Ease into it

Intro to sex toys

Written by Jennifer Hanson
According to a nationally-representative study, only 50% of women have uses a vibrator or dildo, and only 18% of men have used an anal sex toy in their lifetimes.

It’s understandable: sex toys can seem intimidating if you’ve never used one. The seemingly endless options for both single and multiplayer action can make finding what you’re looking for feel challenging, but you’re not alone if you’re looking to explore your toy options. The sex toy industry makes $15 billion annually and research has shown that 53% of women and 79% of gay men have used them, which means that there’s no reason to associate them with stigma. Other people are looking to explore, too!

The bottom line? Sex toys are an excellent way to try something new, and they are no cause for alarm. This easy guide will take you step-by-step through the process of figuring out what area and level of stimulation you’re looking for. So, take a deep breath and start thinking about what you might want to try.
Luckily, there are ways to explore discreetly. Nowadays, sex toys are available online with covert packaging, so your neighbors or mailman don’t have to know when you’re planning on getting a little freaky. In the last few years, creativity and innovation have led to much more variety in the sex toy industry. Different types of stimulation and materials have been developed to enhance the sexual experience, and marketing has followed suit: sex toys are now shown as a means of providing guilt-free pleasure.

Starting out

Consider first what area you’re looking to stimulate. Sex toys are more than just accessories that vibrate. Consider items like rope for bondage activities, nipple toys, strap-ons and blindfolds, too. You don’t have to try all these suggestions on your first go, but you shouldn’t limit yourself to the first toy you try.
These considerations are especially important to discuss if you have a partner. Although this talk may seem intimidating in certain cases, there’s evidence that toys enhance sex for men when it is linked with partner enjoyment. Sometimes seeing your partner ridiculously aroused has an even more intense effect than normal sex.
To get the ball rolling, tell your partner what you have in mind and see if they have any suggestions or fantasies that they want to try out as well. This is also a great opportunity to tell your partner if you’d like them to pleasure you with a toy. You just might learn something new!

Types of stimulation

As with everything in life, sex is experienced through all five senses. Removing a sense with a toy helps enhance the experience. This could mean getting a blindfold and eliminating sight, or adding something orally like a ball gag. Touch-wise, you could add a little pain to your pleasure with a riding crop. While these are more general options, sometimes you know what area you love having stimulated and don’t want to waste any time.
As far as pleasure centers, the nipples are a hot spot. Consider using nipple clamps to experience constant stimulation. Once successfully attached, they can be pulled and played with to elicit both pain and pleasure.
Nipple suckers are a similar option. Suckers are small tube-shaped toys that you pinch at the end and attach to the nipple. The suction from the pinch actually engorges the nipples and makes them extra sensitive for enhanced stimulation once removed.
There are variations of each of these that mimic similar sensations, and even some that vibrate to add even more stimulation!
Vibrators are usually associated with clitoral stimulation, and there are plenty of varieties to choose from. Clitoral stimulation is the most important type for people with vulvas, so this should be a priority. Some people with vulvas struggle to orgasm from vaginal intercourse alone, and a vibrator may ultimately help them achieve orgasm.
Standard vibrators normally have anywhere from three to ten settings, as well as settings to increase and decrease intensity. Keep in mind, many vibrators feel very phallic, which isn’t for everyone! Another great option is an egg vibrator. Eggs are more discrete, but they still pack quite a punch in terms of stimulation.

Have a vibrator but not sure where to start? Check out our guided exercise!

A suction vibrator is your best bet if you’re only going to use the vibrator on your clitoris. This type of vibrator simulates the feeling of suction instead of normal vibration, and (bonus points!) you can also use it on your nipples. This type of innovative stimulation didn’t exist even a few years ago, and it might be your key to a mind-blowing orgasm.

We also have a guided exercise for using a clitoral stimulator! See it here.

