image of flex mami holding a bunch of vibrators

A Guide To Buying Your First (But Not Your Last) Sex Toy

Okay team, it’s a new decade and in the spirit of gentle progression, continual self-evolution and loving ourselves a lil better than before may I kindly posit: upgrading your bad self to a premium nut experience. 

Full credit to the fairy nut-mother herself Flex Mami for the excellent term. 

Masturbation is delightful and has a tonne of health benefits, rolling around with a partner or partners is extremely fun, but do you know what’s a great bonus addition? The power of technology, y’all. If you’re interested in experimenting with toys, whether that’s because you’re curious, bored, have trouble orgasming analogue style or are simply feeling Flex Mami’s impact, we’ve got the beginner’s guide for you. 

We chatted with Chantelle Otten, Director of the Australian Institute of Sexology and Sexual Medicine and Womanizer Ambassador, to get the low down on all things sex toys, so if you’re interested, in the timeless words of Beyoncé , let me upgrade u.

I masturbate already, do I still need a sex toy?

What is a “need” anyway? Vibrators and sex toys generally are not a *must have* item. There are quite a lot of ways to get creative with the tools you have on hand (on… hand literally) and with things you probably already have lying around—think silk scarves, eye masks, carefully arranged pillows, and with some judicious Googling you can figure out how to use these safely and sexily.

“My favourite saying is ‘you never know until you try’, and I fully believe that with sex toys,” says Otten, and this is pretty good advice for a lot of situations where we’re faced with something new. “You won’t know how good it could be until you give it a go yourself. But this doesn’t mean we use them every time forever.”

“Our trusty hand can do amazing things to our bodies, but it can be very enjoyable to experience new pleasure. And my hand is pretty impressive, but it can’t quite vibrate. You might try toys and think they are not for you, or cry in joy and wonder why you didn’t try them sooner. There is no right and wrong, but I think staying open to our sexual possibilities is always helpful to our own sensual journey.”

Which sex toy is the best one? And how do I find the right sex toy for me? 

Me lovingly charging all my toys.

There’s no best sex toy—otherwise, we’d probably all have it—and so this is a place where YMMV and YNMV (your mileage and your nut may vary). 

“Work out what you want out of a sex toy, everyone is different and will enjoy different sizes, shapes and sensations,” says Otten. And it’s true, no two orgasms are quite the same. 

Otten offers some helpful questions to ask yourself: “Do you want something to stimulate your clitoris? Or do you want something you can insert inside yourself? Something to produce lots of different sensations? Something that moves on its own or something you can move yourself? Once you have an idea of what you are wanting you can start browsing! Read reviews so you know you’re getting the best.”

Depending on your genitalia and preferences, you’re going to end up with different things. Popular toys for external stimulation include wand, bullet and pebble-style vibes, ones like the We Vibe or “rabbit” style vibrators offer internal and external buzzin’ and then there’s a host of insertables like dildo and plugs, or wearables like rings. It’s… a lot.

What’s the best toy or vibrator for a beginner?

“For people with a clitoris, the best toy to start off your sexual explorations is the Womanizer Starlet,” suggests Otten. This rechargeable and waterproof friend is a little different to your typical vibes, which are usually held or pressed against the clitoral area. 

The toy “creates sensations unlike other vibrators,” explains Otten, “it uses pleasure air technology to create a contactless experience for your clitoris that could have you coming in seconds, minutes or hours, depending on what you feel like. A must-have!” 

I agree this is quite a fun one if you’re looking for a ~different~ kinda orgasm, very much based on directed stimulation in a focused place that’d be hard to achieve with anything else. Plus, it comes very highly recommended by Flex, and if it’s good enough for her… 

If you’re extremely sensitive there and are a little apprehensive, there are also things like small bullet vibrators which could be a nice entry point.

And if you’re equipped with a penis, “A good penis sleeve is a must,” says Otten, “It will change the way you masturbate, and hey, your partner can use it on you also!” 

