What You Always Wanted to Know About Your Sex Toy Options But Were Afraid to Ask

What You Always Wanted to Know About Your Sex Toy Options But Were Afraid to Ask

A while ago, I wrote a beginner’s guide to buying a vibrator. But vibrators, in all their wonderful variety, are not the only thing to be found in the magical world of sex toys.

Let’s break down some of the best-loved types of toys out there. Jump to the bottom for further resources and information.



All of the toy categories I list here include many, many variations; vibrators are certainly no exception. Vibrators are some of the best-known sex toys out there, whether they provide internal (vaginal or anal) stimulation, external (often clitoral) stimulation, or dual stimulation (like the “rabbit” vibrator popularized by Sex and the City). They can be battery-powered or rechargeable. They can come with various speeds and patterns of vibration. They may be realistically phallic, slim for easy penetration, curved to reach the G-spot (in the vagina) or prostate (in the anus), compact like bullet vibrators, or creatively designed to externally stimulate various parts of the vulva.

Contrary to (hopefully decreasingly) popular belief, vibrators will not numb you or in any way ruin you for other stimulation from, say, non-vibrating fingers or penises.



Whereas vibrators are defined by their function (vibration), dildos are defined more by their shape. They are designed for penetration, so they tend to be phallic (with much variation in how realistically they resemble a human penis).

Many dildos are also vibrators, and like vibrators, they come in a variety of materials, shapes, and sizes – all incredibly important factors when choosing which one you want. You can also get a strap-on harness for your dildo, if you don’t have a penis (or even if you do) and you want to penetrate someone else’s vagina/anus/mouth. In that vein, you can also get a “strapless strap-on” or double-ended dildo, with one end that you hold in your vagina and another end that you use on your partner.


Anal Toys

If I you learn anything about anal toys from this post, let it be this: Do not ever, ever, put anything in your butt that does not have a base, or “flange” (preferably twice as wide as the widest part of the toy), or else a ring at the bottom of the toy through which you can put a finger. You do not want to lose your toy in your wonderful bottom.

This rule applies to dildos and vibrators, butt plugs and prostate toys (which should all have a flange, since they are designed expressly for anal insertion), and anal beads (a series of beads, increasing in size, designed to provide stimulation as each one is inserted or removed). More on anal/prostate pleasure and toys here.


Penis Rings

Cock rings are exactly what they sound like – a ring, varying in size and rigidity, which is placed around the base of the penis (either behind the scrotum or only around the shaft). They cut off blood flow, creating feelings of pressure and tightness that can be pleasurable. Some cock rings also vibrate to add a new dimension of pleasure for the penis owner as well as potentially for their partner during sexual activity.


Masturbation Sleeves

Masturbation sleeves are typically made out of soft materials and (with plentiful lube) go around a penis for masturbation. As with dildos, some are made to resemble accurate human genitalia.



Toys that are used for kinky sex and BDSM practice (bondage/discipline, dominance/submission, sadism/masochism) deserve their own post – so they certainly warrant mention here. From impact toys such as paddles and floggers; to cuffs, collars, ropes, and restraints; to sensation toys like feathers or Wartenberg wheels; and more – the world of BDSM and kink offers you a great variety of toys, accessories, and apparel.


This list is not exhaustive; the variety of sex toys is broad, ever-expanding, and magnificent. Use toys on your own, with partners, with other toys – and always, always with lube. And to learn more, check out:

  • Oh Joy Sex Toy, NSFW comics that review sex toys and explain various sex education topics
  • Hey Epiphora, a fabulous blog with hundreds of sex toy reviews, deals and promos, information on where to buy toys, and more
  • Good Vibrations’ page of education on these and many other topics
  • The Center for Sexual Pleasure and Health’s information page on different sex toy materials (required reading for anyone looking into purchasing toys, so that you do not buy a toy that isn’t body-safe)

Take a look!


Cover image courtesy of Shutterstock.