A beginner’s guide to sex toys – for sex toy newbies the language/jargon can be confusing and intimidating, here’s how to know what type of toy works best for you and your needs.

by | Oct 2, 2020 | Featured Sex Ed | 0 comments

A beginner’s guide to sex toys

If you’re thinking about buying your first sex toy and are unsure where to even start, you’re not alone. Sex shops online can be daunting! There are so many different types of sex toys for women, men and people of all genders and sexualities. From G-spot vibrators and dildos to anal toys and clit suckers, there’s also lot of jargon to get to grips with before choosing your first and learning how to use sex toys. But this experience doesn’t need to be intimidating and stressful, because there is a whole new, exciting world of pleasure and stimulation at your fingertips. So here’s a beginner’s guide to sex toys, with a breakdown of all the most common (and fun!) types of sex toys you’ll likely find in any sex shop.

Body safe sex toys

As sex toys aren’t regulated in the US, UK or Canada they can legally be made from a number of materials – not all of which are totally safe. Studies have found sex toys made from materials such as jelly rubber and PVC contain toxic chemicals called phthalates. Sex toys made from porous materials such as these are also near impossible to clean and sanitise to a safe standard. Body safe is a term many sex toy activists use to describe materials that are safer for human use. These include: silicone, hard plastics such as ABS plastic, glass, metal, wood and ceramic (the only materials we use here, at V For Vibes).

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People often use the term ‘vibrators’ to refer to sex toys in general. But actually, vibrators are the sex toys that…well…vibrate. Vibrators can run on batteries, be rechargeable via USB or a magnetic connection, or even plug into the mains. These are the main types of vibrators:

Clit vibrators

Clit vibrators are designed to target vibrations to the clitoris, which has thousands of nerve endings and is the most common way women and people with vaginas experience orgasm. Clit vibrators come in all shapes and sizes and the most popular clit vibrators are bullet vibrators. These are usually small, discreet and inexpensive and therefore perfect for beginners looking to buy their first sex toy.

Oral sex toys and clit suckers

In recent years, the sex toy industry has seen an explosion of new oral sex toys that attempt to mimic the feeling of being eaten out. Also known as ‘clit suckers’, these toys don’t come into direct contact with the clitoris like most clit vibrators do. Instead, they send out pressure waves to replicate a sucking feeling. Other types of oral sex toys feature mini ‘tongues’ that are designed to feel like someone is licking your clit.

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G-spot vibrators

G-spot vibrators are designed to be used internally and inserted into the vagina in order to stimulate the supposed G-spot. There is much debate as to whether the G-spot exists and if so, what it actually is. Regardless, if you like the feeling of penetration, G-spot vibrators are really fun to play with.

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Rabbit vibrators

Rabbit vibrators combine the skills of a clit vibrator and a G-spot vibrator. One small arm stimulates the clitoris while the longer shaft is inserted into the vagina for dual stimulation. The two vibrating arms can usually be controlled separately, so you can have both – or either – clit and G-spot vibes depending on what you’re in the mood for.

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Wand vibrators

Wand vibrators are the most powerful sex toys as most of them are mains-powered. They can appear quite intimidating as they’re pretty large in comparison to other sex toys. But if you love powerful vibrations, wand vibrators are perfect for you. While clit vibrators offer pinpoint precision and vibrations targeted to a small area, wands get your whole vulva vibrating for an entirely different experience.

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Knicker vibrators

If you like the idea of letting someone else control your pleasure, knicker vibrators or vibrating knickers are a great couples sex toy to try. Knicker vibrators are usually small and come with a pair of knickers that have a built-in pouch in the gusset to slip the vibrator into. You then pop the pants on and let someone else control the toy via remote.


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Dildos are sex toys that are designed for vaginal or anal penetration, depending on the shape. Any toy you use anally must have a flared-based to avoid any chance of the toy getting lost inside the anus. Dildos can be made from a range of materials including metal, glass, ceramic and silicone.

Strap-on dildos are used with a harness, which someone then wears and uses to penetrate a partner. Pegging dildos – which are used to penetrate someone anally – tend to be smaller and curved to stimulate the prostate which is found inside the anus of a man or penis-having person.

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Cock rings

Cock rings are designed to be worn by men and people with penises. They slip over the penis and are worn at the base of the shaft and keep erections harder for longer. Vibrating cock rings also feature a small vibrator inside the ring. This means the wearer can experience extra stimulation from the vibrator, but it also can be used during partnered sex to stimulate another person’s clitoris while having penetrative sex, for example. Some cock rings can also be worn over a person’s testicles and are known as cock and ball rings.


For men and people who have penises, masturbators are sex toys that attempt to mimic the feeling of penetrative or oral sex. They’re usually textured sleeves made of silicone or a similar material. After applying lube, you simply move the masturbator along the shaft of the penis as if you were masturbating or giving a hand job. Some pricier masturbators vibrate too for extra stimulation.

Anal sex toys

As well as anal dildos, there are many other types of anal sex toys to explore. Butt plugs are quite literally, a plug for the butt. These should always have a flared base for safety, and can be made from various materials such as glass, metal and silicone. Vibrating butt plugs add an extra layer of stimulation by vibrating inside the anus. Anal beads tend to be made of silicone and have a ring at the end to make removing them super easy. The beads start off small and become larger as you insert them one by one.

Paisley Gilmour Sex and Relationship Editor – Cosmo UK

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