucks, pinches, or squeezes your nipples, you're sure to love nipple toys! Nipple toys are great to use on your own during masturbation or with a partner. Your partner simply doesn't have enough hands to stimulate your whole body at once! Rely on nipple devices so you can focus on stimulation in other parts of your body without neglecting your supple nipples.

Nipple toys range from nipple clamps that squeeze or pinch your nipple to small suction cups that suck on your nipple. Nipple clamps are often held together by a chain, adding a sexy BDSM appearance. Nipple magnets attract each other through your nipples to squeeze them and leave an appearance of pierced nipples. Suction toys work with a simple vacuum or a battery-operated sucking device, depending on your preference for power. There are even nipple toys that provide light electrostimulation to your nipples for an intense, perhaps even sadomasochistic, feeling.

Sexual Wellness

Beyond toys that buzz, massage, and tickle your genitals, there are products that enhance your sexual experiences. Some of these products enhance your sexual wellness, such as Ben Wa balls and penis pumps.


A packer is a semi-realistic penis made of silicone. These devices typically resemble a flaccid penis and testicles worn in someone's underwear to affirm their gender identity and feel more confident in their body. Packers allow people, typically trans men, to feel more connected to their own bodies and present as their true gender. This product gives the illusion that you have a real penis. Not all trans men enjoy packing or find it necessary. Others do it for safety or aesthetic reasons.

Packers come in all shapes, sizes, and colors for consumers to find one that suits their body. They also come in erect versions that may be used for sex. It's a liberating feeling for trans men to connect to their bodies through packing and finally feel like their true selves.

Penis Pumps

Penis pumps work like a vacuum to draw blood to your penis. This helps with erectile dysfunction and makes your erection extra plump and delicious. Sorry to break the news to you, but these are popular amongst porn stars and other sex workers to make their penises more appealing. Use one at home to enjoy a sucking sensation and a stronger erection. Opt for a simple handheld pump, a battery-operated vacuum container, or an underwater adventure. Use them carefully according to their instructions to take good care of your valuable member.

Ben Wa Balls

Strengthen your pelvic floor with minimal effort and a touch of pleasure with Ben Wa balls. These age-old devices are simple balls attached by a string of multiple weights and sizes. Use one ball or yoni egg throughout the day to train your vaginal walls to hold something involuntarily. Work your way up to larger balls, multiple balls, or weighted balls to train even stronger.

Ben Wa balls, also called Kegel balls, strengthen your pelvic floor and increase sexual satisfaction. An orgasm comes from the contraction of your pelvic floor. The stronger your pelvic floor is, the more it contracts on orgasm. These devices also increase your sensations during intercourse to bring you even more pleasure.

Women often report that Ben Wa balls feel good inside of them throughout the day. When they move at certain angles or exercise, the balls move a bit inside of them and stimulate their internal vaginal pleasure points. Make vacuuming your house a bit more exciting by popping a few of these bad boys in first!

As always with sex toys, research these more deeply and follow care instructions for use. It's dangerous to overwear them or not clean them properly.

Choosing a Sex Toy

All of these options for sex toys feel like Christmas! There are so many commercials for amazing toys, how could you possibly pick the one you want the most? Luckily, you can have it all. However, it may be best to start with the one that calls to you the most and build your toy chest from there.

What type of pleasure is most exciting to you? Do you want to use your toy alone, with a partner, or both? Do you want a toy that your partner also finds enjoyment with? Are you looking to explore new pleasures of your body, or do you have a good understanding of what brings you pleasure? Ask yourself these questions to narrow down your search for a type of sex toy.

It's also important to consider convenience factors, such as rechargeable batteries and fully waterproof design. Although these seem to be the standard for modern sex toys, it's still useful to ensure they're convenient and easy to clean and reuse!

Check the reputation and customer satisfaction of a company when buying a sex toy from them. Since there's a lack of regulation on sex toy production, determine the reputation of a company on your own. Rely on online resources to figure out if a company is worth buying a toy from! Some reliable and luxury brands include LELO, Satisfyer, Fun Factory, Je Joue, and more.


There are all kinds of materials for sex toys, but most are silicone. Read about the toy you're interested in to ensure it's made of body-safe materials, compatible with lube, and doesn't have ingredients that you're allergic to. Silicone is the most popular material for sex toys as it's waterproof, easy to clean, feels soft against your skin, and has a rigid shape without feeling too stiff.

Make sure the materials are compatible with your body, easy to clean, and offer you the comfort you desire. While you expect the sex toy industry to responsibly create safe devices, there aren't enough regulations in place to be sure. The FDA regulates medical devices, but few sex toys fall under this category. Avoid harmful substances that are occasionally in sex toys, such as phthalates, porous materials, jelly, rubber, PVC, and vinyl. Look for safe materials like 100 percent silicone, stainless steel, borosilicate glass, and lucite.

Sex Toy Safety

To experience optimal pleasure and take care of your body, use sex toys responsibly. Clean them after every use, be mindful of partner play, and follow directions from the manufacturer.

According to safe sex experts at Planned Parenthood, "Sharing sex toys with other people can spread STDs — if someone who has an STD uses a sex toy, the body fluids on that toy can spread the infection to the next person who uses that toy. So if you’re using a sex toy with a partner, it’s important to take steps to help prevent STDs. Wash your sex toys with mild soap and water after you use them, and before they touch another person’s genitals. Putting condoms on sex toys can help keep them clean and prevent the spread of STDs. Just make sure you change condoms before the toy touches another person’s genitals."

Here are some other sex toy safety and care guidelines to follow:

  • A sex toy shouldn't go into a vagina after being in an anus. Clean it thoroughly or cover it with a condom to prevent vaginal infection.

  • Use lube when playing with sex toys to reduce friction and increase pleasure, especially if you're engaging in anal play, as the anus doesn't lubricate itself like a vagina.

  • Anything inserted into your anus must have a wide base to avoid getting lost. Yes, this really happens, and it's not a fun experience and an expensive visit to the ER.

  • Don't use silicone-based lube on silicone toys as it degrades the material over time. Water-based lube is your safest option.

  • Thoroughly clean your sex toys after every use and store them in a clean place.

Sex Toys for All

There are sex toys on the market for anyone and everyone! Sex toys are for you if you're just discovering sexual pleasure or if you're a senior who believes you're finished with sexual experiences. There are toys for every gender and sexuality. There are toys for "vanilla" lovers to extreme BDSM explorers, to everyone in between.

Enjoy the perks of sex toys, including self-exploration, partner connection, increased pleasure, and overall well-being. Relieve your stress, sleep better, and orgasm anytime you want! Just remember that with great power comes great responsibility — properly clean and store your toys and be aware of contamination from partners, porous materials, and switching from anal to vaginal.

All consensual sex is good sex. Allow yourself to explore your body and communicate with your partner about enhancing your love life through novelty pleasure devices. Enjoy!

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