Sex Toys Guide


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Choosing A Vibrator

It's safe to say that vibrators are the most popular kind of sex toy. For good reason—vibrators are cheap and versatile, and provide a wide range of vibrational intensity. But picking out a vibrator can be more difficult than you might think. Did you know there were hundreds of different kinds, including internal, external, battery-operated, AC-operated, hands-free, black, white, purple, animal-shaped... Wait a minute! Sex toys are supposed to be recreational, not analytical. We'll break it down for you.

Insertable Vibrators
By far the most versatile category of sex toys, insertable vibrators are usually shaped like a phallus, which means they all vaguely resemble a penis. Some can be quite realistic, especially if they're made from silicone. Others look nothing like the male member. Vibrators come in all sizes, shapes, textures and colors—from the tiny pocket vibe to the ridiculously huge twelve-inch dildo vibe. However, vibrators all have two things in common: they were made to pulsate and penetrate.

When considering an insertable vibrator, think about what works best for you. If you're buying the vibrator for someone else, consider how they behave in bed: does your friend have an open mind, or does he or she prefer more traditional forms of fun? Some people (especially newcomers) prefer the simple sleekness of the frictionless plastic vibrator. Others enjoy a more realistic shape and texture. Some people like small insertable vibrators and others like obscenely large ones. It's really a matter of personal preference. As for texture, stroke a few floor models if you're shopping live. Pick the material that appeals to you most. If you don't find it potentially erotic, it's a colossal waste of time. Try one of the following kinds of vibrators:

Contoured Vibrators These discreet units resemble anything but the male member. Ergonomically designed to fit the female body, these smooth, plastic vibrators have a slightly hourglass shape and are often offered for sale by more traditional retailers.

Realistic Insertables These lifelike units look just like the real thing: veins, testicles and all. Internally powered by batteries, these vibes are perfect for people who love intercourse with a powerful twist. Varying in size from the tiny to the grotesque, many realistic insertables have been cast from a mold made from a real adult film star's anatomy—if you enjoy that kind of thing.

Rocket Vibrators Also called "bullets" or "smoothies," these more traditional vibrators are usually made from plastic. A favorite with novices and those preferring simpler toys, rocket vibes can induce powerful orgasms from both internal and clitoral stimulation. Their frictionless exterior makes them a poor choice for thrusting movements, but the gentle internal pressure and vibration can be quite nice.
Vibrator Sleeves Made to slip over plain rocket vibrators, vibrator sleeves are made from silicone, cyberskin, jelly or rubber. Sleeves can resemble anything from penises to knob-studded cucumbers to cute little bunnies, and produce an enticing and versatile array of sensations. A practical way to maximize your toy collection would be to purchase a good-quality rocket vibrator and a number of different kinds of sleeves.

G-Spot Vibrators Usually long and slim with a tilted end, G-Spot vibrators are designed to reach that elusive place within every woman. Some G-Spot vibrators are thicker and knobbier, but still tilted. Guys will love what these vibrators do for their prostates.

Japanese-style Vibrators Intricately made and usually fairly expensive, these insertable vibrators often have a small animal, such as a panther, butterfly or rabbit, perched near the base of the vibrator and facing forward. In addition to making you giggle, your animal friend will provide clitoral vibrations when you insert the unit into your vagina. Fancy models also come equipped with a rotating band of beads or "pearls," which provides G-Spot stimulation.

Insertable vibrators can be used a number of different ways. The most obvious method is an "in-out" motion resembling intercourse, but insertable vibrators can also be used externally, on the clitoris, anus or vulva. Many people enjoy several different kinds of stimulation, including a combination of internal and external strokes. Some women prefer insertables because using them seems more like traditional intercourse, with a big, pulsating bonus. Others like them because they are larger and easier to grasp. But it doesn't really matter why you like it—as long as you enjoy the ride!

Clitoral Vibrators
While any kind of vibrator can be used on the clitoris, certain vibrators were specifically designed to tease your lovebud. The most common type of clitoral vibe is small, egg-shaped and attached to a multi-speed battery pack by a long cord. Variations on the basic design include more longer, narrower vibes, and vibrators shaped like cats, tubes of lipstick, bees, dewdrops, dolphins and human tongues. Whichever design you choose, basic operation is the same: you enjoy focused vibrations at varying speeds and intensities. The best thing about these handy little vibes is their level of control—all the fancy bells and whistles ensure you get precisely the clitoral pulse you require for a mind-shattering orgasm.

Clitoral vibes are for external use only—while some units claim they can be inserted vaginally and you can certainly experiment with shallow penetration, it's best to keep them on the outside. As many of these "novelty" vibrators are of specious design, it's entirely possible for the vibrating unit to become detached from the cord and lodge itself somewhere you can't quite reach. Likewise, these kinds of vibrators should never be inserted anally. While this kind of situation is hilarious for emergency room personnel, it's probably not something you want to experience personally.

