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How to Choose A Sex Toy: A Complete Guide for People with Vulvas


Sex toys are a great way to bolster your sex life, whether you’re in a committed relationship, casually dating, or not interested in finding a partner at all. There are endless possibilities when you’re looking for the right sex toy, and that can make it difficult to try and get your very first toy.

With so many styles, types, prices, and options available, there’s definitely something for you — you just have to determine what it is. Making an informed decision when choosing a sex toy is the first step to having a great time with it, so you should definitely do your research before making a purchase.

The good news is, it’s actually pretty simple to choose your first sex toy. Although it might feel like a momentous occasion, it doesn’t have to be a difficult one. By getting some additional information about the sex toys out there, it will be easier for you to choose the right one for YOU. If you get uncertain, remember that there’s no law saying you can only own one sex toy!

In fact, owning multiple sex toys can be a great way to open up your sex life even further. If you’re not quite sure about what would make a good first sex toy, use this guide to get the right one. You can even get some insight on all the sex toys to buy after that first groundbreaking one.

No matter how sex-positive you are, you’re likely going to feel a little bit of trepidation when you go to purchase your first sex toy. After all, there are so many options, and that can be daunting. Don’t let that worry paralyze you though.

Here’s a helpful guide to finding the right sex toy for your very first purchase.

1. Decide between a vibrator and a dildo.


The two widest categories you’ll find when it comes to sex toys are vibrators and dildos. Although they’re similar in many ways, they’re also distinctly different, which can make the choice between the two important.

Vibrators are usually battery-powered, and function mainly on vibrations. Two of the most common types of sex toys — rabbits and Hitachi wands — fall into this category. Although Hitachi wands and rabbit vibrators can be good first toys, largely due to their incredible power, it can also be a bit intense for some people.

Usually, vibrators are very smooth, and they can be created in a number of shapes and styles to more easily accommodate partner play or facilitate double penetration on their own. Depending on the shape, vibrators are often a good choice if you’re open to non-penetrative sex.

Dildos, on the other hand, are generally designed with a penis in mind. They’re often modeled with realistic veining and texturing, and many even come in flesh tones to complete the experience. Although it’s certainly possible to use a dildo without penetration, that’s what they’re meant for and it’s what they do best.

They’re perfect for partner play or solo play, and a number come with suction cups on the end for an easy hands-free experience.

2. Decide whether you’d prefer internal or external stimulation.


Although this is a big part of choosing between a vibrator and a dildo, you can also err more to one side or the other on either one. Vibrators are well-known for being very versatile in this effect. There are vibrators that are explicitly for clitoral stimulation and ones that are more geared toward non-clitoral stimulation or for dual use.

Lastly, rabbit vibrators, which are some of the most recognizable vibrators, are actually created to accomplish both internal and external stimulation at the same time.

Dildos are created for internal stimulation, and although you can buy dildos that have additional add-ons for easier clitoral stimulation, that’s not their main target.

The inclusion of a partner can be very important when trying to determine which toys you’d like to buy. If you’ll be having penetrative sex with your partner, you might want to limit additional internal stimulation. But if double penetration is something you’re after, adding a dildo could be loads of fun. Or, you can add on clitoral stimulation as a bit of an improvement on your usual bedroom life by adding in a vibrator.

You can also get a dildo or vibrator as a strap-on, which can lean more toward exclusively internal stimulation or provide both internal and external stimulation. Some toys, like double-sided dildos and hollow strap-ons, even explicitly cater to both the giving and receiving partner.

3. Choose your preferred material.

Both vibrators and dildos can be made of different types of material. The biggest differentiation is usually between silicone and non-silicone toys, but there are a number of options if you’re looking for non-silicone materials.

Silicone is a very common material because it’s smooth, comfortable and body-safe. It also has a bit of give to it, so it’s usually easier to handle regardless of prior sex toy experience. When it comes to dildos, silicone can give the toy a more realistic feel, especially if there’s a harder silicone on the inside.

However, the main downside of this is that you can’t use silicone lubricants with silicone toys. If you tend to choose silicone lubricants, try non-silicone toys instead.

There isn’t just one other material that sex toys are made of. However, dildos tend to have a more varied range of materials than vibrators. Usually, non-silicone vibrators are just made of plastic or TPE, a mix of plastic and rubber that provides a bit more give than plastic. Dildos, on the other hand, often come in a variety of materials, including rubber, glass, stainless steel and even crystal.

4. Choose a lubricant.

If you’re going to be using either dildos or vibrators for penetrative sex, you need to stock up on lubricants, even if you’re using the toy during masturbation. This is especially important when it’s your first toy; there’s no way for you to tell exactly how well you’ll be able to handle sex toys, and that extra lubrication can make the difference between a good experience and a bad one.

The two main classes of lubricants are silicone-based and water-based. Silicone-based lube can’t be used with silicone toys, but it’s very long-lasting and great if you’re interested in trying shower sex or using the toy anally. Water-based lube is compatible with all toys, and washes away easily with water, making it bad for shower sex or sex in other wet environments.

What’s the best first sex toy?

There’s no one sex toy that will be amazing for everyone. Different people like different things, and that’s precisely why there are so many toys on the market. Dildos can be especially great if you’ve already decided that you enjoy penetrative sex, or if your partner is looking for a different style of penetration.

Vibrators are perfect whether you want to hand the reins to someone else, share the pleasure or you’re interested in getting a whole new type of stimulation.

Keep these tips in mind and you’ll be able to find your perfect toy.

I’m Myisha Battle, a certified dating and sex coach who helps people answer the questions they have about their sex lives. To learn more about sex toys and decide if you would like to work with me, click here.

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