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How to choose a dildo

Dildos fall into various subcategories and if you aren’t sure what you’re after, it can be helpful to start by narrowing the choices. Consider a few scenarios to get started on making a choice.

1. Consider your sexual pleasure and/or wellness goals. Think about whether you want to discover new ways to stimulate yourself or a partner, to expand the positions in your repertoire, to challenge yourself safely, or to overcome sexual roadblocks. For example, if you have a penis and experience erectile dysfunction, your goal might be to enhance pleasure with a partner by incorporating a classic dildo or a strap-on.

2. Determine the type of stimulation you want. Depending on the design, dildos can be used vaginally, anally, or both. They can also offer different sensations based on their hardness, weight, texture, and mechanical movements, if motor-powered. If you are seeking a G-spot orgasm, for example, consider limiting your search within the G-spot dildo category. If you want vibration, then you know to look within the vibrator dildo category.  

3. Consider if you’re interested in partner or solo play. Some dildos can be used either with a partner or solo, while others, such as strap-ons, are designed to wear while penetrating another person. Strap-on dildos can be especially useful for non-binary people seeking a gender-affirming pleasure product, cis women interested in pegging (penetrating a cis man anally), adults in lesbian or queer relationships, or penis owners with erectile dysfunction.

4. Seek a dildo that matches your experience level: beginner, intermediate, or advanced. Not all dildos are created equal, with flexible, smaller options better suited to beginners. Longer, girthier, heavier, or harder dildos generally become easier to use with experience.

9 types of dildos

Different needs and wants call for different dildo options, and O shop has nine subcategories from which to choose. Explore the nine dildo types available on O shop to get a better idea of what might work best for you.

1. Classic dildos.

Classic dildos have a cylindrical shaft and range from non-phallic to realistic.

2. Double-ended dildos.

Featuring a longer shaft, each end of these dildos can be inserted into an orifice and used by an individual or two people.

3. G-spot dildos.

A curved shaft and bulbous head help these dildos to target the G-spot about two to three inches inside the front wall of the vagina.

4. Glass dildos.

These are usually made from borosilicate glass and are ideal for temperature play because they can be warmed or cooled in water.

5. Realistic dildos.

As true to life as they come, these are designed to resemble an erect human penis in terms of look, size, skin tone variety, and feel.

6. Stainless steel dildos.

These generally provide a fuller sensation due to their heaviness and can be used in temperature play.

7. Strap-on dildos.

The dildo is usually attached to straps or special garments so it can be worn over the pelvis and penetrate a partner. It can be solid, or hollow (worn as a sleeve over a penis, making it ideal for working through erectile dysfunction), or strapless (with a smaller shaft the wearer inserts in their own vagina).

8. Harnesses dildos.

These can be used with strap-ons to help secure a dildo over the pelvis. The harness can be confined to the lower body or extend over the shoulders for extra support. These can be ideal for lesbian or queer couples wanting to explore this type of sensation, or for folks seeking a gender-affirming product they can feel is an extension of themselves.

9. Vibrating dildos.

At least one motor is incorporated into the dildo so it can deliver vibrating sensations for added stimulation.

Key things to know about dildos

Most dildos share some common features, but there are a few key things to look out for when choosing the right dildo for your needs. Some of these key things include:

  • Material. The materials used to make a dildo affect how it feels, its safety, and upkeep. Broadly speaking, dildo materials can be porous or non-porous. Porous materials can be difficult to clean and some contain chemicals called ‘phthalates’ to make them flexible. Examples of porous materials are crystal, jelly-feel, latex, PVC (polyvinyl chloride), real-feel, TPE (thermoplastic elastomer), and TPR (thermoplastic rubber). Non-porous materials are easier to clean and safer in this respect. Examples are ABS plastic (acrylonitrile butadiene styrene), borosilicate glass, metal, and silicone.
  • Lube compatibility. Whichever product you choose, remember to use your dildo with a compatible lube to reduce friction and discomfort, and increase pleasure and sensation. Water-based lubricant is a good all-rounder, while special formulations are available for anal use. These are thicker to provide more cushioning to the anus, which has no natural lubrication. Don’t use silicone lube with silicone dildos because they will degrade the material (1).
  • Size. Consider whether you want your dildo to be ‘average’ penis size, bigger or larger. Factor in the material because if a dildo is long, wide, firm, and rigid, it can take more experience to use than one that is short, narrow, flexible and soft, in which case it would more easily slip inside and move with your body.
  • Aesthetics. Not all dildos resemble the ‘real thing’. While dildos can be molded directly from a human penis and feature a foreskin, veins, and skin texture, some are semi-phallic while others are so discreet they’re more akin to art than a pleasure product.
  • Anal vs. vaginal penetration. Dildos that can be inserted vaginally are not necessarily suitable for anal use. Anal dildos must have a wide, flared base or handle so they can be retrieved safely. Whether using a dildo vaginally or anally, consider if you want it to be motorized to experience another level of sensation, in the form of vibration, inflation, thrusting or rotation, for example. If you are using one dildo for both anal and vaginal penetration, be sure to clean between uses and/or change condoms on your product for safer sex.

