Sex Toys: Different Types
Hello all! I’m Cal (they/ze/zem/zir pronouns), and this time around I’ll be discussing some common types of sex toys! There will be another post that talks about safe materials for sex toys, condoms, and lube, so make sure you check that out as well.
Sex toys can be helpful in many ways and for many different people. Toys might help couples better enjoy sex together, help individuals figure out what they enjoy during sex, and be used by physically disabled people during sex with their partners or for masturbation. Some people who were assigned female at birth (AFAB) can have trouble reaching orgasm, and sex toys may be able to help with this. Toys also have the potential to increase someone’s body positivity and their confidence during sex. Another benefit to sex toys and masturbation is that they can also help with someone’s mood — masturbation causes your brain to release chemicals called endorphins, which can help people feel happy or calm. This can both be good for mental health and potentially increase feelings of intimacy between partners, which is fun!
Though sex toys can help people reach orgasm, an orgasm does not need to be the “goal” of masturbation or any sexual activity. Masturbation or sex without an orgasm is still capable of having all of the positive benefits above, so orgasms are not necessary to enjoy sex, however much fun they may be. Making orgasms into the ideal goal can put pressure on yourself or your partner(s) to finish, which can be stressful and make sexual activity less enjoyable, relaxing, or intimate. Since sex toys can be used in sexual activity without someone necessarily reaching orgasm, they can still be a nice addition to help someone feel pleasure and more!
Some types of sex toys and their descriptions, are as follows. Not everyone will enjoy the same toys or use them in the same ways, so keep this in mind as you read.
There are many types of vibrators, sometimes divided into categories. There are vibrators to be used internally, vibrators to be used externally, and some that can do both — even at the same time! (Those are sometimes called rabbit vibrators.) Vibrators, as the name says, vibrate, and are usually controlled with buttons on the outside of the device. Some vibrators even use Bluetooth to connect to an app on your phone, which you can use as a remote control to operate the toy. Since vibrators come in all shapes and sizes, they can be used with any anatomy for a variety of sensations — penile vibrators, vaginal vibrators, anal vibrators, and combinations of those! Some are specifically shaped to stimulate the G-spot or A-spot (pleasurable areas in the vagina) or the prostate (a gland in the assigned male at birth [AMAB] reproductive system that, when stimulated, also provides sexual pleasure). Cisgender women and other people with vulvas may use vibrators to masturbate or during sex with a partner(s), since using hands is not always an easy and reliable way to achieve orgasm. Cisgender men and other people with prostates may use vibrators on their penises or get what’s called a prostate massager — a vibrator shaped to stimulate the prostate (and often the perineum, too).
Vibrators are correlated with increased sexual health and may even improve intimacy between sexual partners. Some vibrators are even designed to provide pleasure for multiple people at the same time, such as staying inside a receiving partner so that both them and the penetrating partner can feel the vibrations. Some vibrators are battery-operated, some have a rechargeable battery, and some must be plugged in to work. Different kinds are good for different people, and all have very different prices, so poke around in some online or in-person shops to see which kind is best for you. There are kinds that are even disguised to look like a tube of lipstick or a piece of jewelry so you can take it with you discreetly! Be aware that some stores or online retailers may have age limits to enter or purchase sex toys.
Dildos are toys intended to be inserted in the vagina or the anus for sexual stimulation. Anyone can use dildos no matter what body parts you have, which make them a fun and versatile way to explore toys! Dildos, like vibrators, can be used in a variety of ways and have a variety of forms. Some are phallic (shaped like a penis, with a glans and sometimes even realistic veins or a scrotum), some are smooth and untextured, and some are even shaped like objects or fantasy concepts (like a tentacle or unicorn horn). Some people use dildos for the texture on the object, which can provide unique sensations as you move it in and out, some use it for the internal erogenous zone stimulation (dildos may be shaped to specifically reach internal erogenous areas, like the G-spot, A-spot [a.k.a. anterior fornix], and prostate), and more.
There are no wrong ways to masturbate, as long as you’re safe and enjoying yourself. One thing to keep in mind is that if you are using a toy anally, it is important that it has a flared base (a base that is larger than the circumference of the shaft of a dildo): since the rectum and colon are deep and don’t have something like a cervix to stop objects from going too far in. If a toy doesn’t have a flared base, it is possible that it could go all the way in and get stuck. Don’t worry too much, though — if you are practicing toy use safely, you are much less likely to have any issues.
Butt plugs / Anal plugs:
One fun way to explore anal play that may be less daunting than using dildos is to try butt plugs! They stay in by themselves, can be any shape and size, and some even vibrate or have weights added for a different sensation. Butt plugs can offer unique stimulation during sexual activity, and can be enjoyed by anyone during masturbation or sex with others. Since silicone and stainless steel are some of the most common materials for butt plugs, they can be relatively soft or hard, which also offer different feelings. Beginners often opt for silicone plugs because they’re softer and feel smoother when inserted. If you’re a beginner, it’s also a great idea to start small, because the anus is not used to instantly stretching during penetration like the vagina is. You can even buy sets of plugs that start small and increase in size! Similarly to small plugs, using fingers first is the best way to practice anal play without unnecessary discomfort. (Speaking of discomfort, lube is always mandatory for anal sex — I’ll talk about that in the next blog post — so make sure you use it!) And just like with dildos, a flared base is very important for butt plugs. The vast majority of plugs have a flared base already, since it’s a defining feature of anal toys, but it’s always good to check and make sure it’s safe before you use it.
I hope that was helpful! In my next post, I’ll get into a bit more depth about toy materials, lube, condoms, and general safety when using sex toys.
Tags: sex toys, safety