Buying Your First Sex Toy in Five Easy Steps
Updated: Sep 29
Buying your first sex toy can bring on a lot of feelings: excitement, anxiety, shame, or joy. Society has worked hard to make sure people feel bad about their pleasure and specifically, that sex toys are something dirty and bad. I just want to take a second to say that whatever you are feeling is completely normal, and that you are not doing anything wrong. Take a deep breathe and think of sex toys as an investment (but in your pleasure instead of the stock market so worlds better).
I recommend using body-safe toys (click here for my guide on what that means) as they last much longer and won’t cause any harm to your bits, but other than that safety advice, get whatever toy makes you happy (and if you do have to get something porous, just make sure to be super super careful with cleaning). Without further banter, here are my five rules:
Figure out your budget
First and foremost, you want to establish a budget and stick to it. You can find body-safe toys at any price point from $10 to $200+. That being said, I don’t personally recommend buying something really expensive. I think the $10--$40 range is perfect for a first toy; feel free to go above and beyond if you have money to burn (though perhaps think about donating that money instead given the current state of the country).
Find a store that you feel good about
Second, you’ll want to find a store or retailer you feel good about. This can be a local store (IRL or online) or a larger retailer. Some personal favorites include...
Peepshow Toys: only body-safe material toys
SheVibe: mostly body-safe toys with a large selection
Spectrum Boutique: mostly body-safe toys w/ big selection
Feelmore Adult: a black & queer owned toy shop in California
Good Vibes: a woman owned brick and mortar shop
Early2Bed: also a woman owned brick and mortar shop
Nox Shop: a body-safe retailer with a well-curated selection
Bellessa Boutique: a women-centered store, often w/sales or promotional deals
Smitten Kitten: brick and mortar store that has expanded to online offerings
Any of these are great options so I recommend choosing whichever feels best to you. All of these places also offer discreet shipping which can be helpful during a time when most of us are home a majority of the time.
Figure out what you like
It can feel daunting to know what you like before you’ve tried anything out, but I recommend setting aside some time and exploring your body.
If you have a vulva...think about what feelings you’ve enjoyed in the past (penetration, oral stimulation, etc.). Try stimulating your clitoris broadly (with multiple fingers and broad strokes) and in a more pinpoint way (with one finger and targeted movements). Try stimulating your vagina or anus gently (and with lube), caressing the outside and moving inside, seeing if any particular zones feel good.
If you have a penis... try stimulating your penis with different strokes and think about previous experiences you’ve had (oral stimulation, penetrating a vagina or anus, have your anus penetrated or played with, etc.)? Try stimulating your penis in different ways, trying slower strokes, faster strokes, etc. Try stimulating your anus gently (and with lube), caressing the outside and moving inside, seeing if any particular zones feel good.
Once you’ve had your play time, think about what felt good for your body. If you still aren’t sure, that’s okay! There are toys for that (which you can see below under My Recommendations).
Find something that sparks joy
When it comes to buying your first sex toy, you want to get something that makes you happy, plain and simple. Don’t buy something that makes you sad when you see it. Don’t buy something that feels super intimidating. And don’t buy something because some ad, or tv show, or friend told you to: it’s your body and you get to choose. If you prefer non-gendered toys, don’t force yourself to buy something gendered like a Fleshlight porn star replica (but there’s also nothing wrong with liking gendered toys as they can be affirming and/or super hot for some folx).
Play and repeat steps 1-4 if desired
You officially have a sex toy now! That’s freaking awesome! Play with it in whatever way brings you joy. You can try out using it on different parts of the body (e.g. erogenous zones like the nipples, using an internal vibrator externally, etc.). If you buy and use your first sex toy and don’t love it, that is a-okay. You could have something that isn’t a great fit for you or maybe sex toys just aren’t your jam.
Some options that are affordable and generally well regarded
If you want a shape that works for internal or external use, try…
If you want something for external use only, try…
If you want a non-vibrating penetration toy (anal or vaginal), try…
If you want a penis masturbation sleeve, try…
If you are looking for something in a category not addressed in this post or just can't seem to find something that appeals to you, please feel free to shoot me an email; I’d love to try and help you find the best toy for you.
Have a great day y’all,