5 Things to Consider Before Buying a Sex Toy
By Stephanie Clark
Being inside your house all the time can be quite exhausting, even though it doesn’t seem like it at first. But this can be a great opportunity to reconnect with yourself and restore some of the intimacy.
We all found ways to keep ourselves entertained throughout the coronavirus crisis. And it would seem like a large body of the population decided to focus on exploring their sexuality. It has led to a real and unparalleled sales boom in the sex toy industry.
However, it’s not like we were strangers to sex toys before the crisis hit. The taboos regarding sex toys were already dissolving when COVID happened. In fact, we now know that 44% of women have used a sex toy at least once. What’s even more unusual is that about the same percentage of men admit to experimenting with sex toys.
It should be clear from those stats that taboos are no more and that now’s the right time to buy a sex toy. With so many different sex toys to choose from these days, you’re certain to find the one to relieve your particular itch. It's the perfect time to start experimenting.
5 Important Considerations
Before you get your first silicone buddy, there are a couple of things to clear up first:
- Decide where you want to shop
- Think about what kind of stimulation you prefer
- Check the material
- Learn how to wash your toy
- Lube is a must.
Decide Where You Want to Shop
Deciding where you want to shop boils down to whether you prefer brick and mortar shops or online stores. Both have its advantages and disadvantages, but given the current circumstances, the online stores might be a safer bet.
First of all, it’s much more convenient to shop online. It’s easy, discreet, and allows for far simpler returns if you don’t care for the product you purchased. You get much better warranties than in regular in-store purchases.
Secondly, not every online store is the same. If you’re a first-timer, it might be a good idea to stick to well-established brands such as Lovehoney, Adam & Eve, and LELO. You’ll want to stay away from Amazon since there’s no way to determine if the product is genuine or not. It’s also much more difficult to figure out if the sex toys on massive stores such as Amazon are made from body-safe materials.
On the other hand, a big advantage of physical stores is the ability to get pro tips from experts. Employees of adult stores usually know what they’re talking about and can tell you about the ins and outs of every toy there.
Finally, you can always combine the best of two worlds and check out the sex toys in a real store, get some exclusive information from people there, and then purchase the toy online. Or, when you have some experience, you can even learn how to make your own sex toy.
Think About What Kind of Stimulation You Prefer
Since sex toys are so varied, it’s always an excellent idea to give your sexuality some thought. Think about what kinds of sensations you’d like to feel or are curious about. That should help you narrow down the choice a bit.
Of course, it’s quite impossible to think about sensations you’ve never had before. For that reason, you should perform a bit of erotic experimentation on yourself or your partner. Pinch, squeeze, pull, tug, and rub various erogenous zones on your body to find your sweetest spots. Don’t just focus on the genitals — explore the ears, neck area, feet, etc.
Another thing you can do to discover all the right stimuli is fantasize about various kinds of erotic scenarios. Put yourself in all the possible and impossible situations and sexual encounters and see which fantasy pushes your buttons the most. Consider common themes such as romance, power, force, submission, danger, and taboo. The resulting arousal could be a huge help in determining the right sex toy for you.
Finally, explore that fantasy alone or with a partner, so long as they’re willing to participate in your little escapade.
Regardless of the result, your choice of a sex toy boils down to the following:
- Women. Use toys that stimulate either the clitoris or the G-spot. Or, if you wouldn’t want to dismiss either, get a rabbit vibrator to stimulate both. For anal play, you can use butt plugs, anal beads, and dildos among others.
- Men. Masturbators and male vibrators are there to mimic the sensation of penetration. Their design varies, so you can get a sex toy matching the orifice of your choice. Prostate massagers stimulate your P-spot, and cock rings enhance the blood flow to your penis for stronger erections.
Check the Material
The FDA doesn’t regulate what should or shouldn’t go into a sex toy. This is why it's crucial for you to ensure the safety of each sex toy before buying it. Here’s what you should look out for:
- Phthalates. These toxic materials used to go into almost every sex toy. Their use has decreased significantly since they’ve been linked to male fertility issues, obesity, type 2 diabetes, asthma, neurodevelopmental issues, and more. It’s still best to check if the toy has phthalates before buying, though.
- Porous materials. That means there are tiny pores in the toy that bacteria can seep into and grow. Naturally, such bacteria can be harmful to the health of your genitals. You can either avoid using porous objects as sex toys (food, for example) or use a condom.
- Harmful compounds. Sex toys might contain trimethyltin chloride, phenol, carbon disulfide, toluene, or cadmium. All of these have harmful effects on the central nervous system.
There are only four materials that are considered to be 100% body-safe: stainless steel, glass, hard ABS plastic, and silicone. They’re all non-porous materials that won’t secrete any harmful chemicals into your genitals. Women need to be extra careful about choosing their sex toys in order to protect the vagina’s mucosal membrane.
Learn How to Wash Your Toy
Washing sex toys before and after every use is a must. Otherwise, you risk a bacterial infection or an STI.
Usually, sex toys come with directions on how to properly clean them each time. For most sex toys out there, however, mild soap and some water will suffice. Make sure to avoid scented or harsh soaps as the residue from those can irritate the sensitive genital skin.
As for the toys with a motor, it’s usually alright to use a tiny bit of bleach with water (1:10 bleach to water ratio). The non-electric toys can simply be boiled.
Lube Is a Must
Don’t forget to lube up before enjoying a nice, erotic sesh. That’s another crucial bit of information to have before engaging in any kind of play that includes sex toys. If you don’t, you run the risk of irritating your privates or even causing temporary desensitization.
Lube makes playing with sex toys a much smoother and more enjoyable experience. Therefore, you should always have some at the ready. There are three kinds of lubricants you can get — water-based, silicone, and hybrid lubes. The hybrid ones are a combination of the other two. However, it’s always advisable to stick to the water-based lubricants as they never interfere with the sex toy material.
One last thing — make sure the lube is paraben-free, petrochemical-free, and glycerine-free. Also, while lubes with flavor might seem fun to try, they can cause irritation and infection.
Certain lubes are not compatible with some kinds of toys. For example, silicone lube is not compatible with silicone toys. In fact, it can even cause irreparable damage to such toys. Latex doesn’t go well with oil-based lubricants such as almond oil or coconut oil.
Sex toys might just be the thing you need to fan the flames of your sex life. They’ve saved more than a single relationship from becoming stale and uneventful.
When you do decide to pick up some sex toys, remember to start slow and work your way up to more advanced toys. Stay open-minded and don’t give up if the first toy you try doesn’t do anything for you. You’ll be doing yourself (and your relationship) a favor.
About the author:
Stephanie Clark is a content writer and strategist currently working for Vicetemple. Vicetemple offers a one-stop solution for all requirements for adult businesses, which includes adult hosting, themes and scripts.