Electric Vibrators
Electric vibrators provide an incredibly powerful genital buzz. The Hitachi Magic Wand, a longtime favorite of electric vibe enthusiasts, is large, obtrusive and ostensibly intended for body massage. Its versatile and powerful nature puts it at the top of most wish lists, but many other brands of wand will suffice quite nicely. Usually about a foot long, these vibes plug into a wall socket and tend to have variable-speed controls. The unit consists of a long handle topped with a soft, vibrating head approximately the size and shape of a tennis ball. While you can use these vibrators for back and body massage, we highly recommend squeezing them between your thighs for an intense rush of electricity. Not for the timid.

A variation on the standard electric wand, the coil vibrator is reminiscent the battery-operated manicure sets popular in the 1980s. About the size and shape of a handheld electric mixer, the coil vibrator is topped with an interchangeable set of heads, which can include soft, round, bumpy and textured tips. This vibe produces an incredibly intense sensation and is almost noise-free. Some women find the sensation too intense; others just can't get enough.

Numerous attachments are available for both wand and coil-style electric vibrators. Ranging from the tame to the utterly wacky, these attachments can include suction cups, G-Spot wands, dual penetrators, cups, bulbs and soft rubber rings. We recommend trying the wand or coil alone, then adding attachments as your sense of adventure dictates. Be aware though: you pay for what you get. Electric vibrators are definitely on the expensive side. But look on the bright side—they usually have warranties and often last for years.

Hands free Vibrators
Designed to resemble a harness or pair of G-string panties, hands free vibrators are a small, intense molded plastic unit held fast by straps to a woman's clitoris for an intense, localized vibration. The miniature motor is housed in a plastic casing resembling a butterfly, dragonfly or some other kind of cute forest creature. The sensations produced by these happy little critters can be incredibly strong—too strong for some women's tastes. If you enjoy a deep, intense vibration, the butterfly vibe might be a great option for you, especially if you fancy wearing it out of the house. While many butterfly vibrators have larger harnesses that make them only good for solo use, a number of newer models have been designed with less obtrusive harnesses and smaller units so that they can be worn during intercourse, adding clitoral vibrations to the excitement of penetration. For added excitement, try the remote-controlled panty. Your significant other will enjoy randomly turning you on and off during a movie, grocery shopping trip, bowling game, etc. Warning: the butterfly vibe does make noise, so only use it if you're relatively alone ... or if you don't care if people know your little secret.

The intensity of vibrators can range from very gentle and designed purely for relaxation, to a vibration that's overpowering and potentially uncomfortable. Always start using your vibrator on its lowest intensity setting, and then gradually experiment with higher settings until you determine what feels best for you. If your vibrator is simply too powerful, don't despair! Many women enjoy diffusing the vibrations by placing a towel or piece of cloth over their vibrators. This trick has been raved about for years, and is especially effective with electric vibrators.

Vibrators can plug into a wall socket or use batteries. Some people prefer battery-powered vibes—they're less expensive and more portable. Other people swear by AC-powered vibrators, because of the stronger vibration and greater durability. The variable speed settings on most AC vibrators afford a little more control over what kind of sensation you experience, which is really nice if you like a fast, intense vibe interchanged with a slow, gentle pulse. AC vibes are also a little easier to clean: instead of immersing the whole unit in water, which can fry the batteries, you can keep the plug end dry and prolong your unit's life a little. If you decide to try a battery vibe, be aware that they are available in two basic forms: toys with internal batteries and toys connected to a battery pack by a little leash. Generally speaking, the battery pack vibrators last a little longer, mostly because you don't have to immerse the whole unit in water to clean it. Also, battery packs can provide variable speeds, while internal batteries usually have just an "on-off" switch. However, the vibration produced by both is equally strong so it's really a matter of preference.

Care and Maintenance
Clean your products with toy cleaner, alcohol or gentle soap and water after every use. Keep the motor and batteries away from water or alcohol. It's also a good idea to store your batteries separately from your toy—this prolongs the life of your battery and ensures your toy doesn't get fried if the battery leaks. If you're sharing toys with a partner or using the same toy for both vaginal and anal use, be sure to clean your toy every time you use it and use a condom. Silicone products can be boiled, submersed in water, or washed in a dishwasher.

Most vibrators are designed to "novelties," which means they can have a very unpredictable lifespan—anywhere from days to months. A few (usually the more expensive "personal massager" types) have warranties, but for the most part, don't expect miracles from your vibrating pal. But good care and careful use will definitely prolong the life of your toy, so don't give up altogether. Besides, most of the "novelty" vibrators are relatively inexpensive, so replacing a well-worn vibrator shouldn't be too costly.

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