How to Choose a Sex Toy?
When I was asked to contribute a column on how to choose a sex toy I recalled shopping with a friend had never been inside a sex shop, let alone purchased a sex toy. So off we went to the local sex shop (it was in regional Victoria – everyone knows the sex shop in the city) and in we walk. I immediately went about browsing, thinking Alison (not her real name) would also be browsing. Next thing there is a tap on my arm and Alison asks, “What is it I’m looking for?”
That experience taught me an important lesson. People do not know what products are around and how to choose the right product for you. In this column I will focus on adult product selection for women. In my next column I will talk more about products for men.
Choosing a sex toy is a very personal thing. I have attended a couple of the focus groups of women Aphrodite’s Pleasure have run to select the toys they will stock. Listening to these women speak about what they look for is very enlightening. Some women who have participated have previously purchased sex toys, where others had never purchased. So what to consider when you choose your sex toy.
What is it you want it to do?
One of the first things to consider is what do you want the toys to do? Give you lots of fun is the most obvious answer, but as Alison learnt during her little sojourn to the “sex shop” there is more to think about than just the end result – PLEASURE!
Here is a little exercise I use as homework for women in therapy – Mindful Masturbation. I recommend undertaking this exercise in front a full length mirror if you have one in your bedroom and can see your reflection from your bed (it helps with understanding how your body responds and changes during arousal).
Lay or sit on your bed in a comfortable position and begin by rubbing your body with your hands. Begin caressing your body from the top of your torso/breasts and then down over your lower torso and onto your thighs and back up. (I do not recommend going straight to your vulva.) Repeat this two or three times at least to bring sensation into your body.
Use slow deep breathing to encourage oxygen to flow throughout your body.At the next stage focus on your breasts. Again start with large caressing movements and then cupping and small strokes and work towards your nipples. Another sweep of the body and then begin petting or stoking your vulval area.
Start with two hands caressing your labia and progress to one hand. Stimulate your clitoris with one hand and allow your other hand to continue to cares your labia. As you become aroused allow a finger or two to begin to enter your vagina and learn about the stimulation of your vagina.
Pay attention to what feels good and where you sense you like the most stimulation.Be mindful about how your body responds. Now return to the questions we began this section with and you have better idea of what areas you want to stimulate.
Maybe we need to take a side-journey about knowing your anatomy. Do you know which areas of genitalia and erogenous zones are most sensitive? Are you wanting a toy to stimulate your vulva? Your clitoris mainly? Your labia? Are you looking for a toy to insert into your vagina? An anal toy? Or a body massager which you can use on various body parts? If you are cannot answer these questions spend some time just exploring your body and genitalia.
Another avenue in choosing your sex toy, is to include your partner (if you have one and want them involved). Sex toys can be a great addition to the sexual repertoire. Including your partner in the decision making process can also add an erotic time to the sexual journey. It also encourages communication and discussion about sex – something that never goes astray in a sexual encounter.
Different products stimulate different areas in different ways. Many of the products for women have a multi-vibration function – you can use these with vibrations or without depending on your mood. Read the product description, look at reviews and identify the best product for the job.
Does Size Matter?
Yes, yes, yes!!!! Each woman is very different and your preferences will be different. Big is not necessarily better! Remember the nerves are located all around your genitalia and contrary to some men’s ideas not just at the end where the penis might pound. If looking for a toy to stimulate you vaginally, then girth or circumference might be a factor to consider.
Size is a very personal preference. If you are unsure try something small like a clitoral massager, like the JimmyJane Form 2 or for something larger a body massager like the Lelo Smart Wand . It has to be right for you. As you become more comfortable using a toy and get to know your body better you can then purchase another toy. There is nothing wrong with having a toy for every occasion.
Shape, like size is a personal choice. You now know your hots spots – choose a toy which is able to reach the erogenous spots you like to stimulate. Are you looking for a “rabbit-style” stimulator for clitoral and vaginal stimulation (checkout the Nu Sensuelle Femme Lux or the top-of-the-range Lelo Soraya? Imagine how the toy will feel. If it is contoured how will they work for you?
You will note that there are no penis-like toys in the Aphrodite’s Pleasure catalogue for women. The toys were purposely chosen by the team and confirmed with the focus groups to ensure the designs and contours are more suitable for women.
Power to Pleasure
You might want to consider how the toy is powered? Is it battery-operated? If so you might need to purchase batteries. Is the charging unit included with the toy? (note: not all toys include a charger and these need to purchased separately. Fun factory toys require you to purchase a separate charger, and this can be used with all rechargeable Fun Factory toys). Remember to check batteries and charge each time before you use your toy – you do not want the toy to stop half way through a pleasure session.
What about vibrations? Is there multiple settings? Consider the vibrations and how these are controlled. All the products at Aphrodite’s Pleasure are easily controlled and many have multiple settings with different vibration patterns.
Feel – Materials and Texture
The feel of the toy is again another personal preference. Some toys are hard, others soft. The feel of the toy is also influenced by the material they are made from. The best quality toys are made from body safe products like 100% medical-grade silicon, steel or borosilicate glass (think Pyrex). All of these materials are hypoallergenic. Also ensure the product is phthalate-free.
Phthlate is a material added to plastics to make then pliable and can cause irritation. Phthalate-free products are identified on the Aphrodite’s Pleasure website. A quick way to identify if a toy contains phthalate is to smell the toy (new unused of course) and if it smells like plastic shower curtain it will most probably contain phthalates. I would recommend checking the product description as a better way though! If you purchase a toy which is not phthalate-free, I recommend using a condom with the toy to add greater protection to your body. Phthalate-free products are often more expensive. Like all good products the better quality the product the more costly the materials used in their manufacture.
If you would like to know about the materials used in manufacture of adult toys please click here.
If you are looking for a small toy to begin with you could try the Nea or Alia from Lelo, or even the Power Bullet for clitoral stimulation. Also have a look at the Tiani or Noa from Lelo or the We-Vibe 4 Plus.
I hope this brief introduction to choosing a sex toy was helpful. If you have questions about products you can contact Adrian and the Sales Team.
Remember a healthy life includes a healthy sex life. And a healthy sex life is fun, satisfying and most of safe, sane and consensual..
Dr Christopher Fox is a Psychosexual and Relationship Therapist at Sex Life Therapy in Melbourne. He has clinics in East Melbourne and Frankston.
Disclaimer: The information contained in this document should be read as general in nature and is only to provide an overview of the subject matter covered. Please read product packaging carefully and follow all instructions.