There are almost as many types 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 the 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. (Related: I’ve Tried 100+ Vibrators – and My Favorite Looks Like a Banana)
(Keep in mind: This list doesn’t include all types of sex toys – if you have Q’s about toys such as nipple clamps, handcuffs, pinwheels, spreader bars, fetish gear, etc. don’t hesitate to ask the expert at your local sex shop!)
Vibrators are probably the most common type of sex toy, and when you hear the word, you likely visualize the notorious Hitachi Magic Wand (Buy It, $65, ellaparadis), 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 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: You can also try the Smart Wand 2 by Lelo (Buy It, $189, lelo) or the Fairy Mini Wand by Better Love (Buy It, $76, ellaparadis).
Clitoral vibes have emerged as their own category, according to Sloane. 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 Dame Eva II (Buy It, $135, amazon) has wings that wrap around the labia so that the bzzzbzzz is applied directly to your bud, while the Jimmyjane Form 2 (Buy It, $160, jimmyjane) has little “ears” that can surround your button with pleasure. Or, you can go with a more straightforward bullet vibe such as the We-Vibe Tango (Buy It, $88, ellaparadis) 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. (This type of sex toy sound up your alley? Then you should definitely check out the best clit suction toys on the market, too.)
ICYWW, dildos are qualified as a dildo if they’re “anything vaguely phallic-shaped that is meant to simulate penile penetration,” says Sloane. They can be any length or girth – there are ones that are 2 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 count these as one of the best types of sex toys.