Most normal (bullet) vibrators can be used two or three ways: internally inside the vaginal canal, externally on the clitoris and anally, but there are also vibrators just for G-spot stimulation, as well as vibrators that stimulate both the clitoris and anus simultaneously. While these are exciting options, they probably aren’t what you want to start out with.
Remote-controlled toys are very popular for couples since they add another thrilling level to sex. Toss your partner the remote and let them see what you like! 75% of men and 80% of women have cited more relationship satisfaction after using a couples toy. Many of these can also be used as vibrators themselves, so partners are not always required.
Strap-ons or dildos are ideal for anyone that gets overloaded with stimulation from vibrators. Even the movement is enough to engage the same nerve endings and provide a more pleasurable experience.

We have an exercise for pleasuring yourself with a dildo too! Check it out here.
While there may not be as varied of toy options for penis-owners, there are still plenty of ways to enhance sex. The male equivalent of the vibrator is a vibrating penis ring. You simply slip it around the penis and change the settings according to what you want. This also provides stimulation for whoever else is involved, since they’ll be constantly knocking against it.
Getting a masturbator can also greatly enhance self-stimulation. This toy is a long tube that simulates the feeling of a snug orifice around the penis. It’s an excellent toy for solo play, but it’s also a huge tease when it comes to mutual masturbation.

Check out our guide for how to have a Fleshlight threesome!
Anal play requires careful consideration and preparation, but you shouldn’t be scared of it! Just make sure whatever toy you use has a distinct end so that there are no mishaps.
Butt plugs and anal beads provide the sensation of fullness while being stimulated, and both entry and removal feels incredibly satisfying. There are also vibrating options of both varieties that provide even more sensation if it feels right!

Partner activities by difficulty

While these rankings are based on relative experience, if something in the difficult category strikes your fancy don’t let us stop you! These are merely some pointers to get you started and imagine your first experience with these toys.
Easy: Nipple play
Nipple-centric sex play is easy to try because there isn’t as much preparation involved. If the stimulation becomes too much, nipple toys are easily adjustable in the moment to immediately stop these issues. This is a particularly excellent idea for anyone who knows their nipples are highly sensitive. Nipple orgasms are possible, and this might help get you there!
Have your partner apply nipple suckers or clamps on you, depending on what you prefer. Take it slow and experiment with them during foreplay to see what you like. Notice all of the sensations and don’t hold back. Remember to enjoy yourself as much as possible.
Moderate: Vibrator play
Start with a standard bullet vibrator your first time. Many vibrators can be used for both vaginal and clitoral stimulation, so begin with the one you know you’ll enjoy more. Try using it on yourself before trying it with your partner. This will give you an idea of the stimulation you like, as well as what is too much. Doing this beforehand allows you to set your thresholds and know what you like in the moment.
Try using a vibrator as a toy in mutual masturbation. Show your partner how you like to use it on yourself, and then have them try. Ask them to watch you first and challenge them to stimulate you in the same way.
High: Anal play

Anal play is a more intense activity so try inserting a (clean, trimmed and lubed) finger in your anus before committing to a toy if you’re curious. Finger insertion is the tamer version of toy insertion. This will let you see how much you like it and if a toy would work for you.
Vibrators work well for outer anal stimulation, while anal beads and butt plugs provide internal stimulation. Remember to always use plenty of lube and protection with any type of anal penetration! Anal beads usually have three to six balls on their string, and butt plugs are available in sets or by themselves. Common materials for both of these toys are silicone and metal, but be careful if you’re using silicone that the lube you’re using is oil- or water-based, or it can deteriorate the toy. Butt plugs are convenient because they can stay in the whole time and provide another level of stimulation without much effort.
Find a small butt plug or start with the smallest from a set. Try to relax while you or your partner inserts the plug. Remember to breathe into it so your muscles stay open.

Remember that everyone’s different and accept that it may not happen on the first try! This is totally normal and healthy.

Once you’re able to get the toy in, you’ll feel a fullness that enhances the other sensations sex has to offer. Tugging on it or playing with it during sex only heightens these sensations and makes it even more intense.
Long story short, if sex toys aren’t a part of your life yet, they may feel daunting. This is understandable, but don’t let cultural stigma deny you a pleasurable experience. Try out one of the above options and see if the sex goes from good to mind-blowing!

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