Types of Sex Toys

To people new to the world of sex toys, it can be shocking — and maybe a bit overwhelming — to discover just how many different types of sex toys are out there. It seems like there are new toys and sex aids hitting the market every day, from balls and beads to creams and “cock rings.” While it would take too long to discuss every type of sex toy, here is a primer on the most common kinds of adult toys.


The vibrator is probably the most common and most well known type of sex toy. A vibrator is especially designed to stimulate a specific part of the female anatomy — mainly, the clitoris. This is important, since many women achieve orgasm primarily through clitoral stimulation — and for some women, clitoral stimulation is a must in order to climax. Unlike dildos, vibrators generally do not have that penislike appearance. In fact, many vibrators are small and flexible (at least at the tip) in order to allow for easier access to the clitoris and greater flexibility of movement.

There is no one “typical” type of vibrator, though, because they are available in countless shapes and sizes.

Contrary to popular misconception, vibrators are not intended to be inserted or used inside the body. In fact, because of the unusual design of some vibrators, they can feel awkward or even painful when inserted vaginally. If you want a toy that does double-duty (vibrating and insertable) look for a vibrating dildo.

There are several things to consider when choosing a vibrator:

  • Noise: The stereotypical vibrator is very noisy, so it can be challenging to use discreetly, especially if you live with roommates or parents. Many newer models are specifically designed to be very quiet.

  • Size: Vibrators are available in a wide array of sizes, from pocket-sized to jumbo units. The smaller ones are easier to carry discreetly, while the larger models generally offer more features.

  • Price: Just because you are on a tight budget doesn't mean you must forgo vibrators. You can find the smaller basic models for under $20. On the other hand, if price is no object, you can splurge on a fancy high-tech model that costs $150 or more.

  • Speed: Ideally, your vibrator offers a selection of varying speeds. It is generally a good idea to start off with the slowest speed, especially if you are inexperienced with a vibrator, so that the experience isn't overwhelming. Most women then gradually “step up” to higher speeds as they become more comfortable and more aroused.

  • Extra features: Many vibrators, especially the more expensive models, offer extra features. These may include the ability to be used in the water, multiple “heads” that can stimulate several different areas (as in, the clitoris and G-spot) at the same time, or an attached butt plug.

If you will be traveling with your vibrator, be sure to remove the batteries beforehand so that it does not cause an embarrassing scene by turning on accidentally. When traveling by plane, you should pack your vibrator and other toys in your checked luggage, for added privacy.


Dildos are penislike toys designed to be inserted vaginally (and possibly anally). The traditional dildo was pretty cut-and-dry: an implement that resembled a penis in general size, shape, and appearance that was meant to be inserted into the vagina or anus to provide roughly the same sensation as penetration by a penis.

But today the dildo has come a long way from its basic roots. Modern versions have all kind of enhancements like ridges, bumps, or even veins and other features designed to make it more closely resemble an actual penis. There are “double-ended dildos” designed for use by two people at the same time. There are also vibrating dildos, designed to do the work of a dildo and a vibrator in one convenient toy.

When using a dildo or similar toy, it can be helpful to soak it in warm water or oil for a while beforehand. This helps soften up the toy, and it also makes it warm enough to prevent any uncomfortable cold shocks.

Enhancing Creams

A new type of sexual aid that has been gaining popularity lately is “enhancing creams.” These products come in gel or cream form and are designed to be rubbed directly on the genitals for added stimulation. They usually provide a quick (and often short-lived) tingling sensation in the area on which they are applied. The effectiveness of these products varies by brand and ingredients.

When trying an enhancing cream for the first time, be sure to start with a tiny amount until you gauge its effects. Using a low-quality cream (or an excessive amount of any cream) can often cause a burning sensation that many people find uncomfortable or even painful. It goes without saying that you do not want to risk experiencing these sensations in sensitive areas.

Just for Men

While vibrators and other women-specific products may be the first things to spring to mind when envisioning sex toys, there is a whole category of toys designed especially with men in mind. Here are a few of the most common male sex toys:

  • Rings: Generally known as penis rings (or the more X-rated term of “cock rings”), these are usually made of a rubbery-type material able to stretch over just about any size penis. They are designed to provide constriction, which helps a man maintain an erection. The fancier models are adorned with extras like beads and bumps, which can help enhance the female partner's pleasure during intercourse. Penis rings are also available in a vibrating variety. Note: Penis rings should not be worn for too long (say more than a half hour) because constricting the penis for an extended period of time can cause negative effects.

  • Pumps: These are another type of product designed to help men maintain an erection for longer periods of time. The pump usually features a “sleeve” made from a rubbery jellylike material, which is placed over the penis. Using the accompanying pump, the man can get a sensation similar to that he would get from a vigorous session of oral or manual stimulation.

  • Oral simulators: These are products that are placed over the penis and designed to mimic the sucking sensation of oral sex.

  • Fake vaginas: A product growing in popularity is the fake vagina. Some of the higher-priced models can have a very lifelike feel, and the bestselling varieties are often modeled after the actual genitals of porn stars. These can come in handy when the man desires intercourse but his female partner is not available or not in the mood. Obviously, the man should make sure his partner has no objection to his using this “vaginal stand-in” for his sexual satisfaction.

Anal Toys

There is a whole section of adult toys designed specifically for anal use. The most common anal toys are known as “butt plugs.” These are soft, flexible implements, usually made of a rubbery jellylike material, which are somewhat similar to dildos but with a slightly different shape. Available in a variety of sizes — including small versions designed especially for “beginners” — these can be a good way to gradually work your way up to actual anal sex involving penile penetration. Some butt plugs are also designed to fit into specially designed harnesses that can be worn by the woman in order to anally penetrate her male partner.

When using any type of anal toy, it is important to take the same precautions you would for anal sex in general. Mainly, be sure to use lots of lubrication for comfort and easier insertion. Also, never insert anything into the vagina or other areas immediately after it has been in the anal area without cleaning it first.

Another popular type of anal toy is anal beads. Anal beads are nothing new — they have been used in Oriental sex practices for thousands of years. (They differ from Ben Wa balls, which are much larger and are inserted into the vagina.) Anal beads can be used by men or women, alone or with their partner. The general concept is similar to a string of pearls, although anal beads are available in a wide variety of sizes and textures. They are inserted, one at a time, into the anus and then pulled out at a desired moment — usually near the point of orgasm, or simultaneously with the climax.

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