Being familiar with at least the basic types of sex toys that exist is beneficial to anyone looking to buy or use a sex toy - not only beginners. Knowing the basic types and keeping in mind some general considerations can make your first visit to a sex shop or first sex toy purchase easier and less stressful. Here are some of the basic types of sex toys.
Cock rings - Some vibrate; some don't vibrate. Some go around just the base of the shaft of the penis; some go around both the penis and balls at the same time; and some are shaped like "cages" and can encase the entire penis (with or without going around or encasing the balls). These cage-style devices might be called "sleeves" - we'll get to those later. Cock rings come in many different colors and styles, and these are good if you're looking to stay harder and last longer. They essentially "trap" blood in the penis and help you maintain a strong, firm erection for a longer period of time. The vibrating kind is good for couples because it will stimulate her, too. Vibrating cock rings often have a nub at the top of the ring that will sit on top of your penis and stimulate her clitoris.
Anal toys, butt plugs, and prostate stimulators - These can be used on either partner for anal stimulation. There are butt plugs, anal beads, and prostate stimulators (for men) - and again, some of these vibrate while some don't vibrate. Butt plugs can be used on a woman during vaginal sex for double penetration. They can also be used by men. They can be worn for longer periods of time as well (i.e. all day, while running errands, at work, etc.). These come in many sizes and shapes. I'd recommend starting small. Anal beads usually come in a string of ball-shaped beads that start small and progressively get larger as you continue along the string. They can be connected by a literal string, which can be made of any number of various materials. I enjoy using anal beads during sex and having Mr._C. insert them one at a time during foreplay. He has said that he can feel them later when we're having vaginal sex. And when I cum, I have him pop them out one at a time with the rhythm of my orgasmic contractions. Having him do this makes my orgasm last longer as the contractions continue until all of the beads have been removed - each one that pops out causes an additional vaginal spasm. Prostate stimulators are for men and are used to stimulate the prostate gland, which can cause more powerful, explosive, intense orgasms for men.
Strap-ons - A strap-on can be used by a woman on a man for anal sex. A strap-on is typically a dildo or dong attached to a harness that she wears. It gives her a "penis" that she can use to fuck her man instead of being fucked by him. These are good for prostate stimulation as well. There are vibrating dongs that can be used with the harness, and some strap-ons feature a removable dildo that can be used separate from the harness. The dildo can sometimes be changed so that multiple configurations are possible. There are also strap-ons that feature a "double dildo," which can be inserted for vaginal stimulation while she uses the other end of the dildo on her man so that both partners can experience penetration at the same time. Some harnesses contain a vibrator or bullet for female clit stimulation. oldkinky can provide more information about strap-ons and uses them with his wife regularly.
Dildo or dong sex toys - These can be used on her or him. Some vibrate; some don't vibrate. They come in all shapes, sizes, colors, and textures, and there's really only one major difference between a dildo and a dong. Dongs are typically shaped like a penis and feel more realistic. They are often flesh-colored. On the other hand, a dildo may come in a rainbow of colors and may not have a phallic shape at all. A dildo or dong can be used for vaginal or anal penetration.
Vibrators and wands - These can be quite large and heavy or smaller (often called "travel-size"). They can be penis-shaped or not and made of various materials, such as plastic, rubber, silicone, glass, or jelly. There are vibrators for clitoral stimulation, vaginal insertion, G-spot stimulation, and anal stimulation, or multiple types of stimulation at once. There are bullet vibrators, which are very small and are typically used for clit stimulation; bullet vibrators are used in many vibrating cock rings. There are rabbit-style vibrators that stimulate multiple areas at once (usually vaginal penetration with G-spot stimulation along with a clit vibrator). Wands - like the Hitachi Magic Wand - often have additional attachments that can be used for insertion/penetration and various types of stimulation.
Male masturbators, penis sleeves, and extensions - Masturbators are male sex toys used for masturbation. They come in various shapes, sizes, textures, and colors, and they are meant to feel similar to penetration. Masturbators can simulate oral, vaginal, or anal sex and sometimes look like the orifice they are meant to simulate. For example, Fleshlight makes masturbators that look like a sucking mouth, pussy lips, or a puckered anus. You can also find masturbators that have only a simple hole with no simulated body part orifice. Penis sleeves and extensions are meant to benefit both partners. Sleeves and extensions can add length and girth to your penis. They can also be textured to give her added sensation - i.e. with nubs or ticklers along the outside of the sleeve. There are also "cock cages," which contain the entire penis and sometimes the balls.
Pumps - You can buy penis pumps and pussy pumps - even nipple and breast pumps. These can be used to plump up the penis, clitoris, pussy lips, or nipples so that there's more blood flowing to those parts of the body, which provides added size and sensitivity. The effects of using a pump are only temporary and will wear off after a short time. Read any directions very carefully before using a pump. It is possible to do damage if a pump is used incorrectly or for too long. Rob2000 can provide more information about penis pumps and using one safely.
BDSM toys (nipple clips and clamps, restraints, whips and paddles, etc.) - If you're into slightly kinkier things, you can try some of these toys. BDSM stands for Bondage and Discipline, Dominance and Submission, and Sadism and Masochism. Make sure you have trust and communication before getting into any BDSM play. EmpireGirl has posted numerous threads and blog entries on BDSM play, the "tools of the trade," and how to play safely. Please read her threads/blog for detailed information on BDSM sex toys and practices.
