Searching for the best sex toy for the biggest joy

In life, there comes a time about a decade after the awful preteen years when it’s okay to start playing with toys again. The context in which this is acceptable is totally different than a Hot Wheels tournament, but no less ‘hot’ or entertaining. For those individuals who are into more playful forms of play, sex joys with sex toys.

Sex toys capture all the joy of Christmas morning without the nuisances of family bonding. Whether alone or with a companion, sex toys can be a perfect complement to any sex life. Given the variety and increasing availability of these little buggers, they are an easy addition to all things sex. If there’s anything we Swatties need, its a little fun and a lot of orgasms. So, kill two birds with one butt plug and use these tips to maintain that little (or large) joy of yours for years to come and come and come.

Picking one out:
First time? You may find it overwhelming to discover the sheer number of different types of sex toys out there. The logic behind this is that no two vaginas/cocks/asses are the same — everyone has their preferences and enjoys different sensations. So, don’t feel any pressure to know exactly what you are looking for. Sex toys come in a variety of rigidities, textures/materials, shapes/forms, colors, designs and so on and so forth. Swallow your shame for about two-hours and go to a sex shop (there are tons in Philly — I suggest Sexploratorium) so that you can actually see and feel the options. Unfortunately, there are no test rides with these guys, but most stores do demonstrations of their products so that you can get a better picture of what you want. You can ultimately purchase online, if you so choose, so that you can read reviews, avoid the discomfiture of asking the sales clerk if she has “it” in black, and find the best rate.

Let’s face it — that shit is expensive and, as a broke-ass college student, you may not want to break your ass even more for the purposes of pleasing it. So, take time to do this thorough and thoroughly awkward research. What exactly is there? Well, are you looking to …

… stick it where the sun don’t (and never wants to) shine?
Then, dildos, butt plugs and anal beads may open up a hole new world for you. They are a lovely alternative to fingers or random phallic items because they are designed solely for the purpose of sexual pleasure and provide exquisite sensations that cannot be replicated with shampoo bottles. Dildos are penetration tools used for penetrative pleasure of any sort. Butt plugs are designed to be inserted in the rectum to provide mad sexual pleasure while you continue other forms of play. Anal beads are inserted one by one and pulled out in the same manner during climax to provide truly life-changing orgasms. For dual snatch and anal play, sterilize the toy when shifting focus from the back to the front. Using condoms on your toy makes this a very easy task.

… get some good vibes?
Anal probes and vibrators are generally used to stimulate areas that are heavily populated with nerve endings, such as the clitoris or the anus. They offer more targeted and intense stimulation than any measly finger can. You can find them in phallic form, as belts that you can fix on to the ‘afflicted’ area, as spherical eggs, in the form of vibrating cockrings (inserted on the base of said cock) that give good vibes to the receiving partner during penetrative sex, or even discreet, disguised shapes like lipstick and rubber duckies! Fo reals, look (http://store-fbcd2.mybigcommerce.com/)! A quick tip for those with thin walls who want to stimulate their walls: the loud everybody-in-your-hallway-can-hear-you-zinging-your-monkey sound that vibrators produce is often generated by the vibration of the batteries against the internal tubing of the vibrator. You can reduce this noise by lining the casing around the battery pack with a rolled piece of paper or somewhat reduce the problem by avoiding vibrators that are powered by C batteries and keeping your amazzzzzzzing toy under the covers.

… get your pride swallowed?
There is an up and coming market of sex toys for those who want to get up and, eventually, come. Toys targeted for the dons of the dong are a recent development for consumers of all things sexy. Masturbator sleeves (in the form of ‘fleshlights’, real-to-life models, or suction chambers) and love-dolls are some examples of these truly great advancements in the field of engineering.

… be miscellaneously kinky?
Whatever compilation of freaky ideals turns you on, there are toys for it. BDSM gear, sex furniture, costumes, electro-stimulators, adult diapers, statistics problems set, et cetera, are all available with a bit of Google-magic. Find online communities of people who share your fetish and ask around. Additionally, any of the retailers I suggest below will have toys related to your kink or be sex-positive/informed enough to suggest some places that do if you call or e-mail.

Maintenance:
Sex toys suffer from a fair amount of wear and tear and need to be cared for like anything else. Store all toys in a cool dry place. You may want to purchase some Tupperware for your toy (it’s an investment!) to keep your toys cool, dry, clean and fresh. Keep each item separate by wrapping it in a soft cloth (T-shirts or socks work well), because some materials are not compatible with each other and can cause deterioration or discoloration. Remember never to store silicone toys together without wrapping them individually. If vibrating motors are removable, store them separately from their respective toys as well.

Sex toys usually have a short shelf-life. Regularly inspect your toy for visible cracks in plastic, acrylic, or glass toys, mold or mildew, deterioration and battery corrosion. These are signs that you may need to break it off with your broken toy.

As for cleaning, a general rule is that you can clean your toys with a mild antibacterial soap and warm water. This technique works well for realistic materials (‘skins’ like Cyberskin, Fauxskin, Ultraskin, etc.), rubber, vinyl, acrylic, metal, silicone, plastic, glass and jelly (though this material is porous and can never be fully disinfected). Take extra care to rinse jelly and rubber toys very thoroughly during washing — the porous nature of these materials make it difficult to remove all the traces of soap. Plastic, acrylic and glass require an extra wipe down with alcohol and consecutive rinse to be super squeaky. Every couple of months, if you can get adequate privacy, boil your non-electronic acrylic, silicone, metal and glass toys for good measure. Avoid this practice if you’re not 100% sure of the sex toy’s material content. Remember, never fully submerge an electronic toy in water unless the packaging explicitly states that it is waterproof. You’ll ruin your toy as well as your fun.

Ethdicks and Safety:
Many popular erotic toys are made of polyvinyl chlorides (PVC). Studies on PVC have revealed that these phthalates have potentially serious negative impacts on health. Specifically, some research has linked PVC to cancer and damage of the reproductive system. Yikes! Always check the make-up of your toy and try to steer clear of any toys that contain PVC. Retailers like Babeland, Rabbit Habit and Smitten Kitten have a collection of PVC-free toys. Silicone toys are also a good alternative to PVC products. If you really love the texture of PVC or already own a toy that contains PVC, I suggest using it with a condom.

In addition to being potentially carcinogenic, ethical production of some sex toys can be a problem. Lovers of leather or BDSM merchandise may be concerned about the use of animal products in these toys. Smitten Kitten (mentioned above) has a host of animal-friendly toys that can provide the satisfaction to your hide without harming that of a poor defenseless animal.

For those who lust after the earth, the most ecologically correct choices are glass or metal toys. These materials are less toxic and longer-lasting than their plastic or PVC-containing counterparts. Furthermore, the market for ‘Green’ sex toys is expanding. Solar charged vibrators (available at Babeland) and vibrators with rechargeable power packs are coming into trend with many retailers.

So, whether you are part of the some that like it hot, the some that like it vibrating, or the some that like it vegan, there is a toy out there for you. Join in the fun but never forget to play safely. Do not share jelly or rubber toys with your partner(s) and always sterilize the toy between use and person to person use. Using condoms on your toys during play dates with your playmates may be the most convenient solution for extended periods of play. It may be a pain in the ass, but unsafe play could result in much worse pains in that exact area.

Vianca is a junior. She can be reached at vmasucc1@swarthmore.edu.

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