A Guide to Sex Toys


A dildo (also called a dong) is any foreign object that is inserted into the vagina or anus to produce pleasure. There are several different types of dildos, and users need to know how to use them correctly and how to take care of them. Remember that for women there are many more nerves in the clitoris than in the walls of the vagina; and therefore, if dildo penetration does not provide enough stimulation, a woman might want to scroll down and check out our vibrator section to learn how to stimulate the clitoris.
Types of Dildos

Dildos are like people, they come in all sorts of shapes and sizes! You may want to experiment to discover which of these sex toys, if any, is right for you.

Traditional: Usually made out of rubber, these are simply designed to be inserted into the vagina and gripped at the base. Some dildos double as vibrators.

Realistic: These dildos are designed to look like men's penises. Some have testicles at the base of the dildo, and a few of the fancier models can produce liquid, the modeling ejaculate to further the similarities. Sometimes porn stars sell exact molded replicas of their penises. There are kits to create a dildo molded from your own penis: a fun do-it-your-self project for you and your partner.

Curved: These are specially designed to be curved so that women may stimulate their G-spot in the vagina or that men may stimulate their prostate gland rectally. 

Decorative: There are many dildos designed to look beautiful in order to reflect the beauty of sexuality and love. Because this one is made of glass we highly recommend not using it, or at least being very careful with it. First, glass is cold and may not be very pleasurable. Second glass can break and broken glass in the vagina is extremely painful.

Strap-on Dildos: Some dildos are specially designed to be strapped onto a person's body or head. To the right you can see a harness that would attach to a dildo. 

Combination Dildos: These dildos are designed primarily for women who want penetration stimulation and clitoral stimulation. They can be inserted but have a special vibrating appendage that can be positioned against the clitoris.

Butt plug: These are specially designed for anal stimulation. Keep reading to see why you should use an anal plug and not a normal dildo for anal stimulation. When inserting an anal plug or a penis into the anus remember to move slowly and use lots of lubrication. The rectal tissue is very delicate and these precautions will help prevent any damage. Reviewing the section on anal intercourse may be helpful.
Dildo Materials

  • Rubber is a common material for making sex toys because rubber is inexpensive to produce and easy to mold. The rubber used in most sex toys is also non-porous, so it is easily cleaned. Rubber is used to make traditional and realistic dildos. Rubber has a firm feeling and is structurally sturdy. Rubber is one of the most common materials used for strap-ons because it does not tear easily.
  • Jelly dildos are similar to rubber dildos, but they are slightly more squishy and pliable. This makes them feel more realistic than the cheaper rubber dildos. However, jelly dildos are more porous, so it is wise to use a condom over the dildo to help keep it clean. Jelly dildos are made soft by using special plasticizers, called phthalates, and these may be slightly toxic to humans, although the EU (European Union) has declared current levels of phthalate safe. You can avoid any negative effects by covering the dildo with a condom. Jelly dildos can be used in strap-ons, but they should be carefully handled because they are not as solid as rubber dildos.
  • Silicon dildos are very smooth and become warm very quickly. Silicone dildos are non-porous and very durable, so they can be cleaned and disinfected in a dishwasher or in boiling water. Silicone rubber is made with elastomers, and is a safe alternative to jelly plasticizers. Silicone dildos are also used in strap-ons because of their stable structure.
  • Cyberskin is a synthetic blend that is the closest you can get to real skin today. It's soft, smooth and feels realistic. However, it is very porous as well as being fragile and easily torn. Careful cleaning and and disinfecting of the cyberskin is necessary. Cyberskin must also be cleaned with a special cleaning material that has a consistency similar to talcum powder. This special cleaner helps keep the cyberskin soft. Using condoms to cover cyberskin helps make their cleaning easier. Cyberskin is used more commonly for "fake" vaginas (such as the fleshlight) than dildos.
  • Latex dildos are made of natural rubber and are not sold in the US. Many people have latex allergies, so it may be wise to stay away from latex.
  • Glass is a new material of dildos. Glass is non-porous and therefore very easy to clean. Like silicone, it can be put in the dishwasher or boiled in hot water. While glass dildos can be for the most part safe, there are some caveats we would like to discuss. Glass dildos with paint on their surface are not safe for use. The paint may be slightly toxic for humans and can chip off during use. Glass is prone to chipping, so be sure to check glass dildos for chips and cracks before use. Another potential problem with glass dildos is that the material that glass dildos are made out of the same material as glass cookware. A small proportion of glass cookware can spontaneously shatter, even after following proper cookware procedures. However, heat from ovens and dishwashers and cold of refrigerators and freezers can be blamed for the cookware's tendency to spontaneously shatter. It is still unclear whether glass dildos would be subject to shattering as well.

Why Should I Use an Anal Plug and Not a Dildo for Anal Sex?

Anal plugs are designed to be wide at the base so that the whole anal plug is not accidentally inserted into the anus. If an object is fully inserted in the anus the muscle that surround the rectal opening, called the anal sphincter, involuntarily closes and traps the foreign object into the anus. This can be painful, frustrating and costly if you need to go to a doctor to have the foreign object removed from your anus. It can also be very dangerous. 
Do not assume that something is too long to become trapped inside the anus. This also highlights another safety tip: glass objects should not be inserted into any orifice: anal, vaginal or oral.
Tips for Using a Dildo or Anal Plug

  • Relax and focus on the sensations that make you feel good.
  • Many people like to incorporate fantasy into their masturbation. 
  • Use lots of lubrication. Some dildos may be rough on the vagina or anus, and lubrication will allow for more pleasurable stimulation.
  • Many people like to combine dildos with vibrators to increase their pleasure.
  • Many women find pressing a dildo against the front of their vaginal wall can stimulate the Grafenberg Spot (or G-spot). Again, curved dildos are specially designed for G-spot stimulation. 
  • Many men find the stimulation of the prostate gland to be very pleasurable. Men can stimulate their prostate gland by pressing against the inside wall of the rectum.
  • Many people involve their partner with dildo use.
  • If a dildo is used in more than orifice (anal-to-vaginal or partner-to-partner) use a fresh condom on the dildo for each new orifice to keep things sanitary.

