How to choose your first sex toy
Sex toys are a great way of spicing up your sex life and exploring your desires, whether you're coupled up or using them for solo play. But when it comes to choosing your first toy, it can seem like a daunting task. There's such a wide range of options available these days, you're probably wondering where on earth to start.
Obvious as it might sound, it's really important to begin by knowing what you actually want from a sex toy. Firstly, is it just for your own personal use, to help with masturbation, or will you be using it with a partner? If you're partner's going to be getting in on the action, are they shopping with you or are you choosing something to surprise them?
Either way, start by thinking about what already works for you – and what doesn't. What are the things that feel really good during masturbation or sex, and what could enhance that? If it's better clitoral stimulation you're after, you'll be looking more at vibrating toys – whereas, for penetration and internal stimulation, a dildo would probably be more your cup of tea. Or, if you want a bit of everything, a rabbit or a couple's vibrator could really hit the spot.
If you're shopping as a couple, think about who the toy's going to be most frequently used on – is it you, your partner, or a bit of both? Once you've established the recipient, think about their turn-ons and turn-offs, their desires and any secret fantasies they might be harbouring. If one or both of you is curious about anal or BDSM, finding sex toys to help you explore those fantasies can be a great introduction. Equally, you might fancy something much simpler, just to put a bit of oomph back into a sex life that's become samey and routine.
Establishing what you want from your sex toy will really help to narrow down your choice. Next, it's on to the details. First up, what's your budget? One of the key downsides of buying sex toys is that there's no try before you buy policy – so, if you're unsure, start by experimenting with something affordable and work up, so you don't feel short-changed if it's, ahem, anti-climatic.
However, if you already have a clear idea of what you want, and you're prepared to invest in spicing things up in the bedroom, you'll also find plenty to float your boat at the more luxurious end of the spectrum.
The other factors to look at are the size, shape and feel of the toy – do you want something small and discreet that you can slip in your handbag, or something big, girthy and powerful that would make your nan blush? Does it need to be waterproof? Insertable? Flexible or firm? If you're looking at dildos, how important is the texture for you? Do you want something 'life-like' or something 'larger than life'? Likewise if you're looking for vibrators, how much power, speed, and what type of vibrations are you after?
Once you've weighed up all those criteria, the best way to get a sense of whether a toy is worth your money or not is to see what other people have had to say about it. Look at the reviews, see which items are best-sellers, and which ones people are saying don't live up to the hype. Of course, people's experiences of sex toys will be as subjective as their experiences of sex – what hits the spot for one woman won't necessarily work the same way on another – but it can help to see if there's any kind of consensus around the product you're considering.
Buying your first sex toy doesn't have to be intimidating – and it's not the be all and end all if it takes a bit of trial and error to find the one that's best for you. If in doubt, remember to start off simple, affordable and versatile; you can always progress to bigger and better things later. Finally, don't forget to stock up on lube and spare batteries!