The gift that keeps on giving: your guide to sex toys

In our last guest column, we wrote about female masturbation. To follow up, we’d like to give you a little information about sex toys and how they can enhance your sexual experiences.

To start, let’s go over basic genital anatomy. The vagina is comprised of several sexy parts: the inner and outer labia, your clitoris — an 8,000 nerve-ending organ at the apex of your labia — and your g-spot — another nerve-filled area about 2 inches into your vagina, toward the front of your body. Your rectum is also a very sensitive area. You can find toys and products that stimulate some or all of these parts at once; we’ll tell you about a few of them.

According to, 3.35 million Americans Google “sex toys” each month. We have just contributed to that statistic. If you’ve been thinking about buying yourself a present, get the gift that keeps on giving and consider purchasing a personal pleasure toy. Before you run to the nearest sex toy store, we’d like to offer a few suggestions.

For Beginners: If you’ve never owned a sex toy before, here are a few suggestions to get you started. Don’t be afraid to start small. Sex toys don’t have to be large and intimidating to feel good.

  • A bullet is a small clitoral stimulator. They come with a variety of features; some have a simple on/off push button, others have elaborate power controls. You can even get bullets that are disguised as common items. They can range anywhere from $10 to $40.
  • A finger vibrator is a small, flexible, silicone ring that slips over a finger. These also come in a variety of shapes and sizes. They range anywhere from $5 to $20.
  • If you aren’t ready to visit a sex toy store or order online, there are options available at stores like Target and Walmart. For example, personal massagers can be found in the small appliance or pharmacy departments.

Intermediate: For those of you who are familiar with the bullet and are ready to upgrade, here are a few products you might want to check out.

  • A dildo is a penis-shaped vaginal stimulator that is not power-controlled. They come in a variety of sizes and can be made of plastic or glass. Some feature a textured surface with bumps and grooves. Also, many models are made of materials that quickly warm to body temperature. They typically cost around $20 to $100.
  • A basic vibrator is typically 4 to 6 inches long, made of brightly colored plastic, and is speed adjustable by a twist knob on the end. They usually cost between $10 to $20 and operate on AA batteries.

Advanced: If sex toys are part of your regular repertoire and you’re ready to step it up, here are a few pieces of equipment to consider.

  • One of the more well-known options is the The Rabbit. The Rabbit began as a brand name, but has evolved to encompass an entire style of vibrator. The Rabbit is comprised of a vaginal stimulator that may or may not include rotating beads or a rotating head. Attached to the shaft is a clitoral stimulator, usually shaped like rabbit ears. The higher in price you are willing to go, the more elaborate the controls and features. Also available are models featuring clitoral and anal stimulators. The Rabbit is definitely a sex toy investment, starting at $60 with some costing as much as $150.
  • Another choice is the g-spot stimulator. G-spot stimulators are as unique as the women who use them; some are horseshoe-shaped, some look like angled spoons, others stimulate your g-spot and clitoris at the same time. Really, the possibilities are endless. They tend to run between $60 to $120.

Sex toy rules

1. Consent is key: You need to be comfortable talking about sex toys. Before introducing sex toys in the bedroom, make sure your partner is comfortable with the idea and use as well.

2. Lubrication is vital: If you are inserting a sex toy anywhere, it needs to be lubricated. Stay away from petroleum-based lubricants, as they work negatively with condoms and certain toy materials. Any silicone or water-based lubricant is fine.

3. Make sure your toys are waterproof before exposing them to your shower. As a general rule, it’s a good idea to get to know the features of your toy before use.

4. Cleanliness and personal safety: Consider sex toys as an extension of yourself. Take proper precautions to prevent sexually transmitted infections. Condoms work great with many toys; check that the materials are compatible. Toy stores often sell toy cleaners safe for sensitive areas; be sure to thoroughly clean and dry toys before storing them.

5. Remove toy batteries when not in use. This will prolong the life of the batteries as well as the toy.

We encourage women to shop at woman-friendly sex toy stores. Not only will your dollars support the women who operate them; you will encourage the expansion of vagina-friendly businesses.