      Dildo Care Info

      • Remember to clean off the dildo after each sexual activity, using warm water and soap.
      • Hydrogen Peroxide provides a higher level of sterilization. Make sure to completely rinse the peroxide off afterwards.
      • Because most dildos are made out of porous rubber they cannot be sterilized completely. Such dildos should be covered with a condom to assure cleanliness. 
      • NEVER transfer an anal plug (or a penis or anything else) from the anus to the vagina or mouth without washing it first or putting a fresh new condom on it first.
      • If your dildo has electrical parts, do not submerge those electrical parts in water unless the instructions explicitly say it is waterproof.
      • When sharing sex toys be sure to use a fresh new condom on the dildo for each partner.


      Sex toys can be a wonderful enhancement to lovemaking and a source of truly spectacular pleasure. This guide will provide descriptions of various vibrators, as well as safe sex toy practices and directions for cleaning. Vibrator use can also be combined with other sex toys such as dildos.

      Plug-in Vibrators and Accessories

      Hitachi Magic Wand - This plug-in vibrator is probably the best place to start. It has a soft, round head that is used to massage the clitoris and the areas around it. It's one of the most popular choices.

      G-Spotter - This attachment for the Hitachi Magic Wand (which also fits the Rechargeable Wand) curves upward slightly so that it can be used for vaginal penetration as well as G-Spot stimulation (which is on the front/top wall of the vagina, about one inch inside.)

      Battery Powered & Rechargeable Vibrators

      Rabbit Pearl - This Japanese vibrator has a somewhat complicated but effective design. A rotating shaft vibrates and turns so that the shaft is rolling, textured "pearls" along the shaft that massage the outer portion of the vagina. The little rabbit ears vibrate against the clitoris.

      e-Vibe - This vibrator is small, portable and waterproof, (so it can be used it in a bathtub, hot tub or shower).

      The Fukouko 9000 - This is a tiny clitoral vibrator that fits over the tip of the finger. It's a perfect way to unobtrusively work in a little clitoral stimulation during intercourse with a partner. It works particularly well in any sexual position where fingers have enough freedom to reach the clitoris.

      Rechargeable Wand - This is one of the best of the rechargeable vibrators. It carries a 45-minute charge and can also be used while it is recharging. It has the same basic shape as the Hitachi Magic Wand.

      Vibrator Tips

      Vibrators are fun for almost everyone, but are especially popular among women. Using a vibrator clitorally is among the easiest ways for most women to reach orgasm, with oral sex and water stimulation high on the list too. Here are some basic tips for getting the most out of a vibrator:

      • If a woman feels comfortable making a little noise, then she'll probably find that letting herself moan or sigh while exhaling will improve the whole experience. Moving or rocking her hips rhythmically, in time with her breathing, can also make a big difference.
      • If the vibrations are the right speed but seem too intense, then a woman might try either draping a thin cloth between her clitoris and the vibrator or else leaving a light article of clothing on. She can also try moving the vibrator to the side of the clitoris rather than keeping it directly on the clitoris.
      • Rather than keeping the vibrator stationary and using heavy pressure, a woman can try using lighter pressure but moving the head of the vibrator back and forth in circles.
      • If a woman is already comfortable moving her hips in time with her breathing, she can try squeezing and relaxing her "PC" muscle (the same muscle she squeezes to stop the flow of urine when she's urinating) in time with her pelvic movements.
      • Some women find they can have multiple clitoral orgasms with their vibrator. The secret is to back off on the pressure, keep the vibrator moving, and avoiding direct contact with the clitoris until the sexual arousal builds up again.
      • Some women use a lubricant such as Astroglide or KY Jelly, which can help make vaginal or anal penetration of any kind feel much better.

      Men can enjoy vibrators too. For men with female partners, one obvious approach is for his partner to use a vibrator on her clitoris during intercourse with him. The vibrations reverberate onto his penis, a sensation which some men really like. Men can also enjoy vibrators without a partner. This is a fundamentally different experience than masturbating with the hand, as (chances are) his penis will be semi-hard through much or all of the experience rather than fully erect. However, men who do the rhythmic breathing, pelvis rocking and PC muscle contractions may find that they like the sensation a great deal. Some men find they can reach pleasurable orgasms with a vibrator without ever having a full erection.

      Cleaning the Vibrator

      Vibrators can be easily cleaned with simple soap and water. People who want even more sterilization can use hydrogen peroxide, making sure to wash off any residue. Parts of the vibrator that hold the batteries should not be submerged. Do not submerge electric vibes at all when plugged into the wall. If cleaning seems like too much of a pain and a person still wants to use his/her toy with more than one person, it is wise to always put a latex condom (or latex glove, in the case of some larger vibrators) over sex toy and discard the glove or condom when finished. Rubber dildos are porous and it isn't really practical to completely sterilize them, so it is wise to put condoms on them when sharing them with multiple people, in order to prevent the spread of any STD's.


      Society for Human Sexuality. A Guide To Sex Toys. 6 May 2004.

      Last Updated May 24, 2012


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