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Hot Tips on Best Sex Toys

Updated: Jul 17, 2023

Toy kit essentials, reappropriations and pitfalls for adult playtime


Wartenburg wheel and shibari rope
Wartenburg wheels and ropes are a staple in my toy kit

Up until I reached 38 years of age, I had only ever purchased and used one sex toy (!). It was a cheap, battery operated dildo of questionable provenance. Over the last ten years I’ve been making up for lost time and can now boast a dungeonful of delight-filling, mischief-making items. Some I use over and over and others are sadly gathering dust and rust (anyone up for a sex toy swap?!). And I do admit to countless plays with all the fancy toys on display that don't get a look in because the humans involved were infinitely more engaging. Nevertheless, here are my hot tips on sex toys - must haves and things to look out for in the oft overwhelming world of accessories to improve your sex life.


Vibrators (external)


I love a good, strong, handheld wand and don’t personally get excited about fancy pulse patterns. I like Le Wand for all genital type applications and intensity range although the Doxy is touted as the most intense on the market. Most wands now come in both a corded version or a rechargeable version. I prefer the latter as it makes for more ease of movement and location. Corded bodywands/vibrators are, however, typically stronger in sensation. I do caution against using vibrators too often or at too high a setting as they can desensitise one’s arousable zones with over use.


My go to vibrator, hands down, is the Nu Sensuelle Bullet vibe. It’s small, rechargeable and slips in easily between bodies in motion. It’s got great, rechargeable battery life and can discreetly travel in your toiletry case, pocket or handbag. Something about its particular pattern is reliably rapid and satisfying.


Clitoral specific


Each clitoris is unique and this has inspired many innovations of which I have only tried a small number, especially as hands and tongues can be so very effective. So if looking for toys, it is vital to understand personal preferences in relation to intensity, skin surface sensitivities, deeper tissue pressure etc. The advent of clitoral suction devices has been a revolution in clitoris stimulation, especially for aficionados of more gentle stroking. Womanizer was the original and has brand dominance in this department but there are a lot of beautifully designed alternatives available now. If you’re picky about your pulse pattern, there are various models with apps that enable you to compose your own patterns, such as We Vibe.


Dildos


Regardless of which orifice you are looking to satisfy, the texture, size, shape and density of dildos are the key design features to look for. I prefer high-grade silicone that has a decent amount of structure with a soft surface. High grade silicone is also more resilient with different types of lube although the rule of thumb is not to use silicone lube on silicone toys! The Square Peg brand offers an enormous range (and price tag!) in super high grade, hand sculpted models of silicone. Vixen Creations and Tantus offer dual density - firm core, soft outer skin - with a delightful curve for both g-spot and p-spot stimulation. If you’re looking for strap-on play, ensure you’re buying harness compatible toys. Some of the hand held or bench top suction cup dildos don’t hold up so well in a harness.


Insertables - vaginal and anal


A lot of fun can be had with remote control operated insertables such as those made by We Vibe or Lelo but sizing and slippage can be inconvenient and distracting, especially with the anal versions so my hot tips on these toys would be to really imagine into what might suit your particular body shape. Lovense makes a great app-controlled, remote butt plug and vaginal toy that not only allows you to craft your own vibrating sequences but can also be operated over vast distances if both parties are switched on to that plan.


Best practice with anal toys is to only ever insert flanged (with a wide base that remains external to the body) objects so they don’t risk getting absorbed into the bowels. When looking at toys for the bottom end I do insist on investing in the top end of the market. The materials will be much more resilient to more intensive cleaning and the textures so much more enjoyable. That said, depending on who you’re playing with, using condoms over anal insertables is advised.


The nJoy stainless steel range is infinitely pleasurable and caters to all experience levels and capacities. The smooth surfaces can soothe and stimulate which can be useful as the delicate sphincter skin can be susceptible to abrasion. Glass beads and butt plugs also offer this sensation at a fraction of the price but you will miss out on the joy of temperature range. Butt plugs that are too heavy can be prone to slip out at inopportune moments so always think through the best fit for the moment. Silicone ones are lightweight and a little more flexible for more diverse applications.


