Have you ever heard someone rave about a sex toy and thought, I’ll have what they’re having? Whether you’d like to expand your current toy collection, finally find one you love or select your first toy, the latest Girl Boner Radio episode is for you.
I had a blast exploring adult toys with Kim Airs, a certified sex educator and sex industry writer who founded New England’s first female and couples friendly sex toy store, Grand Opening!, when she left her job at Harvard. Midway through, we were joined by Girl Boner’s own Makenzie Mizell, who “really took one for the team” *wink wink*, as she put it, by trying out a high end clit toy to review.
Choosing a Sex Toy: 4 Important Tips
1 Guide with your body, not someone else’s.
Kim is often asked, “What’s your favorite toy?” But her favorite toy for you, she said, is whatever toy you most enjoy. So while it can be helpful to hear recommendations, Kim suggests starting with a toy that appeals to you visually.
“My favorite toy might not be your favorite toy,” she said. “So if you get what appeals to you visually, it’s your body going, ‘Yeah, I like that,’ you’re probably going to like it. Because it’s your body that’s going to be using it. It’s not your head. It’s not your hands…. It’s your body.”
If you you’re not quite sure what would feel best yet or what toy you’d like to try, take some time to explore your body solo-sex style, paying mind to areas sex toys tend to tantalize. If you’re new to masturbation, check out these Solo Play 101 pointers. For a detailed overview of the types of toys available, see chapter 17 of Girl Boner.
2 Consider what you want from a toy.
Asking for sex toy recommendations without offering particulars is like asking someone what clothing you should buy sans details about the occasion. Just as you don’t want to show up to your friend’s wedding in workout gear, you don’t want to go home with a toy designed for internal pleasure when you prefer external clit bliss, or a butt plug when you would’ve preferred a cock ring. When I offered Makenzie, who founded Period Network, her pick of several toys to review, the Womanizer Premium spoke to her.
“The Womanizer, in particular, was interesting to me because I had been using vibrators forever and there’s something about even the really soft ones, like a hard sort of blunt nub against your clitoris…and it would get me there, but it was always a little bit distracting.”
Because she knew her preferences, she ended up with her favorite toy so far. “I know I sound like I’m being hyperbolic, but it was truly a life-changing experience, getting this toy, and I’ve been able to use it to just improve my relationship to myself and my own sexuality,” she said. “I think if you can find something that is exactly what you want…if you find the toy that really resonates with you, I think it puts a ton of power in your hands.”
3 Check size dimensions when shopping online.
Toys vary significantly in size, from tiny bullet-style vibrators to gargantuan—I mean gargantuan—dildos. If your eyes light up at the sight of a vibrator, dildo or butt plug online, scope out the size dimensions before placing an order. Many toys look a lot smaller in images and it’s easy to end up with a toy that’s far larger than you’d anticipated. (Trust me, I’ve been there.) Browsing or shopping at a brick-and-mortar store can go far here, too.
4 Look for body-safe materials.
Sex toys aren’t regulated for safety the way other health products are and some are safer for your body than others. Porous toys, such as jelly dildos that leave a film on your hands (or, as Kim pointed out, on paper), can absorb harmful bacteria. If you don’t use a barrier method, like a condom, they can even spread STIs and yeast infections. Porous toys may also contain the potentially harmful chemicals, phthalates.
For a body-safe, pliable option, go for a silicone sex toy. Silicone toys range from pretty soft to very firm and hold body temperature well. They’re also easy to clean and last a long time, if you take good care of them. Glass and stainless steal toys are body-safe, too. For a non-vibrating option, Dr. Megan Fleming said she loves the Njoy Pure Wand.
“Being stainless steel, it can hold both heat and cold, so it’s perfect for temperature play,” she said. “And another bonus is you can use any body-safe lube, including silicon-based lubes, which you may be using for anal play, but aren’t safe for all of your silicone toys.” Cleanup is super easy, she added. Just use soap and water then dry it with a towel or let it air-dry.