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A Beginner’s Guide To Sex Toys

Whips, chains, vibrators… oh my!

If you’re currently in the midst of some extended, ahem, alone time, or simply looking to keep the fires burning in the bedroom with a long-term partner, it’s time you got familiar with the life-saving (and climax-inducing) importance of sex toys.

A treasure chest of boudoir goodies is arguably a must-have for everyone, whether you’re using the items with a partner (IRL or on Facetime) or as a means of self-exploration on your own. And while some of us may not shy away from some full-on “Fifty Shades of Grey” action, newbies need not be intimidated by the potential of introducing playthings in the bedroom. With a range of options on the market, you can certainly start out with the basics and find out what works best for you – and your pleasure.

Curious about just where to begin? Let’s take you on a tour through toyland…

Start With Sensations

As it happens, some of the most titillating toys out there wouldn’t even be considered X-rated if someone saw them out on your nightstand – and they don’t necessarily require any below-the-belt action.

We’re talking sensually arousing playthings that can be applied anywhere on the body, from erogenous zones and beyond. As professional sexologist Dr. Jenn Kennedy, PhD says, items like feather ticklers and nipple clamps can “wake up the mind” with a range of sensations, as well as wake up the body’s pleasure sensors. You can even heat things up by getting touchy-feely with massage oil.

Basically, if you’re just starting to dip your toes into toe-curling toy territory, you can try stroking your skin’s nerve-endings before, well, stroking anything else.

Vibe Out With Vibrators

When it comes to the most familiar and popular variety of in-bedroom devices – that would be vibrators, duh – you don’t have to go to any extremes in order to achieve an extreme orgasm.

“Sex toys don’t have to be used internally,” adds Dr. Jenn. “I would suggest starting with an external vibrator. It could be something that fits in the palm of your hand and gives good clitoral stimulation. Vibrators used on the clitoris can be a delightful awakening for women wanting orgasms.”

Bullets and clitoris suction toys can deliver electrifying results without insertion. But if you prefer a more penetrative experience, it’s worth experimenting with an internal vibrator, especially on your own at first. “Solo play is a really good information gathering exercise,” says Dr. Jenn. “Users get to figure out pressure, size, speed of vibration, or depth of penetration in a no-pressure situation. They get to move at their own pace and understand what their body really responds to without the pressure of a partner.”

Of course, after you take your pleasure into your own hands (quite literally), you can then confidently hand things over to your partner and be able to tell them exactly what you’re looking for.

Lube Is Your Best Friend

The one thing you’ll hear from sexperts over and over again? Lube is your best friend! And that remains true whether you’re doing the deed with a physical partner or playing with penetrative toys like vibrators, dildos, or butt plugs (in fact, lube is super important for any and all types of anal play, since, unlike vaginas, booties do not produce any natural lubricant). Not only does it enhance pleasure overall, it reduces friction and can aid in insertion when trying a new toy.

Water-based lubes are a good go-to since they’re safe to use with condoms and all types of toys, but be prepared to reapply liberally as these types can quickly dry out as they get absorbed into the body. If shower play or anything anal is on the agenda, you might want to look into silicone-based lubricants – however, you’ll want to avoid using a silicone formula with silicone toys. In that case, stick to items made of hard materials like plastic, steel, or crystal.

Experiment With Light Restraints

Now that we’ve covered the basics, it’s time to explore the kinkier side of sex toys. If you’re curious about BDSM play, you do not have to leap onto a Saint Andrew's cross or transform your spare room into a total sex dungeon. Well, at least not yet.

Rather, start out slowly with erotic-but-approachable accessories like light restraints and handcuffs, blindfolds, and strappy harnesses. If you’re feeling particularly naughty, you can also incorporate playful paddles and riding crops, and take turns using them with your partner. Always remember to communicate frequently and be sure to establish total trust when experimenting with kinks. When done right, it can open up a whole new world of intimacy, but it’s crucial to set boundaries and voice your consent when using BDSM toys.

Have Fun!

Obviously, the most important aspect of using sex toys is that you’re having fun with them. After all, they’re called “toys” for a reason! Let go of your inhibitions and enjoy yourself while trying out new things, either on your own or with a lover.

And if you happen to be hesitant about opening up your toy box with a partner – don’t be. So long as they’re comfortable using them, introducing toys to a relationship can bring new levels of intimacy, trust, and communication, while keeping things new and exciting in the bedroom. “Toys offer novelty, which the brain always loves,” adds Dr. Jenn. And whether you’re using them to spank, stroke, stimulate or penetrate, they can provide pleasure for all involved.

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