If you need a little intro into how to approach anal play, have a read of my blog “Exploring Anal Sex” .


Impact toys


I’ll say it again, it’s all about quality. You’re much better off having a small selection of beautiful toys than a kitbag full of tinsel. The way floggers, paddles, whips, canes and crops behave (often on the bodies of the misbehaving ; ) is all about weight, density and grip. Given the Corporal Punishment scene is so long-standing in places like London, I’ve found European imports generally of greater quality than those locally or amateurly made. Jacks Floggers are the best I’ve used and Quality Control makes the most serious of straps and canes. If you’re in London, look out for LAM - London Alternative Market at Spitalfields once a month.


It can be difficult to place international orders and there are associated costs with postage but if you save up and get a few things at once it’s definitely worth the investment. But, as with most toy selections, it may also be advisable to get into the shop and feel it in your hands before making the investment. It will also help to have a good understanding of kinky play before acquiring toys so if you’re new to this kind of thing you might like to start by reading “10 Good Reasons to Get Kinky” .


Restraints


If you don’t know how to tie someone safely, don’t do it - it’s risky. Alternatively, invest in some cuffs (preferably leather) and make sure there are 2 fingers of space between the skin and the restraint around sensitive body joins. Leather is more comfortable than steel and will enable more duration in your play. Or, get inventive with scarves, stockings, panties or strips of fabric, but again ensuring due care and attention is paid to blood flow and nerve constriction. Tapes and wraps are lo-fi disposable options that can also be sourced from your everyday supplies. Hardware stores also offer a wide variety of ropes, chains etc with a vast array of textural range. If rope is your thing, jute and hemp are the classics. However, if fluids are going to be involved you might like to consider washable versions of nylon.


DIY inventiveness


Whilst I fully endorse investing in quality toys, there are also infinite reappropriations you can make with everyday objects around your home. I can often be seen floundering about in the moment for whatever sensate rich item is within my immediate grasp! Fruits and vegetables have always been a domestic staple. One of my all-time favourite hot tips on sex toys are balloons - you can flick them, inflate them, vibrate them (applying your body wand will instantly make a giant vibrator!), make them noisy or roll about on them (especially the big ones!). Chopsticks with a rubber band around one end make rather nippy clamps, bull dog clamps are even nastier and chopped down pool noodles make a lot of thwack for not much sting. I also love confounding folk with cotton tips in unexpected locations or capitalising on the healthy sting of nettle season. A curious eye for surprising possibilities can yield you more fun than your wallet may dictate.


Melbourne Toy Shop Recommendations


My favourite shop in town is Mannhaus on Langridge St, Abbotsford. Whilst predominantly targeting the gay market, they have the best quality range of BDSM and fetish gear. For high end clothing and toys that target predominantly the femme market, Passionfruit on Brunswick St, Fitzroy is a sensual shopping and educational experience. They also offer a range of workshops for skill development. For latex and leather, Eagle Leather on Hoddle St, Abbotsford is a great old skool institution.


In conclusion


The adult sex toy industry is a burgeoning $62 billion dollar industry. In a time when sustainable values seem not just prudent but necessary, I must own my mistakes in the pursuit of pleasure in the hope that you can avoid such pitfalls. Toys are useful tools to expand the variety of erotic play. A few well chosen, quality made items can enrich your erotic experiences. They can also become nothing more than disposable distractions. Ask around for recommendations, read reviews online and visit stores to get a better sense of what will be the best fit for your unique proclivities. And remember, your imagination is the best toy you have.


Or, you can book me to take you (and your lover?!) on a toy shop tour. I can explain things that make your mind boggle, advise on different materials, suitable lubes and safety considerations and answer any other sex-related questions you may have. What a great date idea - fun, informative and practical all at once!


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