Lubes, lotions, oils, and male or female enhancement - These can improve the quality of the sex you are having. I recommend using lube almost always. If she gets very wet, it may not be necessary for vaginal penetration, but it's always good to have it handy. Always use lube for anal sex because the anus does not self-lubricate like the vagina does. Also, a drop or two of lube inside a condom will make sex feel better for him. Lotions and oils can be used as lube or for massages. Many oils are organic and good for the skin. And there are male and female enhancement pills and other products out there to help with arousal, sensitivity, erectile dysfunction (ED), and premature ejaculation (PE).
If you have an idea about what you're looking for before you visit a sex shop or make a purchase, you can make your visit or the purchasing process online go more smoothly, you can ask store personnel fewer questions (which might cut down on your feelings of awkwardness and embarrassment), and you can finish the transaction more quickly and easily - especially if you're uncomfortable taking a stroll around a sex shop to browse or spending much time there.
Knowledge of the basics can also be the start of a conversation between you and your SO/partner during which you can learn about each other - what you like, what she likes, how you can both get pleasure from a toy you want to purchase, etc. Figuring out what type of stimulation is desired can help you focus on stimulating those areas.
You should also consider some of these features before purchasing a toy.
Speed - This is important when choosing a vibrating toy. Toys can have only a single speed or multiple speeds. Some vibrators can be very intense. Some vibrating toys have a separate remote control, so you might want to consider a wireless vibrating toy.
Size - Choosing the right size is important as you want to be able to get a lot of use from the toy you're buying. If it's too big, it can be uncomfortable. If it's too small, it might not do what it's supposed to do or stimulate in the right way or stimulate enough. I personally like a phallic toy to be between maybe 3-6". I can use a toy of this size for either vaginal or anal stimulation without discomfort.
Color - You might want something more realistic, but there are dongs and vibrators out there in all of the colors of the rainbow. It might feel weird to use a bright blue phallus on your lady, so you may want something flesh-colored. Or she may want a vibrator in a cute, girly color. Or you can get toys that glow in the dark. Glass toys can be beautiful when it comes to color and design. I personally think that many glass toys can be seen as works of art in addition to sexual toys.
Texture - You'll have to decide if you want the toy to be hard (like glass or plastic) or softer (like silicone) or really soft (like jelly). Toys that are too hard can be uncomfortable. Toys that are too soft may be hard to insert or may not stimulate enough or in the right way. You should also consider any nubs, bumps, ticklers, etc., on the toy's surface. These textural features will cause different sensations and types of stimulation. I like the feeling of smooth glass and vein-like ridges.
Lube - Some lubes aren't compatible with certain types of toys or condoms. Before buying lube, make sure you can use it with the toy you're buying without degrading or ruining the toy's material. The most common types are water-based and silicone-based. Water-based lubes are typically compatible with condoms and sex toys. They don't leave stains, and they are easy to wash off. The negative aspect of water-based lube is that it can dry out or evaporate more quickly than a silicone-based lube will, so you may need to keep applying it during sex, which interrupts you. On the other hand, silicone-based lubes are great for anal sex as they don't dry out nearly as quickly. They're slippery and silky to the touch. However, they're difficult to wash off - you will need to use soap and water - and they're often not compatible with sex toy materials and can stain fabrics, linens, and clothing.
Price - Determine how much you're willing to spend. You can get decent sex toys for $20-30 (or sometimes less) - but keep in mind that you generally get what you pay for. If you buy a $10 bullet vibrator, it may die quickly, run through batteries like crazy, have faulty circuitry, or not last very long. Do some comparison shopping in the sex shop - check out the same toy or similar toys made by different companies to see what the average price is so that you can choose a toy at a price that's right for you and within your budget. Toys with extra parts or moving parts (like vibrators) can be a bit more expensive than a dildo that doesn't vibrate. Also, bigger can mean more expensive sometimes. Material can determine price as well. Something that's made of medical-grade silicone might be more expensive than something made of plastic or rubber. If you're shopping online, I highly recommend reading customer reviews. Customers who post reviews have no reason not to be honest. They will tell you whether or not the toy is a good buy and worth the price.
I'm pretty picky when it comes to sex toys, and I want to make sure it's something I'll like and will use over and over again for a long time. But if you take into consideration even just a handful of these things, I'm sure you'll be able to find something that you and your partner can have a lot of fun with. It's not necessary to consider all of these things at once, but I'd recommend considering at least price, size, material, and type when you're choosing a sex toy.
And I love the idea of visiting a sex shop with your partner. Picking out a toy as a couple can be a great bonding experience. It can help you learn about each other's preferences and turn-ons. Plus, you could end up getting turned on just looking at and talking about the toys in the store. When Mr._C. and I browse in a sex shop or check out a sex toy Web site (like Adam & Eve), we often get turned on just looking around and talking about the pros and cons of the toys we are seeing. We sometimes end up having sex right when we get home or log off because we're so turned on. And it makes it so that both of you have a say in what you are spending your money on.
Going to a sex shop should be a fun experience - not a stressful one. If you're worried about other customers, try going during the day on a weekday. People are at work, and there may not be more than a few other people in the shop. If you go at night or on a weekend - especially on a weekend night - you're likely to run into a lot more people in the shop because they have the free time to be there.
And don't worry about walking out with a toy. All of the sex shops I've been to use discreet bags so that nobody will know what you bought except you.
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