Bonus features of dildos to look for

All dildos have an insertable shaft, however, some boast additional features to take your pleasure to the next level. If a dildo has one of these bonus features, it might help push it over the edge for you.

  • Suction cup base. Dildos with a suction cup base let you use the product hands-free by mounting it on a smooth, hard, dry flat surface, such as bathroom wall or floor tiles.
  • App-compatibility.  Some dildos come with free smartphone apps that let you customize the user experience or serve as a remote control.
  • Waterproof design. Dildos labeled as splash-proof, shower-friendly or waterproof open up more play scenarios, alone or with company.
  • Travel-friendly. Smaller, lighter dildos are easier to pack, and if your dildo contains metal or a motor, store it in checked baggage to avoid potential issues at security checkpoints. If you prefer a motorized dildo, consider USB-rechargeable over battery-operated for convenience, and a travel-lock to prevent it turning on unexpectedly.

Pair your dildo with…

Dildos do not have to be used as a standalone product. In fact, pairing your dildo with other pleasure offerings can enhance and diversify your sessions.

  • Warming or cooling lube. To explore new sensations, consider trying lubricants that are warming (often made with capsaicin derived from spicy peppers) or cooling (popularly including menthol) provided they are compatible with the dildo material.
  • Nipple clamps or suckers for upper body stimulation. Just because dildos are used in the lower body, doesn’t mean the torso has to be neglected. Simultaneously using a dildo with nipple clips, clamps or suckers, can help to expand the pleasure experienced.
  • Blindfold or cuffs for light BDSM play. Incorporating a dildo into BDSM scenarios can be an effective way to experiment with power play and increase communication, intimacy and connection with a trusted partner. It could be as simple as using the dildo to penetrate a partner wearing a blindfold or cuffs. Just remember to establish a safe word and boundaries before starting, and to debrief afterwards because it can be an intense experience.

How to clean your dildo

Keeping your dildo clean will help keep your body safe and mitigate risk of spreading STIs, either from either the dildo or inadequate cleaning (2,3). In general, dildos can be cleaned by spraying with adult product cleaner then rinsing off after a minute or so. Waterproof dildos can also be cleaned with mild soap and warm water. Always check the product packaging for manufacturer’s cleaning instructions.

After cleaning, let your dildo air dry, or pat down with a clean, lint-free dry cloth and store in a cool, dark, safe place without direct contact with other toys.

3 dildo myths, debunked

1. My partner will feel threatened by my dildo.

Dildos are not a replacement for human relationships and all the physical and emotional experiences they entail. They can, however, add to shared experiences when discussed or enjoyed with a partner to increase understanding, intimacy, and connection. If you are worried about your partner being threatened by a dildo, it can help to communicate why you want a dildo, and how you’d like to incorporate it in your relationship.(4).

2. I’ll get addicted to my dildo.

While a person can start relying on a dildo for stimulation, not using it is unlikely to lead to the withdrawal symptoms of addiction. Indeed, the use of pleasure products is not an addictive disorder in the worldwide handbook, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) (5).

3. Dildos are dongs.

Although the terms are often used interchangeably, dildos and dongs are not the same type of pleasure product. Dongs comprise a shaft only whereas dildos have a base, which could be a suction cup, handle or pair of testicles, for example.

Dildo alternatives

When choosing your dildo, opt for one that resonates with you and where you’re at in your sexual journey. If you feel that a dildo isn’t right for you, browse another category of pleasure product to find something that suits your current needs better. For example, consider exploring O shop’s catalog of vibrators, especially if you prefer external stimulation or to combine that with outer pleasure.

References

  1. Nicole W. (2014). A question for women's health: chemicals in feminine hygiene products and personal lubricants. Environmental health perspectives, 122(3), A70–A75. https://doi.org/10.1289/ehp.122-A70
  2. Marrazzo, J. M., Coffey, P., & Bingham, A. (2005). Sexual practices, risk perception and knowledge of sexually transmitted disease risk among lesbian and bisexual women. Perspectives on sexual and reproductive health, 37(1), 6–12. https://doi.org/10.1363/psrh.37.006.05
  3. Anderson, T. A., Schick, V., Herbenick, D., Dodge, B., & Fortenberry, J. D. (2014). A study of human papillomavirus on vaginally inserted sex toys, before and after cleaning, among women who have sex with women and men. Sexually transmitted infections, 90(7), 529–531. https://doi.org/10.1136/sextrans-2014-051558
  4. Döring, N., & Poeschl, S. (2020). Experiences with Diverse Sex Toys Among German Heterosexual Adults: Findings From a National Online Survey. Journal of sex research, 57(7), 885–896. https://doi.org/10.1080/00224499.2019.1578329
  5. Herbenick, D., Reece, M., Sanders, S., Dodge, B., Ghassemi, A., & Fortenberry, J. D. (2009). Prevalence and Characteristics of Vibrator Use by Women in the United States: Results from a Nationally Representative Study. The Journal  of Sex & Marital Therapy, 36(5), 389–407. https://doi.org/10.1080/0092623X.2010.510774

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