From growing up a Catholic school kid convinced that masturbation was unnatural to being stifled and shamed for my curiosity during my first relationship, sex toys and I have had a very long journey. My very first toy — a cheap clit vibrator— came from Target and cost no more than $10. I had never felt more “grown” than that moment. I was excited to use it, but my then boyfriend — who attempted to use an external toy internally on me— was not. After that painful experience, I left toys alone for a very long time.
Since the start of my podcast, I’ve gotten many sex toys—usually from Dame — sent to me. But, they often reminded me how fun they’d be to use with someone else— not alone. I had always known there were multiples ways to masturbate, I just didn’t know which one worked for me. It wasn’t until I went the Sex Expo last summer that I finally found the perfect toy— The Womanizer.
For this week’s column, my close friend, Amanda breaks down a very detailed guide on getting the best sex toy for you!
Amanda (She/Her) describes herself as a “regular degular Puerto Rican from the Bronx” currently working in Public Relations for wine and spirits. “I spend a lot of my time taking care of myself—physically and mentally—and that definitely involves using toys. It’s good for the health.” Amanda can be found on Twitter and Instagram. If you like this week’s tips and info, you can support Amanda on CashApp at $ALTernateEars, who has decided to donate any money made to those affected by COVID-19.
DOs and DON’Ts!
1. DO NOT SEX TOY SHOP WHILE DRUNK.
I cannot tell you how many times I’ve gone to a bottomless brunch or after work happy hour in the same area as a sex shop and made some wild purchases. Some ended up being great while others were definitely left me thinking “I didn’t need this.” Use a sober mind when making any type of purchase that will ultimately be an investment with your time, money, and pleasure.
2. Do go to sex stores and don’t be afraid to ask questions!
Many times, I go into sex shops it’s just to “browse” but also get to know more about the people behind the counter. By engaging with them and asking what they like versus being sold, I’m able to consider toys I maybe wouldn’t have prior to going. Sometimes, it’s easy to stick to what you know and/or like, but trust the employees. They work there for a reason.
Some of my favorite in NYC include The Pleasure Chest and Fantasy Party in the West Village, and Please in Park Slope. Babeland is an excellent store if you’re just getting started in the world of sex toys, as they often have classes, tutorials, 101 parties/mixers and other opportunities for anyone interested in learning more. If you’re in the Bronx the Romantic Depot is a great spot.
3. If you see something you like in stores, and it’s not on sale, PLEASE double check online.
If you can wait for the toy and do not need it ASAP, often times you can find the same exact sex toys for far less online. We want to be happy and please ourselves, but it can be done on a budget. Don’t let the prices fool you, you can get a great sex toy that fits all of your needs for $50 or $100. It’s just like wine – just because it’s expensive doesn’t mean it’s good.
4. DO NOT EVER forget the lube.
With any toys, no matter how “wet” you think you get, you need water-based lube. Please double check any toy you purchase in case they require a specific type of lube or cleaning method. Some brands I recommend are Astro Glide and Überlube.
5. Clean those toys people.
CLEAN THEM! Toys go in and around you! Aftercare with yourself is just as important as aftercare with anyone else. A cleaner I recommend is from Come Clean.
6. REGISTER ALL OF YOUR SEX TOYS NO MATTER WHAT.
You never know when that battery might give out or you can potentially get a defective product. Get your money’s worth and be smart about it. REGISTER FOR THE WARRANTY (usually 1-2 years).
Now, onto finding what you like.
Learning how to please yourself is something only you can truly help yourself with. It takes a lot of practice with yourself—and sometimes a partner—to figure out what makes you feel good vs. what you do just because it’s expected or taught. Be selfish. Practice makes perfect. Take the time to learn what turns you on— Is it internal? Is it external? Is it both? Do you need anal toys or a vibrator? Do you need something small and discreet or do you not care how loud it can get? Do you feel your sexiest in the shower and need a waterproof toy? Or, is your bedroom your oasis? When you get a new sexual partner, you want to learn what they like and how you can please them. It’s time to do that with yourself. Treat yourself like your new partner!
Time for the Guide! Sex Toy 101:
Basics: If you’re not sure where to start a basic bullet (external) or vibrator is an essential. It’s most people’s first toy that gets them into the world.
Internal: If you’re not into the regular bullet or typical vibrator and want something more “realistic” for internal play, try dildos. The best part about a dildo is you can find just about anything—from color to texture to size—to fit your personal preferences. You can get hand-held dildos, suction-cup dildos that stick to your wall (even your shower wall) or motorized ones for maximum thrusting and penetration. If you’re into otherworldly/Sci-Fi type of dildos, you should certainly check out Bad Dragon. You can find them hard and soft, and with or without balls! All of the above options can be used for internal play, but don’t sleep – you can also step up your oral skills if you know what I mean.
External: If you’re just looking to get yourself off on the outside you can get a number of clit stimulators from the wand to imitation tongues. One toy most women rave about is the “Satisfyer” and the name says all you need to know.
Internal/External: This is the best of both worlds. The OG of the game is a rabbit, but there are so many new variations of it that you have to find one you like. We have rabbits that have intense vibration modes in the rabbit part only, ones that suck in the rabbit part, ones that thrust and so much more. We love dual action. Note: Anything that sucks is also good for nipple stimulation. Rabbits, that I personally swear by, are Calexotic’s Venice Vixen and Luxe-Touch Sensitive Rabbit. These are on the pricier side, but Calexotics is worth the money and they’re doing a sale right now. The Venice Vixen has been the one toy to allow me to orgasm and cum more than 5 times in one go, normally I can’t. The Luxe-Touch Sensitive seems like your average rabbit, but there’s a trigger in the shaft that intensifies the vibration all on its own anytime you contract internally. It’s explosive.
Anal: Most of us know about butt plugs and anal beads, but do you know all of the toys that were specifically designed for back there? The Stronic Drei or the Eclipse Thrusting Rotator Probe are great options if you want to feel like someone is back there. If those are too intense for you but you need a step up from butt plugs, try a Booty Vibro Kit!
For the Couples:
– A panty teaser is good when you want your partner to be in control.
– Cock rings are always a go-to, as long as it’s comfortable for the man wearing it. And, as always, there are levels to this shit (see here).
– Double stimulators with wireless remotes are perfect when you want to switch up the intensity without your partner knowing.
– Doc Johnson’s TRYST is a fav of mine because it can be used on both the dick and the balls for men, while giving head or actual intercourse. It’s so versatile and the base of it vibrates so it can also stimulate the clit if used correctly.
– Double ended dildos/massagers are self explanatory – you both get pleased.
– Strap-ons are always a fun time! Especially when you can swap it out for any dildo. Spice it up with a double-ended strap on for equal opportunity.
– Kegal Balls are good for women, who want to increase their tolerance and tighten the insides. Think of it more as an exercise for future pleasure that will last longer.
– Vibrators that act as jewelry are a Godsend. You never know when you’ll need to get one off, at work, at dinner, at a party. Stay strapped.
– Spice things up in the bedroom without toys. Mental stimulation is just as important as physical and foreplay of the mind makes things ALL the more intense and exciting. Try games (like dice and card games) or even traditional games turned sexy like Jenga or Poker. Work on your bondage skills with bed restraints, handcuffs or rope. Get creative! Nothing to tie down with? Try shoe strings/laces.
Where to buy for a discount: Amazon, Calexotics (they’re doing 35% off right now), Adam and Eve (25% off first item and free mystery gift) and Doc Johnson (25% off everything). These are all companies I thoroughly trust.