September 19, 2019

How To Buy A Sex Toy

How to choose a sex toy that’s right for you, and other pro-tips for first-time sex toy buyers.
Written by
Louise Bourchier, MPH
Published on
September 19, 2019
Updated on
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Are you thinking about buying your first sex toy but not sure how to go about it? Stepping into a sex toy store or browsing sex toys online can definitely be overwhelming. With so many different products, shapes and prices, it’s hard to know where to start.

These five questions will help you browse and choose with confidence:

Sex Toy Varieties

Did you click on an online catalogue because you were intrigued by vibrators? Did your friend get a butt plug and now you’re curious too?

Question 1: What sex toy tickles your fancy?

When choosing a toy, follow whatever it was that first piqued your interest, and let that guide your shopping journey. If you’re at a brick and mortar shop where you can play with display items, don’t be shy—turn them on, feel them up, and learn how they work!

As you learn, you’ll get more ideas about which toys are likely to suit you and which aren’t. If you’re not able to play with the toys before purchasing, read reviews from consumers who have tried them.

But what if you have no idea where to start or what you’re into? No worries, we’ve got a few suggestions for popular first-time toys:

Using a Sex Toy

Some sex toys are designed for solo use, and some are better suited to partner play. Do you plan to use it mostly by yourself or with a partner? Maybe you’d like the option to do both?

Question 2: How do you want to use your sex toy?

Read online and ask the store clerk about different ways the toys can be used. (Think creatively here, there are often fun and naughty ways to use a toy that might not be advertised.) If you are planning to use your toy with a partner, make sure you talk with them before buying it—better yet, go shopping together!

If you are planning to use your toy with a partner, make sure you talk with them before buying it - better still, go shopping together!

Sex Toy Prices

Sex toy prices range from super affordable to exorbitantly expensive. If you’re on a budget, and looking for an affordable starting place, there are a number of good toys for under $25. With a larger budget, you have more options; a high-quality vibrator can cost up to $200-300.

Question 3: What’s your budget for a sex toy?

Regardless of budget, consider starting off with something on the lower end of the price range and upgrading later when you have a better idea of what you like.

Sex Toy Materials

There are so many different materials that sex toys can be made of: plastic, rubber, steel, wood, silicone, ceramic, to name but a few. Some materials are hard, some soft, some are body-safe and some are best avoided, and they come in at a range of price points.

Question 4: What is your sex toy made of?

Silicone is a top sex toy material since it’s non-toxic and easy to clean, but it also tends to be more expensive. If a silicone toy is beyond your price range, go for a hard plastic one. Avoid softer, jelly-like plastic toys, however, as they can leach harmful chemicals and are much harder to clean.

Sex Toy Sizes

Your eyes can be bigger than your orifices! As a general rule it’s better to start smaller than to be overly ambitious.

Question 5: What size sex toy should you get?

If the toy you bought ends up being a little on the small side you can still enjoy it. But if the toy you bought is too big then it’ll be uncomfortable and you probably won’t use it much. Remember, you can always upgrade to something bigger next time.

As a general rule it’s better to start smaller than to be overly ambitious… you can always upgrade to something bigger next time.

Cleaning Sex Toys

Your sex toy cleaning routine will depend on what the toy is made of and whether or not it has electrical parts.

Question 6: How do you clean your sex toy?

If the toy has a motor, pay attention to how waterproof the toy is (or isn’t), so as not to damage it. If the toy doesn’t have a motor, you may be able to boil it for three minutes and be good to go! Special toy cleaner sprays and wipes are convenient, but not necessary: Gentle soap and water is just as effective.

Toys Are More Fun With Lube!

Don’t forget the lube! Sex toys are always more enjoyable when used together with a good lubricant.

Reviewed for Medical Accuracy

Louise Bourchier is a sex educator and sex researcher with 8 years experience in the field. She teaches about sexual health, sexual pleasure, and communication in relationships through workshops, live-streams, and with written content. Using a sex-positive approach, a dash of humour, and bag full of fun props, Louise’s style of sex education for adults is not what you got in high school! Since 2011 she has taught over a hundred workshops to a wide range of audiences, from university students, to refugees, to medical professionals, to adult store clientele. She has a Masters of Public Health, and is currently a PhD candidate.

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