There are ~almost~ as many designs of sex toys as there are sex positions–trying to pick one that fits your preferences can be harder than finishing your first CrossFit WOD. But most can be relegated to specific categories. To our rescue, sex and relationships educator Sarah Sloane (who’s been teaching sex toy classes at Good Vibrations and Pleasure Chest since 2001) breaks down 12 of the most common types of sex toys with info on the benefits and best-use practices for each.
Vibrators are probably the most common type of sex toy, and when you hear the word, likely you visualize the infamous Hitachi Magic Wand, which (as its name suggests) is a wand vibe. (Fun fact: It was introduced in the ’70s as the “Cadillac of Vibrators.”)
“Wand vibrators typically offer vibrations at a higher RPM, so they’re more intense than other vibes,” says Sloane. “They work really well for people with vulvas or penises who enjoy a strong sensation, or who have difficulty getting fully aroused without intense stimulation.”
Wand vibes can also be used for applying stimulation to your non-nether regions—they double as a back and shoulder massagers, a ~teasing tool~ to trace on someone’s bod, or a very intense nipple toy, says Sloane.
The Magic Wand isn’t the only option; try the SmartWant by Lelo or the Fairy Mini Wand by Better Love.
According to Sloane, clitoral vibes have emerged as their own category. They’re typically much smaller, less phallic-shaped, and are intended specifically for (yep) the clit. “These are best for people who like direct clitoral stimulation,” she says.
That said, there are a variety of shapes and sizes under the clit vibe umbrella. For instance, the Eva II by Dame has wings that wrap around the labia so that the bzzzbzzz is applied directly to your bud, while the Form 2 by Jimmyjane has little “ears” that can surround your button with pleasure. Or, you can go with a more straightforward bullet vibe like the We-Vibe Tango which looks like (obv) a bullet. There are also clit vibrators that look like everyday objects like lipstick and/or a necklace—fun!
Clit Suction Toys
True to their name, clit suction toys use air pressure to create a gentle sucking. “They’re a very, very different sensation than vibrators; people who really love oral sex or the feeling of a partner curving their tongue around their clitoris and folks who find vibration patterns too intense tend to like these,” says Sloane.
Sexpert tip: If you’re trying a clit suction toy because your clit is ultra-sensitive, first use it over your panties to warm up, then apply a dab of lube to the tip of the toy. “Super sensitive clitorises typically need more warm-up than going from zero to a suction toy,” says Sloane. Makes sense.
ICYWW, dildos are qualified as a dildo if they’re “anything vaguely phallic shaped that is meant to simulate penile penetration,” she says. They can be any length or girth—there are ones that are two inches and ones that are monster-sized.” She says that people who enjoy the feeling of being penetrated or like the feeling of fullness in their vagina or anus might enjoy dildo play.
Note: While dildos are meant to simulate penile penetration, that doesn’t mean that all dildos look like realistic penises. In fact, most don’t—there are even some that like icicles, tentacles, or candy canes. (That said, if you are looking for a realistic dildo, no one does it better than New York Toy Collective).
Butt plugs are great for experimenting with anal play. “They can teach your body to accept anal penetration and train your sphincter to relax around different sized toys,” explains Sloane. But, lest you think butt plugs are only a stepping stone to full-blown anal, she says, “they’re awesome for stimulating the ring of nerves around the anus.”
What’s the difference between using butt plug and using a dildo in the butt? “I tell people that dildos are more dynamic and meant to be taken in and out, while butt plugs typically go in and stay in to give a sustained, feeling of fullness,” explains Sloane. Plus, butt plugs have a flared base, which means they can be used safely without being attached to something like a harness.
Thanks to their slight curve or expertly positioned bump, G-spot toys make it easy to apply firm pressure to the G-Spot (which, yes, does exist). For your first G-spot toy purchase, Sloane recommends what she calls an egg-on-a-stick toy. “They’re great starter toys because they can be used internally and externally, for G-spot or A-spot play, and are typically pretty inexpensive.” She recommends the G Slim Classic by Blush Novelties (which is under $10!), or the Frisky by Doc Johnson (which is under $15).
Speaking of the A-Spot—an erogenous zone a little further back than the G-spot and technically known as the anterior fornix erogenous zone—there are toys specifically meant for A-spot stimulation. Typically they look like long, narrow variations of the G-spot toys, says Sloane. For a vibrating A-spot toy, try the Lady Bi-violet by Fun Factory. And for a non-vibrating option try the 7.5-inch Pure G-spot Metal Wand by Njoy which Sloane says is A+ for A-spot play.
A rabbit toy is a combo of an external vibrator and a G-spot toy. “It has an external part that usually looks like rabbit ears that provides vibration to the clitoris, while a second attachment goes inside the vagina for G-spot stimulation,” explains Sloane. She says this toy is best for people who find duel sensations pleasurable, or those who want to experiment with blended orgasms.
Shopping tip: “Make sure the toy you purchase allows you to control the vibrator patterns of both legs separately, because usually the G-spot and clitoris need different intensities,” she says. The INA Wave by Lelo and the Jack Rabbit by Calexotics are both good options.
Built for people with prostates (of the male sex, for the most part), the function of these toys is to provide direct sensation to the prostate—some vibrate, some do not. “They’re a slender, curved toy that’s similar to G-spot toys,” says Sloane. “They provide direct sensation to the prostate, and are a great option for people who want to explore prostate play but don’t want to use their hands.” Lelo is one of the best-known brands for this corner of the market.
Unlike butt plugs which typically go in and stay in, anal beads provide the sensation of the anal sphincter opening and closing. “As you insert the beads, the sphincter opens up and then closes, giving you a teasing bloop-bloop sensation,” says Sloane. Maybe you’ve heard that pulling them out as you orgasm can create a more intense orgasm, she confirms that’s true—for some folks. “Other people like them because they have more mass to them, so can create a sense of anal fullness.” You can buy vibrating beads, like these VeDo Beads or ones that don’t, like these 50 Shades of Grey beads by LoveHoney.
Just remember, the anus is not self-lubricating, so you’re going to want to use a toy-compatible lubricant—and lots of it. For maximum glide, Sloane suggests lubing up the entire length of the toy, not just the first few beads.
“Cock rings were originally created to give folks with penises a longer, fuller erection because they compress the blood vessels; they can also make the penis more sensitive,” explains Sloane.
Now, there are vibrating cock rings which offer the same effect, while providing a buzzy sensation to the wearer and the partner being penetrated. “They’re also a great way to turn dildos into vibrating dildos for strap-on sex,” says Sloane.
Oh, and she says these babies cheappp. Both Durex and Trojan make one for under ten bucks.
Glass and Metal Wands
These may look like G- or A-spot toys, but Sloane says, these deserve their own category. Why? “These non-vibrating wands are an awesome option for people who have discomfort or pain with penetration. They are frictionless and go in smoothly, and can be a great bridge to penetrative sex for people who need slower, more gradual dilation,” she says.
Plus, glass and metal toys are great for temperature play because you can warm them up or cool them down. Trust, it’s H-O-T. Check out the Fifty Shades of Drive Me Crazy Glass Massager or Stainless Steel Massage Wand by Njoy.