What exactly is a sleeve you ask? Essentially it’s a toy that you insert yourself into and provides a different sensation to stimulation from your hands alone. These can be as advanced or basic as you prefer, some also vibrate, but sadly none of them will do your taxes. 🙁

I have trouble having an orgasm through sex and masturbation, will a sex toy help? 

Okay, first of all, I’m sorry you’re on the slight struggle street, but it’s totally normal and it will get better! Otten advises that “a sex toy could add some new and exciting stimulation and sensations to our body that may help us reach an orgasm.” 

It may be that you haven’t found the right style of masturbation or sex for you yet and adding in a toy could help—another tool in the kit, if you will.

Something I generally find helpful if you have a vagina and struggle to orgasm during sex, particularly if you’re having penetrative sex is to try and see if you or your partner(s) can make you come first before penetration starts. 

Whether that’s with hands, a toy or through oral sex, kind of “getting the ball rolling” can make penetrative sex feel better and take the pressure off to come solely through that—which is usually a little less common for people to be able to do easily anyway. 

That said Otten does note that: “There may be more to trouble orgasming than simply what we are doing with our hands. I recommend seeing a sexologist who can help us see outside ourselves to where some of those blocks in orgasm may be held.”

Will a sex toy desensitise me?

Nooooooo. A thousand times no! While some toys have levels of vibration that seem like they could vibrate your junk off, it’s not going to happen. What people are usually worried about is just a post-toy use feeling of intensity that can kind of feel like “numbness.” 

Rest assured, this is temporary—much like when you get a really good head massage, you’re gonna reach a point where the sensation moves from pleasurable to a bit too much. Your body will relax and settle back it’s normal sensitivity again. For round two, or five, or whatever.

How much should I spend a sex toy?

Can you put a price on an orgasm? No, not really. Yes, some toys can be on the pricier end, depending on the budget you’re working with, but I do think it’s worth investing in something quality that’s made of safe, high-grade materials and is going to see you through many happy orgasms. 

The other thing to think about is the retailer you’re buying it from. Many reputable sites (or stores if you’re going old school) give you the option to return an item if it’s not quite your tempo, so it can be worth spending a little extra for the peace of mind.

The world of sex toys is a vast and ever-evolving place (we’ve come so far from having to plug things into the wall :pray:) and the internet is a great resource for reviews, news and usage tips. Keep Googling, keep playing and good luck out there getting that nut y’all. 

In the meantime, a few suggestions from Syrup truly, below: 

If you’re truly just starting out: Lovehoney Dream Bullet Vibrator

A great, not too $ option for your first vibe check.

If you’re truly just starting out: Tenga 3D Spiral

The reviews of this are wild, I can only assume if you have a penis you’re going to have a good time.

If you’re truly just starting out, but like, together: Lovehoney Basics Couple’s Starter Kit

If you’re in a couple and are in possession of a penis and a vagina, this starter kit is a well-loved jumping-off point to the world of toys. If you’re not in a couple, well, the boy scout motto is Be Prepared. 

If you’re looking for an upgrade from a bullet vibrator, or hate buying batteries: Je Joue Mimi Soft Luxury Rechargeable Clitoral Vibrator 

First of all, why do toys have such long names? A classic pebble-style vibrator from an extremely reputable brand, while it’s initially a bit more of investment, it will serve you well for years.

If you’re interested in stimulation beyond vibration: Womanizer Starlet 2 Rechargeable Clitoral Suction Stimulator 

You guys. You guys. I can’t say this will work for everyone, but after many satisfied years of using the aforementioned Je Joue, this truly changed the game. It might take a lil getting used to but keep going! (To get those orgasms!)

If you love cute squishy things: Tenga Iroha Midori Vibrator (and cutie friends)

We love orgasms and we love good design. This lil green friend is part of a vibrator line designed by and for women (or rather people with vaginas). They have a really interesting squishy texture, come in a variety of shapes for different play styles and are just… so cute…

Lead image via @flex.mami, picsart.

Monisha Rudhran (@monishamay) is a writer and chronic Pisces. Formerly at Syrup, she's now a Digital Content Producer at ELLE and marie claire Australia. She’s into trying to be a better person and sparkling water.

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